Winter, winter on the way and our little music project is now two years old. To celebrate this humble achievement of Indieterria, we have reached over the Big Pond to speak to Dream Phases – a band that brings back the most exciting and creative genre in guitar driven music – psychedelic rock. If you look around carefully, you can notice some sort of renaissance on the psychedelia front happening in the last 12 months – with bands such as The Naked Party and Hooveriii in the States and The Cosmics, The Surrenders or The Strawberries in the UK.
It was a pleasure to interview Brandon Graham – vocalist and mastermind behind Dream Phases. Great story teller, meticulous in his answers and his enthusiasm for music is contagious. We hope you will like this chapter of Indieterria. Read on and dig it.
Brandon Graham (vox, guitar)
Shane Graham (drums)
Keveen Baudouin (guitar)
Dylan Nelson (bass)
Anthony Marks (keys)
Dream Phases are recognized as one of the hottest new psychedelia acts in America. Obscure Sound described you as “hypnotic melodies of vintage psych-folk and rock with a contemporary pop charm”. Please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.
Brandon Graham (Dream Phases) : Thank you. I’m Brandon Graham and I write, record and produce the Dream Phases music as well as sing and play guitar live. We are a group of close friends playing rock n roll based out of Los Angeles. The band is comprised of myself, my brother Shane Graham on drums, Keveen Baudouin on guitar, Dylan Nelson on bass and Anthony Marks on keys.
You have toured Europe in September this year; playing 12 dates across seven countries, with three shows in the UK accompanied by The Blank Tapes. How do you remember the tour? Any stories to tell?
Brandon Graham: Yeah the tour was fantastic, I know we all would like to come back as soon as possible. Everyone in the band was really happy to be travelling around Europe, it was some of my band mates first time in Europe and was quite the experience. There was definitely a lot of highlights and fond memories but one of the funniest was playing a show in northern France. I’m not going to be specific about names but we played a small city in France, that was really beautiful. They don’t get a lot of rock bands, let alone bands from Los Angeles, so everyone was extra excited. The owner of the place we played and stayed at was especially excited, and he treated us fantastic. We probably had the best meal of tour that night. Anyway as soon as we arrived the owner started pouring us drink after drink after drink, and also having them himself as well. As the night wore on he told us, ‘just wait until we close the bar, then the real party will start’. So we are waiting and wondering what is going to happen, but about 5 minutes later we found him totally passed out, and well before he was supposed to close the bar. It was awesome and hilarious, that was a great night. Another memory is that my brother and I literally walked around Paris all night long after our show, it was beautiful to see the city that way. One of the most special parts of the tour was going to visit Keveen’s parents home. Keveen is French and grew up in the northern part of south France. We’ve been playing music together, in different bands, for over 8 years and it was awesome to see where he grew up and to meet his family. We stayed at his parents` house for 2 and a half days and his mom made us two four-five course meals a day. It was unbelievable.
We are impressed by how quickly the band works on new material. You started in 2017 and that year seen release of your debut EP “Maybe Tomorrow” on March 28th. In 2018 you have released a standalone single “Easy Love” on April 20th and quickly followed up by another EP “Clear Skies” on September 4th. Each release comes also in different formats: CD, vinyl, cassette, digital download. You must be the hardest working band in US!
Brandon Graham: I don’t know about that, but yes we do try to work as hard as we can, mostly so we can continue recording and making more music. The goal is to constantly evolve what we are doing and to try different things. By the time we put something out we are probably onto something else entirely. It can take a while before the music actually hits the public, especially with vinyl releases. We have two albums of material right now that will be coming out over the next several months, one at the end of this year and our proper debut album in spring. We’ll be getting the vinyl version of “Clear Skies” anytime now, and it is combined now with, “Maybe Tomorrow”. The vinyl should be out within a few weeks on Nomad Eel Records.
Brandon, you are known for your work with other bands – Avid Dancer, Blank Tapes, Nacosta. Do you think being involved in so many different project had a positive influence on Dream Phases?
Brandon Graham: It definitely has. It’s opened my eyes to so many different styles and songs, and ways to go about working. It’s also helped keep me focused and budget my time accordingly, to juggle playing in a lot of bands. I’ve learned something valuable from every band that I’ve played with. It has also helped me as a musician enormously, by learning so many different writers songs and parts.
We want to ask you about our favorite track – “To Walk Away”. It has this Beatles-sque quality to it and such moving lyrics. Tell us where was this song recorded and what is it about?
Brandon Graham: To Walk Away was recorded a couple of different times. Although this is not what it is about, I wrote the song actually as a reaction to when Tom Petty died. I had been listening to his music a lot right before he died, and learning more and more about the simplicity of his lyrics and music. He was an idol of mine growing up, and I was lucky enough to work with him a couple years ago with a band I was filling in with. For a very short time he was a mentor. Right after he died last year I wrote that song and one more, that I have yet to record. The lyric is dealing with the end of a long relationship I was in, and facing the fact that I had to move on, that it was time to let go and to walk away from it. Most of the “Clear Skies” EP is dealing with that time, both shortly before and after the break up. Heartbreak definitely does inspire, I wrote a ton of songs about that.
Dream Phases are sometimes compared to the Naked Party. Are you familiar with their repertoire? Would you agree that there are similarities between both bands?
Brandon Graham: I actually am not familiar with them, but now I’m definitely curious and will look them up. I’m kind of excited to hear them!
We know you have debut album to be released in Spring 2019. Are there any secrets that you can reveal for this interview? What can we expect from the record?
Brandon Graham: We’ve actually been working on it on and off since last December when we recorded most of the basic tracks, and some of the songs date back to my original demo album from two years ago now. We are about to record all the final overdubs and then start mixing it at the beginning of January. Most of the songs, but not all, have been in our live set for a while now, so anyone that has seen us will know some of them. It’s about time to get those songs on tape. The music will encompass similar territory as what we’ve put out so far, but there will be a few dips into some noise pop and shoegaze. Lyrically it is dealing with similar themes as the “Clear Skies” EP, as well as an influence of living in Los Angeles and playing in the local music scene. I can’t wait to finish it!
There is certainly a psychedelic revival on the indie circuit in the UK with acts like The Surrenders, Raptor, As Mamas or The Cosmics leading the way. Would you like to recommend some new bands from across the Big Pond for our readers? Who is on your psychedelic rock play list at the moment?
Brandon Graham: Yeah I’m stoked that there are so many rad bands making music right now, seemingly everywhere. Some of my favorite local Los Angeles, or California bands are Sugar Candy Mountain, Levitation Room, Cosmonauts, Vinyl Williams, Send Medicine, Cool Ghouls, Hooveriii, and Maston just to name a few. There is seriously no shortage of rad bands operating at this moment. A couple British bands I love are TOY and Ulrika Spacek.
This will be the most unoriginal question you will hear all week – but we got to ask. If you could record a song with anyone alive or dead – who would you choose for the task?
Brandon Graham: That’s actually a really tough one because there are some many people I’d love to record with. I guess it would be a toss – up between Elliott Smith and Jimi Hendrix, I love both of them and their studio work and they were both going further and further out in the studio when they died. Also Joe Meek, we could of made some tripped dark voodoo-isa rock `n` roll. For someone today I’d really like to work with Nicolas Vernhes for his work with Deerhunter and Animal Collective. Also would of been amazing to have Geoff Emerick engineer a song, and also be produced by Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher would of been incredible. This is the toughest of these questions for sure!
We are hoping that once your album comes out you will return to the UK for more live shows. But in the mean time – where can people see you play? Any upcoming tours?
Brandon Graham: If we have a future, we will return to Europe (laughs). At the moment we are done with shows for the year, but we will be announcing three shows for January, with one on Martin Luther King Day, January 21st at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA), which will be rad one! Then we will do some US touring in Spring once our record comes out.
The band can be followed on social media:
If you fancy additional bit of reading about the band, please check out these excellent articles:
That`s all for now. Vanadian Avenue gives Dream Phases a stamp of approval and we hope that you too enjoyed the music and discovering new acts with us. We can only hope that 2019 will prove to be a lucky year and Dream Phases will once again visit our side of the Pond.
Just imagine them tearing the roof off Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham or Night & Day in Manchester. Yep, we knew you will all agree with us.
Happy party season,