Interview: Dan Styslinger

What doesn't Dan Styslinger do? As the keyboardist of the Delicious Pastries, Old Soles and Seedy Players, and the mastermind behind the Notable Music podcast, Dan is a force to be reckoned with. FoundSound Music sat down with Dan to talk influences, podcasts, and music. 

1. When did you get involved in the Pittsburgh Music Scene?

I've been playing in and around Pittsburgh since I was a kid. My very first gig was opening for the pop punk band Squirtgun at The Rex when I was 13. I started getting more into the scene in 2011 when I joined Delicious Pastries.

2. How are you involved in the Pittsburgh Music Scene now?

I try to keep myself busy by playing in as many bands as possible. As of now I play in 6 bands all around the city and I'm constantly keeping an ear out for new and interesting local music. Since August of last year I've been producing a podcast featuring interviews with local musicians called The Notable Music Podcast (formerly Notable Dudes Podcast)

3. What was your inspiration behind The Notable Music Podcast? 

I've always been a huge fan of podcasts and was growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of in depth conversational podcasts focusing on music. I wanted to create something similar to WTF with Marc Maron or You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes but for specifically music.

4. What have been some of your favorite interviews on the podcast? 

I hate to sound cliché but I love all of the interviews I've done so far. Pittsburgh has so many interesting and talented creative people and I feel really lucky to be able to do something like this.

5. You have a great knack at naming bands (The Delicious Pastries and Old Soles Seedy Players)- where do you get your inspiration? 

I wish I could take credit for Delicious Pastries but that was the brain child of Jesse Ley (drums) and Jonathan Chamberlain (vocals). As many of my friends know, I love word play and I am constantly looking to make cheesy puns and terrible dad jokes. OSSP is just a name that I thought sounded funny and included some dumb puns. It basically means Old Shoes and CD Players.

6. What does the writing process look like for these bands? Are they similar, or different? 

With the Pastries, Jesse and Jonathan do most of the writing. They usually come to me with the songs just about done and I might come up with keyboard parts on my own or they'll show me ideas they have in mind for me to play. With Old Soles I'm the primary songwriter but my process isn't very structured when I sit down to write. Normally I'll come up with a progression and a melody will come to me. Once I have the melody I just try to find lyrics that rhythmically fit the melody and phonetically sound pleasing to me.

7. The Delicious Pastries is about to release a new album- can you shed some light on that whole process?

My first show with the band was the record release show for Pretty Please which I didn't really have anything to do with the recording process. This time around I was a little more involved. This record has been four years in the making and I'm so excited for people to hear it. 

8. As a piano player and singer, who have been some of your biggest influences? 

As I piano player my biggest influence is Ben Folds and also Ben Thornewill from Jukebox the Ghost. When I was about 15 my brother introduced me to the self titled Ben Folds Five album and that same week I played a show with a young Jukebox the Ghost (they were going by The Sunday Mail then). After that I was hooked and knew that I wanted to play piano. Vocally my influences are people like Paul Simon and James Taylor. I like how both of them have soft but powerful voices.

9. What have been some of your favorite shows in Pittsburgh? 

Delicious Pastries opened for Kishi Bashi a few years ago and that dude is incredible to watch. Another memorable one was Dawes at the Arts Fest a few years ago.

10. What do you think makes the Pittsburgh Music Scene unique? 

The amount of talent per capita is really astonishing. I'm constantly amazed how many creative, unique musicians are out there.

11. Where do you see the Pittsburgh Music Scene heading in the future?

I see big stuff happening in the future for Pittsburgh music. Like I said, there are so many talented artists in the city and its only a matter of time until the national stage takes note.

To learn more about Dan and his work with the Delicious Pastries, Old Soles and Seedy Players, and the Notable Music Podcast check out:

Make sure to come out to the Delicious Pastries' album release show 3/18 at SPIRIT:

Old Soles and Seedy Players will be playing 3/19:

The next Notable Music Podcast will feature Jeff Betten, Brash Teeth, and Arlo Aldo on April 1st!