Jerome Dillon’s Producing Debut

By Stephanie Jorgl

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Jerome Dillon On the tail of over half a decade in the band Nine Inch Nails (NIN), former drummer/multi-instrumentalist Jerome Dillon has just released a sonic masterpiece called “nearLY: reminder.” This beautiful soundtrack-meets-rocktronic record started as an attempt on Dillon’s part to sonically recreate a recurring dream he’d had for years.

Dillon engaged top talent for the project, including singer Claudia Sarne (formerly of 12 Rounds) for lead vocals, and friend Brett Pierce (who has worked under both Basil Poledouris and Tim Boyle) to co-produce and engineer the record. Dillon’s friend Greg Dulli — formerly of the band Afghan Whigs — also contributed vocals to a track.

The Dream and the Name
In explaining the nearLY project name and his recurring dream, Dillon says, “I could come up with a really artsy-fartsy answer for the capitalized letters, but it would be bullshit. The name nearLY itself was directly related to a recurring dream (or nightmare) that I was attempting to document musically through the record.”

His dream was actually a very peaceful one that took a few years to play itself out. “I kept getting a bit further along the path every time I had the dream, so I thought that it must be trying to tell me something,” he says. “And for about the last year of it, the dream ended with me accepting an invitation to drown myself in a very serene and calm body of water. Without sounding too bleak or depressing, the name ’nearLY’ just seemed to represent where we’re ALL heading: to the end of our time here.”

Upon first listen, you truly feel yourself swept into Dillon’s heavy and intoxicating dream, lulled in by sweet, yet sad melodies, and driven forward by Dillon’s impeccable producing skills which use the percussive elements of every sound and the space around those sounds to carry you through every song and into the next. This album will be an extreme treat for anyone who enjoys the hypnotic sedation of a full album’s worth of overwhelming dark melodies and string arrangements woven in with spooky guitars and amazing percussive production.

It’s often been said that drummers make the best producers and here Dillon definitely proves this again, taking his pre-NIN skills from working alongside composers like Basil Poledouris and composing with acts like Howlin’ Maggie, and delivers an album with enough well thought out breaks and production that listeners will surely be disappointed when they have to go back to listening to other current releases of similar genres.

Producing Talents Unveiled
The collection of 12 songs takes you on a heavy journey through sonic elements reminiscent of dark, brooding acts like Pink Floyd, The Cure, Spiritualized and Dead Can Dance. Your emotions are touched, heightened, aggravated, unsettled, depressed, uplifted, confused, then enlightened, as well as euphorically calmed. There is nothing about this album that does not show off the previously undisplayed producing talents of Dillon.

Next page: Recording and Producing “nearLY: reminder”


1. Jerome Dillon’s Producing Debut
2. Recording and Producing “nearLY: reminder”
3. Dillon’s nearLY Project Released

Channeling Wisdom From Above
“I definitely learned a lot while I was working with Basil,” says Dillon, who worked with Poledouris on the soundtracks for “Love and Treason” and “Les Miserables.” “He definitely knows his way around a piano and he chose great orchestrators on the film projects that I was around for. He always writes from an intensely private and honest place as well.” However, when it came to writing the string arrangements for the ’nearLY’ record , it was a completely different musical situation than anything Dillon had ever worked on before.

“I did quite a bit of research and listened to a shitload of Vivaldi, Arvo Part and Jean Sibelius and then I just dove in head first,” explains Dillon. “I’m not a fan of string arrangements (especially on rock or pop records) that have a lot of melodic movement outside the structure or progressions of the song. In my opinion, it detracts from the immediacy of the emotion that’s trying to be conveyed or distracts the listener away from the most important thing: the lead vocal.”

Continued on next page

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More NIN Interviews
Recording “With Teeth”
Sound Design for NIN
Producer Alan Moulder
Remixer Chris Vrenna

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