Singer-songwriter Sloan Struble, more commonly known as Dayglow, often makes a point to emphasize that he is “just a regular guy”—and my peers at The University of Texas already know this to be true. Before he was Dayglow, the nationally recognized singer of “Can I Call You Tonight?” was their neighbor, their classmate, and their friend. He is regarded by those who’ve met him as down-to-earth and genuine and, after speaking to him personally, I can understand why.
Although it has been over two years since his first LP, Fuzzybrain, was released, 21-year-old Struble still seems surprised by the album’s success. Despite his abilities to single-handedly write, sing, and produce music, he cited “the internet’s magic” as the catalyst of his popularity. Moreover, when asked about inspirations, the return of concerts, and the making of his second full-length project, Harmony House, Struble’s responses were detailed and naturally found their way toward subjects he is passionate about, ranging from Mister Rogers to staying present.
While you can’t hear his slight Texas accent, our transcribed conversation encapsulates Dayglow, an artist not only dedicated to making music, but having a positive impact on those around him.
Lithium Magazine: You finished your first album, Fuzzybrain, right before you got to UT Austin. What was that year of college like as the music was starting to gain popularity?
Dayglow: Yeah, it was nuts. I didn’t think I was gonna drop out—that was never really the goal. Then I realized the internet is a lot bigger than I thought it was. Things just started spreading really quickly. There’s a part of me that wishes I could’ve still just been in college—socially, it’s just really nice. I didn’t have much of a college experience because I was so busy.
Lithium: With Emma Chamberlain promoting your work and the “Can I Call You Tonight?” music video blowing up on YouTube, as a Gen-Z artist, how do you think social media has contributed to your success?
Dayglow: I owe everything to YouTube, which is frustrating to say ‘cause the more I spend time with [social media], the more I wish I didn’t use it. I definitely don’t want to be in a position of complaining, but it’s strange having a content obligation. Being a musician is so much more than making music and I didn’t really realize that.
It’s been really strange seeing the internet do its magic. Things just grow on their own in ways you could never imagine. I’m so fascinated by how much not only music distribution has changed, but also how people internalize it. It’s just such a playlist culture where albums are kinda obsolete now.
Lithium: Do you prefer a playlist listen, or are you a big album listener?
Dayglow: For me personally, albums. But I also want to acknowledge and adapt to the way that the world is now, so when I’m making an album, I try to consciously know, “these are probably the playlist songs,” while also not restraining any energy from the rest. There are still people out there, of course, who are gonna listen all the way through, so I make it for them.
Lithium: Fuzzybrain was defined by a very DIY attitude—you produced the album, cover art, and first music video almost entirely by yourself. How have you carried these DIY elements into the making of Harmony House, this more professional, mainstream album that’s about to come out?
Dayglow: The crazy thing about it is not too much changed! I still mixed it and wrote it and played all the parts by myself. Most of it was recorded in a shed that my friend had on his ranch near Dripping Springs. I’ve definitely learned more about the business side of music, but technically speaking the production of it wasn’t any more professional. For the most part it’s still just completely personal.
Lithium: I feel like, looking at your Instagram and whatnot, your aesthetic has changed surrounding this release—why did you want to go in a new visual direction?
Dayglow: I’m curious how you would say it’s changed.
Lithium: Mostly this introduction of pastels and some of the ‘70s style fonts.
Dayglow: I think my inspirations have changed a ton. I’ve been listening to a lot of more ‘70s and ‘80s pop artists, like James Taylor and the Doobie Brothers and stuff. You kind of are what you listen to. Everybody is lowkey copying somebody else and so, naturally, the stuff I’ve been listening to is infiltrating what I make.
Lithium: I don’t want to talk about the pandemic but with an album coming out May 21st, I have to ask—how has COVID affected your journey to this album?
Dayglow: It was pretty ironic because the very first day of the lockdown was [supposed to be] the first day of [my] nationwide tour. I was planning on being gone for a long time, so I had already kinda quarantined for the previous three months, working on the album.
For me as a person, it’s been oddly a good thing. I needed some time to reflect and breathe and you can’t really do that when you’re touring. Nothing about touring is healthy at all. It’s not natural. Now, I feel more prepared. I’ll be more excited and present and personal for shows.
Lithium: I saw Stubbs [in Austin] is already sold out! Do you have anything exciting planned for shows?
Dayglow: I think shows are going to be really awesome, extremely emotional. Also, it’s not strictly a Harmony House tour. People have asked about that. We’re playing everything. [I think] people are just going to be blinded for two hours, just mind-blown that they’re in a crowd.
Lithium: Absolutely. So I’m curious—a fan noticed a nod to Schoolhouse Rock! in your recent music video for “Whoa Man.” You also had a nod to Schoolhouse Rock! in your original Spring Tour shirts. Is this intentional?
Dayglow: There are a lot of layers to it. I think generally, it’s just really nostalgic and I’ve just always had a soft spot for that kind of animation. It’s a collab that makes sense. One of the first songs that I loved growing up was “Three Is a Magic Number.” That’s one of my earliest memories of music, so maybe that’s what it is.
A more long-winded answer is that I love Mister Rogers, early Sesame Street, and all these children’s shows that had so much effort put into them. I think it really matters how we treat young kids and nowadays the best we can do is “Baby Shark.” Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for it.
Lithium: What they were doing was so intentional. Those shows really showed such a deep care for children.
Dayglow: Yeah, they had incredible musicians and smart artists making this stuff. And now it’s just very algorithmic and dopamine-based. It’s just weird.
Lithium: People that have met you and seen you tour have talked about your kindness and positive energy. Why is spreading an upbeat message so important to you?
Dayglow: I want to just be as honest as possible. There’s marketable honesty and I don’t want to be a part of that—I really want to be genuine. To quote Mister Rogers, he [once] said something along the lines of, “Fame is just a four-letter word, just like tape or zoom or shoe. What matters is what you do with it.” Not that I’m Billie Eilish-level famous or anything, but I do think it really matters what artists do and represent. Because if people are listening, they’re internalizing. I want what people internalize to be good and beneficial for them. I’m sure I’ll fail a little bit here and there, but I think it’s important to encourage people.
By Jill Risberg
Second Photo by Paige Miller; Fourth Photo by Nicholas Wong