Interview: Getting Fuzzybrained with Dayglow
The rising indie pop enigma Sloan Struble discusses his debut album and newfound popularity.
Written by Emily Gruner
Photos by Casey Tang
Dayglow is the solo project of 18 year-old Sloan Struble. His 2018 independent debut, Fuzzybrain, has quickly transformed into an indie pop staple, with Struble’s moniker appearing anywhere from featured Spotify playlists to celebrities’ social media. Most recently, the attention helped him take his music from his bedroom to South by Southwest. Still feeling the whirlwind success from his release, Struble and Afterglow discussed the inspiration behind his music, virality, and doing it all independently.
Your debut album Fuzzybrain has been a huge hit—you have over 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. What was the concept behind the album?
I wrote and produced the album myself, so it's kind of just a compilation of thoughts and feelings of isolationism. That sounds sad, but a lot of the songs come from that and from being ready to be in Austin and having change on the horizon. So, it's mostly just an album of change for the most part — and it just kind of came to me. I didn't sit down and think, okay, I'm going to write this album. I didn't know how to really publish it –– I just kind of put it out there. I finished the album the day before I got to Austin.
What do you think your biggest success has been as a result of the Fuzzybrain release?
A lot of weird, random things have been happening. I'm signed to management now, and I'm talking to a couple of labels. It’s really crazy, because it is (and will forever be) something I love doing. But, it's going to be my career for a little bit, which is also awesome. But in terms of specific things, Emma Chamberlain mentioned me in her Instagram story today.
Yeah. Everyone was blowing up my DMs saying, “She put you on there!” It's been cool to see how the Internet does its thing.
With that being said, what are some of the experiences you've had releasing this album independently and having it blow up so quickly?
It has made me really confident in the music I'm making, because no one has had to say they like it. Some people get on playlists because they have a certain amount of money up front that they can give. But everything's really happened from listeners actually reacting to the music, which has been super encouraging for me as a writer. I mean, it's been hard emailing a lot of people every day and talking to people directly … I'm excited to have a team now, but I also love having creative control. I want to eliminate the barrier between artists and music lovers. It's like there's this big wall people have to jump over to get to the artist, and at the end of the day, I want to be as personal as possible.
Let’s talk about your single, “Can I Call You Tonight?” — what was the inspiration behind that?
I had written the instrumental for the song all the way through six months prior to actually recording and writing the lyrics. And I knew I liked the melody … I just didn't have anything to write about. So, the day I wrote the lyrics, I had just gotten off a phone call with a friend and wrote about specific things that happened. For example, the power was out in my house, so the song references to that. But, so many people are attached to that song… and for me, it was just a song compiled of random symbolic stuff. It's really cool that it's been given life by other people. But yeah, I don't really have much purpose behind it!
And the music video is pretty trippy …
Did that have any purpose?
I wanted to make the music video on a budget. One of my friends had a green screen in his closet, but I took it without him knowing. Then I went online and got royalty-free green screen effects. I made it in iMovie, and now it exists and has over one million views and has made like … no money.
How did the clay sculpture of your face on the album cover come about? Did you make it yourself?
I had been following this sculptor on Instagram for a long time. He is a super, super talented guy. I had been emailing him about doing a sculpture for the album cover, and he gave me a price. But before I sent the email that said, “Okay, go ahead and do it,” I had already finished everything else in the album — so I thought, Well, why wouldn't I just try myself to sculpt it, see what happens? Because if I failed, I would let him do it. It was just that final step of doing an album myself. I just went to Hobby Lobby and got some clay and I sculpted it in our kitchen.
Is it gone now?
No, but it’s falling apart for sure. My mom has it in a display case, and she picture frames near it. It's very creepy because the colors are faded and all this stuff is falling off. But it’s technically still there!
Interview has been minimally edited for clarity and length.