100% Dijon: a stunning master of top-down soul

Photography by Jack Karaszewski

The R&B singer and producer – buoyed up by Brockhampton and Charli XCX – is releasing his own quasi-album that makes for a killer driving soundtrack.

Everyone is a fan of Dijon. The Brockhampton crew (he gets a shoutout on Brockhampton’s Johnny, when Matt Champion raps, I would keep this shit pent up if it weren’t for my mom /​If it weren’t for Dijon, yeah, I don’t like to lie.”); Charli XCX, who has tapped him for production on her new album out Friday; Vampire Weekend; Clairo; Tobias Jesso Jr… You.

Bred in Baltimore and now based in LA, the 27-year-old musician has been around the scene for years. Dijon Duenas is his full name and under just his first, he’s been part of underrated Maryland R&B duo Abhi/​/​Dijon (see: 2015’s stay up), released his first solo EP, Sci-Fi 1, in 2019 and kicked off an American tour earlier this year, where he played a sold out show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom.

This week he’s ready to drop How Do You Feel About Getting Married? – or what he described as not NOT a tiny album” to his fans on Twitter. His songs are nubile soul, tracks for a golden hour joyride in a purple Cadillac, maybe. It’s the perfect warbly cruising music, if driving with a whiskey neat and one of those fancy drink rocks were legal.

We give Dijon the 100% treatment as he gets set to release his not NOT an album” and his track with Charli (Pink Diamond) on Friday. There’s a good chance you’ll be a converted Dijon fan before the end of the week.


10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?

Washington State, Maryland/​all over. I live in Highland Park right now. It’s lovely.

20%: What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?

I played a janky acoustic set once, it was my first show. A friend brought a musician I think is great. I said, Hey, what did you think?” And he said, Yeah…it was…cool.” That was my favourite advice.

30%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?

I have been trying to channel the complexity of some of my favorite short stories since I started this project. I don’t think I’m there to be honest. I’m not sharp enough with it yet. But that’s the goal. Universal ideas that don’t have a lot of specificity but places and things and kinds of people can be assigned to them if you want to go that far.

40%: What can you tell us about your new project?

It’s like a tiny album, an album before an album. Just working softer, more gently, and trying very subtle things to move into new sonic territory. Angst is dead. I’ve been trying to pull sounds from country and things, and move them into my world naturally and that took time and accidents. Nothing worse than referencing sounds and not trying to massage them in a distinct way. Friends helped shape this over the course of, like, two weeks between tour – it was a new form of making music for me which has opened my lil peepers.

50%: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Uninteresting music and music making. Try hard!

60%: What can artists do to help save the world?

I don’t know? Be honest and try and learn as much as you can about being useful? As a human? The more time I’m afforded to work on music independent of an extra gig, the more I just think about how little I know about the world at large and want to figure out how to move more deliberately in personal ways to give back. But I don’t think it’s a musicians responsibility to think about how their art achieves this necessarily. Just my opinion. It’s individual. If a musician wants to not think about the state of the planet and just wants to create, who am I to say that’s bad. Music is awesome, but…

70%: Who would you most like to see on the cover of The Face?

The director of Bloodborne. Or Burial. He collected all of his loose singles recently. Great.

80%: Which five guests would you invite to dinner (dead or alive)?

David Byrne. Vlad Kreimer. An architect. A priest. An electrician.

90%: You can only listen to three albums for the rest of your life. What are they?

Voodoo by D’Angelo so I can learn bass better. Untrue by Burial. De La Soul is Dead. Or Paul’s Boutique. Or Blue by Joni. That’s five.

100%: What’s your number one holiday destination?

Yharnam, during the hunt.

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