A Q&A with Nick Wold of DREAMERS
by Spencer Bateman (Computer Science / Music), published March 27th 2016
Meet DREAMERS. They’re a cosmic rock group from Brooklyn who released their latest EP You Are Here just last month, solidifying their own brand of “’70s punk meets power pop” in the process. On March 28, the band will play Cambridge’s Sinclair as headliners of a US tour. Tastemakers caught up with guitarist and lead vocalist Nick Wold to talk jazz roots, space, and the intersection of New Order and Nirvana.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): What was your main inspiration for the EP and your new album?
Nick Wold (NW): You Are Here has worked well because we wrote a lot of stuff about the cosmic perspective and reminding yourself that you are here – to sort of be in the moment. That is why we have a lot of stuff about space and stars. We like to remind ourselves that we are on this little speck of dust in the middle of infinite cosmos, and that makes us forget about petty problems. Playing live is [about] trying to transcend this normal head-space into that more cosmic perspective.
The single “Drugs” is related. It’s about how we are all addicted to our phones and how we are all addicted to social media, and how that affects our lives even though we don’t really perceive any of it at all.
TMM: What brought you into the world of playing music?
NW: I grew up on the Beatles and it was really the greatest music when I was growing up. I also grew up in Seattle surrounded by that whole grunge thing. My big sister was more a part of it, but she showed me the way with Nirvana especially, and just rock ‘n’ roll from the ’60s on through till now.
TMM: Was your sister also a musician?
NW: Nah, she was just in high school when Nirvana was doing their thing. Playing Weezer cassettes around the house when I was younger. I was in a really competitive jazz band when I was in high school. We went to a competition and it was my first time in New York.
TMM: There is a noticeable electronic aspect to your music. Do you have any favorite electronic producers?
NW: Our understanding of the history of electronic music has been more scattered and less educated. We love a lot of the ’80s groups like New Order, Soft Cell, and Joy Division. They brought a new way of doing things to the rock scene. Not too many bands are playing music like that these days, so we have been trying to fill that void a little.
TMM: What was your first band?
NW: All of us have been in bands before, [so] DREAMERS feels like a second draft for all of us. I had played jazz for years, so that was sort of my first experience. When my first rock band broke up, I starting writing songs myself. Me and the manager from that band started DREAMERS.
TMM: You don’t have any embarrassing stories about your first band?
NW: Tons of embarrassment and triumph in my early years. But we started doing rock bands after college, which is a little old. We started later and it was a little more calculated.
TMM: Do you have plans for an album release?
NW: Yes. We have been wanting to release an album for so long, so we are excited that it is finally happening. It will be titled This Album Does Not Exist and we’re hoping for a summer or early fall release. It’s still too soon to call, but it is definitely coming. It’s gonna have some stuff from the EP and a bunch of new stuff. We’ve been recording at Sound City in Los Angeles, which is amazing.
TMM: I have to ask about Sound City. How was recording at that studio, knowing its history?
NW: It was totally crazy. There were great moments in that studio – like, I had a poster of Kurt Cobain in my room when I was younger, so being in the same vocal booth as him was surreal. It definitely gave me chills. It sort of made us all stand up straight and perform a little bit better.
TMM: Do you guys have plans for a vinyl release?
NW: Vinyl is underway for both the album and the EP. But they take so long to get made these days, so it will be a good six months before anything will be on the shelf. People will get the download with the vinyl record, but I don’t know if we’re doing any crazy vinyl magic like Jack White on this record.
TMM: Today it was announced that you’re going to be at Lollapalooza, sharing the bill with groups like Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem. Are you excited?
NW: LCD has always been one of our favorites. There was a lot of talk about them, especially when we were in New York. [And] Radiohead is another group that has had a big impact on our band.
Festivals are fun because we often get rare opportunities at those events. Once we got to share a stage with the Pixies, which was crazy. At Fun Fun Fun Fest we played right before Stone Temple Pilots. We got to see the Strokes at Big Guava Fest, which was fun. Hopefully we are slowly creeping our way up those festival posters.
TMM: How do you guys go about producing or making demos?
NW: I do all of my demos in GarageBand. I try to write fast and get it done, but I’ve never been a great producer because I’ve always been more focused on concepts. It is nice being in LA where you get to work with a bunch of different producers, and occasionally we have kept stuff from demos on the actual song.
TMM: If you could collaborate with anyone…?
NW: I would pace for 10 days trying to decide between John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.
TMM: If you could do anything right now, musically speaking, what would it be?
NW: Honestly, probably what we are doing right now.