Review Fix chats with Dream Alive about their new EP “Drifting Away,” as well as their creative process and goals for the future. With their second release under their belt in less than a year as well, it’s obvious they have their hearts set on superstardom.
For more information on the band, head to www.dreamalivemusic.com
Review Fix: What makes this EP special?
Nik Phoeniks: The EP came to us, words, music and all in a flash of creative inspiration. Three of our members were applying for their artist VISA’s and our time was extremely limited – we wanted to make something special and release new music while this was happening, so we wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the EP in three and a half weeks.
Because there was no time to over-analyze anything, we went with our gut and our trust in each other as we explored different lyrical themes and a more progressive edge with influences as diverse as Pink Floyd, Rush, The Beatles and even symphonic/orchestral music. We’re really proud of how this one turned out and sometimes a severe deadline can be a great thing from a creative standpoint.
Review Fix: What did you learn from the last album? How did it affect this one?
Phoeniks: On the last one we really sat down and worked with each arrangement. Which was great for that album. But for this one, we realized we wanted to capture a raw vibe to it, and the only way that it could have happened was if we wrote and recorded it quickly, and not second-guess anything too much. We trusted each other’s musical instincts, and the result we feel, is a focused effort centered around a very appropriate theme for what we were going through: about the impermanence of time and embracing the present moment.
Review Fix: How did you guys put it together in three weeks?
Phoeniks: Our schedule was pretty crazy, sometimes recording vocals and harmonies for two full songs in a day. We first came up with the idea for the EP, almost as a “wouldn’t it be crazy if…?” But once the creative juices started flowing we just ran with it. ‘Drifting Away’ came in a day or two, words, music and all, and same with “What We’re Looking For.” “War In The Sky” was written by Karan Parikh, and “Time To Go” was a live staple, though we changed the lyrics around quite a bit. We booked the studio (Ultimate Studios in Van Nuys, CA) to record the four songs before some of them were even written, so the pressure was on. We recorded the rest of the instruments at Karan’s ‘K Loft Studios’ in North Hollywood, and Nik did the orchestrations for ‘Drifting Away’ at his home studio. Everything was pieced together organically, and we sometimes went for first takes on things (such as the solo for ‘Drifting Away’ and even some of the vocals/harmonies). A lot of times, those were the most spontaneous and interesting so rather than question it, we just went with what felt right.
Review Fix: What song do you think has the most staying power?
Phoeniks: ‘Drifting Away’ (the title track) is probably the standout track for us. The song idea came to Nik while reading a blog about the top 5 things people regret the most at the end of their lives. That idea of living a life unfulfilled and looking for the meaning of it all is an intriguing topic that really hit home. Inspired, Nik wrote the song the next day, about how searching for validation in external things can make us lose the precious time we have today. The music is almost a 6/8 jazz feel, with progressive and melodic rock influences from bands like Rush, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull and The Beatles, as well as an orchestral bombastic reprise complete with strings! We really feel it showcases that blend of cinematic music and rock we started experimenting with on ‘Before The Dawn’, and that it really feels like a step in a new direction for the band. We rehearsed it the next day, the studio was booked for the following week and away we went! It was definitely the most difficult one to deliver in the studio, yet we were all so inspired by what we were coming up with in that rehearsal that it came together rather quickly. Sometimes just taking a musical idea and running with it can lead to interesting and serendipitous results, and it definitely felt like that with this one.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Phoeniks: We’re super excited to take these songs on the road to people who haven’t heard us live yet. We’ve always loved the energy that comes out when playing shows, as well as feeding off the crowd and plan on doing a lot of that in the coming months, including festivals and out of town shows and hopefully a tour as well. We’re also in talks about doing some shows in India! We have a lot of fans out there that want to see us play and it would be the perfect time to do that as well.
Review Fix: How do you want this EP to be remembered?
Phoeniks: We really wanted this EP to feel like a musical journey. The songs have a diversity of influences on them, but the central theme of time and the message of embracing the present moment is something we’ve all been coming to terms with in our own way. It’s a message I think is universal, something that we can all take away from every day, and was very helpful to us as we raced against the clock to create this particular body of work. We want it to be remembered for how it encapsulates where we are at musically and as people, which can and often does change and evolve between albums (as it should!). But we really strove to capture the raw energy of that on this one, and we really hope fans enjoy it as much as we did making it.
Review Fix: Why should someone pick this up?
Phoeniks: This album feels like an evolution of influences. It captures some of the melodic and bombastic aspects of the classic era of rock, but we really tried to go into new territory with our sound, and we feel it has a contemporary and fresh feel to it as a result. This is one that I think can appeal to fans of both new and old rock and roll.