by Michael Cameron.
Moonlight is single number five for Dictator, and though this track is more chilled in feel, the boys are showing no sign of slowing down.
The voice of Michael Campbell rings out clearly, while managing to slot nicely into the mix. Laid bare against subtle production, it feels intimate, and gives a sense of fragility. My first comment to Mike when we spoke on the phone was that ‘Moonlight’ feels like a lullaby, to which he agreed, but there is a story behind what makes this track feel surreal. Although fluid in its delivery, the song has went through quite a fragmented and calculated process.
The full structure and lyrics were written on piano by Mike, before the spine of the track was recorded with Mark Morrow in his Edinburgh studio. Mike explained that they used his vocal and piano take as a guide, before stripping it down and rebuilding it with the creative instrumentation of the rest of the band – Zach Goodhur(bass), Joe Murty(guitar) and Allan Ramsay(drums).
Stems in hand from Mark’s studio, the band turned to West Lo staple Liam Doc to produce the track; evidence of this is in the depth of the drum parts, the ethereal vocal effects – spot the Frank Ocean homage near the end – and assorted decorative samples throughout. After a few dashes of sugar, spice, and everything nice from the DJ Mag award nominee, (Best Breakthrough British Producer), the song was finally ready for release.
For a group of musicians coming from the West Lothian music scene, and having mostly played in indie/rock bands up till now, Dictator as a project is quite a departure for all of the boys. Zach told Brownbear in his Instagram live interview that Gorillaz have been a major inspiration for the band, particularly the collaborative approach that Damon Albarn has championed since the early 2000s. This perhaps gives a better insight into the attitude and process that goes on behind the scenes. Mike is still firmly of the opinion that the sound of Dictator is very much a work in progress, and judging by the strength of ‘Moonlight’ with its unique quality, the only way is up for the boys.
Stream ‘Moonlight’ here.