All Photos: FolkGRP
Make Music Pasadena 2016 was incredible. Girl Underground Music had the privilege to not only attend the event but also chat with some of the bands. Among them, a new favorite Dream Vacation. Dream Vacation performed at the Der Wolfskopf Courtyard and delivered a dynamic and engaging set despite some minor weather issues.
After their set, I had the chance to sit down with the band’s lead singer and songwriter, Ray Silva, for a quick interview.
Last time we talked, you mentioned you guys were releasing a new music video. How’s that?
We have a video for an older track that we recorded called “Press Play.” That video should be—I’m thinking it’s going to be released officially like in a month or so. We’ve been sitting on it for about three months I think. Which is starting to get a little—what’s the word? I’m starting to get a little impatient. But, pretty soon. Beside the video we’re working on new material and we’re still trying to find a producer who will help us on our next album to work on a collection. So that’s our next step. Cause right now we have a lot of tracks that are a little—uhh I don’t its a little um jumbled. Not jumbled, that’s not the right word. Their influences are all over the place, right? There’s no linear theme or anything like that. Maybe a couple of them that were written side by side but for our next project we’re trying to get a more linear sound. Something that pulls together with like a uh…a more uh…
A central theme?
Yeah. Exactly. Did I answer your question?
Yeah! So is this your guys’ first year at Make Music Pasadena?
Playing, yeah. We’ve been to the festival before just to hang out. But it’s very cool being able to play. Circumstances were a little weird. Rain and weird sound and—I don’t know! It was a little crazy up there.
For a second I was worried your bassist was gonna slip and fall just from all the movement and the rain. (We both laughed then)
I was thinking the same thing! And I thought I was gonna slip and fall. That’s why I wasn’t moving.
The genre you guys have taken is alternative cinematic what does that mean exactly?
(Laughs) What? Who said that?
That’s what it said on [Dream Vacation’s] website and what it said on the MMP lineup.
Are you serious?
Yeah! (Awkward laugh) What would you call it?
That was the old band. This group is more reminiscent of the 80s, I think. 80s groups, and besides 80s music most of the stuff that we’ve been writing lately—or that I’ve been working on lately you know as far as sounds or words it’s not really influenced by other music types as far as bands go. Mostly influenced by things that I’ve been reading or watching. Like I’m sick into sci-fi. So like everything that I write lately is just like it’s inspired by some sort of book or movie that I’ve watched recently. A lot of the imagery that goes through my mind is usually from movies when I’m writing music.
What kind of movies? Or which movies?
Lately the ones that I’ve been stuck on—and I don’t really understand why because I don’t like him a lot—is Kubrick. I don’t really like Kubrick a lot but I like The Shining because it’s Stephen King’s story. And I love that Kubrick warped it out and made it his own. So I’ve been watching a lot of Kubrick. And there’s another film too that’s just been in my mind. Beyond the Black Rainbow.
Beyond the Black Rainbow? I’ve never heard of it.
Amazing film. Totally abstract. And a little hard to follow, but amazing film. A lot of the stuff I do lately kinda takes from that movie. So…cinematic? I guess, yeah! Maybe cinematic a bit, because a lot of the sounds that I’m replicate are from film. I guess that still works. So yeah, alternative cinematic with 80s nostalgia.
That’s cool. I think it’s really interesting that you said that it’s not necessarily 80s bands but 80s films. So it’s just sort of what you’ve been around lately?
Yeah, Blade Runner. What’s another one? Saturn 9. Of course 2001: Space Odyssey. Anything sci-fi. Star Wars! Oh man. I kinda veered away from Star Wars because it’s so popular. It’s everywhere. I feel like it’s being shoved down my throat now. But I still love it. I wrote a track—actually wrote a few tracks at home and a lot of the sounds that were samples and stuff were very reminiscent of R2-D2 and laser pings and stuff like that. I warped them out a little bit so they didn’t sound so cheesy, but yeah. So cinematic works because I take a lot of sounds from things that I watch.
Your last single, speaking about abstract things, the lyrics and the sound in general of that song are definitely abstract.
The “Letting in the Dead” track?
That track’s got a few different layers. On the surface it’s like a break up song but then, layered into that, maybe in an alternate meaning it’s something totally different. Originally, like on the surface, the track is about a person whose been carrying around or been keeping a ghost with them of an old relationship. Like an old love that didn’t really bring anything but hurt, right? Maybe for awhile it was good, but whatever. Lately this person is just holding onto the hurt. You know it’s like this ghost that keeps following them around. So “Letting in the Dead” is about a séance of sorts, calling back all of the remnants of the ghost to collect it and set it free.
So you definitely enjoy going into the abstract.
You know I—it just sort of happens. I have a little bit of attention deficit so when I’m writing I tend to get a little sidetracked and go all over the place and start pulling from all sorts of different areas. It’s very easy for me to get carried away and wanna stuff a bunch of information into 4 minutes of a track. So you kinda have to take a bunch of pieces out, right? Just maybe the most important parts are left and after a while when you start taking away all those little details and it’s just the main points it can start looking really abstract. Or sounding abstract. So it’s both a track about letting go and finding something new. I don’t know how else to explain it.
That’s cool! I like it.
I think I’m gonna end right there. Thank you so much for talking to me.
No, of course. No problem. Thank you.