Jersey’s own Dream Eternal Bliss are living the dream. Hot off the release of their second album, Picture Glass, the North Jersey (now) quintet are honing in on their unique sound and growing their fanbase. For this month’s Unsigned Band Issue, the band tells The Aquarian what keeps them dreaming.
Where are you all from?
We’ve got North Jersey covered pretty well. Wyckoff, East Rutherford, Flanders, Belleville, Woodland Park.
How long have you been a band and how did you get started?
Dream Eternal Bliss started in 2015. Previously, Derek [guitar] and Scott [keys] had been co-guitarists in the progressive rock band, Days Before Tomorrow. Scott wanted to move in a more commercial/contemporary direction musically and focus on keyboard playing, embracing his love of ‘80s new wave, while creating music with a catchy, modern rock vibe. He called Derek up, pitched the idea, and they ran with it.
Friend, Dave Sempier, of the alt-rock band Untitled Art, knew immediately who Scott should call to play drums in this new group — Byron Barbieri, who had played with UA and The Empire Hideous. A number of bassists from Scott’s prog-rock days were tapped for recording and live shows, while the search for just the right vocalist took nearly a year. And that’s the short story!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
We’ve given ourselves the description “progressive pop.” The music is modern/alt rock with ‘80s new wave influences, but we don’t sound retro. The music has modern pop/rock songwriting and production values, and is full of melodic vocals and layers of synths and big rock guitars. The underlying musicianship is pretty sharp. We like to joke that musically, this band is what happens when a bunch of prog rock musicians decide to “go pop.”
The music appeals to younger fans of artists like The 1975, Alice Merton, Gotye, Twenty One Pilots, Coldplay, Chvrches, One Republic, while older fans would probably love groups like Duran Duran, Berlin, Kim Wilde, Simple Minds, and Tears for Fears.
What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
We just released our second record, Picture Glass! The band evolved a lot over the past year. The first EP had a few bits of music updated from Scott’s past, and the group was developing its sense of style and sound. Picture Glass really shows the band’s evolution working together and writing together with an amazing new vocalist, Faith Banca. Besides the ‘80s influences, we introduced a lot more acoustic guitar, as well as some classic disco vibe — think The Bee Gees meets Peter Gabriel.
After our original vocalist quit music entirely, we spent nearly a year auditioning vocalists to find just the right singer with a sound and style that really connects with people. Faith’s vibe was on point from the very first song we auditioned with her.
What is your writing and recording process like?
It’s very collaborative, but most song ideas start with Scott on keyboards or guitar. He and Derek have a fantastic writing relationship, where Scott can simply say, “I’m hearing something like this…” and Derek will deliver something appropriate. And then sometimes, Derek will play something unexpected, and the song will move in an entirely new direction. Then, once the shell starts to form, Scott and Faith work on vocals and melodies, and begin working on the arrangements. The whole band gets involved pretty early on, though, as some songs will start out with the group jamming on a new musical idea. Recently, new material was inspired simply by Byron exploring new sounds on an electronic drum kit and playing interesting grooves.
We’re fortunate enough to have our own recording studio courtesy of Scott’s day job running the online magazine, MusicPlayers.com, so as soon as we’re ready to commit something, we can track it. And we have a great mix engineer, James Linton (SoundWaves in Arizona) who works with us to take things “to the next level” as we like to say.
What are current projects you are working on?
Now, it’s all about getting the music out there. Live shows starting this coming week, shooting videos, promoting the band and the music, and writing. The writing never stops. We love creating.
Is there any significance behind your band name?
We just really wanted to come up with a name that conveyed our vibe, which is kind of dreamy pop rock music with layers of instrumentation and melodies. And, we wanted something unique that nobody had ever used before.
What is your favorite memory as a band?
This band isn’t far enough along as some of our previous efforts, where a few of us have played larger stages, won awards for the music, and so on. But seeing people dancing and rocking out to our music at a festival show last year when they hadn’t previously heard our music at all was very affirming that we had created something special.
What are your goals for the future as a band?
We’re hoping to get some of our music placed in film and television, and to get into a tour support position opening for an appropriate music headliner, whether it’s one of the newer melodic rock bands or any number of classic ‘80s artists who are still touring and playing to capacity crowds.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
Mostly playing shows in the NYC and NJ area and really building the fan base.
Where can readers find your music?
Reverbnation, Spotify, iTunes, CDbaby.com, Amazon, and on Facebook.