dobak’s “dragging” Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

Portland's jack-of-all-trades musician gifts us a new song on his birthday.

WORDS & PHOTOS by MR. RE

Just over two months ago, dobak presented his first album, u, an eclectic collection illustrating his wide array of musical knowledge and influence. Today, on his 24th birthday, dobak shares with us a brand new single, called “dragging”.

While dobak is a relatively new project, Jon Dunne, the mastermind behind the moniker, is no stranger to making music. For years, Jon has played many roles in multiple bands varying in styles and influences, culminating in using dobak to channel his truest expression. Drawing inspiration from other brilliant artists in Mac Miller, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar, Jon introduces dynamic elements to his primarily rock-based foundation.

I’m trying to change the way I write, record, and release music. Every time I’ve put out something, for the most part, by the time I put it out, it feels very removed.

Case in point with u, dobak took a batch of songs that had been written over the span of years and turned it into an album. Still proud of these songs, and happy with the result, Jon couldn’t help but continue to progress creatively, rethinking his relationship with creating music. His songs have so much depth, containing many intricate layers—with his live show, you still get a lot of the same experience, but a bit more intimate.

When you sit in front of a laptop, there’s endless possibilities, so it’s easy to get caught up on that. There’s a lot more consideration that goes into the live process because it’s more stripped down. I have to figure out how to do it with a beat machine and very minimal backtracks: it’s a lot easier to turn it into something that is more representative of me.

Jon is harnessing a “Less is more” approach in writing his new music, without sacrificing the integrity of his artistry. “If it needs all this extra stuff to make it sound good, is it even worth it?” He asks himself. It’s easy to get lost in overthinking and overproducing. “A lot of times, I’ll start a beat or I’ll write a chord progression and want to do something with it. But I’ll spend so much time flipping it over in my head, and so much time working on the song.” This feeling of needing to force something out of a stuck idea is an experience Jon seeks to eliminate in his writing process.

“I’m working on getting out of my own way with it, writing from the heart, and letting it flow.” Jon’s been reading Keith Richards’ autobiography called Life. He continues, referencing Richards’ words, “As a musician, you’re a tool for the music. Everybody’s got it in them. Obviously, you need to learn how to play an instrument or sing so you can express that, but you have to allow the music to create itself and just be the channel that delivers it out there.” By considering the song’s live presentation while writing it, placing his own restrictions allows Jon’s focus to be more relaxed and dialed in.

The songs that kind of write themselves that just feel like they’re flowing—that’s how it felt with a lot of the new music I’ve been working on.

With “dragging,” Jon chose to partner with friend and Nashville-based producer/engineer, Tate Mercer, to mix and master the song. The result is the strongest dobak song to date. Jon’s storytelling drips with emotion, while Tate’s technical touch carefully amplifies all of dobak’s strengths to create a song that truly represents him as an artist. Check out “dragging” below and wish dobak a hbd.

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  1. Love the write up.
    Love your new song.
    Love watching you grow.
    Love the young man you have become.
    Can’t help it Sunshine…just Love You💕

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