Since 2009, Lexington, KY’s Dream The Electric Sleep have been honing their particular brand of progressive rock into something approaching a fine art. With influences as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Screaming Trees and Radiohead imbuing their craft, the band’s development took a major step forward last year with the release of the latest record Beneath the Dark Wide Sky, a compelling mix of tight songcraft, big melodies and focussed tunesmithery.
On the eve of their European tour, including their first ever visit to the United Kingdom, Ghost Cult caught up with vocalist and guitarist Matt Page to talk touring, writing and band life in general.
GC: This is your first UK show (8th Feb at Our Black Heart, London). What are you most looking forward to?
We are most excited about meeting our London supporters! We try to express how much we appreciate all of their support via social media, but there is nothing better than seeing them face to face and meeting with them for a concert.
GC: What are the best and worst things about being on the road?
The best thing would be meeting supporters, the worst thing is being home sick. It’s a trade off. It’s an adventure meeting so many new people, making new connections, seeing new places, but you always miss the simple things from home. For me it flips from moment to moment. I get really excited about the prospect of all that lay ahead but also a longing for finding my way home again.
GC: How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard anything by you?
I would describe us as a band that shares in the same spirit as Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. That doesn’t mean we sound like that per se but rather that I think the things that motivated those groups motivate us. There is a sort of searching in Floyd and Zeppelin and I feel like we are poking around in the same musical, lyrical and artistic territories.
GC: What’s next for you once the European tour has finished?
We are set to begin writing again! It is something we love to do. We may work on more getting on some more tours later in the year but our primary focus will be writing new material.
GC: What are your New Year’s resolutions? Will you stick to them?
I think if the band were to share a New Year’s resolution it would be to reduce the amount of stress and pressure we feel in our lives overall. DTES has not been immune to these pressures and it makes the project more arduous than it needs to be. Part of it is knowing better what we want from the project and setting clear goals. We have pushed really hard the last few years and though we have found great successes, we have paid an emotional cost and we really need to protect this musical space better to ensure it can continue moving forward without burning out.
GC:What’s the most rock’n’roll thing you have done?
I would like to say we have done some crazy things as a band, but the truth is we just love writing together. We aren’t rambunctious kids anymore and by the time DTES started in 2009 we were really ready to get down to being dedicated musicians and artists… so boring! I know!
GC:How do you decide what songs to include/exclude from your live set?
There are a couple of things. First, when we set out to write an album, we don’t worry about whether we can play it live or not. That has been a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we are free to make an album whatever we want it to be, but on the other, it can exclude certain songs from live sets. After figuring that out, a song has to be fun to play. Some songs are fun to listen to but not as fun to play. It takes us quite a long time to parse this out and it has made putting live shows together more difficult.
GC: Who are you listening to at the moment?
I recently got into the new Alabama Shakes album and the new Devin Townsend stuff… both are great!
GC: What do you get up to when you’re not writing/playing music?
I live on a farm so getting out and doing work is actual really fun for me… planting trees, cleaning up the land, repairing old buildings… how’s that for rock n roll!
GC: Tell us a secret…..
We have an unreleased album that was recorded before DTES was fully formed… it’s a cool album and maybe, just maybe it will be released soon 😉