The Rhode Island five-piece gear up for the October release of their sophomore album In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You, with another dose of chaotic energy in the form of their new single, and tell of the albums that made them the band they are today.
With screamo being in renaissance for quite some time now, Providence, Rhode Island’s Dreamwell flew out of the gates with their widely lauded 2021 debut LP Modern Grotesque, a sprawling display of frenzy and raw emotion across its ten tracks, and an album that, coupled with their powerful live shows, put them at the forefront of everyone’s lips when considering who could be the next band to break into the big leagues. Attracting the attention of label heavyweights Prosthetic Records to join the traction on their follow-up record, October 20th will mark an exciting point in the band’s young career as they seek to captivate the scene’s new-coming fans as well as the veterans looking for a band to reignite their passion.
Today releasing the second single from In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You, ‘Blighttown Type Beat’ wastes no time breaking into its fevered approach to a mix of skramz and math, vocalist KZ Staska’s manic delivery accompanied by the tense and offbeat instrumental resulting in a song full of furore. It’s safe to say that each member of Dreamwell brings something unique to the band’s sound that gives the group their fresh take on a reignited genre, so we asked them to share their 10 albums that changed their lives.
KZ Staska (Vocals)
Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths by Clutch
If I could only point to a single record to credit me being in this game to, it would be this one. I was probably eight years old when I first started listening to this album in my dad’s car. Clutch was my first show in 2003 when I was ten years old, at the Axis in Boston which no longer exists. It is undeniable that this album is directly responsible for me listening to heavy music. Simple, dirty riffs with bizarre, snarling vocals that somehow manage to be almost tongue-in-cheek in their aggression in what I might call a proto-sasscore way at times (especially “Effigy” with the high whines). The lyrics are dark and rude and direct, walking the line between English major metaphor headiness and blunt rage which is a style I’ve always tried to employ. This record has a lot of the building blocks I still look for in music.
A Day of Nights by Battle of Mice
I think Julie Christmas is the greatest of all time, and I love her solo material and her work with Made Out of Babies, but something about the lone full length offering from Battle of Mice just shattered my brain unlike anything else. The songs are all so dense and atmospheric and, if this makes any sense, ice cold. And the way Julie uses her horrifying, unpredictable, powerful voice to fill that heavy space is just so indescribably evil. She is just as sinister and aggressive when she’s practically whispering as she is when she is full-throated screaming. This album is also populated with some of the most unhinged lyrics ever penned (“I have a present for you / it’s made from pieces of my skin” and “my mouth is full of blood / and I saved some for you”). I developed my high vocal register by singing “Cave of Spleen” in my car for weeks on end. The bridge of our song “Sayaka” actually has vocals I wrote years and years ago trying to emulate her. This is easily the most influential piece of music in my life.
Ryan Couitt (Guitar)
Billy Talent by Billy Talent
So I was introduced to this album at ten by my brother because he was making fun of me for listening to Simple Plan and wanted to give me something good to listen to instead. Well because of that, I’ve never listened to Simple Plan since and Billy Talent has become one of the biggest influences on my guitar writing. I really love how much the drums complement the guitar parts and syncopate at just the right spots. For only being a one guitarist band, I’ve always been in awe of Ian D’sa and how much he’ll cram into a single guitar part. This is honestly the band that led me to drop tunings and learning you can play full power chords with room to add melody underneath. Going to their website and listening to the demo versions of some songs off the album was also my first instance of finding and listening to music online or on a computer in general.
Ryan Couitt, Justin Soares (Bass)
Sing The Sorrow by AFI
Ry: I remember my grandmother getting my older brother this cd for his birthday around the time it came out and it would always be in the rotation of music he was playing. It was the first time I had heard an album sound cinematic, the song flow is perfect and there’s a real moodiness that’s felt throughout the album for me. It’s played a huge influence on me hiding melody lines behind chords. My biggest takeaway is just how much it feels like a complete album with no filler and has been an essential blueprint in the writing of our last two albums.
Justin: I have vivid childhood memories of learning to use the internet and using it to loop “The Leaving Song Pt. II” music video. This album was my introduction to AFI and I’m just as blown away when I hear it now as I was when I heard it for the first time. They combine such a range of stylistic elements in this album into a cohesive and distinct sound. Hunter and Jade write parts that compliment one another so well, while still retaining the ability to progress into the next part and blend their tones in a way that sounds like one instrument. To this day I play “Death of Seasons” at every soundcheck. Twenty years on it is still a perfect album, and deserving of a full US tour and not just a single show in California.
Ryan Couitt, Justin Soares
The Second Stage Turbine Blade by Coheed and Cambria
Ry: This one I discovered digging through my other brother’s cd collection. I was about 7 and I had no idea at the time it would be an album I still listen to at least once a week. “Delirium Trigger” is one of my favorite songs to play at soundcheck. The album is this perfect blend of clean and distorted guitar work and has a real back and forth pull at your emotions. Also being a ten year old and discovering that it was a concept album and learning about the Amory Wars absolutely blew my mind. I swear to god the bass is out of tune on the verses of “33”.
Justin: I used to keep a burned copy of this CD in my car labeled as “Second Hand Serenade” so that if I gave someone a ride and they tried to put something that bad on the radio I got a little treat instead. My first Coheed album was “In Keeping Secrets…” but when that put me onto this album I was hooked. They go in and out of clean noodly riffs and heavy noodly riffs while retaining complexity and without going too prog in a way that I love. They’re also nerds and I like science fiction and comic books so it was really great having another form of media that I enjoy as an accompaniment to this.
Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine
When it comes to influences I’m usually quick to mention artists like Glassjaw or Deftones, and that has meant that I often neglect to mention (or even acknowledge) the importance of Rage. I grew up listening to them on car rides with my aunt and her ex-husband, who gave me a copy of this album in elementary school, and a few years later when I decided I wanted to play bass it was one of those albums that I learned cover to cover. Whether it was the fast paced walks like in “Bombtrack’ or simple yet tension building riffs like on “Settle for Nothing”, Tim Commerford held so much down on bass while Tom Morello was making sounds come out of a guitar that I had never heard before and Zach de la Rocha vocals ranged from whispering, to talking, to screaming. They were also the first band I heard that was inextricably political, which is something that I’ve always admired and been grateful that I’ve got band members who feel similarly. Even though I don’t listen to them as often as I used to, they’re foundational in getting me into aggressive music and are responsible for at least one of my high school paper topics.
Anthony Montalbano (Drums)
Between the Heart and the Synapse by The Receiving End of Sirens
TREOS was one of the first bands I found in my teenage years while searching music on Limewire. I remember being totally captivated by their rhythm section and how they effortlessly made a seemingly simple pattern sound complicated. Lyrically TREOS helped me through very tough times in my teenage years and I would say Andrew Cook was a huge influence in teaching myself to play drums. I would sit behind my kit in my parents basement and play each song section by section.
Trainwreck by Boys Night Out
Another band that was foundational in my drumming is undoubtedly Boys Night Out. I got into their earlier albums like Make Yourself Sick and Broken Bones and Bloody Kisses through friends and was instantly hooked. I remember when Trainwreck was released in 2005 (same year as the TREOS album, it was a big year for me), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and when I finally got to listen all the way through I immediately jumped behind the kit and started learning those songs. They spoke to me in ways I hadn’t felt before, drum patterns that not only held it down for the entire band but had a cadence all their own. This album became comfort for me not only behind the kit but in life, and I found myself playing through this entire album day after day. It cleared my head and gave me confidence that if I can even somewhat play at the level of Boys Night Out then maybe I am worth believing in.
Aki McCullough (Guitar)
System of a Down by System of a Down
I typically think of my life as two distinct eras: before and after hearing 0:10 in “Suite-Pee” for the first time. As an isolated kid without many friends, my musical upbringing until I was a teenager was a bit sheltered. Some kids in middle school would sing System of a Down songs at lunch so I decided to buy their self titled album. When the full band kicked in was the moment I learned what it meant for music to be “heavy”, and was on a quest to listen to and play that sound as much as I could. I listened to this album so much at a young age that I don’t think I fully understood how fucked and one of a kind the vocals, guitars, lyrics, and everything are on this album, I thought this is just what most music sounded like I guess? This album also has two important distinctions for me musically and personally, (1) being the first album I attempted to learn on guitar in its entirety (from hundreds of pages of printed guitar tabs) and (2) the earliest music I listened to with outspoken leftist & anti-war lyrics.
Wake/Lift by Rosetta
Another album that is single handedly responsible for completely reshaping my musical palette, being both the first post-rock and the first doom/sludge album I listened to. At the time my understanding of heavy music went as far as thrash/death metal. The second the crystalline clean guitars in “Wake” kicked in it felt like time stood still, like the past and future didn’t matter and the only thing that existed was the soundscape I was hearing. I felt the overwhelming joy and sadness of existing flow through me in ways I still don’t fully understand. And since that moment Rosetta, and the bands I sought out after them including Cult of Luna, Isis, and Callisto left an impact on my guitar playing, tone, and production.
Dreamwell hit the road this Fall with lowheaven, Bleached Cross, Blind Equation and Gospel, grab tickets by hitting the poster below.