Twenty Top 5s with Dylan Kersten

HEY! Welcome to Twenty Top 5s. I (Tyler) have been sending out questionnaires to some of my favorite musicians and asking for their top 5 favorites in every category. I’ll be publishing them every Thursday for the foreseeable future. Hopefully this lets you get to know some of your favorite musicians a little bit better, and I hope it distracts you in these trying times.

Today’s Twenty Top 5s participant is Dylan Kersten AKA DJ Dylly K. Dylan plays synth (and an excellent tambourine) in Pittsburgh’s very own String Machine. Their 2019 album Death of the Neon is one of the best albums to come out of Pittsburgh in my 8 years living here. It’s an absolutely beautiful album filled with epic, folksy, baroque poppy bangers that demands multiple listens.

If you’ve met Dylan, you know he is one of the kindest souls in the world. He exudes positive energy like no other. Dylan moonlights as a DJ for weddings and other parties, and he’s been comforting many of us during quarantine with his virtual dance parties. I hope this questionnaire gives you some insight into the man, the myth, and the legend that is Dylly K.

recording artists when you were in high school

 1. August Burns Red

 2. Of Mice and Men

 3. Bastille probably :/

 4. Twenty One Pilots probably :/

 5. The Naked and Famous

songwriting influences

 1. Walt Whitman

 2. David Beck

 3. Jon Foreman

 4. Julien Baker

 5. Brandon Flowers

Instrument influences

 1. Synth- them synth lines on An Army of Shapes Between Wars by Action Action

 2. Drumming- John Otto on Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water by Limp Bizkit (taught me how to drum)

 3. Synth - M83

 4. Contemporary worship music has influenced everything I do a heck ton because church is where I started playing in bands (in other words, reverb)

 5. Electronic production- the album Settle by Disclosure

Karaoke Songs

1. "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen

2. "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" by The Darkness

3. "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains

4. "Like a Prayer" by Madonna in the style of James Hetfield

5. Radio Edit of "Rollin" by Limp Bizkit

Junk foods

 1. Ice cream (chocolate marshmallow Turkey Hill to be specific)

 2. White cheddar Cheez-Its

 3. Cheese Nips

 4. White cheddar popcorn

 5. chocolate chip cookies of any kind

Places to eat in your city

 1. Yovi’s Hot Dogs (food truck)

 2. Blue Sparrow (food truck)

 3. La Gondola (pizza)

 4. Spirit (for that pizza)

 5. Taco Bell


 1. Tree of Life

 2. Swiss Army Man

 3. Hot Rod

 4. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie

 5. Con-Air

Role models

 1. MLK

 2. My professor J. Dwight Hines (tied with 3)

 3. My professor Bob Ross (tied with 2)

 4. Andrew WK

 5. My new dear friend Memphis Hill

String Machine Songs

 1. Mara (In the Breeze)

 2. Finale

 3. Rattle on the Spoke

 4. Panic Attack

 5. No Holiday / Excite Again

Musical artists in your city (I did 6 bcuz too many good)

 1. PARK (Dave Parker)

 2. Silver Car Crash

 3. Sleeping Witch & Saturn

 4. Vireo

 5. Rave Ami

 6. Merce Lemon

Productive ways to pass time during corona

 1. Reflect on what the heck we’re doing here and what heck makes you the way you are

 2. Talk with friends you haven’t caught up with in a while/make sure your community is okay

 3. Read a book

 4. Pull-ups

 5. Make that synth pop album you’ve been dreaming of

Unproductive ways to pass time during corona

 1. Social media for too long

 2. Watch Tiger King

 3. Consider voting for Joe Biden

 4. Picking at your face

 5. Coughing on your roommate

Songs right now

 1. “Zoo Eyes” - Aldous Harding

 2. “XO Tour Llif3” - Lil Uzi Vert

 3. “Baby” - Four Tet

 4. “Just Before Dawn” - Sonnymoon, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson

 5. “On Melancholy Hill” - Gorillaz

80s pop jams

 1. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” - Tears for Fears

 2. “99 Luftballons” - Nena

 3. “Down Under” - Men at Work

 4. “Dancing in the Dark” - Bruce Springsteen

 5. “Like a Prayer” - Madonna

Venues you’ve played

 1. Spirit Hall

 2. Mahall’s (CLE)

 3. The Mr. Roboto Project

 4. Mr. Small’s

 5. The Bushnel

Albums that changed your life

 1. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

 2. S.C.I.E.N.C.E. by Incubus

 3. Doolittle by Pixies

4. Sprained Ankle by Julien Baker

5. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP by Skrillex

Pizza toppings

 1. Cheese

 2. Pepperoni

 3. Banana Peppers

 4. More cheese

 5. Chicken

Cities you’ve visited

 1. Atlanta, GA

 2. Irvine, CA

 3. Washington DC

 4. Nashville, TN

 5. Toronto, Canada


 1. Cheese

 2. Ranch

 3. Ketchup

 4. Chili (on a hot dog)

 5. Chocolate drizzle

Fictional characters

 1. Hank (Swiss Army Man)

 2. Greg (Over the Garden Wall)

 3. Wheezy (Toy Story 2)

 4. Cameron Poe (Con-Air)

 5. Fred Durst

Check out DJ Dylly K's virtual dance parties at and check out his personal bandcamp

Written by Tyler Gallagher (@TylerGallagher8)