Most listeners know Tilian Pearson from his vocal charms shipping against Dance Gavin Dance’s post-everything metallic madness. On his third solo album, The Skeptic, he’s equally urban and urbane, armed with a pop sensibility JT couldn’t convey, but with enough character to reconcile both his fans and DGD diehards. Ask him about his favorite music, and he’ll probably say, “yes.”

Read more: We put Dance Gavin Dance on the spot

Not surprisingly, Pearson’s pop proclivities are informed by the same mindset that powers DGD, as well as the spirited worldview he came up through. He reveals everything from the key influence in his life (Spoiler alert: He’s not leaving milk and cookies near the fireplace come Dec. 24); how making music is equal parts creativity and scientific theory; the time he broke down after seeing the final edit of the video for “Hold On” (a track he describes as “an unconditional love song”); and the hardest thing about being in solo-artist mode.

“Dance Gavin Dance operate with a lot more experience,” he says when contrasting his role as a solo artist to DGD. “It’s a lot easier to tour with Dance Gavin Dance, and a lot of the stress is taken off me and put on other people. Touring solo, I definitely shoulder a lot more stress, but it feels just as fulfilling in the end.”

He also reminds fans that being his own captain doesn’t affect DGD in the slightest, almost bristling when people somehow perceive his solo work as “competition” against his bandmates.

“People would ask me sometimes at [my] solo shows, ‘How are you ever going to step out of the shadow of Dance Gavin Dance?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever want to do that?’ It’s the perfect project for me. I would never want to lose the incredible energy that’s there.”

Whatever you think of him—sophistication blueprint, musical polymath, quality hang or dream date—Tilian Pearson fits all those roles. Order the new issue here and get caught up in all his posi vibes and righteousness.

Photo by Giselle Dias



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