Rob Dickson: Reflecting on the Human Condition
When Rob Dickson decided to pursue music he never expected to get a chance to play in a professional capacity. For him, music was more of a hobby; playing guitar and drums surrounded by close friends, working together to write a few songs. In his final year at the University of Guelph, where he pursued an education in engineering, he was given an opportunity to work at the campus radio station CFRU, and there he became obsessed with everything to do with music. From the inspiring people he met, to the music he was constantly listening to, Rob knew when he finished his degree he needed to carve out more time to play and write music. It was the aspect of his life that was missing.
Hailing from Waterloo, Ontario, Rob grew up sporting Blundstone Boots for most of his life, getting his first pair in grade nine and wearing them non-stop for almost ten years. Now a resident of Whitehorse, Yukon, he still feels that Blundstone fits his lifestyle. His music conveys natural images and fits in with Blundstone’s outdoorsy style. If given the opportunity, he would sport his Blunnies along side his partner and two daughters while they explored their roots and traveled to Scotland and Czech Republic. A dream adventure to see where their ancestors began.
Seeking inspiration from a variety of sources, Rob’s music comes from those around him; stories shared by friends and family, or events he’s witnessed. He notoriously makes up characters to share their perspective through the narrative of his songs, revealing concepts and ideas he is passionate about. His upcoming album “Looking Through Your Window” will be released August 31, 2018 and features songs inspired by different experiences while travelling. Rob shares, “I’ve always thought a lot about how my experiences and memories colour my view of the world, and how they establish predispositions and biases” something that many people overlook. He uses this idea to create characters in his songs who grapple with such memories and perspectives.
Music hasn’t been all fun and games for Rob, however, he has experienced the struggles of trying to gain traction in a competitive industry. “I had a lot of trouble starting out, mostly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted from music. It was and continued to be an immense challenge to try and gain success in the industry.” But he sticks to it, reminding himself to never give up and not worry too much about getting recognition from the music industry or labels. Focus on your art. If you are writing, playing and enjoying it, the fans will find you and support your efforts. The advice he offers rings true of his genuine spirit, “stay positive and be kind and open to people. As long as you’re making the music you want to make and enjoying it, you can’t fail!”
One time that sticks out in Rob’s mind, is the day he and his bandmates were stuck waiting for a bus in rainy Vancouver, BC. “We looked pretty sad,” he shared. “With plastic bags on our amps, soaking wet.” But despite the obstacles, they always make it where they need to go with little issue. But after that wet day, his beloved Blundstone boots definitely required some care.
For Rob, art is definitely a calling because if he couldn’t continue to pursue music, he would hope to write poetry or prose, maybe even paint or draw. With reachable goals and an artistic mind, Rob is definitely an inspiration worth listening to.
Photos by Colin Medley.