Our new single, Dreams, originally written and performed by Fleetwood Mac, is an unexpected 4th and final release from our series of cover songs. It follows on the tail of the Emergency EP, our trilogy of Interpretation. We’ve been writing about the interestingly odd synchronicities surrounding these songs and how they came into being released amidst the backdrop of the last couple of years. Like the songs before it, Dreams also follows in the cosmic footsteps that fate unexpectedly placed before us, and the setup for this song has been a long time coming…
When Tara and Sködt first met, Fleetwood Mac was one of many significant musical influences the pair of songwriters had in common. The band was part of the soundtrack to their lives. As such, Fleetwood Mac are one of the few bands whose albums they’ve bought on multiple formats (the kind of thing that makes record labels oh, so happy). This pic features 3 generations of audio formats for both Rumours and Tusk.
How to Spot a Desert Island Album
The influence of Fleetwood Mac in our music is ubiquitous, although probably the most evident on our first album, CiRCADiAN, and you can definitely hear some blistering Buckingham solos being channelled on, V. That said, our new single, Dreams isn’t the first song we’ve covered by Fleetwood Mac – it’s just the first we’ve released to the public. Why? With Rumours and Tusk being on our desert island albums list, both are full of so many great songs that it would be incredibly difficult for us to pick just one single song to cover, never mind all of their other albums and singles (like the psychedelic ’71 single, Dragonfly).
So how did we decide on releasing Dreams? Well, we didn’t, which made the choice easy for us. We were actually commissioned to cover it by a fan, and not too long ago, either. And now that the cat is out of the bag, if you’d like to commission us to interpret a song for you, click here for more info.
This past winter, shortly after we released our recent EP, The Labyrinth – inspired by a trilogy of esoteric sci-fi/fantasy films of the 1980s – we were offering various album packages for fans, as bands in the 21st tend to do. They ranged from a digital copy of the EP, all the way up to The Most Impressive Package which included a signed limited edition transparent vinyl, a handbook for the recently released (explaining how to use the EP artwork to expand your consciousness), a trilogy of eco friendly sweatshop-free organic bamaboo hand-screened t-shirts, and more!
Over the years, we’ve learned that even a super duper deluxe album package, like we did with CiRCADiAN, isn’t always enough for some folks who love the immersive deep dive. After the aforementioned merch bundles, private concerts are usually the next offer that a band or artist may propose to a fan eager to support the sound, and we’ve done a few of those – including an incredible show in a castle for a book launch party that we’ll never forget!
Not everyone has a castle to host a house concert (although entrepreneurial types can rent one then charge admission – just saying), so like most artists, we have a few more options and are always thinking of adding new ones. Such was the case this time around. As a complete experiment, we decided that we would see what happened if we offered fans the opportunity to commission us to reinterpret any song of their choosing, provided it wasn’t one of ours. But there was a catch – we would have to love the song, too. Otherwise, we can guarantee that it will sound like we don’t care and that’s because we won’t. And, hopefully we can all agree that the last thing the world needs is any more music made without heart.
That’s right, Heidi. Love is the frequency. As if in testament to that sentiment, no sooner had we decided that we would give this experiment a go, then the Uni-Verse synchronistically called us on it to see how serious we were – as the Uni-Verse tends to do. Almost immediately after our decision, a fan purchased The Most Impressive Package and following a brief conversation with Tara, was interested in taking us up on our commissioned cover idea. As synchronicity would have it, we loved the song they had in mind, too: Dreams!
That said, it’s fitting that Dreams is the last cover song of this recent lot we’ve been releasing. That’s because the first cover song that we ever recorded together was also a Fleetwood Mac song, Gold Dust Woman. We didn’t try to one-up Hole or anything (who wins the award for the Best Fleetwood Mac cover of all time, btw). We barely knew how to record, experimenting purely in an effort to learn the dark arts of audio engineering and production because it was costing us way too much money to record in professional studios as an unsigned band.
We recorded Gold Dust Woman in the living room of a quiet apartment in Toronto, keeping the production silly simple, mainly because we had no idea what we were doing. Case in point, everything for the song was tracked using only a Shure SM58 Beta, as it was the only mic we owned then. What can we say, we do the best with what we have. At the time, we were playing both an acoustic set and an electric set, depending on the venue, leading up to the release of our first album, CiRCADiAN. We may have been entertaining the idea of covering Gold Dust Woman in our acoustic set. Here, have a listen…
It’s fairly minimal. Tara is singing and playing percussion. Sködt is playing the 12 string, slide and lead guitar with some backup vocals. This is how we cut our teeth on producing and recording. Trial and error. One song at a time. Worlds within worlds.
As a result, we became immersed in DIY studio recording and we have the studio tan to prove it. Over the years, we have really focused on pairing down our recording process to the bare essentials, retaining as much of that big studio sound as we could in our own rehearsal studio. 4 microphones instead of 14 on drums, like Glyn Johns did, for example. Perhaps we’ll get into a video series to share our recording tips and tricks one day.
Thanks to our insatiable curiosity in the realm of recording, we’ve been tracking everything ourselves from our Gamma-Wave Rhythm EP right up to Dreams. We also recorded our upcoming album, Ultreya, about our time on the Camino which you’ll hear more about very shortly. We have produced all of our own recordings to date, too, primarily due to a deceptively bad experience with a producer who approached us in our nascent years.
When the request to record Dreams, a song about a breakup, came our way, we found ourselves mixing and mastering the Emergency EP. Synchronously, this occurred just after our drummer, Eric, had moved so far away that rehearsal/recording/etc. had become almost impossible. We had recorded The Labyrinth EP and Burn the Witch with Eric and were setting up live shows before all hell broke loose a few years ago and the world went into lockstep lockdown. Unfortunately, playing together as a band had become a dream unto itself. We had re-scheduled our release of The Labyrinth EP for 2.22.22, but found ourselves unable to play it live. A bit of a band emergency due to a break up. Chronologically, this is where Dreams synchronistically landed on our doorstep, of course. Kind of a cosmic joke, really.
So without a drummer, we did what any band recording a Fleetwood Mac cover in the same situation would do. We dialed up Mick Fleetwood. On the phone? Haha! No! We wish. Like so many drummers and producers, Mick Fleetwood has the ability to upload his consciousness into sampled fragments of frequency for mass consumption. We just happen to have one of his holographic clones which we purchased from a time traveller in the past. So when we say that we “dialed” up Mick Fleetwood, it was into our drum sequencer we call, The DeLorean.
Just like our first go of Gold Dust Woman, Tara recorded all of her vocals for Dreams in the living room. Recording at home allows for a more fluid and unhindered expression of emotion and dynamic (provided you have nice neighbours). We’re all about serving the song and the final frequencies they impart upon the listener, so whatever we can do to get the best performance in order to achieve that is usually where we’ll end up. For main vocals, it’s in the comfort of an empty living room, freshly smudged with sage.
Tara’s setup is a bit more professionally tailored these days – she uses an SM7B to record vocals and saves the SM58 Beta for the stage. In fact, no SM58 Beta was used on this recording. Oh my, how we’ve grown!
When arranging the music for Dreams, it was our intention to invoke the feeling of a dream state. That relaxed, open, inviting and luxurious intimacy of the in-between world where the masculine energy of the conscious mind merges with that of the feminine subconscious, bearing witness to our innermost desires. As Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac was originally a psychedelic rock band in the 1960’s, we wanted to pay homage to that original vision.
Sködt spent a full day in our studio experimenting with reordering stacked reverb and delay guitar fx pedals to paint this lush, seemingly endless sonic backdrop, the blurred out edges reaching into infinity. The resulting captured sound on our single will appeal to shoegaze or dream pop fans. Our bass player, Peter, wasn’t available to contribute during the period we had laid out to record the track, so Sködt added a simple supporting fuzz bass to gently emphasize the groove that our spooky holographic version of Mick Fleetwood had laid down, leaving plenty of space for the vulnerability of Tara’s vocals and the delay tails of his verbed out guitar.
As we close out this entry on our release day for Dreams, we wanted to wish you a happy 9/20 (#MagicMushroomDay)! Despite the heartache of the breakup, the open, honest and measured balance of the protagonist’s response to her lover’s desire to leave her in the lyrics is the definition of a Libra. On this day of our release, we just happen to be entering into Libra season celebrated by the autumn equinox, a day of equal light and equal darkness that leads us to higher perspectives, just like magic mushrooms have the tendency to provide, so again the synchronicities abound around our latest release.
Here’s a Spotify playlist featuring our favourite* Fleetwood Mac covers for you to feast your ears on. *Except for Gold Dust Woman by Hole which wasn’t on Spotify when we made this mix for some strange reason. It does include some wonderful renditions, like the Tusk opener, Over and Over, by fellow Toronto psych band, The Flowers from Hell, and Vancouver supergroup, The New Pornographers exciting expression of Think About Me.
iTunes/Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/5th-projekt/76828529