Dreaming Dead's Nightmare to Success!

Dreaming Dead is Los Angeles' answer to underground mediocrity and mainstream banality. Formed in 2006 by frontwoman Elizabeth Schall and drummer Mike Caffell, Dreaming Dead continues to capture the attention of audiences and listeners across the globe. Whether through pummeling fans as a live act, or through setting up a successful Kickstarter campaign to self-release Midnightmares, Dreaming Dead is consistently in the business of turning heads. Midnightmares is Dreaming Dead's sophomore release, and it represents a continuation and a refinement of the sound on the debut, Within One. Characteristic thrash riffs lock in with blasting drums, and then it turns... the dynamics shift and a somber clean guitar evokes the stillness of night. Midnightmares is a self-released production, and it has garnered worldwide acclaim. Dreaming Dead is currently performing in support of Midnightmares and writing new material. L.A.-based guitar guru Chris McCarthy has recently been added to the line-up, taking the bands' live sound and songwriting to new levels. Expect crushing live performances throughout 2013 and devastating new material in 2014. Vocalist and guitarist Elizabeth Schall or "Liz" spoke to us about the band's upcoming release and much more!

1. What type of band are you guys?

Liz: The core of our style is death metal, but there are definitely hints of melodic and progressive passages within our sound. In general we view ourselves as a no bullshit extreme metal band.

2. Where is the band from?

Liz: That depends on how you look at it. A few of us live in the South Bay area, others in Orange County, and the rest in LA proper. For the last 7 years our music has spawned out of Francisco’s Studios in the city of Vernon, which is a small city right outside of down town LA and that at times smells like a mixture of rotting animals and muffins. True story.

3. How did the band get its name?

Liz: In the very beginning (like back in 2006) we were named Manslaughter, but after one EP, one tour and a lineup change, I decided we needed a fresh start and something that fit our sound better.  So I did some research, read a couple books, contemplated many ideas endlessly until one night it came to me, and it was so clear that I had found what I was looking for. Dreaming Dead is a name that was inspired by the tales of horror by H.P. Lovecraft, specifically from The Call of Cthulhu: "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

4. Do you write your own songs, what are your songs about?

Yes, absolutely; music, lyrics & samples.

Liz: It’s hard to pin point what our songs are specifically about, but one thing for sure, they’re all inspired by our daily struggles and experiences as human beings. There is usually a theme behind each song, but instead of focusing on the literal aspect of that chosen theme I prefer to use words that convey an overall imagery and feeling. I do this purposely to allow the listener a chance to formulate her or his own views, thoughts or emotions.

5. Who are some of your musical influences?

Liz: Growing up in Chile I was exposed to a lot of metal. Back then I’d say a few of my main influences were Metallica, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mike Patton, etc. Fast forward 15 years to date and (I might be screwing the pooch here) I can’t really say I have any musical influences. I've played music all my life – my brain in saturated with it. I started playing accordion when I was 6, studied ballet when I was 7, picked up the guitar at 14, taught myself to play piano at 27… At this point in my life I'm mainly influenced by my personal experiences, how these affect me negatively or positively. I just add my own sound track for the ride.

6. So what can you tell me about this new album?

Liz: After returning from the 2010 Nile tour it took us several years to refocus and finish writing our second full-length album known as Midnightmares, which was released on 04/20/12. I decided to go with a concept album and focus on the idea of fear in death. The album opens with Wake and closes with Departure, both showing the softer and more tranquil side of the band. Once the album was complete, we couldn't find a label that would release it so we ran a Kickstarter campaign and raised money via our friends and fans to help us print on CD and vinyl.

7. What title did you decide to go with it and is there a meaning behind it?

Liz: Midnightmares is a made up word that personifies the idea of fear and how this idea controls us and everything we do or say, keeping us locked and trapped in darkness. We recently filmed a music video for this song, so keep your eyes peeled ‘cause it’s coming out soon!

8. Is this album going to be a concept release?

Liz: See answer 6.

9. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

Liz: We're preparing to record our 3rd album hopefully by the end of this year. To answer the question, though, we're relatively half way through the writing process only. There’s still a lot to figure out as far as budget, funding, promoting, release dates,  recording method, bla bla boring shit, but we've been down this road several times and as a  DIY band we’re familiar with the amount of work ahead of us.

10. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Liz: Producer? What’s that?! We are the producers. We've always written everything from beginning to finish; there's never  been anyone outside of the band involved with our creative. When it comes down to guitar and bass tracking, (for the most part) we even record and engineer ourselves in my home studio.

11. Where are you recording the album?

Liz: There are no concrete plans at the moment. One thing for certain is we’ll record the drums at a fancy studio, then track guitars and bass from my home studio, and then back to the fancy studio for vocals. Once all that’s done I’d love to work with Brian Elliott from Mana Recording Studio in Florida to help with revamping, mixing and mastering. I also plan on running another Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to record and press the new album, so depending on the success of that, only then I’ll be able to determine where our recording budget stands and how much money we can allocate towards the many tasks of releasing an album…successfully.

12. Does the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

Liz: The ultimate goal is to make it sound better than the last one. I'm my greatest critic and a total perfectionist. Each musical piece has to tell a coherent story, needs to make sense sonically and draw you into our world of chaos.

13. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Liz: Yes, actually. I have plans to include piano, accordion and acoustic guitar pieces in this new album. I’m also pushing for cleaner (not clean, I didn't say that) vocals. It’s been a work in progress for me, since the very beginning. I've wanted to add variety to my vocals, this being the ultimate addition to my ever
evolving style.

14. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous Dreaming Dead releases?

Liz: We started writing new material several months after releasing Midnightmares, so around 3rd quarter last year. With the addition of Chris McCarthy on guitars the writing process definitely has changed.  The two of us are collaborating and have written most of the new songs material thus far. We've also gone through yet another recent lineup change with Leon del Muerte on bass. Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking: it’s super cute that he’s my boyfriend and that he’s in my band.  We smooch at rehearsal sometimes. At-hem, in any case, the chemistry with Leon and the band is naturally perfect. He’s definitely coming through as the very talented and vocal song writer that he is, helping us morph our style every step of the way.

15. Do you feel any pressure to do this release?

Liz: Not at all, if anything I'm excited to share more material to our audience yet at our own pace.  Most things in life take time and patience. Same goes for our music. The best part about being a  DIY band is we’re not on anyone else's time or schedule but our own. We call all the shots.

16. How do you think the vibe in the studio will go?

Liz: No matter what we do, we always have a good time while we’re at it.  I'm sure there will be moments of frustration, but our individual personalities compliment  each other very well.  Whether rehearsing, writing or recording, the support we give to each other is invaluable. Plus we've done this a shit load of times in the past so we’re ready to deal with the painful  task of tracking and listening to our new material 1 million times over.

17. When can we expect the new album to be released?

Liz: We're hoping to release our 3rd album in about a year from now.

18. Is that your final answer?

Liz: I’ll go with a lifeline! Thanks for your support! See you on the flip side, Cheers!

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