Dilan Aimanda chats new album ‘Gokula’ and “making each song an adventure”

Dilan Aimanda realised his potential with new debut album Gokula. Below, we caught up with the singer on the cusp of his ascent. 

Earlier this month, we were treated to the restless genre-hopping of The Answer, an eclectic single lifted from Western Sydney artist Dilan Aimanda’s debut album.

At once toying with the sultry sounds of RnB, the improvisation of jazz and the hooky rhythms of pop, the electrifying single is buoyed by Aimanda’s buttery vocals. What’s more, the singer delivered heartfelt lyrics around his discovery of ‘the one’.

Dilan Aimanda interview 'Gokula'

Below, we caught up with Aimanda for a deep dive into the track, his upcoming album Gokula, and his quest of “making every song an adventure.” Catch out full interview with Dilan Aimanda below, and scroll down to listen to his new album Gokula.   

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

AIMANDA: Back to the grind after the launch of my debut album, ‘Gokula’! Today I’ll be looking at booking future shows, connecting with different artists and seeing what happens with it all!

HAPPY: Western Sydney is home to some of the country’s most promising stars. How has the area informed your music?

AIMANDA: I just love that I’m based in Western Sydney! I am super privileged to always be surrounded by such a diverse range of artists and styles, it’s honestly so inspiring.

Without a doubt, being exposed to all the ridiculously crazy music passing through here, it’s impossible to not be in awe! And this goes hand in hand with the way my debut album Gokula ended up. Inspired by the vast array of sounds surrounding me!

HAPPY: What does a typical day look like when recording a song like ‘The Answer’?

AIMANDA: I like to come into the studio with an open mind, no time constraints and a lemongrass lime and ginger tea in hand. I really want to settle in and be comfortable before we get into it.

The majority of the instruments were recorded by myself at my home studio so I had a lot of freedom to take time and experiment with different sounds in the writing stages.

A part of my team are my good friends, Sami Beydoun, who played drums on the album, and Ben Unwin, who owns the studio in which we recorded the drums and vocals.

I thought this was a very important part of the recording process. Being around friends really took a lot of the pressure off everything and let us hang out, hit record and run with ease.

In saying this, I still needed to hide away from the rest of the guys behind a wall when recording vocals. (I’m shy haha!)

Dilan Aimanda interview 'Gokula'

HAPPY: The single is remarkably eclectic. How do you go about pulling from various genres while ensuring it sounds cohesive?

AIMANDA: For ‘The Answer’ and a lot of my songs, I went in with the intention of making each song an adventure by taking it into different musical realms as it progresses.

I wanted to stray away from the whole verse-chorus structure and instead compose music that moves into the unknown and never looks back.

I’m a huge sucker for progressive rock/metal bands like Rush, Yes and Tesseract who have created some of the most inspiring masterpieces with these structural approaches.

As well as this, I happen to love Neo Soul so I thought why not chuck it all in the mix!

The end products of the tracks often come from multiple sessions I have worked on so it becomes a puzzle of finding sessions that could work together and experimenting with it.

Also, I have the attention span of a fish so I always want to keep it interesting and create an endless development of sound!

Dilan Aimanda interview 'Gokula'

HAPPY: Can you elaborate a little on the meaning behind ‘The Answer’?

AIMANDA: This track was written about a time in life when I was a little lost. I decided to travel overseas to pursue work in music but as the months went on, I began to realise everything that I gave up in order to make this happen. Feelings of isolation started to set in and I thought to myself, “What am I actually doing here?”

It was at that moment I decided that all these sacrifices of leaving everything behind did not outweigh the life I already had right in front of my eyes at home in Sydney surrounded by the people I love.

It was a reality check I desperately needed to make my goals in life clearer and to be grateful for what I have.

HAPPY: What can we expect from your album, ‘Gokula’?

AIMANDA: My debut album, ‘Gokula’ is a bit all over the place! I really just wanted to create an album that a wide range of listeners can vibe to.

It all stems from my life experiences, childhood and stories from travelling. A few of my major influences for the album include Jordan Rakei, Hiatus Kaiyote, Matt Corby, Sleep Token, Steven Wilson, Tesseract and more.

So it’s got a little bit for everyone! Chaos but the good kind hopefully!

Dilan Aimanda interview 'Gokula'

HAPPY: Is there a certain level of pressure that comes with releasing a debut project?

AIMANDA: Honestly these last couple of months have been quite stressful but super rewarding. I’ve been working on this album for a long time.

Most of this pressure was all in my head, constantly delaying and overthinking every little thing. But eventually there comes a time to just take a breath and release it all.

Releasing an album as a solo artist was quite hectic especially with a tight deadline as well as organising an album launch on the same night as the album release to top it off.

Thankfully, I have a great support network of friends, family and of course my lovely bandmates to put it all together. It really did come with its challenges but regardless of its outcome I am honestly so proud and keen to see where it all goes!

HAPPY: Anything exciting in the wings that you want to tease for us?

AIMANDA: At the moment, there is nothing planned but will definitely have to lock in some more shows real soon! I’ve also got about 50 unfinished sessions that I haven’t opened in years so maybe some more releases?


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HAPPY: What makes you happy?

AIMANDA: I’m a simple man. Spending time with family and friends, making music and my dog.