Maybe Tomorrow: Introducing LA's Dream Phases
Born in a Los Angeles bedroom, Dream Phases is the project of Brandon Graham, whom we met on their recent tour around the UK with The Blank Tapes. The project started including his friends before kicking off their live shows in 2017. Just over a year later and the band found themselves taking on an EU and UK audience, with what seems as great success. Upon arriving back home, we caught up with the man behind it all.
Hi Brandon. How’s it going today?
It’s going pretty good! Still riding on a high from our recent European tour, and plotting about coming back again. It’s a bit of a muggy day here in Los Angeles, but not too bad. Been catching up on band emails and reading the new issue of Tape Op.
Tell us a bit about the start of Dream Phases. It all started in your bedroom, right?
Yeah it pretty much did. Although the band has been together for around two years now, the idea sort of goes all the way back to when I first started songwriting in high school. I wanted to play music so that I could write songs, and before writing music I was writing stories and poems as well as drawing. Songwriting felt like the natural progression of both of those. I also thought playing guitar was pretty cool. When I was about 17 my dad bought a Tascam Portastudio for both him and I to share. I quickly took it for myself, and just about everyday I’d come home from school, lock myself in my room and just record. I became enamoured by both writing and recording. I still have tons of Converse shoeboxes full of my cassette recordings. Flash forward to a few years ago, I had gotten burnt out on leading bands and having all the pressure of that but not really getting anywhere, so I’d shifted my focus on joining other people’s bands as a side guy to work more on being a musician than a writer. I did some cool stuff with bands and artists like the Blank Tapes, Matt Costa, the Relationship and a ton more. I got the inspiration back to write and before I knew it I wanted to start a band again, by that point I had an album’s worth of demos that I had recorded in my apartment.
You’ve not been playing live for too long as Dream Phases, since January 2017? Have you noticed growth within the band since then?
Yeah, it’s going back a little further than that, to about mid 2016, but that was a transition from my old band into Dream Phases. January was really the premiere of Dream Phases, which we did with a residency at Harvard & Stone. I definitely have noticed a growth. We’ve gone through a few line up changes, before we settled into our current incarnation, although my brother, Shane, and bandmate Keveen have both been centre pieces of the band since the beginning. I knew they had to be in the band right off the bat. We’ve seen growth in our songs, performances, as well as more people being interested and coming to shows since we first started playing.
You produced your debut E.P, “Maybe Tomorrow”, by yourself. How was that experience for you? Was it nice to have your own control?
It absolutely is nice. Producing all my releases is not necessarily a goal or something that I want to do every time around, however that was the intention to start with. I wanted to imprint a particular sound and aesthetic right off the bat that wasn’t going to be tampered with. If you listen to that release versus my original homemade demos, the songs are pretty identical. The main differences are the improvements in audio quality and musicianship from having the other players on the record. Also I’m always debating, ‘Do I pay someone x amount to produce or to just buy some new recording gear that I can keep?’ As a band we also produced our latest release, ‘Clear Skies’, which I think is an improvement on ‘Maybe Tomorrow’. We’ve felt a bit more confident in mixing in particular.
You’re now working on your full length. How's that going?
So to tie this question into the previous one, we are actually working with our friend Mike Post on the debut full length. I’m still producing the album, but he is an excellent engineer, mixer and collaborator. He runs Moosecat Recording also based out of Los Angeles, and I highly recommend him and his studio. We have finished almost all the basic tracking and we will be doing vocals and overdubs this month, followed by mixing next month. Hoping to have it done by the end of the year and then released in either March or April of next year. A lot of the songs on this record have been around since we first started playing, so it’s going to be somewhat familiar to people that have seen us live, and it will be great to have studio versions of all these songs.
You just got back from a EU tour. That must have been a fun experience for you all?
We love Europe and can’t wait to come back. We are hoping to tour Europe again around the same time next year. Seriously can’t wait!
Talk to us a bit about the scene in your home city. Does it support your genre of music well?
I’ve been playing in bands for almost 15 years now, and I think this is just about the best the scene has been in Los Angeles in that time. Especially over that last five years. It seems like a lot of bands with a similar aesthetic and style, not to mention friendships, all got going within a 2 to 3 year span. I’d just break it down to rock music is definitely being appreciated in Los Angeles.
Being from L.A you must feel some sort of competition. There’s a hell of a lot of good bands out there!
I really don’t feel that way. I think I did when I was younger, but we are a bit more experienced now and certainly outside of the Hollywood sphere which is more like that, because there is more attention on trends, money and fame, and also making it quickly. Over in the Echo Park, Silver Lake, Downtown, Highland Park areas there is more of a sense of support and encouragement. There is still some bullshit, but it’s pretty supportive. With that said, if there is any kind of competition it’s more being inspired by all the great bands and wanting to do more and put out better and better quality work. Also there are so many bands here share the same members, that you are basically friends with at least one person in each band, or at least it feels that way.
Other than working on the full length, what’s next for Dream Phases?
Later in October I’ll be releasing a compilation album, the first in a series, called Dream Phases – Mr. Midnight. It will be an ongoing thing where I go back in my recording archives and find old songs, outtakes, voice memo’s, and either release them as they are or re-record them to help realise an idea that was not yet fully formed. This is mostly a solo record, but I just want to continue releasing music constantly, and that is unique with each release. We are also collaborating with an awesome visual artist named Richard G. Auxilio. Richard has done the cover to our ‘Easy Love’ 7” plus the new Mr. Midnight release as well as co-directing (along with Roberto Delgado) our new music video for the show ‘To Walk Away’. Our goal is to put out new music videos every few months. Other than that, we’ll be planning more shows and tours and continuing to release more music! No point in taking a break once you’ve gotten started.
You can check out Dream Phases on Spotify here and check out their video for Summer Daze below.