Weird Dreams formed after bonding over a shared love of David Lynch, The Beach Boys and a bunch of obscure guitar bands. Soon they released an eponymous four-track EP, recorded with producer Rory Bratwell, which sold out in days. Acclaimed gigs with the likes of Women, Wild Nothing, Ty Segal and Male Bonding quickly followed, as did a split 7” single with Brooklynites Total Slacker. In March, the East London four-piece released their hotly anticipated second EP, 'Hypnagogic Lullaby', on Sleep All Day Records and Suplex Cassettes. Dazed caught up with songwriter and lead singer Doran Edwards to talk 60s soul, Twin Peaks and lucid dreams.
Dazed Digital: What inspired the idea of a Hynagogic Lullaby?
Doran Edwards: The lyrics were influenced by a series of dreams and real events that kind of left me in a “middle” place. I've always had incredibly vivid dreams but had a huge problem with getting to sleep and would kind of dream awake for a long time – something I later discovered was called hypnagogia. It wasn't until I read David Lynch's theories about Transcendental Meditation a couple of years ago that I learned more about it. I don’t practice TM by the way!
DD: Ah yes, I’ve heard that David Lynch is a big influence on you. How so?
Doran Edwards: I've been a massive Lynch nerd for years now and was always fascinated by the abstract worlds and characters he created, and got more and more curious about how he formed his ideas. Then I read Lynch On Lynch, which is an awesome interview book by Chris Rodley. People are always trying to work his movies out and constantly ask what each second means, but as he illustrates very clearly in the interviews, he doesn't always know. I found something quite inspiring in the notion that, as long as you followed your gut feeling and stayed true to your original idea, you don't have to apply reason or meaning to everything. All that said, I'm also a sucker for a great pop hook, so that’s important as well!
DD: Your love of Lynch inspired a Halloween show last year where the band dressed as their favorite Twin Peaks characters. Who did you go as?
Doran Edwards: I went as Leo, the wife-beating misogynist who is a suspect in the murder of Laura Palmer. He deals some drugs, cracks some skulls, gets shot and paralysed etc etc. Generally, one of my least favourite characters, but I had the wig man, I had to wear the wig! I had a great trucker cap from last year that I stitched the wig into, cut the top of the cap and hair away, and stitched in these huge latex lacerations from a mask in the shape of a scalp… it looked pretty convincing.
DD: As well as the Beach Boys you have an obvious love of old soul artists such as Syl Johnson. If you could play in any band from the past, which would it be?
Doran Edwards: I'm not good enough to play in any soul bands, I'd just stink up the vibe! If that wasn't an issue, I would love to have played on “He's My Son (just the same)” by O.V. Wright. It's a heart wrenchingly sad song with a tear-jerking degree of acceptance and hope. I'm not sure if it's autobiographical, but it's about him coming home from prison to find a baby in his family. He's been in prison five years and the baby's only three, so he knows it's not his – it’s his brother’s. His wife explains it happened once and his brother ran off straight after, and O.V. just says, "He's my son, just the same".
And obviously the Beach Boys would have been insane to play with. My dad used to take us on these trips down to Devon and South of France when me and my brother were really young, and he'd always play the Beach Boys. In the last couple of years I've gotten kind of obsessed with the way Brian Wilson constructed songs - the harmonies are still to this day completely out of this world. It's that attention to detail that in Brian Wilson and David Lynch that I adore. Two people completely in their element and 100% focused on nothing but that creation.
DD: What’s next after the EP release?
Doran Edwards: Well, I think we're looking at recording an album and releasing it in September or some time around then, playing lots of festivals and a tour or two.
Hypnagogic Lullaby EP is available now from iTunes and is released on 12” and cassette. On April 5 Weird Dreams play a free EP launch party at the Victory on Kingsland Road, London, with support from Not Cool and The History of Apple Pie, and on April 8 play The Electric Ballroom in Camden with Smith Western.
Photos by Sean Carpenter