A new year is coming near, and a new era is likewise about to begin for the dynamic young trio known by the name of Dream Phases. We could all use some distractions in life, and none are better than those of the musical variety, which Dream Phases have cooked up for us with their latest LP New Distractions. Due out officially on November 10th, the twelve-track offering is representative of that key moment in a band or artist’s career where they have already shown loads of potential, but are now ready to take that step into a much larger world.
Recorded in full during the quarantine of both this year and last year, New Distractions takes the group in new directions, away from the psychedelic folk-rock of their 2019 offering, So Long, Yesterday, towards a more expansive, complete sound that is more evolved than ever. It illustrates more of an experimental flair, with the guys showing a willingness to try new things and not get hemmed in by one particular sonic palette.
Explaining to us the context within which the album was written and recorded, lead singer Brandon Graham tells us,
“New Distractions was written during a particularly fruitful creative period. With a lot of time on our hands, albeit countless world distractions, we wrote over 25 songs to choose from for the final running order. We had already decided to take off 2020 from touring to focus on writing a new album. When the pandemic started we were already in writing and recording mode, so with not a whole lot else to do we put pen to paper. This album is the most collaborative one that we’ve made thus far. I would typically write the skeleton of a song, often with vocals, acoustic guitar, and synth and then send that to Shane and Keveen, who would flesh out the song and structure.
“Besides a few of the later tracks (‘In a Box,’ ‘Post TV,’ ‘Shortcuts’) the whole album was recorded independent of being in the same room with each other. That was strange and new to us, but somehow it came together even more cohesive and band-like than our last record. Both Shane and Keveen also contributed a song as well. This newly established work flow made the creation of the album exciting and fresh for us, and we’d often be working on a small batch of three to four songs at a time and sending ideas back and forth, meeting on Zoom regularly to discuss the songs.
“The songs themselves deal with a range of influences with self-reflection being a central theme, as well as exterior influences like various films (since I had a lot of time to watch them at home), books, and of course our ongoing muse which is the city we live in, Los Angeles. Now we have to figure out what to do with all the leftover songs.”
You may assume that writing and recording during a global quarantine would pose creative challenges, but for Dream Phases, it provided the spark they needed. Graham, multi-instrumentalist Keveen Baudoin, and drummer Shane Graham took full advantage of the downtime to indulge in their creative freedom by becoming more experimental songwriters, as they traded songs and ideas back and forth online and over Zoom. And it’s not hard to notice that inventiveness as compared to the band’s previous output, also partially brought about thanks to the contributions of Baudoin and Shane Graham, who for the first time share songwriting credits with Brandon.
What began as a solo project for Brandon is now a full-fledged collaborative affair, with New Distractions representing an exciting sign of things to come.
New Distractions Track Listing:
1. Begin Again
2. New Distractions
3. Don’t Forget Love
4. Temple of Sin
5. In a Box
6. Color Me Blue
7. Post TV
8. Blink Twice
9. Aphelion Moon
10. Lady and the Moon
12. Fall Awake