Aural Fixation: Portrait Of The Artist

Cullinan As A Young Rocker

August March
3 min read
Portrait of the Artist
Dillon Cullinan (Courtesy of the Artist)
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So this guy Dillon comes by the office and he is a big dude, like the kind of human that comes out when the blood of Aztlán is mixed with earth from the hills of Ireland, something like my mountain of a nephew Cruz Conelly—who is 6 feet 5 inches and weighs more than 250 pounds. Anyway, Dillon Cullinan is like that, and he is a musician besides. Known locally for his noisy, punked-out project Adult Beverage, Cullinan is preparing to change gears with his next CD release. On Thursday, Feb. 23, he’ll be performing his new work live at Launchpad (618 Central SW) in collaboration with sidemen Higinio Martinez on guitar, Zach Leyba on drums and Cole Neese on bass. The new set of tunes is part of a package called Pleasure Club, a collection of fuzzy, careening pop-rock tracks that Cullinan wrote and recorded at home. He’s presenting the recording and subsequent performances as the product of Dillon PC, a departure from previous efforts.

Dillon stopped by
Weekly Alibi to chat about his change of course, the course of his music and, of course, his upcoming CD release spectacle. Here’s what made it onto tape.

Weekly Alibi: You still symbolize Adult Beverage to me, how is your identity changing?

Dillon Cullinan: We’re still playing shows as that, but we’re trying to figure out how to move forward. I hate that band name.

I dunno. I told my wife the name of your band when I was playing some the other night, and she though it was très cool.

It’s either that or the Absolute Ups. Or Dillon PC [Patrick Cullinan]. It is the same people playing different songs. Less noisy, less punk.

That seems to be a phase local rocanrol bands go through here in Burque. The play a grip of noisy, true-punk-nowsville shows and then, viola! They discover the studio.

With this release, for a lot of the songs, I definitely toned down the distortion and reverb. I like playing live, like those intense shows, but in recording I found something more interesting … If I can make a song sound full without taking everything to the extreme, that’s cool.

How did such an approach work on Pleasure Club?

I look at this album as a more pop-based sound. It’s definitely a cleaner sound, the use of acoustic guitar adds depth to the song-writing. It’s not a softer album than what came before, just way cleaner. With the previous releases it was noisy, psychedelic music with elements of stoner rock thrown in. I still wanna do that, but I want to explore too. I don’t know if that means starting a separate band.

What’s your process like?

For everything I’ve released, I record every instrument, for live shows I have my friends sit in, play their parts. They bring their own vision to my performances. I show them, they come up with their own version; it ends up sounding a little different from the recording. They add their own style and experience; it’s not like the recordings at all.

Every live performance is a new creation; I’ve heard that from John Dieterich (Deerhoof) and Michael Gira (Swans) so it’s interesting to hear you imply that sentiment too. And it makes for an engaging tour too, right?

Yeah, I’m excited about the tour. We’re playing in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orange County and this place, Brawley, Calif. That’s next to the Salton Sea.

That’s kinda appropriate; a very bright, yet dark-on-the edges-place, like your new album, eh?

Or Burque … But that’s a great way to put it, actually.

Portrait of the Artist

How drinking an “Adult Beverage” affects the mind and body

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