If you play me a song and the first three bands that pop into my mind are The Verve, Spacemen 3 and The Jesus and Mary Chain, it’s fair to say that I will fall rapturously in love. But love is fleeting and I’m going to need you to advance the cause to keep my interest. Hailing from Carlisle in the UK, The Lucid Dream take the genre and blow it up to stadium-sized proportions. Rare is the band that can take music that is inherently claustrophobic and make it float in space. Mark Emmerson from the band spoke with Amy and I about his appreciation of where they came from and where they will take you.
TDOA: Here in America we’re stuck in some sort of indie/disco/dance rut, so we’re thrilled to see bands like yourselves embracing the C86/Mary Chain way of life. Some genres come and go, while others seem to be occasionally reborn. Why do you think your type of music seems to be experiencing renewed interest?
ME: I think that throughout the generations there have been genuinely great bands who have went on to influence that generation and so on. The Mary Chain were probably in the 80s the biggest at the noise thing, which in turn they got down the line from The Velvets, Syd Barrett, Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran.
Around the same time as the Mary Chain you had Spacemen 3, who are probably the most influental band of that time, the amount of bands referencing them as an influence is huge, rightly so because they made some of the greatest music of all time. The Stone Roses also, that first album keeps influencing now.
The 90s you had Spiritualized leading the noise stuff, Ladies and Gentlemen in particular (Mark Lucid Dream and possibly Wayne Lucid Dream favourite album ever), it got top 4 in the album chart the same week as Radiohead – OK Computer was released, which just shows how important to the general public they had become, and it has the 17 minutes of Cop Shoot Cop on it, fantastic.
I would say now that America is pioneering the drone music. The influence that bands such as Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Black Angels are having is huge. I remember on our May tour hearing everyone of those bands getting dj’d before the shows.
TDOA: Love the videos. Who directed them and how did you finance them?
ME: Thanks! Stan from Insect Guide (who I recommend you check out), does the videos. We met him through our old label (Dead Young Records). He does them at a good price, so its attainable for us. Last week we filmed the video for the next single, ‘In Your Eyes’. He really is a genius at doing films, videos. Check out Insect Guide site for further work.
TDOA: Your current release, Erbistock Mill E.P, was limited to only 100 hand-numbered CDs. What was your reasoning behind this decision?
ME: Various reasons. The EP recording was originally financed by our old label, but we ended up leaving the label, and rather than have it sitting on the shelf we decided to self-release it, so 100 copies was realistic to our budget. It also meant we could hand-number them for collectors appeal, and it sold out quickly, so it should become something for the hardcore fans. I would love it to be pressed on vinyl someday, as we are all vinyl fanatics. We obviously couldnt finance it ourselves. We did all the promo between us and got some brilliant press, and luckily we are now with a new label (360 Degree Music) so it takes away a lot of the hassle from us. The only draw back for the EP (as the songs are pretty long and non-commercial) was bar a BBC 6 Music Introducing play it never broke down the radio barrier, but we are very optimistic with the new single, a demo of it got on Radio 2 so cant wait to unleash the new version!
TDOA: You’re preparing to play shows with Mono Stereo and have played with some other great bands. Can you talk about playing with Sonic Boom and any other tour stories that might entertain us?
ME: Yeah, it was a dream come true as Spectrum/Spacemen 3/Sonic Boom fanatics. We did 2 dates with Spectrum in February 2009, at Liverpool Static Galley and Leeds Library. It was surreal to meet him, and we all kind of shied away! I remember during ‘Hits Me Like I’m Stoned’ at Liverpool Static Gallery Sonic Boom sitting crossed legged at the front. Will Sergeant (Echo and the Bunnymen guitarist) was at that show too, we got to meet him, another one of our heroes, brilliant night. The great thing about those shows is that we picked up a fair few Spectrum fans along the way who now dig us. Shindig! Magazine quoted ‘you get the sense that the baton was being silently passed on’, which is an amazing compliment, but I would not want to put ourselves up against Spectrum!
We played with Crocodiles in Manchester, they seemed really humble nice fellas, and they are definitely in the pecking order of the drone stuff now. And we supported The Aliens (3 members formerly of the amazing Beta Band (RIP)), that meant a lot. Luna is a stone cold classic LP. Gordon asked us to support them next time they tour, so fingers crossed it happens. Lovely chaps, not much in the way of rock n roll tour stories though! Meeting your heroes is pretty normal. I remember meeting Si Jones/Nick McCabe (The Verve), (who were) really down to earth top people.
TDOA: What are your plans for releasing a full-length album? If you could work with any producer, who would it be?
ME: The next release will be out November, then hopefully a single in March, working on an LP in the meantime. We promise we wont dissapoint! As for producer, if money was no object, or jail, Phil Spector? (Love 60s girl groups, especially The Ronettes). Failing him, John Leckie or Jason Spaceman. Or Sonic Boom. Joe Meek is obviously out of the question.
TDOA: Okay, pick one: shoegaze or dreampop. Which of these genres do you think best describes your sound?
ME: Dreampop. It will all make sense when you hear 3 of the 4 songs on the next release! We all love pop music, and layering it/messing it up with the noise. I think in terms of song lengths and song structures ‘Jesus and Mary Chain- Psychocandy’ is unbeatable, absolutely stunning all round. You need a great ‘song’, no pedals or production will hide a weak song.
TDOA: You list many influences on your Myspace, but if you had to narrow it down to three of the most important, who would those be?
ME: Tough question. I would say Spacemen 3, Verve and The Jesus and Mary Chain. That wasnt easy! Unexpected stuff like Love and The La’s miss out only slightly. Between us we have literally hundreds, we have even been talking about taking dub ideas (ie. delay on snare drum/Space Echo on the vocals), so we try keep an open mind, but the 3 bands mentioned are probably the biggest factor on our sound.
TDOA: The band’s gone through at least one personnel shake-up – how has that influenced the sound?
ME: Yeah, due to work commitments our keyboard player left last year. We now use drone loops in his place, which works just as well, it means we have had to work to be tighter and push ourselves, and it certainly has done that. We could have replaced him but half of being in a band is being a band of brothers, and if you dont have that personal connection it shows onstage and through the music, so we decided to continue as a 4 piece.
TDOA: “The Lucid Dream” – where did that come from? I listen to your music and “lucid” isn’t a word that I come up with!
ME: It’s from ‘The Verve – Catching The Butterfly’, ‘in my lucid dream’. I was listening to it a few months before our first show and it stuck. I flirted with The Codeine Dream, but The Lucid Dream got the overall nod.
TDOA: What does psychedelic mean to you in terms of your music?
ME: Music with no boundaries, which is how all music should be. (Reference points – Silver Apples, Suicide, United States of America, they realised it had no boundaries and made music 40 years ahead of its time still to be beaten).
To learn more about the band and buy their music, visit their MySpace page.
See The Lucid Dream live:
Nov 6 2010 The Underground Stoke-on-Trent, Midlands
Nov 9 2010 Oporto Leeds
Nov 12 2010 Moho Manchester
Nov 14 2010 Mojo Liverpool
Nov 15 2010 The Garage London