Look up from your phone and listen to The Dream Life’s zesty, emosh track “Lonely”.
In a world filled with social media and our eyes constantly glued to some sort of screen, The Dream Life shine a hopeful light on human interaction with their new track, “Lonely”.
This Manchester-based foursome are a collective of pals who are dedicated to living, breathing, producing and partying together – that does sound like the dream life. The group consists of Cleo, Baby, Danny and Pablo, who all instantly clicked over their mutual adoration for music and a time when life was simpler. The group is a pensive bunch, who wears their hearts on their sleeves, and are quite opinionated and woeful about today’s world. They started scribbling down lyrics in an old studio in Ancoats just for jokes, but then realised that they might actually be onto something, so they packed their bags and moved in together to become one giant party/music machine.
Their debut single “Lonely” is an ode to ‘the distracted generation’, the kids who are “constantly distracted by what’s going on elsewhere and never focused on the here and now”. They feel as though social media is actually making people feel lonelier than ever. They’re preaching that getting likes is great but they’re not going to keep you warm at night. In the song, Cleo powerfully and soulfully belts out gloomy musings against a light-hearted, atmospheric synth and guitar track. This song will leave the same bittersweet taste in your mouth that social media does; it’s sweet for a second, but afterwards you’re left feeling a bit lost. This powerhouse group not only makes their own music, but they also write, create artwork, videos and they created their own label, ‘Matter’.
“It’s easy to become addicted to social media” the group say of the record’s main theme. “It’s easier to check your Instagram rather than ‘get up out of bed’. “It’s easier to text the friend you’ve not seen for a few months rather than meet up for coffee. It’s easier to share your condolences with a ‘like’ than to send someone flowers. It’s far too easy to keep coming back to, hoping that there will be something new today.
How did you guys meet? What drew you to each other that made you want to form an act?
We met in Manchester through mutual friends a few years ago and pretty much started writing together straight away. It worked so well. We were fortunate enough to be able to start making a living writing pop songs for other artists (which is mad), but it’s such a weird thing to write songs you might not even like and lose control over them. After working together for a bit, we noticed that we’d accidentally developed a really distinct and exciting sound, and one that we all felt was completely our own. The Dream Life was born out of conversations we’d have about how depressing the modern world can be and the urge to shout about it through music.
Describe your sound to us in five words?
Euphoric sadness for the soul
What do you think each of you individually bring to the band? And how does it all come together to create The Dream Life?
There are so many different aspects to the band, whether it’s the music or the visuals and artwork, we all have a really different skillset and taste so it’s interesting to see how it melds and creates something bigger than us. The boys are great at the technical stuff like tweaking sounds or melodies and can really get lost for hours making the tiniest edits. The girls have a raw energy that is so invaluable when we’ve been in the studio for nine hours and want to kill each other. Let’s just say the boys bring the burgers but the girls bring the French’s mustard sauce.
How did you go about creating your own label, ‘Matter’? What was it like, were there any difficulties?
Well we all work and live in a house just outside Manchester we like to call Matter Studios – we thought since we’re already a writing collective, band and [basically] family we might as well set up a label too.
And it means we can do this independently, at least to begin with, in order to create a unique vision. The way we have it now, we can release whatever song with whatever artwork and video with no time pressure or the minimum requirement to do five albums or something silly like that, so it’s perfect, we only answer to ourselves. It also gives us the opportunity to find exciting new Manchester acts when the time is right; we are always collaborating with loads of different people up at Matter, so it’s only a matter of time.
What is your creative process like when creating visuals for your music? Do you prefer creating visuals over music?
I wouldn’t say prefer. We’re all very creative people who get inspiration for the music from lots of different mediums. The visuals give us a chance to express what we might not be able to express as easily through the music and helps tie the whole thing together. I think collectively we all have a lot of shit we want to get off our chest. We’re all very heart on sleeve and I think The Dream Life gives us a chance to express this in as many ways as we like. It really is a whole other life that we’re creating. A totally new world where we can pretend to be anything and anyone we want and we can feel any way we want to feel.
You guys are fascinated with the distracting, isolating nature of social media. How do you musically portray this view through your songs?
The sound and energy of our music is a bit of a smoke screen; it feels euphoric and uplifting but has an underlying tone of melancholy. It’s the same feeling you get when you check your Instagram or Snapchat, you enjoy it in the moment but it may leave a few bitter thoughts in the back of your mind. We try to capture this emotion in everything we put out, music or otherwise. We’re working on a song right now called Twisted and it’s a monologue about always seeing something better than the good that you already have, and feeling really fucking confused about it. It’s such a pervasive feeling. I’m not sure we’ll ever run out of things to write about.