Life of Dillon, January 2017
During 2014, UK alternative pop duo Life of Dillon–Joe Femi and David Keiffer–stood on the verge of eviction. Just two years before, the childhood friends finished college and collectively chose to pursue a career as songwriters. Within two months of almost losing their home, they landed a deal with Disruptor Records/Epic Records. By summer 2015, the boys released their debut EP, Prologue, joined Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth on a sold-out North American tour, made their late-night television debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and notched a bona fide hit in the form of "Overload," which racked up 40 million-plus cumulative Spotify streams in less than a year. Along the way, they garnered acclaim from Teen Vogue, Idolator, Radio.com and more.
As the whirlwind subsided, the boys posed a few key questions…
“Things happened so quickly that we hadn’t actually asked ourselves, ‘What do we stand for? What are we trying to say?’,” recalls Joe. “We moved to Los Angeles in 2016. When you travel almost 6,000 miles to achieve something, you’re definitely in a different headspace. We’re not from here. We came here for a purpose: to make music. We didn’t have time to waste.”
Sharing an apartment in the City of Angels, the two-piece spent the next year tirelessly writing new music, exploring the landscape, and hitting the gym as much as possible—in an effort to live up to the workout routine of their namesake Carl Weathers’ Predator character Dillon. They emerged from this creative flurry with both new music and perspective.
Los Angeles, CA
Alternative Pop Duo
DNP: What does a typical day look like for you?
David: Typically, we wake up early, hit the gym while talking about what we having going on, make smoothies or a hot tea/coffee and then get to something creative! As of right now that’s either finishing some music productions on the songs we’re releasing this year or working on the visuals for the music. We like to be extremely hands on with every aspect of our vision. We’ll work on these right into the late hours of the night, and it’ll feel like no time has passed at all. That's the problem when you do what you love, there’s never enough hours in the day!
DNP: What projects have you recently been working on?
Joe & David: Recently we have focussed solely on our music and making sure that it’s something we can really feel proud of. For us, everything comes down to the songs. We have a few side projects culminating which are really excited about, but we can’t say too much about those right now.
DNP: What was the inspiration for your career route?
Joe: I don’t really believe it was a choice to become an artist. We both have always made music from childhood. We both went to University and got degrees, but when all that was said and done, that’s not what the universe had in store for us. We were inspired by my older brother L Marshall who topped the UK charts about 5/6 years ago and really showed us that it was possible to make a career doing what you loved. So David and I went back to doing what we had been doing all along and focussed our efforts on writing songs.
DNP: What do you find most challenging and exciting about your career?
Joe: The most exciting part is the potential. We know we can go the distance and that’s exciting because it’s what we always dreamed of as kids. The challenge is making the right decisions and choices in order to get there, working with good people that want to make a difference, and keeping it all moving. One of the biggest challenges was moving to Los Angeles and doing all of this 5000 miles away from our friends and family.
DNP: How do you manage a healthy work/life balance?
David: Music isn’t work. It’s a passion. There really isn’t anything to balance. Love what you do and do what you love. Find a job you would to for free…make that your career.
DNP: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Joe: I don’t like to think about our greatest achievements. We’re not there yet. When Life of Dillon is a household name we can review that question, but right now it’s all about the music and making something we believe in.
DNP: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years?
Joe & David: In 5 years we’re touring the world, making music, and living the life of a rockstar! In 10 years, we have our own management company, record labels and publishing company and are deeply involved in the music business as well as the creative. In 20 years, we’re that OG in a suit that opened the flood gates for future generations.
DNP: Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Joe: Work hard, work smart, be original! Find good people to work with. Saying ‘no’ to an opportunity might be more important than saying ‘yes’. Treat the gate man with the same kindness you treat the CEO.
DNP: Where is your favourite place to dine in your city and why?
Joe: There’s this place called Yuko Kitchen that I love. It’s not fancy, it’s a hole in the wall but the food’s good, my secret spot… at least it was.
DNP: What’s your most treasured possession?
David: My dad made me a few guitars this past year, and I have to say if my house was burning down I’d be grabbing those first!
DNP: Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
David: Hard to say, neither of us really spend a lot of time watching other peoples stories, I’ll watch a Casey Neistat vlog once in a while, or a DJ Khaled snap, but other than that we spend most of our time making music or the visuals for our music... or watching the latest TV show on Netflix, which is usually great inspiration for songs.
DNP: If you could be in someone else’s shoes for a day, who would it be?
Joe: Donald Trump. I’d put a stop to his madness.
David: I’d have to agree with Joe.
DNP: What’s your favourite country to visit and why?
Joe: Nigeria. That’s my home, where most of my friends and family are and I don’t go often enough.
David: I recently got back from Australia, that shit was insane! The women there are beautiful and totally insane! I love it.
DNP: What is your greatest fear?
Joe: I don’t have any fears. I don’t think about what might go wrong. I believe in the law of attraction, so I do not give power to negative thoughts. I always focus on the positive, what is good in the world and how things are going right for us. I’ll probably write my speech for the grammies long before I win one and will it into existence.
DNP: What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
David: I keep buying vanilla nitro lattes from coffee bean, so damn good!! I can’t speak for Joe, but he does like to indulge in the occasional Ferrero Rocher and though I’m not certain this is a guilty pleasure, he’s always blasting classical music from his bedroom.
DNP: And lastly, what does success look like to you?
Joe & David: Success is coming up with people you love and care about. It’s nothing if you make it alone. All our boys need the hook up too. Same goes for family.