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Getting Plugged In To Plug In Stereo

Updated: Jul 13, 2020

Plug In Stereo (Trevor Dahl) backstage at the Prince Music Theater on January 19, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Danielle Speiss.

Getting Plugged In To Plug In Stereo

by Ali Speiss and Sami Speiss

You never know where an artist is going to get their stage name, but Trevor Dahl was right on track when he became Plug In Stereo. It sounds like a band name, but for the most part it is the vehicle for Dahl to get his own music out there.

This is rather important, because he's already become a well-respected songwriter who has an impressive resume which includes co-writing the song "Truly, Madly, Deeply." That song was sung by a very popular band that you may have heard of, some British guys who call themselves One Direction.

Still as cool as it may be to get a flashy credit like that, Dahl wanted the opportunity to record his own tunes to feature his singing and playing. The first salvo in that rising artist attack is his recently-released debut EP A Little Peace.

A Little Piece gives you a sampler of some very catchy tunes will take up residence in your head. (We mean that in a good way). Plug In Stereo is already making waves with his buoyant first single, "To Be Wanted," which features a vocal assist by Megan and Liz.

We caught up with Dahl backstage at a recent acoustic show he did with Cody Simpson in Philadelphia.

How did you get the name Plug in Stereo?

I started on the internet. I was going by my name Trevor Dahl in the beginning. My influences at the time have been doing monikers and stage names instead. I thought it was a cool idea. I was 16 at the time, so I did it for fun. I haven't changed it. I just stuck with it ever since.

Who are your influences now?

Well, The Beatles have always been a big influence for me. I have always been a fan since I was little. I used to listen to them all the time. John Mayer has become a really big influence for me. Haim is a really big influence for me right now. Ed Sheeran, he's really great. A lot of different stuff. Whatever I'm feeling that week.

How was working with Megan and Liz?

It was great! They're very, very sweet. They're really nice girls. That just happened organically. I wrote the song with my two friends – Morgan Taylor Reed and Shine Douglas. After a while we had the song done. We were looking for a way to change the song up and give it a different dynamic. I had known Megan and Liz because I had played with [them] a year before in Nashville. So we hit them up and asked them if they wanted to do it. They liked the song, so I flew to Nashville and hung out with them for a few hours and recorded the vocal. It was great. It was nice!

What do your friends and family back home think of all your successes?

They think it's great! A lot of my friends come on tour with me. I have a close little niche of friends. Like my camera guy dude, Jared, is my good friend – I have known him since first grade. My brother plays bass and percussion with me. My sister comes out with us sometimes. I have been friends with my tour manager since eighth grade. So it's all just keep it in the family.

How did you get to write a song for One Direction?

That happened by chance. I wrote the song for me and ended up not wanting to use it. It sat around for a while. I thought it was a great song, but I didn't think it worked for my style or where I wanted it to go. So it sat around for about four months. Then I got an email saying that they wanted to use it. I was like: absolutely! I would love if they used it.

How did they find out about your song? Did you put it out there?

Whenever I write a song and I don't want to use it for myself, I pitch it to my publishing company. They pitch it to different artists and whatever. So they heard the song and liked it. They were looking for some acoustic-style songs, so it worked out really well. It was awesome.

What is your favorite song that you have written so far?

It always switches everyday back and fourth. It's hard to choose. Right now I would say either "To Be Wanted" or "Don't Say Goodnight." "To Be Wanted" is the first song on my EP and "Don't Say Goodnight" is the last song on my EP.

Are you planning on releasing any new songs soon?

I just put out the new EP on the seventh, so it was a couple weeks ago. We're going to be doing a new album this year. I'm going to be working on that. Just working a lot on writing and then picking my favorite 12 for the album.

Why twelve?

Just about! Eleven, twelve, thirteen. Who knows? (laughs) Around there!

What is it like going on tour with Cody Simpson?

It's amazing! This tour has been really, really great! Every show has been sold out so far. I think almost all the shows are sold out on the whole tour. It's crazy. It's definitely a new experience for me, because other tours I have done in the past have been smaller. So this is crazy. The kids have been wild. Especially yesterday in Montreal. I have never heard a crowd so loud in my whole life. So it's great, yeah.

Is this a lot different than what you haven done in the past, opening for him?

Yeah it's definitely a different style tour. I have done a lot of tours. I have done like ten tours. This is a little different because we usually do full band. This is an acoustic tour, so it was a little different vibe live. A different set up with practice and everything. It's really cool because the kids get to hear more of an intimate style setting. They really get to hear us play our instruments, rather than tracks and drums and crazy stuff washing things out. You really hear everything that we do, so it's cool. Little bit more pressure, but it is good.

What do you prefer, acoustic or full band?

That's tough. I think it's a totally different vibe. I don't know, it's hard to choose. I like them both a lot. I'm really enjoying this tour so far. I was kind of nervous for it. I was like: Oh, acoustic! It's really kind of sketchy. You're putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. But I really enjoy it, because I think it's made me a better musician. It made me practice a lot more. Made me focus on not messing up.

People like when you're being vulnerable and being yourself on stage.

Yeah, exactly! I just try to talk to the crowd and have it be really intimate. Have a conversation rather than having a speech.

In this type of venue, nice and intimate.

Totally! Everyone is sitting down, which I am not used to at all. This is this first tour we've done where kids sit down at certain stages. Some of the shows, people have been standing up, but this will be the second one that people will be sitting down. It's new to me, but it's cool! Hopefully I can make them stand up anyway. (laughs)

How would you describe yourself as a person?

I don't know. That's tough! I'm usually pretty relaxed. I'm really chilled out for the most part. I'm a vegetarian. (laughs) But, I'm not afraid to speak up and get vocal when I need to. I usually just chill out. I don't like to do too many crazy things. I like to hang out with my friends, write music and produce music, and work with other artists and stuff. My life is consumed by music. It's pretty fun.

If you didn't know how old you were, how old would you be?

How old do I look? How old do I act? That's tough. I would say I act 20. I'm 20 years old. I would say I act 20.

So would you think you were 20 if you didn't know how old you were?

Yeah! I think I act like a 20 year old maybe. I think I do things that 20 years old should do. I'm a regular guy.

Is there anybody you would like to collab with?

Yeah, there are a lot of people I would like to do a collab with. If the Beatles were still together. I've always said John Mayer would be a great guy to do a collaboration with. The band called Haim, like I said, would be really cool. Because they're like three sisters. They do old school rock with a modern twist on it. It's really, really cool. I would love to mess with that, kind of mix genres. Taylor Swift would be really cool.

What about you and Cody?

That would be really great! I have been writing with him a little bit. I wrote with him two months ago, before the tour started. We'll start writing songs for his upcoming album. We'll see how that goes. We'll be doing more writing after this tour actually. I'm going to go to LA and get some sessions with him. We're going to write some more stuff. Hopefully we'll get some cool stuff.

Yeah, you guys seem really similar.

Yeah, totally. When we wrote together that one time, we got along really well. We had a good vibe. The song turned out really well.

Do you have any future goals or anything you would like to accomplish?

Yeah, I have plenty of goals. It's hard to really narrow it down as far as what. I just know I want to keep doing what I'm doing and do it at a bigger scale as time goes on. Hopefully, I will have my own headlining tour within the next couple of years and just keep building at it. Get better as a songwriter and a performer. That's my main goal, to just keep getting better and better and to keep playing in front of people until it can't get any bigger.

Copyright ©2014 All rights reserved. Posted: January 22, 2014. 

Photo Credit © 2013 Danielle Speiss. All rights reserved.

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