What do you get when you bring together five guys influenced by Iron Maiden and Funeral For A Friend, among others, and combine that with a barrage of blistering riffs and catchy melodies? The answer is Exeter, UK quintet The Dreamer Within, who have already toured with Glamour of the Kill and Skindred. The band also recently finished their first UK tour and are gearing up for the release of their debut EP This Is Not Our Home on September 30th. With big career ambitions and a growing fanbase, the band kindly agreed to this interview to chat tour plans, dream shows and their thoughts on social media.
PW: Please introduce yourselves.
The Dreamer Within: Hi, we are Matt Stuart -- vocals, Charlie Smith -- guitars / clean vocals, Eliott Lipscombe -- drums, Josh Hepworth -- bass, and Alex Hepworth -- guitars.
PW: How would you describe yourselves and your music in a few words?
TDW: Angry EDM DJ meets guitar enthusiast...
PW: When did you individually realise you wanted to make music a career? Was there an album you bought or concert you attended that inspired you?
MS: Watching the Live after Death DVD that Iron Maiden released made me stop and think just how amazing it would be to play to so many people and have them connect so well to the lyrics I pour my heart into and kinda just clicked from there.
CS: I saw one of my mum’s Eric Clapton videos when I was about 12 and couldn’t understand how someone could play guitar that fast. Then, I saw Steve Vai play and thought “that’s just not human” and decided I wanted to be as inhuman as him, so my guitar adventure began!
AH: Josh and I saw Funeral For A Friend support Iron Maiden when we were about 11 years old. I was really into Iron Maiden, and I’d never heard music like FFAF. I remember thinking I need to learn to play guitar like that!
JH: Yeah I remember seeing Steve Harris play and knew I had to get a bass!
EL: Probably growing up and going to my Dad’s rehearsals from when he was in a band. One of the earliest pictures I have of me I’m about 2ft tall holding an acoustic guitar.
PW: Which bands or artists influenced you growing up, and have those influences changed over the years?
MS: I started off with the classics, especially Iron Maiden, but slowly was introduced to heavier and more modern stuff like Killswitch Engage, etc. and then got into the more Asking Alexandria kinda things and never really looked back.
AH: I have a really wide music taste, and it has changed a lot over the years! My biggest influences would be Iron Maiden, FFAF and Enter Shikari.
EL: I was predominantly into UK dance music growing up, caught onto Trivium at about 19 and have been into metal ever since!
CS: I have a very wide taste similar to Alex -- I started out on blues and moved to instrumental stuff like Joe Satriani, etc. I ended up becoming obsessed with bands like Trivium about 10 years ago, and, since then, I’ve never lost my love for metal/heavy alternative music in all its forms. My top three would have to be Funeral for a Friend, Story of the Year and Bullet for my Valentine, but, these days, I’m deep into metal core and have been for a few years now. You just can’t beat guitars and synth! I’m also a huge 80’s hair/glam metal fan.
PW: Is there a band or artist you might say you're similar to?
AH: We wouldn’t necessarily say we sound similar to any one particular band, as we have quite a diverse sound; however, we do draw influence from many bands and genres of music. Our fans have commented that certain aspects of our music remind them of bands such as Attack! Attack!, Woe Is Me, Enter Shikari and Erra.
PW: Tell me about your upcoming EP, due out at the end of the month. How would you sum it up?
JH: Fundamentally, it’s a metalcore album that draws on a lot of electronic elements such as tra
nce, dubstep and EDM. We like to keep the songs eclectic without distancing ourselves too far from our roots. You’ll want to get out the glow-sticks and bang your head but search for guitar tabs when you hear a saucy lick at the same time.
PW: Do you have a favourite track on the collection, and, if so, which is it and why?
AH: "C.M.N.K.S" sums the band up very well with what our sound is; it’s also super fun to play live!
PW: Who or what most inspires your songwriting?
CS: What really makes us different is that we try to write songs with a dark feel but with an underlying positive message. We’ve written tracks about supernatural theories, mankind’s place in the universe, the political climate, depression and even our favorite video game, Final Fantasy VII.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
MS: Abandon All Ships - Loafting. Just because we always play it at house parties to get things kicking off! Plus, we all loved it the moment we saw the singer’s blue hair in the video! But, seriously, if there was a song to revive the scene from 2016, that would be it.
PW: You've just finished your first UK tour. Any favourite shows or highlights?
EL: Leamington Spa was an interesting show. Back stage was filled with loads of strange things, including a huge pink caravan, rocking horses and a 4ft replica Dalek . Most of that evening was spent live streaming a Cards Against Humanity match between all the bands on the tour to our fans; you can watch it still on our Facebook page. Don’t judge us!
PW: What are your upcoming performance plans?
AH: As we deal with all the recording, distribution and social media ourselves, we’ve been concentrating so hard on this it’s been hard to keep up on shows. Now the EP is out, it’s time for us to get booking shows and back on the stage and in front of new crowds. If you’re reading this and have a show for us, get in touch!
PW: You've already shared stages with I Divide, Skindred and Glamour of the Kill among others, but, if you could share a stage with four other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be, and where would you play?
AH: Playing a reunion show with Attack! Attack! would be a dream come true! We’ve had the pleasure of playing with one of our combined favourite bands, Palisades, already which was a great experience. Taylor Swift would be great just because it’s Taylor Swift. We’d definitely be keen for a show with Iron Maiden! Perhaps they would lend us Ed Force One, which we can rename as Synth Force One! I think we’d all love to play a show with Enter Shikari just so we could meet the lads; they seem like good guys and would be cool to have a chat with them.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media, and would you agree it's a vital tool for bands and artists today?
EL: Yes, we are firm believers that social media is a vital tool for bands and artists today. Having the ability to communicate with fans all over the world through an app on your phone is something we do appreciate. We do feel there are ups and downs with social media and we are the first to admit that we are still learning the ropes with a lot of it. Fortunately we have a lot of help from good friends who have success with social media who are always willing to give us tips.
JH: One thing we have been trying to keep in our minds is not to heavily rely on social media. We are living in times where one platform will be replaced by another eventually, so, while social media is important, it does not replace word of mouth. For this reason, we feel it is still really important to get down to local shows/events and network as much as possible.
PW: What else does the rest of the year have in store for you?
AH: We’re going to aim to be back out on the road playing more shows outside of Devon and, with any luck, start working on some new material. No rest for the wicked!
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band, and, with that in mind, whose career would you most like to emulate and why?
AH: We’d probably most like to emulate the career of Enter Shikari. We really admire that they essentially went out and did everything on their own. As far as we’re aware, they turned down some record deals in order to keep control of everything. We try to keep as much control over the band as we possibly can. We write, record, mix and master all our music ourselves and try to do as much of the branding design as possible. For us, it’s all about doing things on our own terms.