Forming in 2009, the last few years have seen only a trickle feed of music from Melbourne’s Dream On Dreamer. The much loved ARIA award nominated band released Songs Of Soulitude in 2015, and three subsequent singles (“Don’t Lose Your Heart”, “Stay”, “Vertigo”), up until 2018 when we’ve seen announcement of album It Comes and Goes, as well as two stellar singles (“Let It In” and “Runaway”). Having the opportunity to speak with Dream On Dreamer’s vocalist Marcel Gadacz, my first curiosity was the pause the band took, and then the current resurgence which has the band seeming refreshed and renewed by way of outlook and energy.
Marcel shared that the band have always intended to put the most of their potential into the music they’re creating, and regrouped to be clear about what they were doing. From the point of Songs Of Soulitude, Marcel shared “We were in a stage of our lives where we were trying to find something that would make us personally excited about music. We’ve been touring, we’ve been seeing the world with what we’ve created so far. We got to the point where we were in a market with a lot of over-saturated acts. I don’t mean it in a negative way, but we were really in a position where we wanted to create something to really satisfy why we wanted to be musicians and why we decided to create this art in the first place.” Dream On Dreamer didn’t want to be a band that fell into a pattern of touring for a chunk of time, and then putting out releases that sounded the same. They believed in a natural progression, accepting that things change.
“I was diagnosed with cancer after Songs Of Soulitude came out.”
Marcel opened up about the personal growth that was happening at the time. “I went through a stage in life when I was diagnosed with cancer after Songs Of Soulitude came out. It took about a year for me to fully recover from that and also change my life; change the outlook on how we make music and how I personally want to live life!” Marcel described the diagnosis of cancer as a wake-up call, and “definitely an inspiration to do what we personally love.” They wanted to do something that they could feel excited about, to reignite the joy for music they had ten years ago, by satisfying themselves instead of looking around at what others are doing. Marcel felt that this honesty (toward yourself and others) with where you’re at is one of the “keys of life”. In amongst deception that might come from outside influences, he poetically says “You’ve got to paint and create your own paradise somewhere”, not looking at others in terms of things being correct or how they should be. He feels there are more positive ways to look at life and gain that happiness we all chase, without losing yourself and your passion.
“You’ve got to find a way to be happy and satisfied in life“
We spoke about the importance of centering and redirecting energy and focus back to what we personally sought out of creative experiences. Marcel felt that this was a way to live with the greatest potential and greatest personal strength. On the topic, I asked Marcel if It Comes and Goes was the product of the regrouping and the subsequent desire to make an empowered statement as a band. “There was quite a lot of turmoil in terms of our personal lives and we used that as fuel to put into some new material, and really just had an attitude of ‘We don’t really care what’s going to happen. We don’t really care what people are going to think or how they’re going to judge us for choosing the musical route we’re going right now’. Because at the end of the day, it is your life right now and as arrogant as that sounds, you’ve got to find a way to be happy and satisfied in life. That was the most natural way for us to approach the whole industry that we’re in and the whole approach of the whole album.”
“We’d achieved all we’d laid out for us”
Marcel says that in the downtime they were thinking “what else can there be?”. From when the band formed, he had learned English and moved from Germany, leaving his whole life behind to start a new one, with the intention to follow what he envisioned his life to be; ‘This musical adventure’ he calls it. “I was needing to find ways to be progressing. I constantly have this urge to be better. That was just one of those things.” Beginning the band with original members of Callan Orr and Marcel, the music at that time was for simply expressing themselves, while also carrying aspirations. “We were aiming for the stars. Not knowing what would happen, but we were kind of ticking off personal achievements and boxes of what we were hoping for.”
“We wanted to tour Australia. We wanted to tour overseas. We wanted to go and tour in America. We wanted to tour in a bus one day. We wanted to go on another European tour. You know? We wanted to tour the world with it. Make an album with another producer. There were all these kind of things that’d we had achieved in a couple of years. And all these things started happening. Like our first album was nominated for an ARIA. At the time heavy music wasn’t even accepted.”
The band got to a stage where they had achieved all they’d laid out for themselves and were at a point of wondering what was next. “Do we just concentrate on being adults and do that? Or do we just do music because we would love to do it. We would love to write something that we have no expectations on and just literally do what we love to do. Like, push ourselves, keep progressing as we are, but don’t have any expectation on the outcome. Like wherever it will go it goes, you know? That’s the whole idea we had behind it.”
Dream On Dreamer incorporated striking imagery courtesy of Jason Eshraghian in the music videos for “Let It In” and “Runaway”. Marcel shared that they have worked with Jason for a few years now, after the band flew him to Melbourne from Perth to create the music video for “Neverlove”. They recognised Jason’s passion for what Marcel referred to as ‘Hollywood’ style, with impressive cinematic images. The band set a budget and approached him, recognising that the strength of their new singles needed strong imagery to match it. Being close to the band, Jason know of their personal struggles, and very quickly understood what to create on their behalf.
Marcel shared that the idea behind “Let It In” was near-death experiences; where somehow, sometime it could be all over within a day, and being grateful for what you have and grateful for those that you love. The striking images and dark metaphorical takes on death and defeat are intense, with Marcel affirming that you don’t really want to look at it: “You don’t want to see this person flying off this house right now. We’re not trying to lead attention to the act of that person dying. We’re giving a glimpse of what is real and happening, and happening every day. We’ve over-exaggerated it to make it more striking.”
With the music video for “Runaway”, Marcel shared the power of having a ‘soulmate’, or even just having something that’s not necessarily a person that gives you a will to live life and have a positive energy toward life. With bombs falling down on the landscape, Dream On Dreamer are sharing the reality of it all being over in time, and that being something we can’t escape: “Bombs were falling down and the world was destroying itself and that’s just reality at the moment. The human race are literally daily destroying ourselves. It’s literally the way we’re choosing to live. How do we get out of that? Do we want this to happen? The “Runaway” story is a beautiful story where those two people ended up sticking together and overcoming everything. They still had each other, the will to live, and the will to love.”
By way of these dark themes that come into the Dream On Dreamer music, Marcel laughs and says “I’ve never liked happy music, I’m never going to like happy music”. He considers himself a realist and seeks to make his creative work as real as it can be. Realism to Marcel means “we can’t be ignorant if we want to live our lives in a manner that is good for our future and our species. We have to look at what we’re doing. We have to change whatever we’re doing wrong and come out positively. Our music is sometimes sad and moody, but none of the messages are moody and dark. They’re real.”
Marcel says that spirituality and his own personal healing is where a lot of inspiration for It Comes and Goes came from. Being clear that he wasn’t giving general advice, just talking about himself, he elaborated upon his personal experience with his cancer diagnosis when he had chemotherapy recommended to him. Marcel shared that he rejected professional advice on it and instead decided to look at the situation with a holistic perspective, asking questions such as “Why did things happen this way? Why was I even ill like that? Why do people fall sick?”.
Marcel started meditating, looking at his thought patterns, and the concept of happiness. He kept asking himself “What’s making me happy right now?” and went towards his own wisdom and intuition, as opposed to being influenced by what he was told he needed or what he should be like, even if that advice came from professionals. In his words: “We need to connect back to ourselves and humanity and what we’re here for. Once you put those pieces together, that’s when it becomes important to take things like spirituality and meditation, and even dietary elements seriously. They are serious and the very key to our wellbeing and we have forgotten that. I was in a position where I didn’t really feel like I wanted to believe in that. It was against the grain, almost looked down upon. People won’t accept things that can’t be proven by professionals such as doctors. I’m not doubting them, but we’re getting the cause of our wellbeing mixed up because the very foundation has been taught wrongly to us as children.”
Marcel feels that we live in a different time to when his parents grew up, and that it’s important to be open to possibilities, and to make up our own minds as to what we’re comfortable with and go for it; using our own intuition.
“Everything is there and it will eventually go. Not in a bad way, but in a realistic way.”
By way of the album title, I asked Marcel “What is ‘it’? What does ‘come and go’?”. He tells the story of coming up with the idea for the title in the shower. “When I came up with that, it was very much instant. I got out of the shower and texted our guitarist: “I’ve got the new album title, It Comes and Goes” and he’s usually very critical over stuff like that. But he was like “Alright, done. It sounds great.” When you think about it, you can relate that sentence or that phrase to anything. It’s everything, it’s life in general. You can put it into anything. Name an example, and it comes and goes. Everything is there and it will eventually go. Not in a bad way, but in a realistic way.”
To clarify, I asked if this is accepting the fact that everything is impermanent, to which Marcel replied “Exactly. Not letting that bum you out. Accepting that that is our realm right now that we live in. It’s reality and we’ve got to embrace it for what it is. And whatever happens happens.”
Kel: “It’s a different twist on instability. Instead of seeing things unstable as in crumbling, it’s seeing them as impermanent and just the cycle of things, yeah?”
Marcel: “Exactly. What comes out of that is the present time, that we suddenly tend to enjoy before we thought about this. It’s really about enjoying the present moment. Instead of looking ahead. It’s fine to feel feelings, but it’s more that whatever is right now can feel really embracive if you allow yourself to embrace it, if that makes any sense [laughs].”
As well as vocals, Marcel directs his artistic expression through Dream On Dreamer, taking care of the artwork for the band. I asked him about the jellyfish imagery that I’d seen on the album and single artwork. He refers to jellyfish as a ‘soothing’ creature, and a creature that also ties into the concept of impermanence: “We have the ocean, one of the most unexplored things on the planet, and jellyfish always have this mystical feeling. They’re there and we don’t really know what they do, and they’re so perfect. They’re such perfect beings. They’re pretty but they don’t actually give much away. It’s a mystical creature floating through an unexplored part of the world. It will come and appear and then it just goes into the deep, it’s just gone. You’d never see it again.”
As for other themes that show up on the album lyrically, Marcel stated that self-worth, self-growth are part of It Comes and Goes, as are the topics of overcoming fears, and going through uncomfortable situations and coming out stronger for it. He wants for It Comes and Goes to be an empowering album, perhaps enjoyed alone when the emotions of it can be felt and experienced.
Before we ended our phone call, Marcel shared that the reason he writes music is to understand and express certain feelings. In his words: “It’s all about feelings. You can’t switch that off, or you shouldn’t unless you want to pretend to not live. We need that realness back, it can’t just be about Xanax and parties and escaping things. Music was once about reaching out to a group of people to deliver a message that will benefit society instead of doing the opposite which most music is doing at the moment, trying to numb your brain instead of enhancing it.”
Pre-order It Comes and Goes here:
Catch Dream On Dreamer on tour: http://www.dreamondreamerband.com/tour