Don’t Dilly Dally on this XU Alum Band

By Joseph Nichols, Staff Writer

“You have to take advantage of the time and places the universe gives you,” recent Xavier graduate Dylan “Dilly” Waters said.

After their college career comes to an end, the majority of college students apply for internships, jobs or graduate school. However, Dilly Waters, a 2023 Xavier graduate, had a different plan. A veteran of Xavier’s theater department, Waters has utilized his musical talents to form the band Dilly and the Doves.

Dilly and the Doves was originally a joke proposed during Waters’ production of American Idiot: The Musical during the Xavier 2021-22 theatre season, but is now where he finds himself after graduation. 

“I didn’t go to college thinking I would walk out as leader of a band… I wouldn’t have expected to be where we are now off of a semi-joke,” Waters said.

Waters stated that the band was initially named Milquetoast, but they did not have the exclusive rights to the band name because it was used by other bands. However, Waters recalled how they reached their current name. 

“Throughout college, my best friend Zac always called me Dilly, and I wanted it to stick as a stage name to separate myself from the performer. ‘Dilly and the Doves’ came as naturally as writing a song. I liked it. The band liked it. And it’s been who we are ever since,” Waters said. 

Although it might have started as a one-off comment, Waters now finds himself as the frontman of the band. Waters said Xavier undoubtedly helped kindle his love of music and showmanship. 

“I would say the performer in me has been influenced by many people over my four years at Xavier,” Waters said. Waters named Stephen Skiles, Bridget Leak, Nathan Gabriel and Jeremy Dubin in the Xavier music and theatre departments as people who influenced his budding music journey.

Waters, a Cincinnati native, also credits his music roots to the city. “I grew up on the West side of Cincy and moved from home to home for a good portion of my life. In that exposure to many different environments and walks of life, I listened to a lot of different music,” Waters said.

The band just released its first single, “Love from Versailles,” which can be found on Spotify and YouTube this month.

“Love from Versailles” is a hard song to assign a specific genre to. By definition, it is indie, but it is also a fusion of numerous different styles, sounds and concepts. At its root, though, it is an entertaining piece of music, designed to get you on your feet and dancing, according to Waters.

 The music video, produced by current Xavier students, helped to bolster the song’s attitude. 

Newswire photo courtesy of Nicholas Namyar
Senior Nicholas Namyar (left) helped produce Xavier graduate Dylan “Dilly” Waters (right) music video for his first single “Love From Versailles.” The song is the first from the alumnus’ band, Dilly and the Doves

Throughout the music video for “Love From Versailles,” Xavier students will recognize Schmidt Hall, Fr. Graham’s Labyrinth and stretches of the Academic Mall as different filming locations across campus. “I wanted the video to feel like you were somewhere that looked like Versailles,” the music video’s director and senior Digital Innovation, Film and Television major Nicholas Namyar stated.

Namyar researched the Palace of Versailles’ architecture and looked for similarities across campus. “The little archways between Schmidt and Edglecliff I felt were similar enough to the Palace architecture…I chose the Fr. Graham Labyrinth because it resembles the large labyrinth in front of the Palace,” he said. 

Waters and Namyar also traveled to the historic Belvedere building to film sections of the music video. The painted, domed ceiling pops while there are quick cuts of Dilly and the female love interest dancing in Edgecliff, helping to create a mental image of the pair dancing in  Versailles.

“He’s taking her on a journey through the palace of Versailles. That was the concept that struck with (Waters): them frolicking through the palace to match the upbeat and happy song,” Namyar said.

Although their first song has been released, Waters doesn’t know what’s next for the band. 

“I’m a pretty spiritual person and nothing makes me feel closer to the divine (or) the universe than writing a song… to tell you what’s next would be undercutting that process,” Waters said. “It’s the muse. It comes and goes as it pleases. I need only listen for when it calls.”