Exclusive: Listen to the Dreaming's 'Puppet' in Its Entirety
Hard rockers the Dreaming will release their new album, Puppet (Epochal Artists/EMI), next Tuesday. But you can hear the album in its entirety right here. Vocalist Christopher Hall, who previously fronted Stabbing Westward, fills us in on the album below. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.
REVOLVER What did you want to do differently on this album from your last, 2008’s Etched in Blood?
CHRISTOPHER HALL I felt our last album strayed away from the sound we originally set out to make. This was a combination of influences from our producer, mixer, manager and newer members of the band. I really liked our first record but I feel like Puppet better captures the vision [drummer] Johnny Haro and I originally had.
We set out to make music that was heavy and dark but very melodic with strong songs. We really wanted to recapture some of the electronic sounds that were a part of Stabbing Westward and Econoline Crush that seemed to get lost on the first Dreaming album.
So my goal on this record was to learn everything I could about producing and engineering, so I could maintain creative control over the album and not let too many outsiders get involved. The one outsider who really helped was Eddie Wohl who mixed the record. He helped make my production work sound polished and helped shape the overall sound of the record in the mix. We had several members come and go during the recording process and each of them left their mark on the songs in different ways. It was a very long record to make due to my learning curve on how to record and produce, but I think it was worth it in the end.
How do you approach the Dreaming differently from what you did in Stabbing Westward?
Stabbing Westward went from being a band of two guys writing industrial music in our bedrooms into a monster that took on a life of its own. I seriously did not even recognize Stabbing Westward by the last album. In the Dreaming we wanted to get back to that feeling of making music for ourselves. Not for a label or an A&R guy or a manager or even for fans, but just the music that we wanted to make. It took away a lot of the stress and anxiety about making music. I think once you get to the point that fear of losing your success rules your creative process you should stop making music and become a banker. The Dreaming has nothing to lose so we make whatever music we feel like making; it’s very liberating and cathartic.
What are your favorite tracks on the new album and why?
My favorite song on Puppet is “End in Tears.” I love the hypnotic feel of the groove and love listening with headphones. There are a ton of cool creepy ambient sounds on that track and its fun to discover new sounds with every listen. I recorded several songs that I had written before or during the first album that ended up not getting used first time around. Either they were unfinished demos or the producer didn’t like them because they weren’t pop metal enough for the sound he was going for. These were songs I was very passionate about and fought for but ended up on the producer’s chopping block. It was great for me to be able to revisit them with a fresh perspective and with a different group of musicians. Some of these songs got a second chance at life kind of like the Dreaming.
In the past you’ve covered artists like INXS, Depeche Mode, and the Cure. How do influences like those figure into the heavy music you play?
These were my favorite bands growing up. Not INXS so much but the Cure and Depeche Mode, along with heavier bands like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. I think Depeche Mode were the most influential band to electronic music. I know there were earlier bands and noisier bands and more abrasive and cutting edge bands but nobody took pop song arrangements and orchestrated them using synths the way Depeche Mode did, and they did it consistently album after album with amazing songs and sounds that never grew stale. Covering a song like [Depeche Mode’s] “It’s No Good” is great for a songwriter. The act of deconstructing it and figuring out how it was built and then making it your own gives you lessons on how to write a great song. Then you just apply those lessons in a non-plagiaristic way and you have the building blocks for better songwriting.
What is it you want people to take away from listening to this record?
I’ve never really known what I want people to take away from my music. I used to try to tell people what my songs were about. I remember once in Stabbing Westward getting in an argument with a fan about the meaning of one of my songs. I was very offended that they didn’t get what my song was about. Later on, I realized that they were right. It doesn’t matter what I think my songs are about.
What’s important is how the listener feels about it. If they connect to it in some ultra-personal way that I never intended then that is great. Why should anyone care what the song means to me? That’s my pain and my story. Everyone has their own pain and their own story and if I can somehow connect to that and give them an outlet for that pain or a moment of feeling less alone in the world then I’ve done my job. I know not everyone is going to love every song but I hope that our fans find something good on the album that they can connect to. Thanks for listening.