Star Tune of the Week #12
When I was younger, one of my favourite things was making my own mixed cassette tapes … yes you did hear that correctly, I said cassettes! I would sit in my room for prolonged periods of time with my radio, waiting patiently for a song I liked to come on so that I could record it and fill up the cassette with music, music, and more music. Once I had completed the laborious process of filling both sides of the cassette, I would rewind it back to the start and press play. As I listened to the music I didn’t dance, I didn’t write, I didn’t colour or play … I would simply lay on my floor and daydream.
It’s crazy that even now when I think back to those days I can still remember just how deep I would fall into my daydreams and fantasies, and how almost trance-like it was as hours would pass without my ever noticing. I know … you all must now think that I was a really bored child, but the truth was that I loved daydreaming and found it to be one of the most enjoyable past times.
Daydreaming, is as whimsical as it sounds, and it simply means to get lost in your thoughts (usually happy, pleasant thoughts or positive hopes and ambitions). It is during those moments of reverie that ideas are created, yet these are not just your ordinary ideas or thoughts. Daydreams allow us to explore the entire realm of our mind and most especially freely express our heart, soul, and innermost feelings and hopes. As a direct result of that the ideas we form when daydreaming are made without reflection, without regard to understanding, without restrictions or limitations, and most importantly without pausing to evaluate, analyze, or remind ourselves of reality.
I think that’s what I like most about daydreaming and why I enjoyed it so much as a kid … daydreaming provides us with an opportunity to detach ourselves from our surroundings and blur reality for a short period of time; ultimately it provides a temporary escape. While some use daydreaming as a chance to literally escape from troubles, stresses, and the harsh realities of life, I enjoyed daydreaming for another reason. When I was younger, there was never anything in my life I was trying to run away from, but I daydreamed anyways because it allowed me to dissociate into a place where my creativity and imagination could run wild and free, fueled only by optimism and positivity.
Though daydreaming is still a habit of mine (though moments of reverie are much less frequent thanks to busy adult life), I find myself daydreaming not when I listen to music like I used to but rather when I’m bored in class, have nothing to do at work, or in those quiet moments when I’m lying in bed waiting for sleep. Recently however, I came across a musical duo whose songs have led me back to my childhood days when music really initiated serious daydream sessions, and for that reason I’ve really fallen hard for them.
The duo’s name? … The Daydream Club. (I know, I couldn’t believe it at first either).
The Daydream Club, whose name speaks for itself as you’ll come to see, is a UK-based acoustic folk duet, consisting of members Adam Pickering and Paula Walker. The two first met in 2005 at the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts where they both studied, however it wasn’t until February 2010 that they began performing together. Though The Daydream Club wasn’t formed until relatively recently, both Adam and Paula have had longstanding interests in music, as well as prior experiences in the industry.
While Paula is considered to be the main vocalist in The Daydream Club, her original ambition in life was to be a professional dancer and she even went so far as to work with Luc Petit, the Director of Cirque Du Soleil. However, despite her talents in dance, Paula’s interest in music was not something that could be ignored. Eventually, Paula tried her hand at a few different instruments and ended up landing a job with a group called Noise Ensemble as a percussionist. After touring with the group and even headlining at the Henley Festival of Music and Arts, Paula decided that it was time for another change. Though she never thought much about pursuing a career in music let alone one in which she’d be singing, with Adam’s support and her enjoyment of performing with him, she knew it was an option worth pursuing.
Adam on the other hand knew music was a career he wanted to pursue from when he was a child,
“‘I’ve been involved with music for as long as I can remember,” Adam says. ”When I was about 9 or 10 years old my folks got me a micro-processor and I used to program backing tracks of my favourite songs … this gave me an understanding of lots of different instruments’” (http://cherylsantamaria.com).
From being the Drummer for a band called Defend Moscow to remixing various songs under the alias Lenny Picko, Adam proved himself to be a talented multi-instrumentalist with a passion for all types of music. However, it wasn’t until after his band broke up and he moved back home, that it seemed to be the perfect time to pursue a music project that was closer to his heart with his good friend Paula. And so, The Daydream Club was born.
Though the original idea for a collaboration might have taken years to cultivate and put into action, the establishment of The Daydream Club has actually been a whirlwind affair. In fact, only a few short months after officially forming their duet, Adam and Paula funded and founded their own record label ‘Poco Poco Records’ and in November 2010, only a few weeks later, their first album Overgrown was released.
For our debut offering we wanted to create something honest and real. Prior to The Daydream Club we had both been involved in large scale projects… backing tracks, click tracks, lighting and effects etc and that was all impressive on a different scale, but for our first release we wanted people to be impressed by us and our songs, no gimmicks… just us (http://www.thedaydreamclub.com).
The album more than lived up to Adam and Paula’s promises as not only were listeners, like myself, impressed, but we were blown away …
The Daydream Club’s music is simple, modest and understated when it comes to the arrangements and instrumentals, yet there’s a greater depth and texture that shines through which makes each song appear thoughtful, evocative, and truly beautiful. With a natural rhythm and flow to each piece, listeners are carried away and encapsulated in a warm, mellow glow that just feels right.
Above and beyond their musical mastery, The Daydream Club is also a great storyteller and have carefully crafted each song on Overgrown to tell a specific story. For example, “Alarms Ring Out” is a song about being unemployed, “On The Move” is about having a restless spirit, and “In a Picture of You” is about love and loss. Though each song has a different narrative, every track on the album speaks to one clear theme: “the loss of dreams and missed goals while life makes you blindly carry on” (http://consequenceofsound.net). While it may sound like a rather depressing theme, it’s actually one that works well for The Daydream Club as the peacefulness of the vocals evoke not only a sense of clarity, but also hopefulness. Though things may not go our way sometimes and dreams may be crushed or lost, we are reminded that life still goes on, which means most importantly that we still have the opportunity and ability to make new dreams, think of new ideas, and develop new ambitions and hopes for the future. While comforting, it’s also a logical idea; our lives are unpredictable and therefore ever-changing, so likewise our dreams and ambitions should change and evolve as well. With such amazing messages and lyrics combined with genuine and tender vocals, Adam and Paula show that they can turn any ordinary tune into an emotional, meaningful song that you can really lose yourself in.
While each song on Overgrown is unique and worthy of a listen, my top favourite would most definitely be the tenth track called “In the Arms of Another Day”. For me, this song exemplifies all the qualities that make The Daydream Club so insanely good. For starters there’s the soft, gentle melody provided by the romantic and sensuous guitar, and then of course the gorgeous harmonies that have the power to make you swoon. Every time I hear Adam and Paula sing the chorus together on this track, my breath is taken away … it’s that stunning. I can’t explain how well Adam and Paula’s voices blend together, besides saying that it’s almost like they were made for each other and designed to go together. However, harmonies and melodies aside, one of my absolute favourite parts about this song and The Daydream Club is Paula’s voice. It is so completely amazing that I would kill to be able to sing like she does. Incredibly pristine, flawless, and angelic, Paula’s vocals are simply dreamlike, enchanting and entrancing anyone who dares to listen. All in all, it’s when the lulling vocals and pleasant instrumentals all come together that “In the Arms of Another Day” produces the most intimate and serene moment that is perfect for only one thing … daydreaming.
Ultimately, there is no doubt in my mind that The Daydream Club is an extremely special and talented duo, and even though their music is different from mainstream chart toppers they are still doing exceptionally well in the UK music scene. Personally, I believe much of their success (and also what makes them even more special) is due in part to the fact that they are an anomaly in the music world; they create and play their music exactly how they, and they alone, want. I truly love this fact and find it so respectable that the duo stays true to exactly who they are as songwriters and musicians. The lyrics they write, and the songs they sing and play all come from Adam and Paula’s hearts, which allows their stories to be told with genuine conviction and a sense of realness and honesty that’s hard to come by these days. The Daydream Club knows exactly the style of music they want to create, as well as the essence and feelings they want their songs to evoke. That combined with their strong passion for music and art allows Adam and Paula to produce songs that are so evocative and so ethereal that they have their own heart and soul. As one reviewer puts it, The Daydream Club is immensely personal and to really appreciate their music and the purpose of their music you have to listen to their songs a few times.
To me, The Daydream Club is the perfect music to daydream to because the songs engage the senses, evoke emotions, and induce calm and relaxation which is all that you need to really let go and think openly, freely, and with clarity. Through Paula’s captivating, whimsical, and airy vocals and the light, guiding instrumentals, one can naturally drift away from reality and enter a world filled with wondrous dreams, fantasies, and happy thoughts.
As one of my favourite quotes about daydreaming, from Popular American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, says “Sit in reverie, and watch the changing colour of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind” and when you listen to The Daydream Club you can really do just that …
Think about what it would be like to have your own background music: a song that relates to your every move. From waking up in the morning for work to going out at night with friends, there would be a melody wherever you go. But what about when all you want to do is lay back and let your mind wander? What tunes would be playing then? For a time of the day when your thoughts seem closer to reality than you do, there is only one answer: The Daydream Club. Consisting of Paula Walker and Adam Pickering, this band from the Midlands, England gives new meaning to the word simple, through the thirteen exquisitely constructed tracks on their debut album Overgrown. Their sound– broken down to the bare-essentials– is intimate, fresh and showcases the cohesion of the instruments and the chemistry of the vocals. Even though this melodic duo is new to the music scene, their album which debuted November 1st, has already received attention from BBC stations like 6music and BBC Nottingham as well as a video segment on Balconytv.com, and that is only the beginning for these two young musicians (http://zouchmagazine.com)