INTERVIEW: Aaron Dinning | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Pushing himself to be as open and raw as possible, the new release from Aaron Dinning is nothing if not a statement of intent by an artist looking to be fully and authentically available. 

Complicated Art is a six-track EP which serves as proof of further development by an artist already showing both songwriting and musical promise, underlined by his desire to tell personal and real stories. “The EP is all about the challenges of finding love as a gay man and of a selection of some of the stories and truths I’ve had in my life so far,” he explains. “I’m incredibly proud of where I got to on this EP and how open I allowed myself to be.”

Building on 2022’s Defying The Odds single, Complicated Art starts with the Rufus Wainwright-styled piece of operatic piano minimalism of 24, which bursts into a dancefloor pop track and is sprinkled with Dinning’s honest songwriting style. Yet whilst the honesty of 24, and in fact the whole EP, may be the key hook of the release, there were obvious artistic challenges that came with this decision: “The writing wasn’t too bad as it was more like me writing a diary, but I had panics as the EP was getting finished and was closer and closer to being released. I wasn’t sure if I wanted people in the songs to know, or think, that this was about them, or how I felt. But at the end of the day, there’s so much of my truth and history in the songs, and I don’t think I could write in a different style, so I’m really proud I pushed myself.”

more than anything I want to continue to be open and honest, to get braver and bolder and to tell even more of my truth

Exploring a number of different musical textures (the acoustic guitar opening of Break Your Jaw through to the more gentle, heartbreaking Daisy Chain), the beating heart of Complicated Art is in its love for pop hooks and catchy melodies. “I think my favourite artists and inspirations have the ability to be brave and to speak their truth and that’s something that I want to be able to do.” Aaron says. “There’s not too much music by, and about, life as a gay man and especially one from a part of the world where there’s a lot of stereotypes about what a man is supposed to be. I think that’s an interesting area to explore and to be open about.” 

With plans already in place for the next creative stages of his life, it’s nice to not only see an artist finding strong artistic foundations, but also growing in confidence to explore new ones. “I’ve started developing ideas already about what comes next after the EP, whether in terms of the live shows or in terms of the kind of songs I want to write in the future.”

Though perhaps the best part of Dinning’s evolution is his commitment to his own artistry. “I think more than anything I want to continue to be open and honest, to get braver and bolder and to tell even more of my truth. I’d like to push myself even further.”

Aaron Dinning releases Complicated Art on 6th October.

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