Like all great bands, DRÆMINGS began as an outlet for heartbreak – the opening track of their debut EP, Nevada, repeatedly pleads “oh stay with me / please stay with me” – and has spent the last several years evolving from vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and sometimes-producer Kimi Recor’s alter ego into a tightly knit band of four whose new EP explores the many ways you can find your voice and mine your own inner strength. This drastic change in theme reflects not only the similarly drastic changes in the world as a whole, but also this movement away from a single spotlight and toward a group effort.
Recor started DRÆMINGS as a solo project in 2012 and wrote, recorded, and produced the five-song Nevada EP over the span of a weekend. It was the first time she had ever released music on her own, rather than as part of a band (of which she had been a member of many). Not long after posting the lo-fi dream pop collection on Soundcloud and playing a few shows around Los Angeles’ east side, Sumerian Records approached her with a label deal. The relationship started off with excitement on both ends as DRÆMINGS was going to be the label’s first foray outside of the hard rock and metal world and into the radio-friendly alternative space. Despite this honeymoon phase, a subsequent national tour with Night Riots, and a couple single releases, the arrangement began to make Recor feel caged. It took over two years after its completion for DRÆMINGS’ sole Sumerian release, the full-length The Eternal Lonesome, to see the light of day. Recor celebrated the birth of the record with a sold out show at The Echo in Echo Park in August of 2017 and a full west coast tour (including an opening slot for Juliette Lewis), and set her sights on changing the DRÆMINGS story.
The 2017 self-titled EP is akin to a rebirth for DRÆMINGS. Its new evolution brings Recor back to her band-oriented roots, cementing DRÆMINGS as a four piece comprised of herself (vocals/guitar), Thorson (bass/synth), Christopher Vick (guitar), and Nathaniel Meek (drums). The band returned to being independent (the EP will be released on Recor’s own PLAG Records) and wrote DRÆMINGS as a collective, self-titling the EP to make that point clear to listeners. Thorson stepped forward to helm the production and mixing of all six tracks in his Underwater Studios. He says of the process: “Making records gives you a chance to make a futuristic statement, to fabricate an imaginary emotional and conceptual landscape. And when a record is successful, that imaginary space can actually become a real space for people to live in and use in their lives. In that way, I see music production as a highly political art form.”
Recor echoes the political sentiment of the new music, stating that the EP as a whole is about “taking back your power, speaking up for yourself, and most importantly speaking up for others…in the past, I would’ve never considered my music political. I've always been more introverted and self-documenting when it comes to writing lyrics and songs. But this heavy shift has occurred, and more and more of my songs are turning towards political themes. I feel like my voice hasn't been heard for a long time, and I know I'm not the only one.”
This is most obvious in “Holy Land,” a song that confronts the alarming rise of fascism and violence against marginalized communities and the earth itself, and reminds us that we need to study the lessons of history and learn from the actions of those who came before us. “We have this whole generation of young people who are being led by the old guard. I can feel the unrest. I think it is essential that people let their voices be heard, in whatever medium that may be. For me, it’s through music and writing. I think the greatest artistic or musical movements have started because people were fed up with how the system treated them. Art and music give a voice to those who need it the most,” Recor continues.
The remainder of the songs on the DRÆMINGS EP stray away from the literal and side with the more figurative. “Fire in Hell” and “Great Escape” are the fraternal twin dark and light mirrors reflecting the power imbalance in a relationship and the ways of building yourself back up once you break free, reclaiming your power and your confidence in the process. The dark, left hand path is the cold burn of vengeance and vindication; the light mirror showing the no less valid joy of the jailbreak and leaving it all behind. “Drowning World” is a ballad that, from the start, will almost physically pull you down, using the ocean as an allegory for the fight our youth are waging to maintain their sense of self in a world where, as Recor says, “everything is accessible and nothing is sacred.” “Don’t Even Worry” may be the most emotional song on the EP, though not obviously at first, delving into Recor’s reaction to her friend’s suicide attempt and ultimate survival. DRÆMINGS ends on a surprisingly uplifting note with the borderline new age ballad “Tides,” concluding the EP with additional water imagery and an ode to the strength and endurance of unconditional love.
Thorson perhaps summarizes the new record’s diversity best: “The EP is an aggressive mix of totally different sounds…I want the listener to not know if it's 1975 or if it's 2040 when they hear this EP. There's a lot of love for the past here, but we've always got our eyes on the future.” From the heavy, thrumming bassline in “Fire in Hell,” to the dancefloor-worthy “Great Escape,” to the crooning Enya-esque EP closer, “Tides,” there really is something for everyone on DRÆMINGS, all without losing the band’s trademark sound that ties it all together.
DRÆMINGS will be available digitally worldwide on April 21 and on vinyl via their web store and at live shows thereafter.
DRÆMINGS track listing:
1. Fire in Hell
2. Holy Land
3. Drowning World
4. Great Escape
5. Don’t Even Worry
Kimi Recor – vocals, guitars
Thorson – bass, synth
Christopher Vick – guitars
Nathaniel Meek – drums
Management: Katrina Bleckley / email@example.com