Sloan Struble has a new-found confidence on stage, which brought vibrancy and energy to the tour of his most recent album, People In Motion.
When Dayglow made his tour stop in Ohio, the crowd brimmed with excitement before the band's lead singer, Sloan Struble, made his way to the stage. The second the lights dimmed and Sloan appeared in front of the crowd, you could just tell that this would be a memorable night. From the rumblings of the audience cheering and the revving of engines from the band, Dayglow knows how to pump up a crowd and get them ready to dance the night away.
Towards the end of 2017, Texas-native Sloan Struble founded the solo indie pop project he titled "Dayglow." Although he was the only member of the band, Sloan never considered himself a solo artist. Instead, he's always spoken about his creation as a band in the same fashion as Tame Impala does.
Sloan popped onto the scene almost overnight with his debut single "Can I Call You Tonight?" off his debut album Fuzzybrain. The song went Platinum in 2020, and has since racked in more than 419 million streams on Spotify. Now onto his junior album, People In Motion, released on October of this year, Sloan is still writing and producing all of the tracks himself. Solely in the driver's seat, Sloan has crafted the perfect album to dance and sing along to. People In Motion is all about discovering what you love and shouting it out loud. Created with the intention of being performed live, People In Motion brings the vibrancy and charm of the first two Dayglow albums to a whole new level.
For the last MUD cover of the year, we caught up with Dayglow to discuss his latest album, "People In Motion," and the North American tour he just wrapped up.
When you think of People In Motion in an overall sense, do you view it as one overarching story or more of a patchwork of individual moments with common themes?
Sloan: I think it all depends on context. I think the album is very cohesive in its own way. Coming off the trail of Harmony House, Harmony House was so narrative-focused where I could see People In Motion, feeling a little bit more scattered, but it's definitely still cohesive. I wanted each song to kind of have its own life, and all fit together, but it's a record made for life performance. So the way that I see it, rather than a story, its is an album made for a show, you know?
Gotcha. That's rad. I was actually going to ask you about that. I had read that you said that this album was made for a live performance, and I was just curious what you meant by that? Did having more shows under your belt influence the sound of the album at all?
Sloan: Yeah, yeah. So for Fuzzybrain, I mean, I didn't have a label or anything, you know, so I definitely didn't have the context of live performance, putting that record out. And then for Harmony House, I put out during the pandemic. So for both of those records, I really didn't have much context of live performing, which also means I didn't have much context of Dayglow fans, you know, and what people look for in this experience, like what they're anticipating. And so I got to tour last year off of both Harmony House and Fuzzybrain, basically, and that was really fun. It gave me so much context for what people are looking for in a Dayglow show. People In Motion came after that, so I came into the record knowing a little bit more how to perform live. I think my vocal performance on People In Motion is a little bit more like performative. I think altogether People In Motion is just an album that translates live really well. Whereas Fuzzybrain and Harmony House have songs that translate live great, but I think all of People In Motion does pretty great in a live setting. It makes sense communally.
It's really sick that you went into this album with the intention of making it for a live performance.
You wrote a little blurb on a recent Instagram post about the process of creating People In Motion. You mentioned that you allowed yourself to let go of the "rules" you had laid out for yourself in the past. What kind of constraints had you given yourself?
Sloan: It's really easy to give yourself a lot of pressure. I'm so much a perfectionist and a people pleaser while at the same time I'm really concerned about sticking to what I intended to do in the first place. I knew People In Motion, if I went the direction that I wanted to do, which is what I did, it would be received kind of strangely. I am a production nerd and I want to make the best music that I can alone and with People In Motion it's kind of ironic because I still did make it alone, but I just got a lot better at producing and mixing. Just by doing that, it kind of upset people. They were like, I wish this sounded like Fuzzybrain, specifically the mixing quality where I'm like, why would I do that? If you want Fuzzybrain, then go listen to it because it exists.
With People In Motion, I just wanted to push myself, and as odd as that sounds, that's scary as an artist, you take a risk by pushing yourself to do something new. With time things start to be seen holistically, like with Harmony House, when it came out it was like completely different than Fuzzybrain. It was received kind of similarly as People In Motion, but kind of as time went on, people understood what happened and you know, they love it. What's funny with this record is that people are saying that Fuzzybrain and Harmony House are similar, but People In Motion is not. So I'm curious how when the next record comes out, if people will be like Fuzzybrain and People In Motion are so similar, but this next one is different. But yeah, I love the record and I'm really proud of it and excited to see what happens in time.
For sure. You should be proud of it. It is genuinely an incredible album and you're not growing if you're not challenging yourself and trying new things.
Sloan: Yeah, for sure, definitely.
What do you hope people get out of People In Motion?
Sloan: I hope it's clear that I had a lot of fun making this album. I think there's a certain aspect of confidence that's layered throughout the record that definitely didn't exist in Harmony House. You can just tell I'm a little bit more confident in the album existing and being myself. So one, I hope that's clear, but hopefully that encourages the listener to feel more confident in themselves, you know? I think that's kind of how music works, it's like what I went through; it typically translates to the listener as well. So, I hope people feel confident, and that they feel encouraged to just be themselves and enjoy the music for what it is.
That's awesome! How did the title of the album come about?
Sloan: The album title actually came first. I knew I wanted to write a record with that title because I just realized after performing live that Dayglow goes beyond myself. For Fuzzybrain, there's a clay depiction of my head, and for Harmony House, there's a photo of me. But for this record I just wanted to be more abstract and communally focused and kind of branch out in what I talk about. I felt like I had already explained who I was, and while People In Motion is still a very personal album as well – I talk about my marriage and a lot of personal things – I wanted it to feel more communal and abstract, if that makes sense. So both with the title and the album art, I took myself out of the picture ... literally.
I can totally see that now. You're about halfway through your tour now. Has there been anything that you've of learned about yourself on this tour so far that you hope to take with you for the rest of tour or after?
Sloan: I've just felt way more confident and stable touring right now. I just feel a deeper sense of like, it's gonna be okay. I don't have as much fear going into this. I feel like I'm playing less of a character, which is interesting now that it's a more of an abstract record and tour and like a lot more production. I feel like I'm more normal, which is kind of backwards, but it's really fun getting to meet and see fans again. Just realizing that this is a thing that is happening and it's okay. I can just enjoy it for what it is, and it's not gonna disappear anytime soon. That's what I'm most afraid of all the time is that I'll make something that's trendy. That's my biggest fear of all things, is that I'll make something that is too cool, you know? Because things that are too cool are only cool for a little bit. So I wanna make something that is wholesome for everybody to come and experience. It's been really fun. There's tons of kids coming to shows and that's always cool.
When you say you feel less like a character, did you feel as though you were like making a fake persona for yourself?
Sloan: Yeah, it doesn't even have to do with Dayglow; like this can just be my personal life, you know, everybody kind of plays a character on some level, social media for the most part has really fueled that for everybody. For me it's been a really odd sequence of events to figure out who I am and exactly like what I'm like as an adult. Right in that really formative times, like 19 to 22, you know, I feel like is where a lot of change happens, and that's right when I started being watched. It was weird for me to figure out what am I doing to impress people and what am I doing naturally. What part of that is my personality and what part am I being strategic about? I'm very self-analytical if you can't tell. I think I've just really found myself this year during this record and I just feel more confident in myself, which is great. Of course I'm performing so like you have to play some sort of character, but I'm less critical of myself for playing a character, you know? I'm like, it's okay, I'm just performing every night and that's fine. I don't have to be the perfect Instagram poster or something. It's all a bit silly.
That makes complete sense. It's really incredible that you've been able to kind of step more into yourself. Important question, your dog Benny, is he still on tour with you? And if they are, how are they?
Sloan: No, unfortunately he's not. So Benny is being therapy trained. He's going to be on tour with me in the future a lot, but he's seven months old right now, so it was tiring, but really fun. I mean, I had zero complaints about it, but his trainer is in Dallas and so we recently were just in Dallas, and I dropped him off there. He came on the first half of tour, which was really fun, and he did great for a seven-month-old dog. He is awesome, very, very good buddy that's for sure. I am very excited to see Benny soon.
Okay, last question, what kind of music have you been listening to while on tour?
Sloan: I really don't listen to too much music. I kind of started a couple days ago trying to consciously listen to more music, like I have to like force myself to do it. There's a band that I love called The Beths that are kind of blowing up a little bit. They're from New Zealand, and just really great lyrics and melodies, which is a hard combo to find nowadays. So I love The Beths and their new record. I also love this band called Everything Everything. They're from the UK and they just did this album, Raw Data Feel, that's like all AI inspired, which is really cool. So those would be my two recommendations. Two very different artists, that's for sure.
That sounds sick. I'm always so curious, since touring artists are around so much music all day.
Sloan: Yeah, I have this thing where it's like a portable sauna, basically, it's this blanket that I plug into the wall and it makes me sweat like crazy, because I'm like into a health stuff like that. But I'll crank some classical music in my room on the bus and, sit in the sauna. So that's 90% of the music that I'm consciously listening to is just, you know, algorithmic classical music from Spotify.
If you have plans to go to a Dayglow concert in the future, you better pack your dancing shoes because there is no way you'll make it through the night without bopping around the floor. The setlist is the perfect combination of songs to scream along to like "Can I Call You Tonight?" and lower intensity bops to catch your breath like "Fuzzybrain."
It is clear Sloan has a discernible confidence on stage, which is notably infectious - you can't help but smile and groove along with the singer. While the setlist was a healthy blend of songs from past and present albums, the songs hailing from People In Motion have a memorable vibrancy and energy to them, no doubt from the intention of bringing this album to life on a stage. The setlist itself indicates meticulous intent to keep the party going all night with no dip in excitement. Starting the night with "Radio," and closing it off with "Second Nature" made for a completely magnetic show. Truly not a better placement for those songs on the setlist.
Sloan was very bit of correct in making this album to be performed live: the songs performed off People In Motion have a newfound sense of self. They aren't trying to be anything but what they are: incredible. This is not to say the songs off of Fuzzybrain and Harmony House were any less remarkable, but People In Motion feels as though it requires listening in a group setting, and you might as well dance while you're at it.
Portraits: Cristi Gutierrez
Concert Photographer: Lucy Jones
This interview was condensed for clarity.