Cumbrian natives, The Lucid Dream are constantly shifting and expanding their sound to reach new dimensions. ‘Actualisation’, their fourth album, brings together techno-punk, groovy house, and a little bit of jungle á la jungle’s Jamaican roots. You can buy it now via the band’s own label, Holy Are You Recordings. Don’t miss them live at this year’s SpaceFest! in Gdansk, Poland on the 7th and 8th of December.
Take our readers back to your beginnings. How did The Lucid Dream first come together?
¾ of us (me, Wayne, Luke) have been in bands together for 20 years now. We started The Lucid Dream in 2007 when our old project stopped in 2006. It was quite a natural process. I had some songs ready; we all went into a rehearsal space in late 2007 never expecting to get out of Carlisle. Within 3 months we had a funding record label and gigs all over Britain. Quite a false start to be honest as it has never been so plain-sailing since! Mike, our current bass player, joined in 2010 when our original bass player left.
Tell us about your new album, ‘Actualisation‘. I’ve read its creation rejuvenated the band after your equipment was robbed in Paris. How did this event help fashion ‘Actualisation‘?
The album certainly was prompted by the Paris robbery. We had no plans to put out a new album (our 3rd album, ‘Compulsion Songs‘, came out 5 months before the robbery) and we genuinely didn’t think we could better it. Following the robbery reaction and the crowd funder, which raised a staggering £10,000, we felt we absolutely had to do another album. It was a combination of feeling rejuvenated and that we owed it to the fans. A month after the robbery I did a publishing agreement, the money from which went into new synthesizers and within 2-3 months nearly a full album was written. We absolutely proved ourselves wrong, ‘Actualisation‘ is even better than ‘Compulsion Songs‘, which is no small task and is agreed across the board by the looks.
How do you normally form a track? Has your process changed along with your sounds most recent evolution? Use ‘SX1000′ as an example of the formation process.
This album was completely different in that I wrote it all on the Roland TR-8/Roland TB-03, alongside bass and vocals, all demoed on GarageBand. The beat would come first, followed by bass parts, then vocals come naturally. Lastly, TB-03 synths would be the overdub, so to speak. We would then work on the songs together after listening to the demos and record very soon after. To describe ‘SX1000‘, that track almost came together by accident. I had a day off work and had a rare late night out the night before. I woke up early and headed to the rehearsal room keen to write following being heavily influenced by the early KLF ‘Pure Trance’ singles. I plugged in the Jen SX1000 synth and by chance the settings are what is used on the recording, almost sci-fi sounding, A beat was made to compliment, and bass then TB-03. Vocals came last and only appear for 3 lines! Previous albums were almost entirely written on the guitar although the formation process as a band and to studio was nearly exactly the same.
What’s the story behind ‘Alone In Fear’, your album opener?
It was one of the first songs written for the new album and was largely influenced by the current climate within Britain. That is reflected by the tempo of the track, which resulted from immediately getting a drum pattern written on the TR-8, and by look falling upon writing a TB-03 pattern that was part Donna Summer ‘I Feel Love‘ and part ‘XTMTR‘-era Primal Scream, the right level of aggression. We played this live a year ago when we supported The Moonlandingz and it went down an absolute storm. You can hear on YouTube footage a fan of us trying to convince a fan of the headliners how good we are at the start of our set. We opened with this and within seconds of it kicking in I think we won the argument for him.
What type of gear did you use on ‘Actualisation‘? And favourite piece?
I used the Roland TB-03/TR-8, which formed the ‘acid’ sound. Wayne and I also used the Korg MS-20 throughout, and the Jen SX1000. I also use the dub siren and melodica on the album. I don’t play much guitar on this album but all parts are played on my Rickenbacker 360 via a Vox AC30, both of which were purchased following the robbery. Wayne used an Epiphone-ES via Vox AC30, and Mike used a Fender Jazz bass. Luke used drums! (an area I don’t have any expertise within!). My favourite piece equipment definitely is the Roland TB-03, as it just sounds completely unique. I must admit though that although guitars aren’t to the front-fore with me now that my mapleglo Rickenbacker 360 is a stunning piece of equipment.
Describe the following tracks in 5 words:
‘Breakdown‘ – ‘our best old-style song’
‘Ardency‘ – ‘acid house meets Kraut-Rock’
‘No Sunlight Dub‘ – ‘drum ‘n’ bass meets dub’
What influences you musically? Whether other musicians, painters or films?
Always musicians. You self-consciously absorb in all the records you listen to and it can’t help but influence your music. From a writing perspective painters and films haven’t influenced me. Irvine Welsh’s books influenced our first album, including a track we named ‘Glue (Songs For Irvine Welsh)‘.
Vinyl fans? What’s the latest music-put-to-wax purchase you’ve made?
I’ve just bought 70 acid house/dance/trance records from an excellent personal collection in Carlisle, and last month bought another 15 so I’ve plenty to get through! I am a massive collector of vinyl, and have collected since 2003. My spare cash always goes on records or clothes. The last sole release I purchased was the reissue of Tricky’s ‘Maxinquaye‘ album. Amazing album.
You will be performing this December at Gdansk’s SpaceFest!, what can fans and soon-to-be-fans expect from a Lucid Dream set? What are you guys like live?
Our sets are often described as loud, intense and full-throttle. We certainly don’t stand staring at the floor, looking bored. We (as our albums shows) incorporate a lot of different styles into our sets – psychedelia, dub, acid house, krautrock. You certainly won’t be going home saying ‘they sounded like all the other acts!’.
Do you have anything else in the pipeline this winter?
We commence the 2nd leg of our UK tour in February, which takes in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle. Glasgow and Manchester are already well on their way to sell-outs so we expect this tour to be incredibly lively. It also will be interesting to see the reaction live to the new record 3 months after release, as people will have had time to live with it and connect properly. After that, we’ve no immediate plans. We will place a select couple of shows and probably start working on another album.
Photo credits: Dan Hewitson (2nd one)