Dreamland.'s Neil Talks Of Family Values and Making Music

Taken from the ashes that is War Tapes, guitarist, bassist, and vocalist Neil of War Tapes has gone in another direction for his new project called Dreamland. This all new project just got it's start this past New Year and already the band has gotten a jump at writing and recording material for several songs and have plans on playing showcases and continuing to release new music and so much more! So with that Neil discusses War Tapes as well as Dreamland.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Dreamland, and how long the band has been together.

Neil: I'm Neil, guitar and lead vocals, Dreamland started only a few months ago but we have been conceptualizing and brainstorming since January of this year.

2. Can you tell me what happened to War Tapes?

Neil: We went on a hiatus after a solid 4 year run… I don’t regret one minute I've spent playing music with those guys. War Tapes represents a very special time in my life and we accomplished quite a bit for being a completely sell sufficient band. It’s a family band which was never an easy task and a lot of emotion went into everything decision we made. I’m extremely grateful to have been able to tour all over the world and record multiple albums worth of material with my sister Becca, her husband Billy Mohler and my best friend Matt Bennett. After a long haul we decided to take a break… Becca had a baby (My niece Leotie, who is the best!) and she's an amazing mother, Billy went on to focus primarily on production/engineering and is becoming very successful, and Matt is now homeless (JK).

3. Apparently War Tapes is considering working on a new EP release can you elaborate?

Neil: Like I said we are family, and we are also all musicians… therefore it’s only natural to make music together. HOWEVER, the big question is when. I’m thinking sometime soon, considering the universe is only expanding and we might all die in a gamma ray burst or a hypernova explosion without warning. A super massive black hole might stumble into our cosmic back yard and suck us into an alternate universe. It’s all possible.

4. So how does this project differ, compare, and evolved from your other project War Tapes?

Neil: Dreamland is more ethereal and less aggressive than War Tapes. It’s like when goth kids go to the beach and discover they like ice cream.

5. Can I get a back story on the band/ band biography?

Neil: Dreamland currently consists of 3 individuals… Andrea, Pablo and myself.  Pablo and I have been playing music together for a while… we recently did a side project called Rituals a few years back and decided to work together again in the future. Andrea, or shall I say Andrea Wasse for the laymen, is a multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter who I've known for quite some time. I've always been a fan of her voice and writing abilities. When I recently discovered we lived across the street from each other in DTLA, I decided it made a  lot of sense for us to start working together. Without having met before, I stuffed Pablo and Andrea into a car together and we drove to a pay-by-the-hour rehearsal studio. Andrea played some keys, Pablo jumped on the drum set and I did my thing on guitar.  We jammed for 2 hours without saying much at all except, “Let’s do that one again…”, we recorded some rough jams on my iPhone and listened to them on the car ride home. All of us were stunned at how good it sounded for being so spontaneous and raw… that was it, Dreamland was born.

6. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Neil: Dreamland is another name for the infamous military installation, Area 51… located on Groom Dry Lake just outside of Rachel, Nevada. Some Grey Aliens took me there on a vacation/abduction and I decided to tell that story thru music.

7. Who is all involved in band and who plays what role?

Neil – Guitar, Bass, Vocals

Pablo – Drums

Andrea – Keys, Vocals

8. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Neil: We are currently all living in the Downtown Los Angeles area… There isn't much live music downtown but we do have a quite bit of good dive bars. We usually all congregate at one of my best friends bars, The Lash. This is like our freak version of cheers only filled with left-of-center artists, musicians, DJs, photographers etc. I actually do a DJ night there myself once a month focusing solely on Soul, R&B, Surf Rock and Doo-Wop. Local bands we appreciate are DWNTWN, The Mercy Beat, and Shane Alexander as they are our friends but I mostly only listen to older music.

9. What type of band are you guys?

Neil: Dreamy Surf-gaze.

10. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Neil: To name just a few… The Flamingos, The Beach Boys, Santo & Johnny, Gene Pitney, The Ventures, The Supremes, The Dandy Warhol’s and My Bloody Valentine.

11. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Neil: We are not alone, the truth is out there.  

12. You have released several songs will those songs be included on an EP or full-length?

Neil: See the answer below.

13. What type of release are you guys aiming towards an EP or a full-length approach?

Neil: This answer is for both questions 12 and 13.

We are currently releasing all of our songs as DIY music videos on YouTube.  We've put up one music video a week for the last 5 weeks and we show no signs of slowing down. I don’t want to live in a world of EP’s and LP’s, that’s someone else’s job. Dreamland only exists in the world of art, music and expression. Last Saturday night I thought of an idea for a song and immediately started recording it in my home studio, by Sunday afternoon I was done w/ my parts. I called Pablo over to do drums on Sunday night. I recorded a music video at work the following morning and had Andrea sing vocals at night. Tuesday I mixed the song and edited the video… Wednesday morning “Skinny Dip” was released on YouTube with a music video and now on Thursday it has almost 200 plays. Why waste time on EP’s and LP’s? Art is now and will be forever. Waiting to release songs has no purpose in my life, the art won’t change by setting this aside it’s just music business politics. I don’t work in the music industry so therefore I don’t care about LP’s or EP’s and I feel most people don’t either, they just want music plain and simple.

14. What does the description of "Welcome to Groom Lake" refer too?

Neil: Groom Lake is a salt flat located about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas… it is the undisclosed location of Area 51 a.k.a. Dreamland. For decades the government denied it's existence even though we can drive there in our car or see it on Google maps. We don't know what goes on there, but we do know the installation has played a very important role in keeping our countries top secrets completely secret since The 40's.

15. Would you ever consider bringing War Tapes and Dreamland together for a showcase or a tour?

Neil: Probably not, I like to keep things separated and special in their own regard.

16. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Neil: The feeling of getting out of the ocean and drying off.

17. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Neil: Make art/play music.

18. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Neil: It’s not for sale, but you can listen to us at YouTube.com/Dreamlandandsea or at Facebook.com/Dreamlandandsea

19. What advice would you give to fellow bands?

Neil: Quit, unless of course it makes you happy in which case just go and do it.

20. What are the biggest obstacles for bands?

Neil: Industry nerds.

21. Any final words of wisdom?

Neil: Stay in school.

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