Dylan is teaming up with Dan Smith from Bastille for the first taste of her new era, ‘Liar Liar’: “Oh god, what if people hate it?”

She’s the pop megastar in waiting that’s kinda a rockstar too, and she’s kicking off a brand new era with a bit of a hand from Bastille’s Dan Smith – but what comes next from DYLAN is apparently going to surprise us all. Check out the latest cover story for our New Music Friday playlist edit, The Cut.

Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Frances Beach.

“You’ve got to have the big pop moment,” grins Dylan. Growing up on AC/DC and Guns’n’Roses, she’s always described herself as a “wannabe rock star” with her polished guitar anthems comfortably blending the snarl of rock’n’roll with the glitzy stomp of stadium pop. There’s no hopping between worlds on new single ‘Liar Liar’ though, which is comfortably and fearlessly a massive pop song.

Inspired by Taylor Swift’s ‘Karma’, which Dylan describes as “the best damn pop song I’ve ever heard”, ‘Liar Liar’ was written just two months ago. “I’d been writing a lot of music, and everything suddenly took a different turn when we wrote ‘Liar Liar’,” explains Dylan. “I don’t want to feel like I can’t do big pop songs, as well as my big rock ones.”

“But I’m so scared to put it out,” she admits. It’ll be the first track she’s released since ‘Every Heart But Mine’ back in February, and a lot has changed for Dylan since then. “I don’t know if I know how to deal with releasing new music,” she laughs. There’s added pressure as well, though. “It’s the first taste of this new era, and oh god, what if people hate it?” she asks, her laughter quickly fading.
She’s been teasing the track across socials over the past few weeks, and she’s also played it live at a string of festivals. “It’s gone down amazingly,” Dylan admits. “See, imposter syndrome.”

Dylan first supported Bastille last year, and since then, vocalist Dan Smith has been “an absolute rock”. Still, ‘Liar Liar’ was never meant to feature Dan’s vocals. The track came about from a writing session, with the pair having such a blast that it felt right for Dan to sing on it. “He’s got one of my favourite voices ever; it’s just mesmerising,” says Dylan. “It’s also very cool to say that you have a song with Bastille. I can still remember where I was when I first heard ‘Bad Blood’.”

“We spent the day just trading ideas, and it was such an organic, wholesome experience. It was such a collaboration,” she continues, with Dan telling us the exact same thing.

“The whole process was really fun,” he says. “Sometimes the best songs are the ones you don’t have to try for, and this tune came to life insanely quickly. We were all dancing round the studio and really excited by it. And that’s coming from me – I’m not a massive dancing round the studio kind of writer. I think Dylan’s resonating with people because she’s incredibly honest both in her music and in real life. She’s a brilliant writer, and her voice is really impressive. It’s been so much fun working with her in the studio and sharing some stages with her,” he adds.

With her first collab in the bag, Dylan’s next targets are The Black Keys and Flume. “I’ve messaged Flume maybe once a year for the past five years trying to set something up, though,” she admits. “It’s getting embarrassing now.”

“It’s the first taste of this new era, and oh god, what if people hate it?”


For ‘Liar Liar’, Dylan drew from a lot of different experiences. “I have serious trust issues that stem from abandonment issues,” she explains. “People can walk into your life and paint you a picture of forever. When that idea of safeness is torn away, though, that really hurts.”

She hopes fans can “release some anger” while listening to the song but isn’t here to preach the idea that you can’t trust anyone. “It’s so much better to love than not love,” she reasons. It’s the latest in a long line of tracks from Dylan that take sadness, anger or frustration and twists it into a moment of empowerment.

“I don’t think it’s deliberate, but I write songs to make me feel better about situations, and that’s something that’s become more clear as we’ve been writing for this next era”. Take ‘Girl Of Your Dreams’ from the ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’ mixtape. “I would never, ever say to someone in real life that ‘I can be the girl of your dreams’, but it’s about giving myself that sense of confidence. I just can’t let a situation be the shittiest thing ever. There’s manifestation in all the songs.”

This new era for Dylan comes after a year that’s been “a massive, chaotic, wonderful whirlwind of ups, downs and all the in-betweens. I think I’ve changed a lot as a person,” she adds, with a much clearer idea of where she fits in the world.

“It’s very cool to say that you have a song with Bastille”


Dylan returned to stadiums as part of Ed Sheeran’s North American tour and played a string of her own headline shows while she was over there. She didn’t know if anyone was going to turn up, but of course, plenty of people did. “They had all these stories about my music and what it meant to them. It was crazy because I was such a long way from home.”

Then there was the release of ‘The Greatest Thing I’ll Never Learn’, which ended up breaking into the UK Albums Chart at Number 19. “I spent a lot of time trying to be anyone but myself prior to that,” says Dylan. “The mixtape was the first time I knew where I wanted to be and where I wanted to go, which has been such a nice stepping stone to the music I’m making now.”

The mixtape didn’t just inspire commercial success, but it solidified Dylan’s fanbase. “You can see it live, the fans are there for every song, and they care about the whole story,” she beams. “They’re there to be part of a family.”

From that, Dylan now fully understands how everyone is going through something and how her music plays into that. “Life is a really weird thing to have to navigate, especially when it comes to human emotions and how you approach relationships and friendships,” she starts. “A lot of the time, I’m asked what makes me special, and I genuinely think the answer is nothing. I’m just on the same emotional level as these other people, and that’s the reason they listen. It’s about creating a vessel for people to feel through. If I can put those words onto a page, then we all get to feel less alone together.”

“I’m mates with all these sensational, amazing, powerful women, and I adore them all”


But doesn’t that ability make Dylan special?

“It’s what makes it special. That relationship between me and the fans is so important. They give me a purpose. Everything I do is for them,” says Dylan. “There is no better feeling in the world than seeing how a song you wrote has impacted someone. Live, you can see it in their face and the way they sing the words. It’s so important to have a space to do that.”

If you’ve seen Dylan live this summer, you’ll know firsthand that those gigs are a real celebration of joy and excitement alongside a freedom to let it all out. “What’s been so nice about the last couple of months is that it feels like I’m really coming into my own with the shows. I’m really enjoying them and not being panicky about what everyone else is thinking.”

It got to a point where Dylan would get so stressed about the shows she was tiring herself out before she even hit the stage. “I realised I was doing something wrong. I had to remind myself why I was doing this, which is because I love it. That should never change.”

That newfound freedom has allowed the fans to enjoy themselves more as well. “You should see their dance moves… it’s an incredible thing to witness,” grins Dylan. “There’s this real sense of wannabe-ness to all of it, in the best way possible.”

“What comes post-‘Liar Liar’ will be even more surprising”


As well as getting closer to an energised fanbase, Dylan has also found herself part of an “up and coming scene of amazing girls”, which she celebrated on ‘Every Heart But Mine’ via backing vocals from Cat Burns, Rachel Chinouriri, Mae Muller, Sody and Beren Olivia. “It’s been so nice because I’ve never been a person that had that many friends. I’ve always been slightly on the outskirts -slash- not very good at being social,” she says. “But now I’m mates with all these sensational, amazing, powerful women, and I adore them all. Sometimes the industry tries to pit women against each other, but it’s been so nice to just all be friends. There’s so much room at the top; why not go up together?”

Yup, Dylan’s still got ambitions to play stadiums and wakes up at night wondering what her headline set at Wembley will look like. “I always have been and always will be too big for my boots,” she says. “I do just want my music to connect with other people, though.”

The release of ‘Liar Liar’ is the first taste of a lot of new music from Dylan. “It’s going to be a really big era for me. What comes post-‘Liar Liar’ will be even more surprising to people,” she says with a grin. “All the new songs feel so perfect to me. It’s pop, it’s rock, it’s all my favourite things, and it’s everything that I’ve been wanting to create. It all fits into the same world, though, because it’s my world I’m building.” Knowing that there’s a group of people waiting to explore it with her, though, “that feels incredibly special.” ■

Dylan’s new single ‘Liar Liar’ is out now. Follow Dork’s The Cut Spotify playlist here.