Austin artist Sloan Struble, who writes and performs as Dayglow, isn’t one to let conventions forge his direction.
When the 20-year-old was younger, he began looking to music as an outlet for anxiety and grief. Struble experimented with different styles from his bedroom after school. Before he knew it, he had the entire foundation of an album, Fuzzybrain, which he self-produced and released in 2018. He re-released it a year later with two new songs, “Listerine” and “Nicknames.”
“This next record I was working on already, and I didn’t feel like those two songs really fit in what I’m working on now,” Struble said. “To just put them on an album that already existed; I don’t know if that’s bending the rules, but I thought that would be the best way for them to exist.”
Fuzzybrain bursts with Struble’s unique sound that blends folk with Dayglow’s more recently found love for upbeat electronic styles, all the while expressing a side of vulnerability and diving into deep sentiments. Struble said that his next album will feature an even higher density of that emotional quality, both musically and lyrically.
“I’ve just been through a lot more,” Struble said. “I mean, this past year everyone’s been going through a lot.”
For a natural introvert who didn’t even tell the people around him that he was working on an album, the exposure of his music to wider audiences (he’s made his debut on San Francisco radio in recent months) has been a bit overwhelming. No one heard any of the songs on Fuzzybrain until he posted it online. It especially took flight after he made a music video of the energetic track “Can I Call You Tonight?” It now has nearly 33 million views.
“It’s been a lot for me to process emotionally, all of this new fame and attention,” Struble said. “Because I’m a pretty reserved and introverted person, and it’s just been interesting for me to be handed all this attention. … [The video] was growing quickly without me doing anything. And it’s cool that people really have just latched on. I don’t know—it just kind of happened.”
Struble acknowledged that he didn’t really consider himself as an artist when he was writing the songs. Music was just something he felt passionate about.
“It just feels like I’m just being myself,” he said. “So that’s just one thing I’ve started to realize; like, how to view myself as an artist and what responsibilities come with that.”
Struble aid he’s generally an over-thinker, but he tried not to do so when it was time to choose his artist name. Dayglow actually came to mind rather swiftly, inspired by the 2009 song “Day Glo,” which was written by another Austin artist, Martin McNulty Crane, for his band Brazos.
Struble was set to kick off his first headlining tour as Dayglow at the beginning of 2020. That was before the coronavirus outbreak shut everything down.
“I had just gotten the news that my tour was completely sold out. Every ticket was gone, which was a really cool feeling,” Struble said. “And we were on the drive from Austin to Chicago, which was where the first show was going to be, and in that drive everything fell apart. So it was just a mind warp, ultimately.”
To go from the top of the world to suddenly having the world stop right under his feet, Struble at first felt himself at a standstill as the pandemic took a huge hit on every normal aspect of life. But as it continues to set in, Struble is finding positivity and appreciates the time he has to focus on songwriting.
“At first it felt really isolating to let go of a completely sold-out tour,” he said. “But it’ll be an iconic story that I can tell 20 years down the line that I had a completely sold-out tour that never existed.”
Now Struble is sitting on the edge of his seat as he awaits the day he can play for an audience again, and hopes to release new songs by the end of the year.
“I feel like I’m sitting on some good songs and people would like to hear them,” he said. “I’m just trying to be as patient as possible.”
Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.