February 23, 2012

FRESHLY BAKED: DREAMLESS

Dreamless

In "Freshly Baked," we feature promising young bands or bands that are otherwise lacking the attention we think they deserve.

By Andy O'Connor (TX Once More)

Give me a chance to talk to you about Minneapolis' Dreamless, and I will make your ears fall off. I could harp on about their fusion of metal and shoegaze that doesn't neuter the power of either. Let me rant about how vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Cory Strand lets himself bleed lyrically and sonically all over this record, layering a legion of swirling, heavy guitars over howls of unattainable dreams and the ugliness of human relationships. For comparisons, you could listen to me name-drop The Angelic Process in an infinite loop. And you've already heard me rave about how their debut album, All This Sorrow, All These Knives, sneaked up on me at the 11th hour to make my Top 10 of 2011 list.

The most important thing I can say is that you need to isolate yourself for a good hour and you really need to listen to this band.

I chatted with Strand and guitarist Ben Zientara about the actress that inspired "Dreams of Chloe," the increasing influence of shoegaze in metal, and why the record should be played as loud as possible.


Dreamless - All This Sorrow, All These Knives


Crustcake: How and when did Dreamless form?

Cory Strand (guitars, bass, vocals): I started Dreamless in 2005 as a solo project, basically to be a catch-all moniker for my various musical interests. My first love has always been and will always be black metal, and Dreamless was initially going to be the outlet for that. Then I thought it’d be great to do this band that worked in all these different styles, be it black metal, or power drone, or super-stripped down Jesus and Mary Chain-style pop songs, or Fushitsusha-style noise rock terrorism -- the stuff I was really into. I was playing with Ben and Matt [Rolfe, drums] in The Kafka Dreams and there were things I really wanted to do musically that just weren’t right for us. I don’t think Matt and Ben really relished the idea of my wanting to play black metal and bringing it into KD, so I just came up with Dreamless. All This Sorrow was originally supposed to be me playing everything, but when I played through some of the songs with Matt I knew he’d be a much better drummer, so I asked him to be on the record. After that I brought Ben in too, because I knew he’d bring different guitar elements in. We’d been playing so long together by that point that we’d achieved the sort of “zen” communication, where we could all anticipate each other’s moves musically. It came out far superior to what I could have achieved on my own.

Ben Zientara (guitars): Cory made it pretty clear that he was going to record a solo record. He had all the songs written, and was going to go into the studio by himself and record them. Then he asked Matt to play drums. Then he asked me to come and play guitar. So it was the same band, with a slightly different approach. But I love working with these guys, so I said yes right away.

Crustcake: Tell us about your pedalboard and setup. How do you get those sounds?

Strand: For the record, I used my Gibson SG through my 1973 Custom Hiwatt 100, through a vintage Hiwatt cabinet. The main distortion is a Zvex Fuzz Factory, although on some songs I used a Boss Hyperfuzz on the overdubs. It’s a much dirtier, muddier sound. Live I use my Fender Jaguar and a Rat, because the feedback is a little more intense. For pedals, I used a Boss Digital Delay (indispensable), a Danelectro Echo pedal (one of my favorite pedals -- cheap but awesome), and Ben’s wah. On the noisier section of “It’s Not Worth It,” I ran everything through a Boss Phase Shifter, which gave it all those crazy flange and tremolo effects. On pretty much all of the guitar solos, I used a Boss Digital Reverb/Delay to give it a little more resonance. For the clean guitar sounds, I had our recording engineer Adam’s Boss Chorus Ensemble, which is a beautiful sounding pedal. I liked it so much I bought it from him. It crapped out a few months later, which pretty much broke my heart. I’ve been wanting to replace it since, but finances haven’t really allowed for it. The swirl of guitar sounds is pretty much achieved by a very liberal application of all the echoes and delays.

I don’t want to downplay Adam’s contributions. Without his engineering and mixing, the album wouldn’t sound near as engulfing as it does. He had worked with us on other records and pretty much knew exactly what we were going for, how we worked, the guitar sounds we preferred. I really think of him as another member of our little collective.

Zientara: For this recording, I played my old Ibanez ST-50 through a ‘80s Fender Dual Showman head, into a Trace Elliot 4x12 cabinet. On my pedalboard, I used an Electro-Harmonix Polyphonic Octave Generator, into a big black Rat distortion pedal, into a Dunlop 95Q wah, into a BOSS DD-5 digital delay, into a Line 6 DL-4 delay modeler/loop sampler. I used just the Rat for all the rhythm parts in every song, and I used the POG, delay, and loop sampler to get the hyper-octave sounds on "Glimmering" and "It's Not Worth It."

Crustcake: How do you approach songwriting?

Strand: It all just comes from my practicing. My writing process is weird -- I’ll have these single weeks where there’s just a flood of stuff that I love, and then for the rest of the month, I can’t come up with anything worth two shits. It’s frustrating but I understand that’s just how it works for me and I’ve got to keep playing. I have a really clear idea in my head of how I want the songs to go. Sometimes they change when we rehearse them, sometimes not. “Glimmering” changed as a result of Matt and I playing around with it-the original track never had the clean guitar section. “Drown My Soul” didn’t change at all -- the way I conceived it is exactly the way it turned out on record. With Dreamless, I have always tried to keep it simple and emphasize the repetitious, hypnotic aspects of the songs. I love zoning out and getting lost in a riff. You really only need one if it’s awesome enough.

Crustcake: How did “Dreams of Chloe” come to be? Who exactly is “Chloe?”

Strand: I don’t remember when exactly “Dreams of Chloe” was written. I think it was actually one of the last songs I came up with for All This Sorrow, but I could be off on the chronology. I had a lot of trouble with the lyrics. Some I like, but some I think I was trying to get too poetic with. The “Chloe” of the song is none other than Chloe Sevigny, who I’ve always had a huge celebrity crush on. That year she’d been in Manderlay and Broken Flowers so I was pretty immersed in her. I wanted to make the song reflect my interpretation of her persona -- the airy, ethereal quality she brings to her work. She’s got the best “heroin eyes,” which I totally love. For a while I made her the unofficial Dreamless muse-I had a picture of her on my drum kit, too, with the words “Chloe loves Cory’s drumming” scrawled above it. Totally crushed out.

Crustcake: Is the idea of sublime beauty something you're attracted to, creatively?

Strand: Very much so, yes. My favorite works of art, be they records, or films, or photographs, or paintings, or whatever, they all venture into the realm of the ethereal. Suggestions are really powerful for me, way more than actualities. The film program that I’m in emphasizes the need for a narrative, and I have a really hard time accommodating that constraint. Not everything has to be so laid out. If the work is open, people will have stronger response to it, and they’ll feel more of a personal connection to it.

If you look at a photograph by Alec Soth, be it a landscape or a portrait, there’s nothing obvious about it. There’s no set beginning or end. The meaning is completely left for the individual viewer. There are certainly emotions and suggestions of theme, but they’re more based on whatever any given individual is already bringing to the photograph. The actual meaning is elusive and vague, and for me that’s incredibly powerful. Other examples of the same are Werner Herzog’s film work, or Terrence Malick’s. Musically, something like Troum or Eliane Radigue. They all circle around the same aesthetic. They want to engage you on a totally unique and individual level. It’s about wonder, and expanse.

I try and bring that to Dreamless. Even though songs like “Chloe” or “Glimmering” are about specific people and specific events that happened to me, I tried to keep the lyrics open. “Chloe” in particular for me is about Chloe Sevigny, but the lyrics never explicitly state that. People who know me well get it, but for anyone else listening, the song could be about anything. When I was in high school, I would listen to Mudhoney and feel like Mark Arm was singing about my life, because his lyrics were personal enough to seem like they came from my experiences, and open enough to not be exclusive, even though they were his memories, and his failures, and his fuck-ups. It’s intense when you can experience music that way. I hope we’ve accomplished that, or even come somewhere close.

Crustcake: If I had to pick one song as my choice cut of the record, it would be “Discordance.” How did that song come into the form that it is now?

Strand: “Discordance” was one of the first songs I wrote, right after “Glimmering,” and I think more than anything I’ve done those two songs reflect my worldview. Everyone is going to fuck you somehow, there’s no permanence aside from sadness, and no one is ever going to really understand the experience of being you. Everything ultimately fails. The only escape is removal. My favorite lyrical subject is suicide and suicidal feelings -- for me, it’s pretty much the only truly romantic notion left in art. The lyrics are purposely vague but still evoke some sort of sorrow, or boredom. Sometimes I get frightened by the huge blocks of time that I need to move through, sometimes I worry that I’m not making enough of them.

The music is so simple -- it’s really Matt who gives it the huge, cataclysmic weight it has. “Discordance” originally started as a much slower, more somber track with none of the mass. The original version was meant to be clean guitar, super ghostly and languid, minimal drums. Without Matt, I think “Discordance” would probably fall flat. The off-time swing type structure he brings to it really highlights the exhaustion I was trying to convey with the song. All of the extra guitars on there are me-for some reason “Discordance” strikes me as our most MBV moment. There’s a lot of guitar work on that track I’m very happy with. It all swirls in and out, and it’s melodic, but it’s somewhat out of control as well.

Crustcake: "Nothing Irreparable Has Happened Here" is the doomiest of the songs on the record, yet the title seems hopeful. Is there black humor at work here? What more can you tell us about this track?

Strand: It sounds hopeful but it’s not. The title of that track is actually taken from the Home Movies episode “Impressions,” where Brendon is trying to impress Cynthia and he fucks it all up. The end of the episode is Brendon running through all these things he could say to fix it, trying to tell himself the situation isn’t beyond repair, that “nothing irreparable has happened here,” but it’s fucked. It’s all falling apart, right in front of him. It’s such a beautiful moment, and so true to my own life experiences, the awkwardness of trying to get to know other people and always being afraid that you’re fucking it up, and it’s so achingly sad and heartbreaking to watch Brendon try and deny what he knows to be true. I suppose that qualifies as black humour, naming a song after a cartoon. It’s actually the second time I’ve done it. On the Kafka Dreams record there’s a song called “Isobel” that was totally inspired by an episode of Pokemon in which Meowth falls in love with Meowzy (a girl version of himself) and she ends up hating him because she considers him beneath her. There’s a shot of Meowth alone on a rooftop gazing up at the stars and he asks “I wonder if Meowzy’s looking at the same moon?” He’s asking himself, and it’s so yearning, and the emotion of it is so incredibly simple and visceral and unpretentious. Those kinds of feelings are what I’m trying to get across with my music…maybe that seems immature to a degree but it’s affecting for me. I’ve felt those things. They hurt. Other people can really fuck you up. I know what it’s like. I think everyone does.

Crustcake: The closer, “Drown My Soul,” is the most “metal” of the songs, with a faster pace and angrier vocals. Were you going for an “all-guns-blazing” effect to close out the record?

Zientara: To me, this album represents the emotional torment surrounding someone's decision to end it all after they realize that the person they love with all their being is completely out of reach. This song really is like "going out all-guns-blazing." The decision is made; there's no turning back; this is the final "fuck you all" before the end. It's a compelling sentiment to the teenager trapped inside of me.

Strand: I’m glad you’re asking about “Drown My Soul,” because it is pretty different compared to the rest of the record. I wrote “Drown My Soul” in high school, when I was playing in a couple different bands -- one very Nirvana-influenced grunge and the other a hardcore/death metal hybrid. I was super depressed and obsessed with this one girl and everything I wrote then was about her, or for her, and all the shit I was feeling at the time. “Drown My Soul” was a fantasy of suicide, my teenage ego fully taking over. Honestly, it’s a pattern that’s repeated itself many times in my life, and I can’t seem to escape it. There’s some material I have for the next Dreamless record that was born out of a similar episode that essentially ruined me as a functioning person for the better part of a year. As far as “Drown My Soul,” neither high school band ever used the song --- it was either “too heavy” or “not metal enough.” I’ve always liked it, and it was so awesome to be able to record it with Ben and Matt. I didn’t change anything about it -- I even used the original notebook sheet I wrote the lyrics on in the studio. It’s probably my favorite vocal performance on the record-it was the last one we recorded and my voice was super raw and I belted it out in one take. I really like the first guitar solo there, too. Ben still thinks the twin finger-tapping solos at the end are funny, but I love them. Tapping never goes out of style. To a certain degree “Drown My Soul” is also a love letter to the metal I worshipped as a teenager (and still do) -- Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer. Especially Slayer.

Crustcake: Metal isn't normally so open about love and relationships with women. What do you think accounts for this?

Strand: Perception. Aesthetic. I can’t imagine listening to something like Deicide’s Legion and getting the same feel from it if the lyrics were about Glen Benton’s marital woes rather than beheading prophets, trifixions, and burning in hell. It just doesn’t work. It’s the same with staunchly orthodox black metal -- there’s a very specific vision in mind and a need to work within a very narrow confine in order to meet the genre definition. For some bands, preserving the rebelliousness of black metal is incredibly important, and personally themed lyrics aren’t going to accomplish it.

With Dreamless, we’re not a metal band per se, so the only sorts of lyrics I’m writing are personal. It’s what feels right to me, like those songs couldn’t be about anything else. With Yog-Sothoth (mine and Ben’s doom/psych band) the subject matter is way more tongue in cheek, with no personal connection at all. The music necessitates the lyrical approach.

Some bands work between the two. When I listen to Mutiilation’s “The Bitter Taste of Emotional Void” I get floored by the extremity of the song, because it’s about suicide, but at the same time has this sick chorus of “O Satan…” and I fucking love it. You can fuse the personal to the occult and come out with something amazing.

Crustcake: The liner notes of the record declare: “Please Play This Record Loud. Maximum Volume Yields Maximum Results.” Why should listeners blast this record?

Strand: The sound is massive. We put so much texture into it and so many layers, the only way I can envision listening to it is at hyper levels. It just becomes one glorious, depressive blur. Dreamless is an exercise in catharsis and emotion, and its impact is best felt at serious volumes. We recorded it loud, we play loud, we mastered it loud. It’s also Sunn O)))’s credo, and it’s always stuck in my head.

Zientara: There's so much going on in every song. It behooves the listener to drown out all distractions and focus on the interplay of the three or four guitars on every track. Total negation of ego is desirable for a true listening experience.

Crustcake: Also according to the liner notes, the music was arranged in 2006. What took so long to get it all recorded?

Strand: We actually recorded it in one weekend -- we just weren’t able to release it ourselves because of finances and all of our personal lives going through drastic changes. The three of us work quickly -- we don’t really agonize or second guess much, it’s more about the immediacy of whatever moment we’re in. We try to get stuff on the first take as much as possible. I think that approach lends our music a certain raw quality.

Zientara: We recorded it in 2006, and we intended to put it out ourselves, but it ended up sitting “in the can” for the about 5 years until R. Loren told us he wanted to release it. We used to have a slogan: "We're not broke, we're just fucking lazy." Then we had various life-changes which caused us to actually be broke, so we amended the saying to "We're broke AND we're fucking lazy."

Crustcake: What do you make of shoegaze becoming an increasingly prominent fixture in metal?

Zientara: I think, like I mentioned before, total negation of ego is desirable for a true listening experience. Metal, to me, is about negation of ego by heavy riffs and raw emotion. The shoegaze aspect adds a repetitive, somnambulant element to the mix, which we long ago decided was necessary in our own music to further our creative goals. For us, it allows the songs to become multi-layered improvisational pieces with some rules about form like "let's play this riff for about ten minutes, and then we'll go over it and improvise these complimentary parts." It's very freeing to approach songwriting that way. All you need is one good riff and some inspired playing. The creative process is immediate and editing is kept to a minimum.

Strand: When it’s done well, I love it. A band like Nadja gets it -- the crush plus the blur equals pure transcendent excess. The two aesthetics can marry really well together and have the capacity to create works of incredible depth, beauty, and emotional resonance. Even though they’ve been getting more boring with each new record, Alcest’s Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde never ceases to take my breath away. The intensity of the first track alone destroys me every time, and I hope someday in my life I’ll write something that wondrously open. There was a record a few years ago on Ars Magna by Chaos Moon, Languor Into Echoes Beyond, that really exemplified the shoegaze/metal sound for me-it’s this super agonized, gorgeous collection of songs that sounds like Leviathan at war with Troum, and it’s just emotionally harrowing. Same with Wrath of the Weak (sadly defunct) -- the shoegaze elements are used to reach a new plateau of understanding and feeling, or nullification of feeling. I see it in suicidal BM bands like Trist or Through the Pain, too -- it’s about texture and density and how far a certain emotion can be pushed. They want you to get lost in the sound, and that’s what shoegaze is for me.

If My Bloody Valentine were anything, they were heavy, and I think people forget that sometimes. The specter of metal has always been with shoegaze.

Crustcake: Ben, how do you reconcile the idea that metal is the negation of the ego with the individualism (or at least the perception of individualism) often found in metal?

Zientara: Well, I said that negation of ego is necessary for a true listening experience, and I think that it's totally true. My favorite music is the kind that can let me escape my own head for a while, get into a totally different frame of mind, forget who I am, what I'm doing, and all the problems in my life. So when I listen to something, I want to be able to do that; lose the ego, lose self-awareness, and escape. I consider myself a pretty engaged person in "real life," but I think there's great value in leaving it all behind for a while. I listen to a lot of ambient/spacey shit, like Klaus Schulze, Brian Eno, Harold Budd, etc. Now that music certainly has a lot going on for the performer; no doubt Mr. Budd meticulously designs his pieces, and loses none of that intricacy and intentionality in the performance thereof, but what I get out of the music is a chance to immerse myself in the immediate experience, and to allow myself to be surprised by every new note. I might not be fully using all my faculties to experience it, but this is how I've decided that I get the most out of music.

When I listen to metal, I treat it the same way; I forget myself and headbang, play air drums, or allow my body to be taken over by the music, but there's another way I think metal music is about negation of ego. If you're talking about proto-metal, like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, that stuff is all about id; pleasure, desire, pain, fear; just pure emotion. And once you're talking about the height of '80s thrash and death metal, Metallica and Slayer and Deicide, that music is 100% pure escapism. I'm not gonna slit throats and kill people and wear their skin and worship Satan, but I can appreciate the catharsis that can come from the chance to immerse myself in the pure emotions involved with those actions. And the music is driving, frenetic, and heavy as shit; it produces a physical reaction that comes from deep inside, certainly not from the "self." Not that some people don't allow those feelings to completely govern who they are, anyway...

And yes, finger-tapping still makes me giggle. It's awesome, but it makes me laugh like a crazed little kid.

Crustcake: Cory, you've mentioned to me before your love for Red House Painters and Mark Kozelek. What about him informs your work?

Strand: Again, your comparison was incredibly flattering. I don’t know if I could say Mark Kozelek is a direct influence on the music I write, but I love his records under all his guises. There’s something so fractured and pained and real in what he does. It’s almost untouchable. I listen to What’s Next to the Moon all the time and even though it’s essentially just some AC/DC songs, Kozelek just turns them inside out and transforms them into haunting, shattering bits of confession. He makes them his own. His voice carries so much passion and yearning and regret, and when you hear it you know it’s so fucking real for him. He brings you in to his world. The intimacy is intense. That authenticity is missing from a lot of music. I hear it in Grouper, and Lyrinx...it’s a woundedness, I guess. I hear it in the voices of Paul Westerberg, Thurston Moore, and Stephen Malkmus too. They have something.

If I took anything from Kozelek, it’s the vocals. I am nowhere near him, but I love his laconic, conversational delivery, and I try to bring that into Dreamless. He’s willing to let songs take their own time. His book of lyrics, Nights of Passed Over, ranks right up there with T.S. Eliot for me. It’s otherworldly.

Crustcake: Minneapolis seems like an odd city musically -- you don’t hear about it much, but then someone like Prince or something like Husker Du will pop up. What do you make of the music community there?

Strand: That’s weird, because all of our local rags around here constantly write about how Minneapolis is seen as some sort of hotbed of cool shit. We don’t really fit in to the scene very much. Part of it is because we rarely play live, but another part of it is the gross favoritism. The same bands get written about every year. When those bands break up or fail, the bands their members started afterward get written up. It’s a really shitty brand of local nepotism. We do have some great challenging bands here, but they’re never talked about.

I’ve got some serious personal issues with the Minneapolis scene. Ben and Matt might not agree with me, but I don’t see much of a sense of community here at all. A lot of the local musicians I come into contact with are too busy trying to top the next person in sardonicism to really commit to anything musically interesting or exploratory. I’ve tried to get lots of things going with people, to no avail. It always comes back to Ben and me. At this point I’m fine with it -- I just won’t inflate the aura here and tell you it’s awesome when it’s really pretty interconnected and exclusive.

Zientara: Minneapolis is just like any other large city, I suppose. There is a ton of music happening here every day, and most of it is utter shit, so I try to focus on the good stuff. People here are generally really well informed, and there are lots of people with good taste, but the "scene" if you can narrow it down, is pretty focused on jangly indie folk-pop-rock, and getting shows is all about who you know and how many people you can get to come drink beer. The local college radio station is pretty cool, and we have a big-time "Alternative" Public Radio station, but neither has any place for 10-plus-minute shoegaze-metal pieces. Both of them play the 5:26 radio edit of [Sonic Youth's] "The Diamond Sea" instead of the album cut, if you take my meaning. Still, there are a few labels who are putting out interesting and challenging underground music, Small Doses and Roaratorio are two that come to mind. And there are a handful of speakeasy places that host the more esoteric locals and touring bands. There is a small but proud contingent of bands that get very little respect locally, but have really good responses from national and international audiences. I hope we can be part of that group.

Strand: Don’t forget about Taiga Records! Gorgeous vinyl and packaging.

Crustcake: Who did the cover art? How does it fit in aesthetically with the record?

Strand: It’s by Scott Candey of Crionic Mind. He had done the artwork for a record that Ben and I put out on our label, Yith Recordings. I liked it, so I wrote to him and asked him to do the Dreamless layout. I gave him some of the elements I wanted (razor blades, faeries, slit wrists) and let him go for it. The inner artwork is sort of my tribute to The MelvinsLysol record -- all those roses overlapping, creating visual psychedelia. I think Scott’s work captures the tone of the record pretty well -- it’s definitely got a hazy, vague sadness and anger to it, and the idea of suicide is everywhere.

Joe Beres actually did a rework for us when R. Loren picked the album up -- he didn’t give himself a credit, but he designed the insert, which makes a really nice contrast to all the chilly colors.

Crustcake: How did you hook up with Handmade Birds to release the record?

Strand: Chance. R. Loren heard our material, got in touch, and it went from there. I love his work in Pyramids, and he’s just an obsessive seeker of music. I’m really pleased to be working with such an amazing label. I love non-genre specific labels and Handmade Birds really embraces that. R. Loren is really supportive of what we’re doing musically, and it’s an ideal collaboration for me. We’re on the same label as Our Love Will Destroy The World and Lovesliescrushing, two of my musical idols. It’s like being a little kid. It blows my mind whenever I think about it.

Crustcake: Have y'all begun working on new Dreamless material already? And will it take another five years to be released?

Strand: The new album is written. At least the music -- I haven’t thought much about lyrics yet. I’ve got about ten songs, all more or less in the same vein as All This Sorrow. If anything it’s a little heavier and slightly faster, but there’s some stuff I had prepared for a split with Wrath of the Weak that never came out because I couldn’t get my shit together and scrape up the money to record -- those songs are definitely in the slow, sludged out realm. Those’ll be on the new one, too. We just need to rehearse it.

As far as a time frame for a new record, I really don’t know. Matt’s moving to LaCrosse to pursue his medical career so we’ll have to get a new drummer and I’m pretty exacting about the type of person we need for it. There aren’t many people that could play the way he does. Maybe I’m just biased because I’ve worked with him for so long. Ideally, I have a couple long form songs that I’d like to record this summer with Matt and put out on vinyl, but it all comes down to time and money. Ben and Matt both work as well as go to school, they’ve got young kids, I’m in school -- it’s really difficult to find the time. Real life is in opposition to a lot of creativity.

Zientara: Like I mentioned earlier, our motto refers directly to our laziness, but it’s really more about having other things going on in our lives. And the recording process is so rewarding to us, that if we can get such gratification there, why go further? The process of creating and refining music, and the energy we can feel between each other while we’re recording is what it’s all about for us. We've got hours of material recorded over various projects -- for Yog-Sothoth, we have a full-length record, a double CD, and enough material to fill another 60 minutes, recorded, mastered, and ready to go.

The problem is that once we've recorded the stuff, we don't know what to do with it. Maybe we all still feel a little wary because, of the 1000 Kafkas Dreams CDs we pressed 11 years ago, probably over 700 are still in boxes at our houses, and a bunch of the rest are languishing in the warehouse of one of the local CD shops. I think I can speak for Cory when I say we're lousy at self-promotion. I wish I could go the whole DIY way and achieve excellent results and accolades, but I just can't.

R. Loren is the model of a driven person. He knows how to get things done. The guy has so many irons in the fire, and the drive to make each one turn into something excellent. That's why this is such an ideal pairing; his drive lights a fire under our asses. I think we'll have something recorded by the end of the summer. I've got all of Cory's demos, and I can't wait to get to work on them.

I know that the music will have the same immediacy as the first record, because, even though we're going to have more time to get a feel for the material before it's recorded, the process of recording inspires us, causes us to accept chance, and challenges us to bring our best stuff to the table, especially as it regards overdubs. Everything I played as an overdub for All This Sorrow was figured out moments ahead of the recording; it's all serendipity, or inspiration, or whatever you want to call it.

Maybe we’ll find a similar passion for playing live, but we’ll never, ever be one of those bands that plays 3 or 4 shows a month, in our own city. I think somewhere around 3 or 4 a year (unless we’re on tour) would be ideal for us all.

Crustcake: Do you envision Dreamless doing a soundtrack?

Strand: I’m actually in film school, so a soundtrack probably isn’t far off. I’ve composed music for some of my short films; one of the pieces I ended up liking enough to actually rework into a Dreamless track. It’ll be on the next record. As far as doing music for other people, I’m open to it if the right projects and collaborators present themselves. A director asked if I’d compose some music for a film he’s making this summer, but it’s a comedy, so I didn’t do it. I just can’t get into that mentality. It isn’t the aesthetic I work in.

Crustcake: What kind of film are you looking to get into?

Strand: I’m going into cinematography, so I’ll probably end up freelancing after I graduate. There’s actually good opportunity here for filming live shows…as far as feature films, I’d just like to work with people who have a similar vision of things. I’m interested in ideas of philosophy, violence, transcendence…I love nature and landscape photography and I incorporate it into my own films-hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to do it professionally. It’s all about collaboration, which worries me given my introversion and anxiety problems, but you end up having a decent understanding of who you’d pair well with. The director/cinematographer relationship is quite focused and intense-you have to respect and challenge each other and really be working towards the same vision. I’m not interested in bland, action-oriented shit or comedy. It’s got to have feeling, and it can’t be afraid of it.

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