An Interview With the Dream Rock Quartet, DREAMER + SON!
Posted On 15 Mar 2017
The self proclaimed “dream rock” quartet Dreamer & Son formed in Boston, Massachusetts at the beginning of 2015. The group was originally a live band to support front-man Sayak Das’ solo projects. Under a slightly different name, Das released one-man band YouTube covers in which he played each instrument. After very minor success, he decided that he wanted to perform some of his originals live. Being a student at the Berklee College of Music, he enlisted the help of a few different people that he had crossed paths with. Josh Parra (drums) was an older student that had asked Das to fill-in on keys for his band at the time. Parra ended up being the first person that Das approached about playing live. Matt Bolton (guitars) was in one of Das’ classes and coincidentally Parra’s roommate. He became the second member approached with the idea of performing. Jake Sierzega (bass) was approached after Das and Parra saw him perform with a local pop-punk band. Jonathan Schwartz (percussion) was also asked to perform for the first couple of shows but ended up pursuing different endeavors altogether. The ragtag group performed one show together and instantly fell in love. The newly added live members quit their respective bands over a period of a few months and decided to pursue Dreamer & Son with all they had.
The name Dreamer & Son (an acronym of Das’ last name) came from a conversation Das had with his father right before he left for his first year of college. In it, Das’ father revealed that he had named his son after a theater troupe. “I’ve always wanted you to perform.” This phrase stuck with Das as he started to weave his way into the music industry. Inevitably, it became the foundation for the themes and messages that Dreamer & Son promotes.
Dreamer & Son’s sound is a combination of dreamy textures and nostalgic vibes with punk rock roots. The group takes inspiration from bands such as Gates, The Dear Hunter, WALK THE MOON, The 1975, Young the Giant, etc. “Dream rock” is a term that the young quarter stumbled upon as they were searching for other genres to study. The ambience of their reverbed guitars combined with the steady thrashiness of their peak points makes for an odd yet satisfying product.
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Learn more about Dreamer + Son in the following All Access interview:
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall some of your earliest musical memories?
Sayak – I knew I wanted to play music for my entire life since I was very young, but it really started to become a reality around middle school. My parents signed me up for classical piano lessons when I was 3 years old. I ended up sticking with it for 14 years, picking up a plethora of other instruments along the way including drums, guitar, french horn, violin, etc. The first time memory I have of really connecting with music is a hazy one from when I was probably no older than a toddler. I remember sitting at my little Yamaha keyboard and playing along with the prerecorded lullabies that they programmed into the keyboard. Since then, I’ve felt that same connection any time I’ve picked up an instrument.
Can you talk about how this band first came together? How did you come up with your band name? Was it difficult to settle on one name that described your music?
Sayak – This band started off as my solo project. Before I left for college, I had this “one man band” thing going on, in which I played each instrument and sung. After I got to school, I decided I wanted to release covers under a pseudonym/cover name. It didn’t take long for me to become sick of purely being a studio musician, so I asked a couple of friends that I respected to join me for a one-off show. Just one. There’s video evidence of the chemistry that bubbled up during our first practice; it was intense. We played our first show together and that changed everything. Over the next few months, the live members I chose would quit their respective bands and join Dreamer full time, forming the line up that we have today consisting of me (Sayak Das) on vocals, Matt Bolton on guitars, Jake Sierzega on bass, and Josh Parra on drums. The name “Dreamer & Son” is an acronym of my last name, but also originated from something my father told me right before I left for school. Long story short, he named my middle name after Uday Shankar, a historic Indian classical dancer and choreographer who’s troupe toured internationally for up to seven years at a time. In essence, he named me to be a performer. He is the “Dreamer”, I am the “Son”. Everything that occurred after I came up with that name sort of just fell into place. Matt, Jake, Josh, and I were all attached to the meaning behind it, so it stuck.
How do you think this band has been influenced by the city of Boston? What is the music scene like there and has that been changing over the years?
Jake – In anything creative, your experiences shape your product. I think that Boston, and especially the little bubble of talent around Berklee, has completely reshaped us as people (and therefore as a band). We were all suddenly thrust into this huge urban environment that has so much talent in only a few miles. It’s a blessing and all of us know it, so we try to take something from every person, place, and sound we meet along the way.
Later this year, you hope to release your upcoming EP. What has it been like putting that collection together? What has the inspiration been for it?
Sayak – This next EP is going to be a big coming-of-age moment for the band. We’re all pretty young and inexperienced guys, so a lot of the stuff we’ve tried out so far have been things we’ve already had in motion for years. New releases like the one we are working towards are going to give us a chance to really step out of our comfort zone and test our limits. That’s really where all the inspiration comes from; not knowing what our limits are.
Your single, “Cheat” has already been released. How did this song come to be? Typically, how do you all go about writing your songs? Is it done altogether as a quartet so separately?
Sayak – “Cheat” happened almost by accident. I came up with the lead guitar riff from the instrumental sections in my apartment last year. I must’ve played it 1,000 times over and over until my roommate came out and literally unplugged my guitar. Some chords were thrown under it, and then I immediately got hit with writer’s block. Matt and I demo’d it out up to where I stopped writing and called it a day. I came back about a week later and Matt had added in this halftime section that blew my mind. From there on, everything just kind of fell together. Jake threw some tasty baselines over it, Josh made sure the groove was impeccable, and we took it to the studio. When this band first started, we were playing my originals. Our writing process consisted of me bringing forward finished songs (lyrics, chords, melody) and the guys would bring it to life. “Cheat” was different, and will go down in our personal histories as the first song we truly collaboratively wrote. Everything from this point onwards will probably fall into that same trend.
What musicians continue to inspire your music? Is there anyone that you would all love to work with one day?
Jake – Before anyone else, I’d have to say that the other three guys are my biggest influencers. There is so much drive in them to constantly improve and push their own boundaries. I’m a better musician after just hanging around them. As a band I think we really admire Young The Giant, The 1975, and even Bring Me The Horizon. All of them have managed to create and keep a cult following, while continuing to push the envelope as creators.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you all like to unwind from it all?
Jake – I feel like it might be difficult for people to pick up on, since we’re very emotional and dealing with very serious subject matter, but we’re just a bunch of goofy guys who spend our time having drinks (fruit juice for me, I’m not 21 just yet) and watching band documentaries, taking day trips, or just making each other laugh until somebody (eventually) vomits. Sayak and I play video games, I read horror/fiction and write bad poetry, Sayak and Matt produce, Josh does killer photography. Most of our hobbies are tied to the band in some way.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Sayak – I feel like all the answers that come to my mind for this question have been beat to death over and over. But I genuinely, truly want people to walk away from our music thinking “Someone really gets it”. There’s a threshold of emotional songs that almost break that barrier, but there are very few songs in the world that really make people feel like their experiences are shared. I don’t know if we’ve cracked the code quite yet, but I know we’re not going to rest until we do.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music or the band?
Thank you all so much for taking the time to get to know us. We cannot wait to meet you, on the road, around town, or even just online.