Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Interview with The Dream Circuit

The Dream Circuit are a post-psychedelic rock band from Stoke-on-Trent in the UK. They fuse textural audio landscapes with songs of perception and observation.

Formed in 2001, the five-piece band produced a string of impressive releases before going on hiatus to pursue other projects. In 2009 they returned to the project- and began working with the renowned producer & visual artist Jon Aldersea –HRH-Prog-logo creating the perfect mix of crafted visuals together with hard edged sounds.

RAMzine caught up with the band at this year’s HRH Prog Festival at the Magna Centre, Rotherham to chat about their new work, and about re-releasing their older material.

RAMzine: Dream Circuit is a re-booted project … give us a little potted history.

“Yes, it is kind of ‘re-booted’. We had been playing in the late 90’s – for four years pretty solidly. Andy left, but the guys carried on for another three years – then knocked it on the head for about five years. Then we said, for fun, lets get together for a one off. We got ourselves into the studio at Stone and started playing again. We almost felt like a tribute band – of ourselves! It was fun. It took us a while to learn to play our own tunes! It was great to try to get back to where we were before.”

“We have got a few new tracks since then. We sort of took everything we had got – and probably for the first time ever … we were quite honest about our work and songs . We might say something like “Actually I don’t like that song” or possibly “That doesn’t work.” We cut down on some songs – they were quite good … but they were possibly not as good as our other songs – and we added to to our overall sound by doing some new tracks.”

“We think we are much better now than we have ever been. It’s a much tighter set. We have worked a bit more on how everything flows – we’ve worked at it a bit more. It comes to its own conclusion in terms of the way it feels – it feels like a natural evolvement – because songs kind of just get dropped because they may not be working – in terms of the audience. The [Audience reaction ] affects how we have perceived your own material.”

“Then we got Jon (Aldersea) in who is our motion-graphic artist (and a friend of Dave’s.) He was really interested in what we were doing. He said, “I’d like to make you some videos.” We didn’t really know what to expect. We did a private party gig and we recorded it, and gave [the tape] to him. We said, “Here’s something to work from.” And, really, we were expecting some fractals and maybe some generic psychedelic stuff. But he made some amazing motion graphic videos that were completely tailored to each song – with ‘count ins’ – and visuals changing at certain points in the song. We were blown away. We started using them as visual projections as we we played. We got a really positive response from the audience. Many said it really added that visual element.”

“Some of the things we play are quite complicated, and so we can’t ‘jump around’ on stage – we have to concentrate on what we’re doing. We may not be the most 563799_527824477263316_1178657229_nexciting band to watch sometimes – so adding that extra visual element gives our music something more – it makes it a show.”

“Jon reacts to our themes and lyrics, and he does a good job of interpreting those – in terms of the audience – we hope that it enhances and helps interpret our ideas. We are very impressed with what he has come up with. His head is going 100mph at all times – with crazy ideas. He’s done our artwork for our posters. But he’s been working with us just because he likes to be part of it.”

“It is quite a challenge to for us to do the visuals on stage. We have to have an operator, for example. But it really does add something else.”

“We’d like to think that our songs are able to stand up alone … but the visuals give it something extra – especially on the instrumental stuff. People say that they feel that the whole thing – music and visuals working together – comes across like a journey.”

RAMzine: What does the definition Prog Rock mean to you?

“Well, we would consider ourselves to be a Psychedelic Rock band rather than a prog rock band. We think our music is a modern take on the late 60’s psychedelia. In many ways its hard to categorise us – which is a good thing – because it makes us sound not wholly like anything else.”

“But because we are not easy to categorise, in the past we had have problems – perhaps when we have been trying to get a gig or trying to get on at a festival – we have been asked “What sort of sound do you do?” And as soon as we say psychedelic or prog – we get “Well, that’s not what we’re after.”

“But that is not necessarily fair because some things we do are quite loud – and [our music] is quite ‘hard’. We remember seeing Porcupine Tree at Download for the first time and thinking – ‘Wow this could be a disaster’ – but it went down very well. We would like to think that we can do that same thing – but we have got to get the people to hear us first – and that’s not necessarily been an easy thing to do.”

RAMzine: Tell us about your collection of tracks for a new CD – you have put something together which includes some tracks from the past haven’t you?

“Yes, Andy put together a compilation. [Andy: Yeah! Blame me.] But it is a good representation of what we have achieved so far – it is a good overall selection of tracks. It possibly could have done with a new one on there – but we didn’t really have the material at the time. What we wanted was something that was as close as we could get (with what we had available) to what we are like now, and that would also tick people’s boxes. So, for example, we don’t often play ‘Gibbous Moon’ live but we put it onto the collection CD because it has got a cracking lead break right at the beginning – you have only got 30 seconds to catch someone’s attention, and this will capture the imagination.”

“The oldest thing on there is probably ‘Psychedelic Order’ but it’s a new recording of the old song. The latest stuff we are trying to write, we are doing by dropbox now. We all live in different locations, and so the only way we can get stuff together efficiently is by dropbox. We have put one track together so far using this method. We all rehearse in one room – but we record at a distance.”

“We are very critical of our own material. The stuff we are doing right now is probably the best stuff we have ever done. Well, it has got potential. Let’s put it that way. We used to spend a lot more time on the old stuff … to perfect it . But, hopefully, we will have enough time to focus time on new stuff too.”

“We want to generate a body of material that we [all] like and that cannot be criticised too much. On some of the older stuff, for example, there are things that are wrong – we would have done things differently. Even though we like things with a bit of a ‘raw edge’ to them (because that gives it something else that sets it apart) we still aim to create a perfect release.”

RAMzine: What is next for Dream Circuit?

“Well, we have got about six new tracks – so far – for a brand new album. It will be at least 6 months, though, before it is ready. But we have started work on it. We have been putting some of these new songs into the live sets over the last few months. We are playing two of these new songs at HRH Prog. We are getting some great feedback – from audiences – for our new songs.”

“We have also probably got about three albums worth of older material that needs to be re-recorded and re-presented. We are going to be kept very busy!”

Thank you Dream Circuit!

Neil Mach
Neil Mach
RAMzine Senior Writer - With a career spanning 30 years author / journalist Neil Mach is an expert on the music business and is a reliable guide. He especially loves heavy metal, prog & blues.

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