As Dylan Cartlidge knows well, sometimes even the slightest taste
of success can light a fire under you, and make you hungrier for it than
you knew you could be. He first arrived in Redcar at the age of 16,
having been born in Stoke and spent part of his childhood with foster
families before settling in North Yorkshire with his adopted mum. Having
grown up listening to chart pop and rap - think Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi
- it was where his peers would put him onto the likes of The White
Stripes and Rage Against The Machine. And, it was also where he would
fuse these varied influences together as the frontman of a
locally-adored four-piece. His band, Bi:Lingual, were akin to heroes
in their small working class town - population 36,000 - racking up
regional radio plays and reaching the heats of a contest to play at
Reading and Leeds Festivals. Dylan even dropped out of university to put
his all into a rigorous schedule of gigs across the North of England.
Now 23, he remembers the rush of being recognised him in the street, and, later, the lows of what he describes as a "fall from grace" when they decided to give it up. "I went from planning what skill moves I was going to do at Soccer Aid and what I would say on Jools Holland to working in a call centre for a bank, and at Wetherspoons", he says. "A lot of people became distant, but it made me more aware and driven".
Fast forward a few short years, and this determination to not merely end
up another "also ran" has led Dylan to set his sights not only on
conquering Redcar, but the world, broadening his horizons and improving
his craft. To date, he's collaborated with UK indie icon Jamie T,
garnered praise from national radio tastemakers including Annie Mac and
Huw Stephens, and gained a glut of UK print support, with NME simply
describing his sound as "f**king brilliant". Boasting that
uncanny talent for deconstructing and subverting genres that he honed in
his teenage years, it's not hard to see why Dylan has drawn comparisons
with everyone from Beck to Andre 3000. It's a stylistic mix that's
reflected in his unique image: timelessly cool afro; Americana-inspired
Hawaiian shirts; Elvis-style cuban collars. Dylan also goes against the
status quo in other ways, too; at a time when the creative industries
seem increasingly dominated by the wealthiest in society, he's someone
who has "fought tooth and nail" to get his voice heard, even
teaching himself the bass from scratch over the past few years. It was a
chance mention in new music bible Record Of The Day rather than insider
connections which prompted industry buzz, and an exciting, if daunting,
period spent travelling from Yorkshire to London for meetings ("It
felt like I was on the train to Hogwarts every time", he jokes).
Those compromises paid off, however, and he inked a deal with Glassnote (Childish Gambino, Chvrches, Phoenix) earlier this year.
But just what does a Dylan Cartlidge song sound like? On debut
single 'Love Spoons' his Northern-tinged take on Atlanta rap melds with a
swirling bassline and a soulful sensibility to create a positive jam
that's as fresh as it is reminiscent of an era of peace and free love.
Elsewhere, Scratch Sniff sees him show off a more grungey vocal style, complemented by DIY percussion sounds - including trash can lids and slammed piano lids for "dirge and grit" - and poetic lyrics inspired by Manchester icon John Cooper Clarke ("he's dark and tongue-in-cheek'... I'd never heard anything that felt so nasty, but wasn't harsh or wasn't explicit"). Meanwhile, 'Up & Upside Down' is straight out of the Beck Hansen school of hi-energy hip-hop with a minor-key edge, with Jamie T - an artist with whom Dylan shares a social-realist outlook - providing typically sardonic delivery which only bolsters its wobbly bass and pop-soul hooks. While no two of his songs are quite the same, the constants are a boundary-squashing, scattergun approach to genre, and an ability to connect with the deeper fabric of British society in 2018. His ethos is one of "hope above adversity, though I don't want to sound preachy or like I'm trying to fix all the world's problems. If people want to listen to my music and just groove, they can, but if people relate to it that's great".
'Scratch Sniff' is a case in point; while seemingly about an epically infectious beat, it also carries an important message about mental health, with tongue-in-cheek lines like "it's only just a runny nose / I'll be ok I suppose" referring to the stiff upper lip attitude its creator still sees reflected in much of society. Meanwhile, 'The World Outside' considers the fate of "all the ones who ain't never getting out" at a time when social mobility feels more glacial than ever, and includes the true story of one of Dylan's classmates who tried to burn their school down. He never tries to force these observations, however; rather they come out via an "unconscious blob" of thoughts and feelings during the writing process. Nor do they feel somehow removed, rather heartfelt and hopeful; indeed, upcoming single 'Yellow Brick Road' is a funk-filled, irregular paean to making your dreams come true.
While staying true to himself, Dylan's style has only become more
polished through collaborating with major producers, among them
Grammy-nominated James Dring (Jamie T, Gorillaz) and Danger Mouse, with
whom he worked on material for his upcoming debut album at the Jimi
Hendrix - founded Electric Lady Studios in New York earlier this year,
honing his knack for teasing out smart and subversive lyrics from his
initial melodic jibber-jabber. Despite this, Dylan's humility continues
to seep through. "I'm this kid who's from a place you've probably
never heard of, who has a weird background and a weird musical journey.
And yet I'm being able to hold my own in my industry", he says. And, with a style that's raw and eclectic, Dylan Cartlidge is poised to do all that and much more.
17 Aug, 2020
26 Jun, 2019
Stormzy will headline at Pyramid Stage on Friday night at Glastonbury Festival, and the day features a packed line-up of Primary Talent International artists.
14.00-14.40: Yellow Days (William's Green)
14.00-15.00: The Wombats (Other Stage)
15.00-16.30: Connie Constance (Left Field)
16.00-16.40: Sundara Karma (Williams Green)
16.30-17.00: Dylan Cartlidge (The Rabbit Hole)
16.50-17.55: Kuenta (Glade)
19.00-19.40: Sunflower Bean (William's Green)
19.00-19.45: Gaffa Tape Sandy (The Unfairground)
19.20-20.20: Swimming Girls (Avalon Cafe Stage)
20.00-21.00: Dub Pistols (Glade)
20.15-21.15: Two Door Cinema Club (Other Stage)
21.00-22.00: Pale Waves (John Peel Stage)
22.15-23.45: Stormzy (Pyramid Stage)
23.00-00.00: Mollie Collins (The Temple)
00.00-00.45: Jamz Supernova (Shangri-La)
01.00-02.00: Snow B2B Jamz Supernova (The Gas Tower)
01.15-02.45: Pinty (Stonebridge)
03.30-04.30: Kasra B2B Randall (The Temple)
26 Jun, 2019
First day of the Glastonbury Festival for artists from the Primary Talent International roster.
The schedule for Thursday is as follows:
13.00-13.30: Dylan Cartlidge (Greenpeace Stage)
15.00-15.30: Swimming Girls (The Rabbit Hole)
20.00-21.00: Connie Constance (Wormhole)
20.30-21.30: High Contrast DJ Set (BBC Music Introducing)
01.30-03.00: Jamz Supernova (Greenpeace Stage)
30 May, 2019
The Greenpeace Field at Glastonbury Festival, between 26th - 30th June will feature Primary Talent International & Decked Out artists:
...Simian Mobile Disco (DJ Set)
28 May, 2019
Dylan Cartlidge played the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend to a huge home crowd and performed 'Monsters Under The Bed', 'Wishing Well' & 'Higher’' amongst many others. Dylan also performed a fantastic freestyle rap wishing Huw Stephens a Happy Birthday!
29 Apr, 2019
The Twisterella festival in Middlesborough on Saturday 12th October, will feature Primary Talent International artists:
12 Apr, 2019
The Haldern Pop Festival in Rees-Haldern, Germany from 8th-10th August, features Primary Talent International artists:
12 Mar, 2019
The SXSW festival takes place this week at various venues across Austin, Texas and features a whole host of Primary Talent International artists.
...Art School Girlfriend
...The Get Up Kids
......And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
09 Jan, 2019
The NME have announced their list of '100 Essential New Artists for 2019', which includes many Primary Talent International artists:
...Art School Girlfriend
...The Night Café
...Wicca Phase Springs Eternal
...WWWater / Charlotte Adigéry
...Young T & Bugsey
23 Nov, 2018
Dylan Cartlidge will tour the UK throughout March / April 2019, see his artist page for full details.