The Dream Is Dead interview

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Originally published in ‘zine issue #34, 2005

The Dream Is Dead from Indianapolis, U.S.A. has a new album out called Hail The New Pawn on Escape Artist. Let’s dive right in and let Clark, the vocalist, tell us first about his band’s sound.

“I do always try to describe us as a grindy hardcore band in interviews, though not because I have anything at all against the label of ‘grind,’ but because I think the content of the lyrics makes us more of a grind band in the punk/hardcore tradition à la bands like No Comment, Drop Dead, et cetera, more than your traditional metal grind band that tends to lean lyrically more often towards gore grind. I just think when you say that we play hardcore with grind parts then it more accurately describes where we are coming from as a band. Being on a label like Escape Artist that tends to market to the metal spectrum more than the punk spectrum, I kind of think just saying ‘grind’ might lend the wrong impression, but I suppose the label is more accurate as a one-word description than anything else. The rest of the guys in the band would probably disagree, but if there is any label I try to avoid, it is ‘metallic hardcore’ because that immediately conjures forth images of metalcore which we try to avoid at all costs. We just don’t have much to do with that scene, musically or lyrically. Our older material with the former lineup tended to be a lot more stripped down and punk as well––a lot fewer blast beats––so we are just used to describing ourselves as a hardcore band. It is the label that is most comfortable.”

Speaking more specifically about the band’s new album, Clark says, “All of our newer stuff is definitely much faster; a lot more grind parts. The band is so much more confident as a whole, plus the lineup changed through slow attrition so that everyone that is in the band now is kind of on the same page as to what we want to be doing.”

The Dream Is Dead bandmembers

Clark continues on the subject of the new album’s material. “I’d say that the music and the lyrics mutually complement one another … I know that the guys in the band set personal goals for themselves to make each song better than the last. We definitely aren’t the type of band that will change a part in a song because it’s too hard to play. All the guys are always pushing themselves to be better musicians, and I hope we have something somewhat new to bring to the table or at least put a little twist on a tired old genre.”

Clark wraps up this subject by remarking, “I guess we actually have fans now with the release of this record so I’m going to chalk that up as a small victory for T-Diddy.”

The Dream Is Dead has very direct, harsh political lyrics on Hail The New Pawn. As the email conversation turns to a focus to how the band’s message sits with its fan base, Clark begins by saying, “We aren’t preaching to the converted as much as I thought we’d be when we started out. I spent my formative hardcore years, though in a name, where vegan straightedge was pretty much the norm. That’s definitely not the case nowadays. It’s not cool to give a shit anymore; we are just too lazy as a society. Couch potato culture and the internet finally caught up with us. Then it doesn’t help that most of the people that still do give a damn usually aren’t people that I find it to be much fun to hang out with. I do try to make a conscious effort with our serious songs, though, to take things beyond anarcho-punk 101. If I’m going to write about globalism for example, I’m going to write a song about it in a specific context, for example the indigenous struggle of the O’odham people on the border of Mexico. I don’t want to just write a song about the nebulous ‘system.’

“I think we also do a good job as a band about being willing to play outside of our comfort zone. Some crust bands for example will only play crusty type shows or some straight edge bands only want to tour with other straight edge bands. Boring. We went from a west coast tour with an anarcho-punk band like Resistant Culture straight into a three-week tour with bands like Byzantine, Halo Of Locusts, who basically play to your straightforward metal crowd. We went from playing to dreadlocked crust lords in a basement on one tour to rocking out to a sea of Lamb Of God and Slipknot shirts every night on the next. It’s impossible to say that you are preaching to the converted when you are playing a biker bar in West Virginia.”

Check out Clark’s band and find more information at ■

Photo: The Dream Is Dead (by Bob Peele)


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