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DYVR

DREAMING PEMIERES 'PANTHEON', THE NEW SINGLE FROM THE SINGER SAVING THE WORLD ONE QUEER  ACT OF KINDNESS AT A TIME

TEXT BY
MAXIMILLION FOY

28.02.22

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Dreaming chats with hotly tipped Belfast based electro pioneer DYVR, as they shine a light on the importance and power of community with their stirring new single ‘Pantheon’.

DYVR is as pleasant an artist to interview as we here at Dreaming will likely ever encounter. From the moment we are invited into the artist's tastefully decorated Belfast abode, we are greeted with genuine warmth, a glowing smile and an assortment of bespoke vol-au-vents, imported macaroons and endless pourings of vintage Merlot. It is a premiere day after all. They are also ready, willing, and able to discuss at length their own story and creative process - a fascinating journey that has seen this daring artist rack up an impressive list of admirers including RTE Pulse, BBC, Hot Press and Nialler 9. As much as we would love to chat for hours, there is serious business to be discussed. So as Joanna Newsom, the world’s most famous harpist, finishes her private set, we get down to business. First on the agenda is DYVR’s scintillating new single ‘Pantheon’. This bristling slab of cool nochternal electro is described as being about the queer community stepping into the light and proudly displaying ourselves to the rest of the world.“Pantheon is a song that is, in its purest definition, about community. In the queer community, for the first time we are seeing ourselves represented and celebrated in ways that are truly progressive and positive. So ‘Pantheon’ is us setting the pace and saying “we’re coming for ya”,’’ the singer told us over a glass of vintage 79 red.

 

With a voice that is positively cathartic in nature, DYVR’s reputation as one of the most vibrant and emotive artists in the country is well deserved. Their latest EP ‘Part’ 3 is a rich tapestry of bubbling electronic soundscapes, populated by DYVR’s intricate and revealing lyrics. Both charismatic and achingly vulnerable, these words tell the story of an artist who had the courage to rip up the blueprint in order to find their true musical path. “I’d been writing songs since I was a teenager, but not really for anything. It was for me. I had a guitar and I’d sit and write these sad little songs. So eventually I released a few tracks as Adam Cleaver, which were very much in the singer-songwriter world, and we actually saw some success from those. So as that unfolded, I suddenly had this huge moment of checking in with myself and asking “Hold on, what do I want? Am I making the music I’m happy with?”. Essentially I was asking myself “Who are you?”. I’d like to think of something that sounds a little bit more positive, but essentially I had a huge crisis’’, they confessed.


The young Adam was acutely aware that there was still untapped musical potential within. In an effort to free this dormant side, DYVR packed their bags and headed to Budapest for three months. It was there that they set themselves a challenge which would culminate in the artist we see today coming into full bloom. “I literally set myself a task of writing a song every single day and see what feels good. No rules. It’s strange to say that only two tracks out of that whole time felt good, but those songs felt really good. It was interesting because when I was young, hip-hop was my whole world. There was a certain vibe there where I could hear myself revisiting hip-hop and old school R’n’B. I think that was the reason I liked those two songs so much. It was a bit of the old meeting and but of the new, and it felt like I was moving in this beautiful direction,’’ the singer told us over our third Charcuterie board.

"There’s still the patriarchy, I mean we still have to bring it down and lift ourselves back up!"

This musical revolution coincided with a profound journey of self discovery that DYVR had already been undertaking. Anyone who listens to DYVR’s work will tell you that their musical identity and their own gender identity is intrinsically linked, and a core element in what makes Adam Cleaver and DYVR exist in harmony. ‘‘I came out quite late, and didn’t really start talking about my sexuality until I was 25. The reason why that happened was purely down to poor representation. My brother is gay and came out when I was 12, but I was more like “I definitely fancy men… but I definitely fancy women too” so I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t gay enough. I avoided talking about it, but when I eventually did I realised that the discussion is so important for personal growth. That’s when it started finding its way into my music - the very necessary journey of my sexuality and who I was. That’s what the DYVR project is - a vehicle to have these really big conversations,’’ they said.

 

As well as those big conversations, DYVR is all about bringing communities together. ‘Pantheon’ is most certainly about that, and so too are the myriad of projects that DYVR occupied themselves with during the pandemic. Most prominent of these was the popular online safe space called Queer Storytime, which is in the process of becoming a podcast. Though they may be too humble to admit it, DYVR is becoming quite the activist. “There were a lot of community based things that we were doing and for me in particular, with queer spaces not existing, it changed the animal. We were suddenly contemplating “If we don’t have access to our mirrors, to our community, then who are we?”. I mean we don’t live in a world that is as yet equal for queer or trans people so we require those safe spaces to look at, and identify with, and to go back into the world filled with energy. We then expend that energy and go back to that safe space for a refill. My question at the time was how are we supposed to access that? So we came up with ways and means of creating little community hubs. The idea is to create an archive of queer representation, not just for people who are famous, but for the person who lives down the road, or is working in the same job as you,’’they shared with us.

 

The music video for ‘Pantheon’ gives us a visual insight into the community that DYVR champions so proudly. It’s full of contemporaries, artists, and friends, interpreting the song and shining their own lights out into the world. In a way, it’s a living testament to everything DYVR has so graciously shared with us today, and proof positive that the queer community will no longer be scared to be seen.“That video is really close to my heart, because I didn't really know how to visually say what the song is about. And the more I thought about it, I realised that if the song is about community, we should send it out into the community, and tell people to respond to the song however they see fit. And as you’ve seen, It made for a really interesting video”, they finished before sending us on our way with a hamper filled with an array of Caterpillar cakes and Barbara Cartland first editions.

Check out the video for Pantheon here and follow DYVR here

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