Indieterria meets Dream Phases

Dear Readers,

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.

Band logo and European tour poster by Lucy Faery
https://www.facebook.com/lucyfaery

Dream Phases

Brandon Graham (vox, guitar)
Shane Graham (drums)
Keveen Baudouin (guitar)
Dylan Nelson (bass)
Anthony Marks (keys)

Brandon Graham – the voice of Dream Phases
Photo by Michael Haight

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.

Ready to take over the world? We hope so!
Photo by Michael Haight

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.

This Californian five piece is regarded by blogs and music journalists as one of the most important bands of the genre at the moment.
Photo by Michael Haight

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.

The band in monochrome
Photo by Michael Haight

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.

new psychedelia rising – Dream Phases
Photo Michael Haight

The band can be followed on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/DreamPhases/
https://twitter.com/DreamPhases
https://soundcloud.com/dreamphases
https://dreamphases.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/dreamphases/
https://www.songkick.com/artists/8696233-dream-phases
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dream-phases/1215078259
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6TN3btKQrSRW2KG6D7LpID?si=JygSTm0RT4SWseqUMHoEmw

If you fancy additional bit of reading about the band, please check out these excellent articles:

https://www.grimygoods.com/2018/06/20/dream-phases/
http://lastdaydeaf.com/exclusive-track-premiere-dream-phases-clear-skies/
http://larecord.com/news/2018/09/18/video-premiere-dream-phases-to-walk-away

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,

Mal/Rita

Indieterria meets Raptor

Hi, hello!

It is true that good AnR falls in love with a band at least once a week. After all, this is what we do – our job is to find a new talent, recognize its potential and bring it to the public/record label/press attention. We are constantly on the move. From one venue to the other, from Soundcloud to Youtube to Bandcamp. Our feelings change like a kaleidoscope. A band we saw few weeks earlier and we thought were rubbish will win our hearts at the next gig. A singer we heard today and we thought was excellent, will be deemed pale and stale next week when somebody better comes along.

Panta Rhei, a great philosopher once wrote. Everything has to flow, change and improve. In normal circumstances, we will come to see a band several times before we make up our minds. One bad gig will not cross our your chances, several good ones will only strengthen our resolution to help.  Sometimes, however, magic happens. This is what we wait for, why we roam the darkest, smallest dive – bars and open mic nights. Very, very rarely, a band will enter the stage and within 10 seconds we know we have found a gem. It happened to us with The Blinders, The Americas and Children of the State. And with Raptor.

Raptor self titled EP

The first time we saw them live, it was an electrifying feeling. Like a thunderstruck or a solid punch in the guts. Your hair stands on ends, there is a chill running up and down your spine. You gasp in an absolute awe, with your mouth open and you watch the pretty colors and listen to the most beautiful music in your life. We exaggerate a bit, but the feeling of surprise and amazement is real – this is an act you know you will be working with. Call it a sixth sense – we can spot a good material for rock and roll greatness from a long way and assess them in a matter of seconds.

And once we are in love, we do everything what’s in our power to help. In majority of cases, we invite the chosen act to sit down with us and talk about their beginnings, music, influences and plans for the future. We learn more and more about the band. We research, gather links and materials about them. We become experts. This is the only way we can help – you need to know the band like a back of your hand. Talking to Kurt and Adam Fletcher was a pure pleasure – another proof that our intuition was correct.

Ladies and gents, please welcome the masters of psychedelic rock to our humble blog.

We give you, Raptor!

Brothers Adam and Kurt Fletcher

Official bio:

Raptor are a psychedelic rock trio comprised of brothers Kurt (guitar/vox) and Adam Fletcher (drums) and Nick Osborne (bass) based in Bristol. The band formed in the quiet depths of rural Herefordshire, released their first offering simply entitled “E.P” on Friday, 13th February 2015 to critical acclaim, showcasing their fuzz driven guitar grooves and hard-hitting drums. June 2017 saw the release of Raptor’s double single “Ultraviolet/Haight Street” that has since received raving reviews from BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester, Bristol Live Magazine, Bristol 24/7 and Rock Radio UK among others. Their electric performances won them acclaim from Scott Holiday (Rival Sons) and Verden Allen (Mott The Hoople) and allowed the band to open for Robert Plant, Mick Ralphs (Bad Company) and Dr Feelgood.  In May 2018, the band signed to Don’t Tell Anyone Records (DTA1) and their new single “Dynamite (is Freedom)” was released on 31st July 2018. Raptor have currently completed writing of their full-length debut album and the record is set to be released this autumn via DTA1.

According to your biography, Raptor is a trio consisting of two brothers and a friend. You formed in 2014 in Leominster but currently reside in Bristol. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of our blog.

The sleeve to Raptor`s debut single Double A side Ultraviolet/Haigh Street

Kurt Fletcher: Hi guys! We are Raptor and the band is made up of me (guitar/vocals) and my brother Adam (drums), currently we’ve got our friend Nick Osborne on the bass.

Psychedelic rock seems to have a certain fondness for reptiles. There was T.Rex, Thin Lizzy, Tuatara and now, there is Raptor. Did you chose the name to fit right into this trend or was there any other reason to come up with it?

Adam Fletcher: I’ve never really though of that! Kurt once told me the name appeared one lunchtime in his alphabetti-spaghetti (laughing)

2015 saw the release of your 5-track extended play curiously entitled “E.P.”. To make it even more unusual, you have decided to publish it on Friday the 13th. It received very favourable reviews. Can you tell us more about it?

Kurt Fletcher: We spent a long time searching for a studio and decided to record at The Forge in Warwickshire with Tom Gittins. Tom’s place is really cool and was  haunted by a friendly ghost called Millie! She’d mysteriously move the camera that was facing Adam whilst we were recording drums on Get Down…. Spooky!

Raptor fans must have the patience of a saint, as you made them wait for nearly two years before you released any new material. Your next double single “Ultraviolet/Haigh Street” was very different than your debut. It was more aggressive, more edgy and less bluesy. Your style also evolved considerably  and we can hear obvious prog-rock inspirations such as early Genesis or  even Van Der Graaf Generator! Where were you doing during the break? Practicing, getting better and recording?

Brothers Adam and Kurt Fletcher

Kurt Fletcher: Thank you! To be honest it has all felt like a really natural progression as both before and after our EP release we were gigging hard. We were only 17 and 19 so Ad was starting college studying studio engineering and I was about to go to the BIMM Bristol Uni studying all aspects of music performance.  Because we had such a gap between recording we listened to so much different music – we made a conscious decision to really push what we were doing in the studio, Adam was getting more into production while I was getting more interested in songwriting.

Your new sound has been compared to King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, Jefferson Airplane, King Crimson with a lot of Oasis and psychedelic Arctic Monkeys thrown into the mix. Are those your influences? What type of music are you listening to at this moment?

Adam: I’ve been listening to some Queens of The Stone Age, Tame Impala, Joe Walsh(Eagles), Nirvana and a little funk like James Brown and The Meters… lost of very different genres.. all far too loud.

Kurt: I’ve blasting a lot of Frank Zappa, Uncle Acid and David Bowie. Tom Waits, Demob Happy, The Stones and Santana are favourites of ours.

Raptor received praises from the biggest names in the industry such as Scott Holiday of Rival Sons, Verden Allen of Mott The Hoople and even legendary Robert Plant. He invited you to open for him. Do you remember this gig well?

Kurt Fletcher: It’s always amazing to meet people you respect so highly and it’s an honour to play with them! Scott and Verden are good friend of ours, we’ve had some great nights out with Verden, he still parties as hard as back in the day! Go check him out playing blistering Hammond organ in the All the Young Dudes vid on YouTube.

Adam Fletcher: The Robert Plant gig was so fun! He lives relatively close to where we grew up, there were rumours all the time about Planty showing up at someone’s gig. I remember on the night half way through a drum solo turning around and seeing Robert Plant watching me through the curtains… I lost my mind. He graced the stage after us and opened with When The Levee Breaks.. it doesn’t get any better than that! I spoke to him after and he was so kind and great conversation…. what a night!

Cover of Dynamite (Is Freedom) – Raptor`s current single

Just last month, you have been signed to a proper independent label. Congratulations! How did your co-operation began?

Kurt Fletcher: Alex Andrews, who runs Don’t Tell Anyone Records (with his business partner Sam) asked us to play a show with his band Stone Cold Fiction in Bristol this April and we got on great! After meeting with Alex again we started making plans. DTA1 is an independent label and is all about helping one another out – He put out King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s record last year and released our new single ‘Dynamite (Is Freedom)’ in July this year.

You have new record deal and a brand new single “Dynamite (is Freedom) out right now. What is the song about?

Kurt Fletcher:  It’s difficult to give Dynamite (Is Freedom) a direct meaning as it was written over a period of months – soaking up different inspirations along the way. There are cynical parts to it as well as elements of dystopia, it talks about accepting the situation you are in and learning to come to terms with things.

Did you have fun recording it?

Adam Fletcher: Recording this record has been some of the most fun we’ve ever had and we are extremely pleased with what we’ve done. It was recorded at Bink Bonk with Mat Samson (Turbowolf/Kasabian) in Bristol with analogue and digital gear… We  chose to track live without a metronome to capture the sound and energy of our live show. Mat is as mental as we are which meant for a lot of sonic experimentation using a collection of vintage amplifiers, effects and audio rarities including vocal mics owned by The Beatles used on their last three albums (and the rooftop gig), guitars amps owned by Motörhead and a Reverb unit owned by Pink Floyd and used on The Wall!

If we’d like to see you live, where do we go? Do you have anything lined up?

Kurt Fletcher: We’re going on tour at the end of September with Stone Cold Fiction & Don’t Tell Anyone Records so you can catch us across the UK! Here are the dates:

Wed 26th September – London – The Lighthouse
Thur 27th September – Bradford Upon Avon
Fri 28th September – Leeds – Verve Bar
Sat 29th September – Newcastle – Little Buildings
Sun 30th September – Manchester – Wangies

What can we expect from Raptor in the next few months. Go on and surprise us!

Kurt Fletcher: We’re set to release an album this September, other that that we’ll be collecting strange gear, drinking around Bristol and working on new songs!

Social media:

Website: http://www.raptorliveandloud.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raptortheband
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/raptortheband
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raptortheband
Bandcamp: https://raptortheband.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://www.soundcloud.com/raptor-the-band
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV7i9Wyx1ko
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5nkHHW45RyoYv10FmjpaRD

We are going to see Raptor play live in Manchester on the last date of their tour, so please be prepared for an massive update to this interview. There will be pictures, filmed performances and maybe a flash video-interview!

We love coming back to the Kingdom of Mancunia and we know we will have a fantastic time.

Please join us and have a good day .
Until we meet again,

R+M