Celebrity Offspring Dylan Brosnan On Coming into his Own
Ah, male models. So dreamy. So lanky. So easily killed in accidental gas station fires. The physically perfect are easy to love and loathe in equal measure. They’re subject to lust and envy and underestimation, all while having access to the best opportunities society has to offer (if you don’t believe me, read Survival of the Prettiest and weep or celebrate, depending on your facial situation). But the beautiful are also actual humans, with thoughts and feelings and talents. Like Dylan Brosnan, a successful 19-year-old model who burst onto the scene with a Saint Laurent campaign—he’s currently exclusively signed with Burberry—and also heads up a musical solo project called Raspberry Blonde.
The music of Raspberry Blonde is delicate and lovely, in the surf rock tradition of bands like Beach Fossils and Real Estate. Brosnan’s Los Angeles origins are evident in the sound of his music; he’s greatly inspired by The Beach Boys, and loves ’60s girl groups like The Ronettes and The Crystals. The music kind of sounds like what would happen if Mac DeMarco and Wavves had a baby: airy, wistful, and just a tiny bit melancholy.
And yes, Dylan Brosnan is related to that other Brosnan you’re probably thinking of. He’s the son of Pierce Brosnan, movie star and legendary hunk. But Dylan doesn’t seem like a Hollywood kid at all; he’s sweet, friendly, a little bit shy, and unfailingly polite. We chatted on the phone as he drove around LA, talking about Raspberry Blonde, Paul Dano, and getting discovered by Hedi Slimane.
Is Raspberry Blonde a full band? Or a solo project?
It’s kind of like a pretend band, because it’s sort of just me recording everything in the studio myself, and then writing all the songs. But when we do live shows I have to get a backing band, unless it’s just like a solo thing. But I think it sounds much better as a band. It’s just my solo project I guess.
Why call it Raspberry Blonde?
One of my ex-girlfriends came up with that name, and then it sort of just stuck. It was better than anything I figured out.
How did you get into music? Have you been playing your whole life?
I started playing guitar for a really long time, and then I kind of got into song writing more recently, like four-ish years ago. Then I was in a few bands for a while. [But] I wasn’t writing songs in any band, none of my material was getting used, so I decided to just record it by myself. It was pretty tricky getting bands together, so I just did everything myself until the actual live shows came about.
Your music is very surf rock-y to me. What’s the main point of inspiration?
I haven’t thought about it much. To me, it’s sort of ’60s-ish, ’70s pop. Sort of that sound. I’m really into The Beach Boys. So it’s kind of inevitable that it’s going to sound California-y.
I love The Beach Boys too. Did you see the Brian Wilson movie [Love and Mercy]?
Oh yeah, I love that, it’s in my iTunes. I’ve watched it way too many times now.
It’s so good! It’s so sad. Poor Brian Wilson.
I know. But Paul Dano movies are so good.
So good! So, when you’re not working on music, are you modeling full time? What’s your day-to-day like?
I actually go to school. I’m in college currently, I just don’t really know a lot of people. [Laughs] I don’t do that much modeling because I’m under contract with Burberry right now, and before that I was under contract with Saint Laurent for pretty much my whole career. I kind of do it whenever it comes about.
I read that Hedi Slimane found you on the beach? Is that true?
It wasn’t on the beach. It’s kind of funny, I’ve heard so many variations of that story. I think it was over two years ago now, in September. It was in Malibu at this coffee store that I go to all the time. It was really close to the beach. I was just kind of getting a coffee, and he went up and started talking to some guy [outside], and [then] he went into the coffee store to order. This same guy started taking pictures of me through the window, and I was like, “Oh, that’s weird.” And then I left and he was like, “Oh that guy wants your number for modeling.” And I was like, “Ok.” So I gave him my email or something. I didn’t really know what any of it was about. I had no idea it was Hedi Slimane or Saint Laurent, or anything.
“I wouldn’t think anyone would want me to model for anything. I thought you had to be super muscular or something.”
Did that weird you out? I feel like I’d be weirded out if I turned around and somebody was taking my photo, and then asked for my info.
It was weird back then; nowadays, it wouldn’t be as weird.
You’re used to it?
Yeah, but back then I wouldn’t think anyone would want me to model for anything. I thought you had to be super muscular or something. [Laughs]
What was your experience like? I know you were in the campaign with Jack Kilmer, [son of actor Val Kilmer] and you guys are friends, right?
Oh, yeah! Jack is my friend. We didn’t do the campaign together, I guess our photos got lumped into the same campaign, but I didn’t see him when I was shooting for that. It was simple honestly. I just drove into town one day. The whole shoot took maybe three-ish hours? I just got in the outfit, took the pictures, then I left. It was really easy.
That’s so fast! And what’s it like working with Burberry? Is it more intense?
Yeah, Burberry is much more work just because it was London, so I had to fly out to London and stay in a hotel for a few days. The shoot went two or three days, I think. And there were a bunch of other people there too, it wasn’t just me. So there was some waiting around to be shot. It was a lot of fun though. I like spending time in London.
So you’re going to school in LA then? What are you studying?
USC film school actually.
What are your favorite movies?
Probably Fight Club, and The Big Lebowski for some reason?
I think those are very popular film student movies. Good choices.
Oh! And A Clockwork Orange. All the Kubrick stuff.
Do you have any guilty pleasure music that you listen to?
My favorite guilty pleasure music is Father John Misty covering Taylor Swift. Or just really bad folk punk.
I don’t even know what that is!
I don’t even know how to describe it. [Laughs]
Obviously your dad is Pierce Brosnan. Is it kind of weird to go out into the world and make a name for yourself when you have a prominent last name? Do you think it makes things harder? Or easier? Or both?
I’m actually kind of debating that right now! Whether or not it’s helped, or if it’s a negative thing. I think it’s helped a lot, but I just kind of want to be my own entity.
All photos shot exclusively for Milk by Brad Elterman.
Check out more Raspberry Blonde music, and get ready for a forthcoming album.
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