Dion Roy is an emerging artist on the indie music scene, fusing his bass-inspired roots with his knack for writing an unforgettable pop/rock hook. Born in Namibia, raised in South Africa, later raised in New Jersey and now a true New Yorker at heart, Roy has lived and breathed the downtown Lower East Side music landscape for the past 9 years. Playing as a bassist in several bands over the years, Dion Roy has graced the stage at all of the usual NYC suspects, including The Bitter End, The Red Lion, Pianos, and Arctica Bar, and opened for high-profile acts like The Donnas, Bleu, and Ben Kweller, while touring throughout the North-Eastern College circuit.
On June 23rd, Roy released his brand new EP “The Nearest Light”, which has already cracked the Top 10 on iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart – A huge feat for any independent artist. If that wasn’t enough, the new album was also just licensed for the upcoming seasons of MTV’s “The Real World” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” on E!.
Roy first caught our attention last fall, when we heard his ever so popular debut album “Gallery”. Since then, we have been a fan of his music and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to interview him about the music biz, Howard Stern, his new EP “The Nearest Light”, and much more!
John Simon Daily: Tell us about your new EP “The Nearest Light”. What should the unaware listener expect? How would you describe your music?
Dion Roy: Expect to hear something that you are going to connect with. I took 6 months on these 4 songs – I truly put my heart into them. My music is a good rockin story – there’s legitimate emotion behind these songs – they weren’t written by 5 guys in their 60’s somewhere in a dark room. These songs are true for lack of a better word. They are about Hope.
JSD: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
That’s a good question. I feel like every day that’s a different answer. My roots lie in Rock – but I tend to write somewhere between Folk and Rock. It all depends on the musicians in the band I am performing with. When performing as a duo, I tend to slow things down a bit – but when its full band, we are a rockin!
JSD: If people wanted to sample your music in one song, which song would you play for them and why?
DR: Tough question, even impossible – I suppose I would say “The Wave.” It touches on a bit of everything. My favorite song changes from day to day, even during a set!
JSD: What was it like to work with Scott Reibling?
DR: He is SO easy to work with. You would figure a guy like Scott who has worked with so many acts like Weezer, Cobra Starship, Fall Out Boy etc would have an arrogance about him, but Scott is the opposite. He is amazing at what he does. Truly.
JSD: What are your goals as far as your music career?
DR: My goal is to keep getting out there, and eventually join an International Tour. I tend to have fans from all over the world and demographic – and I love travelling. I can’t get enough of it. As a musician – its my one vice, besides Mexican food. I would also love to eventually write an album around a movie – like Pete Yorn and Glen Hansard did.
JSD: Best place you’ve played (performed) and why?
DR: The Whiting in Flint, Michigan for the University of Michigan was an amazing venue to play, and they treated me so well. I was so impressed with the sound and the production at that venue, they have a capacity of 2,000 and it was just incredible to hear all those people cheering at the end of each song!
JSD: What has been your biggest challenge as a musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
DR: The biggest challenge as a musician has been actually finding a good time in my life to pursue it truly – at a certain point I said to myself, it’s now or never pal. Lets do it! Finding time for everything is a challenge. You are just never finished. I have 60 song concepts on the back-burner.
JSD: What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
DR: Live performance is just so fulfilling – hearing people singing the lyrics back to me just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside!
JSD: What was it like being a guest on the Howard Stern Show? Were you nervous?
DR: I was pretty nervous, I was so relieved that Howard liked the music so much, he had every opportunity to trash it – but even Robin and Gary liked it. All in all they were very good to me, they let me play a full song on air, and they played the recorded version of “The Wave”.
JSD: How does Dion Roy relax?
DR: I’m a nerd. I love playing video games. Lately it’s Mario Brothers and Red Dead Redemption! It’s a habit I can’t kick no matter how hard I try. I’m also a huge cartoon fan – love pretty much anything on Cartoon Network / Adult Swim. I used to watch cartoons all day with my late grandpa as a kid – that’s where I get it from.
JSD: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?
DR: Well when I started playing music I was originally a bass player – but as the years went by and I became more and more involved in the songwriting process – I knew it
was time for me to make the move. I am very motivated and also more of a leader than a band member, I was always pushing when I was the “Bass Player” and I find that I work better when I’m driving the wheel.
JSD: What advice would you give to aspiring artist?
DR: Get out there, Get Dirty, Screw Up, Get uncomfortable – it’s the only way you are going to find your voice. It’s a lot tougher than you think, but the journey, as cliché as it sounds, is also much more rewarding than you might think. You gotta check your fear at the door, and just get in people’s faces.
JSD: How can people find out more about your music?
Designed to let you know a little bit more about the artist
Reality TV or Sitcoms? Sitcoms – Reality TV is unbearable to me. Except for Top Chef.
Blackberry or iPhone? Im between the 2, always. I own both. I miss the Blackberry’s keyboard when I’m on iPhone, and I miss my idiotic iPhone apps when I’m on the Blackberry.
Airplane or Road Trip? – Traveling Solo – Airplane, Touring as a band.. ROAD TRIP!!!!
Kim Kardashian or Beyonce? Beyonce – was that a real question!? Haha.
Beach House or Condo? Beach House… It’s the South African in me always wanting the warm weather.
South Africa or New York? New York, for now. We’ll see how bad the Lower East Side gets though in terms of gentrification. I reserve the right to change my mind in a year!
Beer or Vodka? Una mas cerveza por favor!
Cat or Dog? DOG, I’m obsessed with my Wheaten Terrier Cock-a-Poo: Otto – I miss him when I’m on the road. Maybe he can sing back up ….
Ribs or Turkey Burger? Turkey Burger for sure, I’m a good Jewish boy. Most of the time. Except for the Cheeseburgers.
Comedy or Action? Comedy for sure these days – these are hectic times, who needs more action? We all need to laugh a little more in my opinion.
Movie theater or blockbuster night? Blockbuster night solo, Movie theatre with friends. If I had any with all the travelling! When I’m on tour, I’m at the movies during the day all the time.
Suit & tie or T-Shirt & Jeans? Do I even own a suit? I wore one at my Bar Mitzvah. I should put it on ebay… Kidding, when I was The Grammy’s, I actually enjoyed wearing a Tux!
In celebration of the release, Dion performed to a sold out show recently at The
Living Room in New York’s infamous Lower East Side. It was a full band performance
featuring Peter Roessler (guitar), Ed Marshall (bass), and special guest, Boots Factor, of
Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers (drums). As always, we have exclusive video of the performance.