Interview: Dream Unending on Weaving a Musical Tapestry

Dream Unending’s 2021 debut album, Tide Turns Eternal, was a tranquil, hallucinatory doom metal journey that dabbles in psychedelia and prog rock as much as it did gothic rock and heavy metal. The two-piece, composed of guitarist and bassist Derrick Vella and drummer and vocalist Justin DeTore, locked into a sound both familiar and fresh, an original take on the genre that utilized the death metal prowess of their work in other bands—notably Tomb Mold and Innumerable Forms, respectively.

Now, just a year later, the duo have returned with Song of Salvation, their follow-up album out on 20 Buck Spin. It’s a record that that sees the band spreading out and delving even further into the concepts they explored on their first album. Vella took the time to answer some questions and give us a deeper look into the record and what the future holds.

It’s been less than year since you debuted Tide Turns Eternal; how does did Song of Salvation come together so quickly?

Tides came out in November of 2021, so we would have finished recording the record by March of that year. We had to wait a while to release it because we knew there was going to be a delay for certain formats because during the pandemic all vinyl plants were just backed up into oblivion. So we had this amount of downtime where Justin’s other bands like Innumerable Forms and Sumerlands—He was sort of done with all that stuff for their new records, and Tomb Mold wasn’t really practicing yet, so I was sort of like, “Well, I’ll just keep picking away at some ideas I have in my head.”

I think I actually had the first song written, the title track, “Song of Salvation.” I think I had the outline written before he was even done recording vocals for Tide Turns Eternal. I was like, “I wrote a new song.” He’s like, “You can’t send it to me yet; I’m not done with this one; you have to wait.”

I get pretty eager, and I get pretty inspired, and then I just see where it takes me. It’s the same reason why Tomb Mold, my other band, was able to crank out three records in three years. Me and Max (Klebanoff), the drummer, are just real get-up-and-go people with that stuff.

So it was weird; I had all this downtime because we just were taking an extended break from everything, but that same get-up-and-go attitude I find in Justin, so when I was like, “We can just do another record,” he was like, “Absolutely, let’s do it.” I had no argument from him; I had no argument from the label. I do get worried sometimes where I’m like, “Is this one going to come out too fast after this one?” but also, I kind of don’t care.

I can’t sit on music for too long, I’ll start to go crazy and just throw it out. It’s better I just get it on paper, or I guess on wax in this case, and then just see what happens. Then I happened to think it was pretty good, so I really wanted to push for it. I had a lot of free time to work on it. It’s really easy when you get to do most of it yourself as far as budgeting time and how much you can spend on it. If you’re not really relying too hard on other people, you can get a lot done if you put your mind to it.

Did the writing come easier since you already had a developed identity with Tide Turns Eternal?

Totally. I mean, with the first record, it was definitely a feeling-out process. I had never written doom metal before, so I was, like, learning on the job. I guess then I had an idea in my head of, “Now I know what our songs sound like, I know what we’re going for,” so then at the end of the first record, once we had it mixed and mastered especially, I was able to listen to it, and I was very happy, but it was also a good time be like, “OK, what didn’t I do on this record that I wanted to?”

I was able to write more on my 12-string guitar on this record because by the time I had gotten the 12-string electric guitar that I used a lot on Tide Turns Eternal, I had already written most of it, so it was just taking certain parts and just translating over to the 12-string or adding a couple things here and there. This one, I was able to build whole parts of songs starting with that.

So I guess the approach to writing songs was a little different. Parts where I had the middle of a song written before the beginning, it was like, “I have to find a way to that now.” As opposed to just writing from start to finish of a song, I was able to piece things together. I bought these whiteboards so I could make these visual maps of all the different parts of some of the longer songs because a couple of the songs on the new record are like 14 to 16 minutes with not a lot of parts repeating. So it has this almost progressive quality to it. I was just fortunate because I had a lot of time to just really dig into it.

For the last couple months of writing, I was living in an apartment by myself, so I could just stretch out and work on it for hours on end and not be hindered by anything. Not that I’m hindered now, I still get a lot done, but I just saw a lot of time in front of me, and I really wanted to take advantage of it. It felt like I was able to throw a lot more at this record because I had a working knowledge of how to approach it. The first one was way more daunting to make because I felt like I was going in a little blind.

I feel like this record, Song of Salvation, is way more grand in scale than Tide Turns Eternal. I think it feels like if the first record put on 20 pounds of muscle or something. That’s just because I think my confidence in writing went up and my ability to navigate through the songs; I know each part will need this or this or this. It’s like having more reference material to work with because I had done it before.

That’s the beauty of sophomore records; sometimes sophomore records can be stressful if your first one was such a smash, and you’re like, “How do I follow it up?” Tide Turns Eternal, people liked it, it did well, but it was a quiet success in my head, whereas Tomb Mold felt way more intense. By the time we made our second LP and made the third one, we felt like there was a lot of expectation. This one, I don’t even know if people even listened to it, so it’s a lot easier, I can do what I want.

You mentioned the progressive quality to it; was bringing in more ideas from a prog-rock realm a conscious effort?

It was all intentional, absolutely. I think on the first record it has some progressive moments. I would say the track “Dream Unending” on that record is the most out there where you have this really stretched out middle clean part that is super subdued and very pretty, and it has the spoken word part by Richard Poe. I felt like that was the most heavy of all the parts on the record, and I really liked that; we really liked that and it was like, “How can we do more of that?”

I think I didn’t go into the record being like, I’m going to write super long songs; I feel like if you go in saying I’m going to write a 20-minute song, you’re just almost struggling to find things to stretch out the time. With these songs, I didn’t really think about the time; I just sort of wrote until I thought it was the natural end. The long songs—ou have to have peaks and valleys, that’s the whole beauty of progressive rock music. You’ll have these crazier parts or energetic parts and it’ll come back down, and it’s almost like building tension and you have a release, but super long prog songs will have multiple spots of tension and release or however you want to frame it.

I did feel more confident writing solos for this record. I was happy with everything on Tides, but I think the thing that happened was I had lot more time to play guitar, but I also started taking guitar lessons again. That was actually a big key. By the time that I started taking lessons, a lot of the record was written but a couple of the solos I hadn’t finished, and after just being in lessons again and having a bunch of different ideas thrown at me, and just approaches and also just getting back into the routine of playing or working on something, whether it’s an exercise or an assignment to better yourself musically, that was a big step forward.

My teacher, his name is Kevin Hufnagle; he plays in Gorguts, and he also has that band Dysrhythmia. He’s my teacher, and he’s the GOAT, like, I look forward to our lesson every week, and we have a good report and a good relationship. I would bounce ideas off him about songwriting in general, because between the post-reunion Gorguts records, Dysrythmia, his old band Sabbath Assembly, he’s a guy of quality, but his music varies. It’s not just, “I do one thing,” so there’s a lot to pick his brain about, and he always seems pretty jazzed and stoked on anything I show him. I think it’s that teacher-student relationship where we’re both feeling fulfilled.

That was good, but yeah, writing super long songs, you are taking a bit of a risk. I guess doom music is pretty long in the tooth anyway, but you do alienate a lot of listeners if you’re like, “OK, half the record are 15-minute songs.” Some people are like, “I don’t have the time for that.” I don’t know how many people get through four-minute songs anymore before hitting skip, and that’s a scary thought, but that’s more of a mainstream problem than an underground problem.

Some people are just against long songs, but if they were split between three, they’d be fine with it.

Yeah, I think we’ve had this conversation in Tomb Mold where it’s like, if we just put three of our songs together and just blended it into one, we could be like, “Look, we wrote a 20-minute song,” but we really didn’t. Whereas with the Dream Unending songs, the long ones, I can’t imagine them split up; it doesn’t make sense. You have to reach the end to see the bigger picture.

It’s the same with when we’re talking about what we can premiere before the record comes out, and there’s certain things where I’m like, “You can’t show this, you can’t use this,” because that should only be for the person who’s actually willing to listen to the whole thing. It’s sort of like if you have certain guest spots, I only want the people who actually get 13 minutes into the song to hear it. I don’t want it to be isolated from the song; you have to experience it in the context of the song. It’s the least you can do if you’re listening to someone’s work and you find merit in it. You don’t have to listen to it on their terms, but meeting in the middle of some sort.

How do you go between the two different distinct styles of Tomb Mold and Dream Unending as far as writing?

Thankfully, with Tomb Mold, I might write the songs, but when I bring it to the band, everybody puts their own DNA on it, so that helps. (Tomb Mold) put out a three-song tape this year, and there was a clean section on the closing track, “Prestige of Rebirth,” and a lot of people heard that and said, “That sounds like Dream Unending.” I guess that makes sense because I wrote the foundation for that part, and I also write for Dream Unending, so it’s natural that that happens, but it’s funny because that tape also shows Tomb Mold hitting a more melodic side. Not like a melo-death thing, but kind of reminiscent of Focus or Traced in Air by Cynic, which is really just an extension of a band like Fate’s Warning, among other things. I think we all liked progressive metal, and we liked progressive death metal, and it’s like, we can flirt with that, and then Dream Unending is almost just a slowed down version of that.

I feel like I don’t separate the two that much in my head; I just write things, and now they might get designated for certain things, but solo building I approach a little differently in each one. It all depends on the song. With Dream Unending, I feel like we have more room to operate with, in the sense of that we’ve already shown that we’re not trying to conform to traditional doom stuff with some of our choices.

So we can keep pushing our sound out and we can get brighter with it, we can get more anything with it. I feel like Dream Unending has a lot higher of a ceiling as far as what we’re able to do and get away with. Maybe that’s just because I view doom as a more—I don’t want to say it’s a more imaginative genre, because death metal is a super imaginative genre, but maybe both genres don’t have rules, but I just view them with my own set of rules. I guess with Dream Unending, the rule is there are no rules; the songs just have to be kind of pretty.

That’s a hard question to really pontificate on because I guess for me, I had gotten so much writing done for Tomb Mold that I was able to almost have enough of a back log that I didn’t have to think about it for so long. It’ll be interesting a year from now if I’m writing new songs, how will they sound? I’ll be interested to know because I don’t know. It’s a constant evolution. That’s what’s so great about bands and that’s what’s so cool about music.

You know when you’re younger, or even now, there will be bands where you’re like, “I only like the early stuff because the later stuff got different.” That’s fine, but do you really need six records that sound like one specific thing? I guess as a listener I always want more from a band I like, so I always want to see where they can take it; don’t just repeat yourself. Anathema don’t sound like Anathema from 30 years ago. I like so many Anathema records; I know a lot of people drop off after the second or third album, but I like the first eight or something.

It’s been mentioned that for Dream Unending, a starting point is a band like Anathema or Paradise Lost, but what are some of the non-heavy influences that come into Dream Unending?

That’s the best question you can ask because that’s the most fun. Justin and I talk a lot about music in general, and we’ll talk about things we love. Do you remember that band Live? Justin and I both love that band and that record Throwing Copper, and it’s not like we want to write a song that sounds like Live, but we want to write a part of a song that makes us feel how we feel when we hear “Lightning Crashes.”

Those kinds of things I feel like I key in on. I key in on how something makes me feel and it’s like, “I want to do that.” It’s not exactly copying the sound, but usually it’s a feeling or an emotion that is being pulled out of me by listening to something. For me, listening to music is clearly something I enjoy doing; I get a very emotional response out of listening to music.

I think when I was working on the record, living in an apartment by myself, I think one record I didn’t pull off my turntable was Hydra by Toto, which is a record that has some great memorable riffs and some awesome solos and that stuff stuck with me. I’m not going to try to write a riff that sounds like Toto, but I can look at their guitar player, Steve Lukather, and I can think about his soloing approach and how it makes me feel.

Some of the best solos ever might have some flash but then there will be a four or five note melody where you’re like, “Oh, that’s great.” It’s like the song “Who’s Crying Now” by Journey. The solo in that song is not a tricky thing to play, but the thing that it pulls out of you is just brilliant. So I always key in on that stuff. I guess with this, record we liked a lot of that. I find a couple of the clean moments, I guess because I’m playing on a 12-string, kind of remind me of something that John McLaughlin from Mahavishnu Orchestra would have played, but way simpler because he’s way better at guitar than I’ll ever be.

We really like the more gothy side of doom, bands like The Gathering and stuff like that. They’re a band like Anathema that just kept evolving their sound, where they got into more of that kind of proggy or Pink Floyd-ish kind of territory with their music. That stuff had such a great atmosphere to it, and it had a power to it, especially with the vocals, which is why it was nice to bring in a couple people to sing clean on this record, so we could really drive home some of those things.

It’s a lot easier to convey a message or a feeling with clean vocals than with guttural. It’s the same with using spoken word parts; we’re able to set more of an emotional tone with that stuff. I feel like we drove that home a lot better. Not that we did a bad job on Tides, but I just felt like we had a lot more control over that.

Another band that we both talk about a lot that helps determine the spiritual compass of Dream Unending, is King’s X, which is one Justin and my favorite bands. We’re not Christian like King’s X, but a lot of those things that they talk about—There’s certain songs where if I listen to it, I’ll feel a hundred times better than I did before I listened to those songs. That’s amazing that music has that power. I’m way more into the idea that music can be uplifting, and I think that helps steer Dream Unending in certain directions. It’s funny because doom is this genre that is designed to make you feel bad, nowadays especially, but we’re like, “Well, we can do that, but we’re going to try to go the other way a little bit.”

I guess I didn’t really listen to a lot of doom metal while working on this record. I feel like probably the only record I really listened to that would be kind of doomy would be Silent Enigma by Anathema, but I was listening to Alternative 4 and Judgement way more than that. I probably listened to more Bruce Hornsby than I did Esoteric. The stuff that I’m working is not usually what I want to listen to. I need something to refresh my brain.

You mentioned that uplifting side to Dream Unending. Is there a deeper, more spiritual aspect to the band?

Definitely. I think there is a spiritual aspect to it without having to give yourself up to a higher power or anything like that, but also more so finding it inside yourself, the idea of self-discovery, self-improvement. For some people, their path to being a better person might be through religious experience or epiphany or something like that, and I do find that stuff really interesting. I do have people of faith in my life who I like to talk to just about life in general and I like their perspectives. Not that they see a bigger picture than other people, but I feel like I’m more on that side.

I think the album Song of Salvation is almost like looking at yourself and being like, “If I have to make a change, I have to be the one to do it,” like a means of self-improvement or accepting that you have to change something or chase after something to better yourself: to find meaning, to find joy, whatever it is. It matters a lot, and it’s a thing that we have a hard time talking about but it’s important.

You don’t want to be miserable, right? Who wants to be miserable? But even finding happiness is a sort of spiritual awakening, making peace with yourself, making peace with your surroundings. Whatever it might be, I think there’s real power in that, and it’s good for you, for your body, for your mental health, for your soul. Whatever you want to attribute to, there’s something to be found and I like that.

I think Song of Salvation deals more with self-acceptance than anything, but also in a way where you don’t have to—Some people live to forget; they don’t want to remember all the mistakes they’ve made; they don’t want to remember things. We look back on stuff with regret, and we do things in life for better or worse, and they shape us into the people we are, and I think to run away from that isn’t always the best option. I think it’s better to accept it and to have it find its place in you and to realize that you don’t have to live with that forever, but you also don’t have to deny it. After a while, if you’re just running from yourself, it’s almost like living a lie. I’ve always found it better for me to just learn to be comfortable with everything in some respect.

You had also mentioned the use of guest vocalists who appear throughout the record, and there is also other additional instrumentation. Do you have these ideas in place while writing the song or does it come later on?

It’s a bit of both, actually. Some of it is down the road, being like, “This would be a lot better if it was played on trumpet.” The song “Secret Grief,” my friend Leila (Abdul-Rauf) played trumpet on that part. Originally, when I was demoing the song, that melody, that part, was just done on an electric guitar, almost a very simple solo. But—speaking of clean music that really shapes the band—I really love the band The Blue Nile who are this Scottish band, and their second record has this very blue, dreamlike quality to it.

There’s a song on there called “Let’s Go Out Tonight,” and I was like, “I’d love to just bottle that essence and put it on our record somehow,” and I think I had shown Justin some album or a live video of this guy David Torn playing with a trumpet player, and it was super dreamy, and I was like, “We could do that on this song.” Leila crushed it because she’s such a pro at everything, and it just made sense. It was so good; it just added this new flavor to the record.

All the piano on the album, all the organ, that stuff is all my dad; he’s a big help. Getting to have him be on the album is such a fucking cool thing because he is the reason why I play guitar. I saw him playing piano, and he really got me into music, and when I wanted to do it, he was like, “Yeah, you’ll do it; you’ll do lessons.”

Both my parents are super encouraging, so it’s cool to have him on it. It’s really easy; I’ll send him the demos with the timestamps, and I’ll be like, “Do something like this,” and he does it and sends it back, and I’m like, “perfect.” When we record properly, I just throw it into the session, and then we just line it up, and it gets mixed accordingly.

We had Phil Swanson sing on “Secret Grief,” and him and Justin go back. They were in Sumerlands together before Phil left that band, but they have another band together now called Solemn Lament who are really good. I really liked his singing, and we floated it, and he was into it, and he did such a great job. Great doesn’t even describe how happy I was with it, and he was really thrilled on it too. It was nice to immediately connect and hit it off with someone on a small piece; I’ll find a way to work with him again. That’s how much I enjoyed it.

That’s the fun part, like, that song would be fine if it didn’t have singing and it didn’t have trumpet, but that’s all it would be; it would be fine. It wouldn’t be what it is. I love that song, but I love it because it’s all of those things. That was great.

We had a bunch of friends send us an iPhone recording of them whispering some things that we wrote for the record, and we kind of meshed that into an instrumental song. My bandmate from Tomb Mold, Max, does some trade off lines in the song “Ecstatic Reign” with Justin, and that was super fun, and we had a ball doing that.

My friend McKenna (Rae), she sang on the first record a little bit, just a couple lines, and it was very last minute thing—not last minute, but it came pretty late in the process when we were working on Tide Turns Eternal. People really liked it, and she was really thrilled to work on it, and I was just over the moon, so I figured, “Why don’t we do it again, but let me give you a little more to work with and be able to sing a whole part of a sing?”

So she sings on “Ecstatic Reign,” and it’s fucking awesome. And then we asked Richard Poe, who did the spoken part of the first record, to come back on this one, and I like this one even more; it’s super intense. It has the same energy to it where it’s almost a moment of clarity from somebody, and it lined up perfectly.

That’s the other thing, too; I never know. I have an idea in my head, but you don’t know until you hear it. When I got that part back from him, it was like, “Oh, it’s actually perfect.” I was so tickled by the whole thing. Arthur Rizk, who mixed and mastered the record and recorded Justin’s drums, he did a great job balancing everything and giving each part it’s proper amount of shine. Nothing feels stepped on; everybody feels like they have their moments, and that was really great; that meant a lot to have all those people be willing to work with us on the record. It means something.

That’s the best feeling; that’s the best part of the record; not so much what I or Justin do—for me it’s what Justin does, but everybody that gets to be involved and feel a level of investment and be happy with their part. It’s the same with the artwork. Benjamin Vierling, who did the album art, he just destroyed it; it’s so fucking good. That guy is brilliant. I’ve just been so fucking blessed to work with great artists. Matthew Jaffe who did the art for the first record, we talked a lot about it, and same with Benjamin. With Benjamin there was conviction behind every little decision he made with the painting and I was so pumped. It just looks like how the record sounds in my head; it’s perfect. I gave him a loose concept, but he really ran with it; it’ a nice thing. It’s like Leila playing trumpet. If I don’t ask someone to do it, then it never happens. Half the battle is willing to ask someone for help, and sometimes that’s harder than it seems, but I got really fortunate with this one.

The nature of the music is wide open and spacious and feels minimalist, but like you said, the recording is super-dense and layered.

Yeah, it’s a lot of simple ideas that create this complex thing. Most of the record, any rudimentary guitar player can play, which is kind of awesome, but you’d need, like, you and three or four of your friends to pull it off all playing guitar at the same time (laughs). I think I joked to my teacher Kevin and said, “The only way this band plays live is you have to play 12-string exclusively.” We had a good laugh about that. That’s the other thing—Studio bands or whatever you want to call it, you could just sit there and stack all these layers until the cows come home, but playing it live is another thing because you don’t want to show up with a half-assed product.

I wont say the artist because I don’t want to be too much of a jerk, but my wife and I went to a show, and this person had made a record that had a bunch of piano on it; it was this very large, haunting album. We went a saw them live, and all the piano was a backing track, and it was sort of like a rinky-dink, three-piece live band and I was like, This sucks and we need to leave.” And what freaked me out more than how bad it was, was how much people were just eating it up. I just wish people demanded more from a live performance.

I saw both ends of the spectrum as far as the live shows go because throughout the summer, and depending on the person you are, some of these are more embarrassing than others, but I saw some really great death metal bands play, and I saw some great smaller shows. But I also saw huge, big shows that were awesome, like I saw Elton John this summer, and I saw Phish. Stuff like that where it is these people who have it so dialed in.

But when you see a small band that has it so dialed it, you just appreciate it a lot more than someone phoning it in. Phoning it in on a small scale, too, I think that’s extra sad. If you have a successful record covered in piano, and you can’t find someone with a Nord keyboard to take on tour, something is wrong. You’re doing something wrong. Find a way; I didn’t pay to see karaoke (laughs).

Song of Salvation seems like it’s arranged in thirds; do you actively think about how the material is presented in that way?

That’s interesting. I think you’re right. There’s a very hard stop at the end of the opening track, “Song of Salvation.” So it doesn’t blend into the next song, “Secret Grief,” but it does feel like from “Secret Grief” to the end of “Unrequited,” which is the fourth track on the record, that feels like it’s own movement. That almost feels like you have the big, grand-scale mountain of a song that opens, and then you have—”Secret Grief” is a heavy song, but it’s only really heavy for, like, two-and-a-half minutes.

So you have that; that’s like a five-minute song—only half of it is heavy—and then you have another eight minutes of clean stuff for the most part. That whole section feels way more like I’m sitting in the bar of a hotel where you go see someone play on piano. It has almost a noir-ish vibe to it, very blue, for lack of a better way of putting it.

You know what, though? I didn’t realize it was really going to be like that until we recorded the record, and then I was like, “That’s awesome.” It was a lot different than the first record; I feel like you have to wait a solid four or five minutes for the record to really pick up steam, maybe even longer. This is one is right out the gate and then we pull it back in the middle, almost like an intermission of sorts between the two huge songs.

I like that; I guess it really is in thirds, but it wasn’t intentional from the jump, but I also thought this record might only be two songs. I thought we might do a two song EP with “Song of Salvation” on one side and “Ecstatic Reign” on the other, but then I just kept writing more music. You have up to 45 minutes comfortable on a record, so I could really fill it up. I didn’t want to pad it out with trash, but I thought everything I came up with was pretty good and helped the record flow. It gives it more of a prog feel to when you have the middle the way it is.

You guys recorded both albums in two separate places.  How does everything come together in that process?

Yeah he does his drums in Philly; I record outside of Toronto in a city called Hamilton, and then he does his vocals in Boston, and then we sort of just dump it all on Arthur. I’m definitely one of those people that, as I’m writing, I’m like, “This will go later in the record; this will go before; this has to go here.”

I’m always thinking about formatting and Justin is really good about just trusting me with that. Then when he does his drums, I don’t hear it until he’s done. I don’t know what he’s going to play for the most part, so it’s like a fun surprise to see how he interprets it.

Do you ever give him direction on what you want to hear in a certain part?

Here and there. There’s a part in the title track, “Song of Salvation,” where we build up this heavy section, and it culminates in him really riding the double kick on his drums, and that’s kind of intentional. Maybe one or two riffs on the album, I’ll be like, “Can you do something like this,” and he’s like, “Yup, that makes sense.” But otherwise I let him do it, and by the time he records, he’s recording to demos that have nearly every part of the album on it. So he knows to anticipate most of the solos; he knows to anticipate most of the overdubs, so he can build his drums according to that. If he hears a couple notes in a solo that he wants to accent, he knows that they’re there.

That’s the thing I never really get to experience because usually that stuff you just do after the fact. When you’re practicing with a band, you don’t hear all of the nuances of it unless you’re recording clean demos of your LP before you go in. A lot of that stuff, the formatting and whatnot, we kind of know. I do try to balance to make sure that the two sides of the record are the same length and that was little trickier with this one, but I managed to make it work. It would really suck if one side was 22 minutes and one was 18. I don’t know how many people would care, but I would care.

Sometimes I think of writing in sides. It’s the same with the first record; the last song we wrote for the album was the song that closes out the A-side, “The Needful.” We were like, “Something’s missing,” and that song was like, “OK, now the record’s done.” For me, with this record, I thought it was good; then I wrote the shorter of the two instrumentals, “Murmer of Voices,” and I thought, “Now the record’s done.” It was the last little thing, something to fade out the A-side. Between the opening track and “Secret Grief,” you’re getting 19 minutes of something thrown at you.

It’s funny; we’re talking about viewing the record in thirds, but now I’m talking about viewing it as two sides of an album. It’s interesting; I guess it depends on how you listen to it. If you listen via mp3 or CD where you don’t have to flip it, you’re experiencing it either as one long piece or in thirds, and if you’re listening to it on a record, it’s first half and second half. That will color the listening experience a little bit, I think.

I hadn’t actually thought of that actively until you brought it up, but I figured I wanted the A-side to close out with the “Murmer of Voices” track and that’s how it ends up happening. That satisfied the thing in me about both sides being around the same length; plus I just thought it was a nice way to close out the A-side, and the B-side will open with almost a continuation of that in the other instrumental song “Unrequited.”

You started writing this one before Tides was done; have you started writing more?

Of course I have (laughs). Yeah, we’ve got stuff on the horizon as far as what we’ve been working on. It’s fun now because writing music is this combination of, “What am I listening to that I like? “ The band we haven’t talked about, and I feel like a few people have said it sounds like is Opeth. We’re not as heavy as them in some respects, but that’s a band that takes a long-winded approach to songs in a good way. That album, Damnation, the all-clean record, I listened to that into oblivion when I was working on this record; that definitely colored things.

So now we’ve pushed out the edges a bit; how can we keep pushing? We’ll be listening to certain records; I’ll be working on stuff maybe for other bands or in my guitar lessons, and then I’ll feel inspired by that, and I’ll be like, “How can I put that into Dream Unending?” Maybe I’ll want to write a song where I could take a whole middle section and write a not-overdriven solo, something clean, something a little different and outside of the wheelhouse that people would expect. I feel like the length of the songs and the nature of the songs gives you a lot of space to just try things. I’ve been thinking about that, and yeah, I’ve been writing.

You mentioned earlier about a potential live version of Dream Unending. Will we see one in the near future?

I think so. It’ll happen; I just don’t know when. It’s a tough thing, especially because the border doesn’t make it easy to tour the states if you’re Canadian. I almost would need all of Tomb Mold to be in Dream Unending, which they have no issue with, which is great.

It’s so tough, though. To really do it right, I would almost have to stop a lot of things in my life to make it work. I would have to actively be like, “I can’t work on recording any music for half a year,” and then assemble a team of people that would be willing to play it live. It’s a lot to teach because people have to learn from scratch. It’s not a band where, maybe a band writes two records and goes on tour, but they know the songs because they were on all of it. There is a bit of a hill to climb with doing it, but we want to do it. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but I guess people like the band enough that we should do it.

Follow the band here. 

Photo courtesy of Dream Unending 

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