Dream State’s 2017 was a blur of pinch-me moments that the band are still trying to get their heads around. Since dropping their EP, Consequences, at the end of 2015, things have been moving quickly for the Swansea melodic hardcore quintet. In the last few months alone they’ve signed to the increasingly prolific UNFD, and scored a viral hit with their latest single, White Lies.
“At our last London show we had a fan who flew over from Egypt to watch us play,” says frontwoman CJ Gilpin, who’s speaking to Metal Hammer from an East London pub where the band are playing with eccentric Aussie genre-hoppers Ocean Grove later tonight. “They were like, ‘We couldn’t wait for you to tour so we thought we would come to you.’ For one, it was just amazing to know that people are supporting us from that far away. And that they’re willing to come all that way to watch us play a small gig in London… that was quite an eye-opening moment for me.”
It’s not half bad for a band who currently have just six songs in their arsenal. Although it helps, of course, that one of those six tracks is the all-conquering, internet-devouring monster, White Lies. Since its release in March last year the infectious single has been streamed over a million times on Spotify and clocked up an incredible 4 million views on YouTube.
“It’s all happened really fast,” says CJ, the disbelief evident in her voice. “We have gone from playing to two people, to 20-30 people, to a couple of hundred in the space of just four months. It’s been a bit wild. White Lies came out last March and a couple of months after the video went viral we noticed things were really starting to pick up in the UK. Around that time we started to think, ‘This is real!’”
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Although they admit they’ve been influenced by myriad bands, from Slipknot to Tool and Linkin Park, imagine Alexisonfire with a mouthful of E numbers and you’ll be on your way to pinning down Dream State’s raw, itchy and irrepressible sound. On the ridiculously catchy hooks of Burden and frenetic fist-pumper Burn Them Down, while CJ yelps, bellows and screams upfront, the rest of the band take fragments of rock, metal, post-hardcore and pop-punk and douse them in bright, primary colours. Rebuild, Recreate works from the same fizzy and violent template that made The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets such a thrilling trip, a joyful yet bruising sound that’s seen Dream State invited to play with artists as disparate and bludgeoning as Cove and the aforementioned Ocean Grove.
“My favourite description of us is: emotional and raw,” says CJ when we ask why she thinks they’ve been welcomed onto bills with much heavier bands. “I think that’s what heavy music is about. I draw a lot lyrically from my experiences – I’ve had a drug addiction in the past and struggled a lot with it. It’s still an everyday fight but I’m doing really well at the moment. It gave me issues like anxiety but I don’t want that to label me; I want to be the role model that can get past all of that and come out stronger. I’m not afraid to speak about it and I don’t want other people to be afraid to speak about it. I think a lot of people can relate to what I’m saying, unfortunately, and they’re connecting on a more emotional level, with that raw, emotional sound that fits in the middle. You’ve got the black and the white and we’re more in the grey. And I like being in the grey.”
Dream State UK tour dates
Feb 8: Boileroom, Guildford
Feb 9: Café Indiependent, Scunthorpe
Feb 10: The Cellar, Oxford
Feb 11: Asylum 2, Birmingham
Feb 13: Exchange, Bristol
Feb 14: Star & Garter, Manchester
Feb 15: The Sugarmill, Stoke On Trent
Feb 16: Met Lounge, Peterborough
Feb 18: The Adelphi/New Adelphi, Hull
Feb 19: The Basement, York
Feb 20: The Key Club, Leeds
Feb 23: The Hairy Dog, Derby
Feb 24: The Anvil, Bournemouth
Feb 25: The Forum, Tunbridge Wells
Feb 26: The Camden Assembly, London
May 11: The Centenary Club, Wrexham
May 17-19: The Great Escape, Brighton
Jun 8-10: Download Festival, Donington