1. First of all, introduce the band please.
Dream the Electric Sleep was formed in 2009 by Joey Waters, Matt Page, and Chris Tackett. Joey and I are from Lexington, Kentucky and Chris is from West Virginia, a neighboring state. Joey and I are cousins and started playing together at age 16, twenty years ago! We played in a couple of different projects before DTES. Chris joined the band about 8 years ago and that is when DTES was formed. We have always been motivated by pushing our song-craft, and trying to write music that moved us emotionally but also challenged our skills as musicians. On top of that it was always our goal to create full, rich albums. I know that is not the most popular thing these days as the music business has really focused on the single or individual tracks disembodied from the album, but I like context. I want the song before and after a track on an album to influence your relationship to it. That is a very 1970’s thing I think.
2. Your band name is Dream The Electric Sleep – what's the meaning of the band name?
It is funny. The name doesn’t mean something specific, but rather tries to paint a mood. We had long lists of words we liked and begin putting them together. We put Dream the Electric Sleep together and it sounded like what we wanted to sound like and that is a big reason we went with it. It is open, mysterious and dynamic sounding to us.
3. Which are your biggest influences?
I think the easiest way to answer this would be to give you individual influences. As a band we never set out to have a certain sound, but rather let each others influences find a home in the sound of the band.
Joey: Soundgarden (Matt Cameron), Led Zeppelin (Bonham), Danny Carey from Tool, and the intensity of black metal and sludge bands like Gorgoroth, Buried at Sea, and Dragged Into Sunlight.
Chris: Pink Floyd, Swans, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Queen, Neurosis
Matt: Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Rush, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Tears for Fears, Beach Boys, Radiohead, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel
4. Progressive Rock and Indie, why did you decide mixing those 2 styles?
As stated in the last answer, we didn’t seek out a particular sound, but rather allowed conflicting styles to find a natural fit based on our individual influences. I also think each of us tries to write parts that might compliment the others styles. So Chris will write something with me in mind, or I will write something with Joey in mind etc. It makes writing very open and generous. We really work for consensus and if someone is unhappy with a song we all work to rewrite the song in a way that makes that person feel at home in the piece.
5. Tell us about the recording of the new album. What are your followers going to find there?
I hope they see we are doing two things. First, I hope they see we are always committed to writing music that is open and layered, that they are welcome in the song space to find something meaningful and challenging. We also hope they can see we are trying new things, trying to find our voices in this moment, and that this voice is constantly changing and evolving. The downside to this is that some supporters may not like where we went, they may not understand the changes, but that is OK, we know this will happen, but we also know new people will find us and understand the album. We are always trying to move forward, or at least move somewhere. Standing still is not something we are interested in.
6. Tell us something about the songwritting process.
We typically do a lot of demoing before the album recording. We are all songwriters so usually one of us will come to the rehearsal studio with an idea, present it, and then we begin to add to it and flesh it out. It is also the case that Chris and I will write a part or a song, record a demo, and send that to the band. Then we meet and flesh that out. After a demo is made, I will spend a long time working on lyrics and melodies, then I add those to the demo and pass that to the other guys. We spend a few weeks listening to it, then we make more changes and record it again. Typically each song is demoed 2 to 3 times before recording the final album version. It is a long process be this is how we have always done it.
7. Do you have any plan for touring after releasing the new album? Any possibility for coming to Europe?
A European tour is highest on our list. We would like to come over this fall and are currently working on a couple options. I think we can make it happen!
8. Which bands would you like to tour with?
There are no specific bands, just a band that has a complimentary sound. I think we can play with a number of genres so we are very open to who it might be.
9. If you could choose 3 festivals to play next year, which ones would it be?
Oh man… that is tough. Honestly I don’t know other than I would like them to be in Europe! I decided that one of the reasons we needed a label this time was because I wanted to put as much time and energy into songwriting as possible and to know about so many other aspects of the business on an international scale was just too much for me. I don’t know which festivals would be best for us, but I know there are people on the DTES team now that can help us make those decisions. It has taken a long time to realize I can’t do it all and to let other talented people contribute is so incredibly important. Which ones to you think we should play if we could?
10. Is there any interesting story you would like to share with us? Something about tour life, or living as a musician in general?
Maybe just to build on the last answer. Being a modern musician is a tough road. There really is a pressure to know it all and the new music business model is one that can tear you down from so many angles. Staying grounded, focused, and motivated can be difficult when you get pulled in so many different directions. A well-known author once told me, one of the biggest keys to success is really about just staying around as long as you can. Longevity! I see so many bands last a few years, breakup and start over. In this music climate, one of the biggest hurdles is simply surviving the inevitable storms you will face. You will get knocked down a lot and you have to be willing and able to get back up. Stay steady, be open, be nimble, and have the long view. This has been really valuable to DTES and we talk about it all the time, trying to remind each other of these things in the face of a fast paced music culture. Slow and steady!
11. Something else to add?
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! We are so excited about the new record and can’t wait for supporters of the band, old and new, to give it new life in the great wide world!