Take a Trip Down Memory Lane on Mikey Dinsmore's "Home Sweet Suburbia"

Mikey Dinsmore's lyrics tackle radiating topics readily on his new album 'Home Sweet Suburbia,' by dousing this soundtrack record with melancholic depth while reminiscing about the teenage years.

"Fifteen in school, staring at the clock, anxious waiting for the bell to go off," Mikey softly describes on "Slapstick Kids," initiating the direction for an album consumed in the most challenging parts of being a teenager growing up in suburbia.

An excess of retrospections and recognition of wrongdoing can be found here, but no excess of saddening, as it's clear the lessons learned are a significant cornerstone for this album's governance. Mikey Dinsmore's full production—with his brilliant acoustic guitar often taking center stage—combines pop-punk influences in intriguing new shades, led by the supple attack of each note.  

The album's workhorse "Racing Homer," sketches on a story about the beauty in the turmoil of past and it is a sublimely energetic amalgamation of pop-punk refinement and emo-rock attitude, while "My Angel (Los Angeles)," offers a penitent reflection into the epitome of giving dreams their wings. His approach is a bit like biting off a piece of candy, only to discover a different layer of mouth-coating sweetness as each layer of this mix seems to melt away into their harmonious sections and well-honed mids.

With lines like "He found his way out, through the darkest out the hour," proves Mikey has not lost the spark of light that earned his music its brilliant afterglow. Here, "Suburban Teenage Rebel" has a profound and gripping chorus that reaches down into Dinsmore's most potent storytelling, and the verse on the succeeding "I'll Be There," hits the nail on the head for a slow dance romance infusing breather this album screams for. It's a two minute and twenty-four second shot of bliss that enamors over a lover with a breeze of resolve. 

"Remember" opens with a brisk wash of a buzzing tambourine, and a shiny acoustic guitar, which is quickly dispelled by a shapeshifting topline—a modest, reserved illustration of Mikey Dinsmore's skill in the precision in his phosphorescent character. "And I can't stop, missing you, do you ever miss me too?" Mikey questions, as the track slowly into another formulation of Dinsmore's persistent acoustic guitar.

 A lesson that ties some of "Home Sweet Suburbia's" most solid parts down may be a consequence of the back seat some of the vocal's take in the mix. Several of the songs emphasize a nicely present guitar—which is effective in its own right—but it occasionally leaves Dinsmore's lead off-center, omitting some resolution for his magnetic voice and lyrical concepts to shine through.

The album highlight, "Don't Worry Dear," morphs from a ballading guitar that shows up almost immediately with a bright, pristine timbre as it prompts this velvety soft texture that's closer to an intimate MTV unplugged session more than anything else.

As we take a moment to recollect ourselves, "Rainbow Bridge" thoroughly integrates its similar sounds of its predecessor with a dash of vigor, coupling just a Kahone as the base for rhythm with a tenderly plucked guitar prances front stage. The most satisfying moments on this album are the more direct tracks, with the least demonstrative capabilities. We've heard Mikey Dinsmore in full production form a myriad of times throughout "Home Sweet Suburbia," but songs like "I'll Be There," "Remember Me," and "Don't Worry Dear," sound effortless, and its guitar accompaniment always feels like gentle fingertips listing down your back. It's less about the abondance of sonic space being accounted for than the enticement as the album opens and the languishing moments afterward when we know it's coming closer to being over.

On "Simple Times," Mikey adjourns with a forward trusting, punchy beat and lets it run its course along the silver-linings of his vocal callbacks and personal insights; it concludes, disarms, and leads steadily as the final hymns layer over top of the final chorus. His voice reverberated atop the closing crescendos, as the song never veers from its straight line to the finish line, and this lack of constraint is everything that proceeds to make this closer sound so tight and excited. In his youthful, reminiscent version of a letter from to the past, the cycle of Mike Dinsmore's music continues, ever-evolving into something more interesting than the previous.

Is there something you can attribute to your love of music from your earliest memories living in the suburbs? 

Like many others, I come from a broken home so I never wanted to be home. Every day, I would escape into the neighborhood on my skateboard and along with skateboarding came punk rock music. At the time (the late 90s/early 00s), still virtually all skate videos had a punk soundtrack. Punk and skateboarding glued together and were much more than a sound and a sport; there was an entire culture behind them, a belief system, and an identity. If you saw someone else on a skateboard with spiky hair and ripped jeans, you knew that was your friend and you would have each other’s back. Punk and skateboarding were the home for outcasts, rejects and rebels, and I fit in perfectly with that. Between my broken home and finding the punk rock/skateboarding culture, those experiences totally have a lasting effect on my writing to this day.

What can you remember being your first artistic moments with your friends throughout high school, and do you still make music with them today?

When I was 16, I started my first band with my two best friends from the neighborhood. We all lived minutes from each other, so we would take turns having band practice at each other’s houses. We started out playing a mix of original songs that I wrote and Green Day/blink-182 covers. I would write a song on an acoustic guitar by myself, bring it to the band, and we would all jam it together. The neighbors would constantly complain, “neighborhood security” and the cops got called a few times, but we never stopped doing what we loved.

However, life takes different turns for everyone. Out of the three of us, I chose to pursue music as a career. The bassist chose to pursue another life that involved a lot more BMX and other things. And the drummer chose to pursue another career on his own. But through it all, we are all still good friends today and we keep in touch as often as we can. I am not revealing names to protect their identities and privacy.

It's clear you have an underlining love for the acoustic guitar. Is this where most of your song ideas and creations stem from? 

Absolutely. I love to experiment, incorporate new sounds, etc. But there’s something special about the acoustic guitar. When I write a song, it’s just me and my guitar and it’s a very personal experience. An acoustic guitar allows me to write in the most vulnerable fashion, which is exactly what I need because my music is very personal. I’ve been writing songs with an acoustic guitar since the beginning, and I write on a level far beyond the surface so that people can not only hear the story but relate to, understand, and feel the emotion. After I write what I need for a song, every sound, instrument, and lyric that follows serves to amplify and elaborate on the emotion of the acoustic guitar. It is a beautiful instrument. Although, I am also a lover of the infinite potential of an electric guitar!

When you were first conceptualizing the flow and feel of this record, did you know the direction you wanted it to flow? Now that you look back, would there be anything you would have liked to incorporate further in this album?

None of this was planned at all. The first song I wrote for this album was actually “Remember”. My intention was to write a song for myself that allowed me to outlet the heavy emotion I was feeling at the time. I was having flashbacks of my first love and feeling them intensely. I didn’t want to hold it in, so I decided to write a song. I sent the song to a trusted friend to get some feedback, and her response was amazing. She loved the song! 

It was at that moment that I decided to write another song. Then I wrote another, and another, and another. Before long, I had ten songs completely finished. I looked at the songs and realized this album became the story of my life until now. 

I had a decision to make. Should I put my foot down, record this album, live my life without compromising my character, and finally “take the leap” everyone is always talking about to pursue my dream, or continue my “9 to 5” lifestyle keeping my music and my dreams underwater? As of now, Home Sweet Suburbia is my proudest moment in life thus far, and I think my decision is now clear to those who know me and will now have an opportunity to meet me. To be completely honest, I wouldn’t change anything about the record because it says everything I wanted to say for this particular story. Everything I want to do and say now is going on the next record. I always try to keep my mind thinking forward and I am totally ecstatic for the future!

What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020 and what can we expect to see next from you?

Being a reason for people to smile or laugh is the number one inspiration above all else for 2020 and years beyond. The Mikey Dinsmore mission is to spread joy and leave a positive, lasting impact on people now and for generations to come. Making people smile and giving them an escape from the inevitable pain and tragedy in their lives is my driving force. People like Tom DeLonge, Jim Carrey, and Robin Williams also inspire me to selflessly use the gifts that I’ve been given to at least attempt to leave the world a better place than when I arrived.

What can we expect next? A LOT! Currently, we are filming two music videos, one for “The Rainbow Bridge” and the other for “Slapstick Kids”. We are continuing “Live Fridays!” at 6 PM PST on Instagram Live (@themikeydinsmore) until the quarantine is over, then switching it to “Mikey Monday”. I think going live and engaging with people is one of the most important things to creating and keeping happy fans! 

There will be another single released in October 2020, and another full-length record Summer 2021! The next album will branch off the emotion of Home Sweet Suburbia, but many new elements will be introduced and the lyrics will be much more poetic. 

We have a lot in the works and a lot of reasons to be excited. Mikey Dinsmore is an art project, and art can, does, and will continue to change the world.