PREMIERE: Dylan Gilbert Makes Musical Performance Art in ‘I’ll Be the Lakebed’

Solo project includes video series to accompany 10 tracks

Dylan Gilbert
Always the performer: Dylan Gilbert. (Photo by Amy Herman)

In early 2017, singer/songwriter Dylan Gilbert was at a crossroads. For the past few years, he’d poured his focus and energy into his genre-bending art punk band Hectorina. Now he was feeling the pull to do a solo side project that reflected our times.

“I wanted to do … something that had its own momentum, its own life, a different kind of feel,” Gilbert says.

Gilbert’s tenth solo album,  I’ll be the Lakebed, which premieres below, combines each of Gilbert’s 10 new compositions with an accompanying video in a kind of visual record.

The seeds for I’ll Be the Lakebed started germinating in November and December 2016 when Gilbert began a residency at Goodyear Arts. Inspired by the poetry, plays and dance performances going on around him, Gilbert decided he wanted to incorporate performance art into the live shows that were going to accompany his forthcoming solo album.

But the conceptual stage shows never happened. Gilbert canceled his solo tour this year when COVID-19 swept through America, shutting down performance venues. But instead of entirely scrapping the visual portion of the aborted I’ll Be the Lakebed tour; Gilbert, co-producer Justin Aswell and other collaborators rolled their scenic experimentation into a series of videos.

Upon our premiere of the album’s third single “Boneyard” in April, Dylan Gilbert told us how the songs, which were written well before COVID-19 came to the United States, are all the more relatable due to the environment the pandemic has created. 

“It’s funny, this album and these songs are all so insular and paranoid, but about finding positivity in those bleak private moments,” Gilbert said. “I was worried that people wouldn’t be able to relate to that and now everyone is feeling a lot of the same feelings I felt when I wrote these songs.” 

Each of the project’s 10 song/video combinations are standouts. Stay tuned for a song-by-song breakdown of the album in next week’s Queen City Nerve print issue and online. 

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