Utah may be a ways off from Montego or Kokomo, but it brought local band Carl Dylan closer to a rendezvous with the Beach Boys than a tropical vacation ever could.
The band, fronted by Gainesville resident Carl Dylan, recently beat out 3,000 other bands in a nationwide contest, which afforded them the privilege of opening for a stop on The Beach Boys’ 50th Reunion Tour at Brigham Young University on July 4.
The group will be competing against Utah resident Ryan Innes for $10,000 at the Stadium of Fire event, in a contest sponsored by the entertainment website www.topblip.com.
The Times snagged Dylan, the band’s founder and lead vocalist, to get a little insight on the group before they head out west for the performance of their lives.
Question: Who is Carl Dylan, the band?
Answer: We have been playing together as a unit only for a few months. I’ve known Aaron Johnson the drummer for about six years, Rhett Shull the electric guitarist for about eight months and Trygve Myers the bass player for a couple of months. We all met through music. Aaron and I have a mutual friend who dragged him to one of my shows years ago. He then introduced me to Rhett, who he’d played a couple of shows with, and we saw Trygve playing at a show and became friends with him through our friends in his band.
Q: How would you describe the band’s sound?
A: We have been described as bluegrass death metal, (but) really we are pop/rock/singer songwriter in the same avenue as John Mayer or Need to Breathe.
Q: We understand that you’re from South Africa. How did you end up in Gainesville?
A: I was in Atlanta to go to college. After I graduated I started playing music. I soon met and married the prettiest girl I’ve ever met at a show. Shortly after that, I got a job offer from a local church in Gainesville to come and lead worship and Kathryn, my wife, got a job at a local missions organization called Adventures in Mission. That’s what made us leave Midtown for the beauty of the Gainesville square.
Q: What was it like to be selected as one of the top eight bands in the Top Blip competition?
A: It was an amazing, nerve-wracking, exhausting experience. The biggest thing that we took from the experience was learning how committed and wonderful our fans are. They are the only reason we made it through and are the driving force behind what we do. They had to vote, share, and like our videos in order for us to make it through round after round.
Our videos were viewed more than 30,000 times. It was like an online “American Idol.” We made it from more than 3,000 bands around the world to the final eight. And then we went out to Utah and opened for Dave Barnes in the final live competition where the crowd and judges picked us as one of two bands to open for The Beach Boys.
We’re simply blown away by the whole experience. We feel very fortunate because the bands involved in the whole competition were really incredible.
Q: Will the Beach Boys performance be the largest crowd that you all have performed for?
A: We will be playing in front of 55,000 people and yes, it will be the largest performance for us to date, but you never know what next week holds. We are definitely excited. The competition was nerve wracking, but performing is what we love, so we are incredibly pumped for the time on that stage.