For a solo album produced and composed by a drummer, one would anticipate involved drumming on each track, or at the very least, drums on every song. But in former Nine Inch Nails drummer Jerome Dillon’s case, his nearLY project is more about the sum of the song than its individual parts–some of which omit drums all together.
Recently exiting the Nine Inch Nails camp, Dillon completed his longtime solo debut, Reminder, which began when he started compiling ideas and four-track demos in 1999. After tracking Nine Inch Nails’ Still album, Dillon asked frontman Trent Reznor if he could stick around the studio and cut some drums for his nearLY project. Roughly five days later, Dillon had completed a majority of the drum parts for Reminder.
Reminder offers a unique array of percussive textures and phrases. There’s the expansive ambiance of “Step Into The Light,” of which Dillon notes, “We killed all the direct mics on the drums. The only mics that we used are two stereo overheads and one Sennheiser about fifteen feet away from my bass drum.”
In addition to the vocals, Dillon was mindful of the other instruments layered within his songs. “I took the production on this record very seriously,” he says. “I didn’t want to think of it like a drummer producing a record for drummers. I wanted to make a record that musically, to me, would be interesting, even after repeated listens.”
Dillon intends to get behind the kit with his nearLY project on the road, performing with a full band, including a string section. It’s an ambitious undertaking for a startup venture. “You only go around once, man,” he rationalizes. “Might as well live it up.”