MUSIC PROFILE | FREAK DREAM

The plight of the side player is a precarious one. If you're really good, you'll spend the majority of your career playing with a number of different bands and artists. Just giving enough of yourself creatively to the project that the leader allows. This can be woefully unfulfilling. For a guy like Elliott Langford, all the experiences he cultivated with such bands like SSRIs and Sprïng have built to a point where he thought he should branch out on his own. Branch out he did with his new project Freak Dream. "Freak Dream started as a recording project when I was in between bands," Langford explains. "I wanted to start a project I was at the helm of, so I had control of how busy we were, or if we were going to tour or not etc. And also to force myself to take more of a lead role in songwriting and singing then I had in past bands." The band was inspired by one man production gurus such as Prince and Trent Reznor. "I had sort of dabbled with this for years but rarely finished songs and I hadn't put anything out formally ever. So I wanted to try a project like that. Bjork, Grimes and Venetian Snares are also big inspirations as solo artists."

Freak Dream blends a vaguely 80s and 90s industrial aesthetic and mashes it up with hardcore all the while keeping things significantly hooky. "I just genuinely love punk and funk/soul/R&B, which maybe seems like an odd combo to some people, but I get excited by the energy in both. So on the one hand there's this Converge/At The Drive In/Blood Brothers/Refused/Shearing Pinx influence of weird punk, and on the other hand there's this funk or R&B Prince/Curtis Mayfield/FKA Twigs kind of influence." Surprisingly this all works together pretty seamlessly with Freak Dream. "I think that there's so much potential in some sort of middle ground between rock music and electronic music," he says, "but most things these days seem to be one or the other, either like a traditional garage/punk rock band, or purely electronic either club or experimental music. So Freak Dream attempts that middle ground sometimes."

With the release of their first full length on September 21st through Artoffact records, the band, made of Langford and drummer Ryan Betts, will be able to show the world just what that middle ground is. Although touring this type of music as a two piece seems like it would be overwhelming. "When I decided I wanted to play live, I wasn't sure how to do it, as some songs had numerous layers of synth and guitars. I tried singing along to the tracks which was okay but felt a bit too much like I was doing karaoke." Langford says, "Then I put together a 5 piece band which was sweet, except for the logistical nightmare of organizing band practices with a 5-piece band with busy band members who were all in other bands. Plus the only member of the band who was keen to tour was Ryan. So when I had to go to Europe anyhow for a wedding, Ryan and I hatched up this scheme for him to meet me there and for us to do a tour as a two piece, playing drums and guitar live, and then having the rest of the music as backing tracks. Through trial and error we managed to make it work, and it is currently doing the job!" Doing the job is a bit of an understatement as Freak Dream absolutely slays in a live setting. It's an immersive experience as Betts has rigged up visuals that compliment the music and both Langford and Betts are absolute powerhouse players. 

As Langford settles into the upcoming release and tour and about being a busy musician outside of the band, he discussed the future of the project. "I'm excited to see how the record is received. It's been done for several months, and some of the songs were finished almost a year ago, so it feels like 'Finally!' There's only been the five-song EP available for the past two years, and so that feels very old and I'm excited to see how this release goes and where it might take us. We're planning an east coast tour and a west coast tour this fall, and I'd like to keep the ball rolling and revisit those places next year. We also toured Europe earlier this year, which was about the most fun I've ever had, so definitely would like to do that again, possibly next year. We've jammed with some other musicians, I like the idea of expanding the band beyond a 2-piece and using less backing tracks." Hopefully Langford will be able to make his freak dreams come true and then he may be in the position to introduce all of us to some new and seriously talented side players, just like himself, in the near future. 

Leave a comment

ION Magazine 170-422 Richards Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 2Z4
© Copyright ION Publishing Group 2013