The first time I saw Weird Dreams they were lit up by fairy lights, performing in the bowels of a boat moored on the river Thames. Although it was imperceptible at first, the rising tide coupled with the rocking of the vessel meant swaying along was pretty much mandatory, otherwise you started to feel a tad queasy. The band revolves around the close partnership of singer/bassist Doran (second from right) and drummer Craig (far left), who met while working at a secondhand clothes store in London and bonded over a mutal appreciation of Twin Peaks, the harmonies of the Beach Boys, girl group the Tammys and vintage soul legend O.V. Wright, amongst others. Their aim was to write timeless tunes with classic pop songwriting at its core. After two years and two EPs they’re releasing their self-produced, debut album Choreography (recorded by Rory Attwell). A collection of ’60s-indebted pop, it swirls with bittersweet harmonies and gently chiming guitars anchored by Doran’s nimble grooves and Craig’s punchy beats. Read my interview with Doran and stream album cut “Little Girl,” below.
Stream: Weird Dreams, “Little Girl”
Your album’s called Choreography and you used to dabble in contemporary dance, right? It wasn’t for very long, but my mum was a choreographer and she taught contemporary dance but that’s when I was really young. I quite liked it and I liked watching it, but I found punk rock and skateboarding and that was a bit more interesting.
Will any choreography end up in your videos? I’d quite like it if there was contemporary dance in there because it was a big part of my upbringing. I’ve got memories of being in dance studios and watching my mum teach. There’s something about the movements—they’re so flowing and I guess some of our slower songs have that kind of woozyness, which would fit really well.
Besides dance, were you surrounded by music as a kid? My grandma was amazing. She was a cellist, pianist and a singer. She used to do scat singing, which sounds funny, but she was incredible. She’s the kind of woman, if there was a small patch of grass, she’d just do yoga on it, no matter where it was. She ate garlic on toast and used to wear these glasses with lenses you couldn’t see through, but had tiny holes all the way through because she said it made her eyesight better. She taped a precious stone to her mobile to stop radiation. She had a small sports car and was convinced she’d be able to fit her instruments in it, but she would drive with her electric piano sticking out of the sunroof.
How was supporting Stephen Malkmus in Europe? It was great. It was our first time playing out of London. He’s so humble and wise, he knows exactly what he’s doing and I think it’s so amazing that he’s been making money from independent music for 25 years.
Your last EP was called Hypnagogic Lullaby, and you also suffer from night terrors? I haven’t had it for quite a while – I used to be much more anxious. Once I bit my girlfriend which was probably the worst incident. It’s kind of romantic. You can’t really rationalise it, but I thought there was this thing that came from the top of my room that was trying to do something to her and I guess I was screaming really loudly and she put her hand over my mouth. I was still dreaming and I bit her hand. It was quite bad actually. I also pulled a case of books, a TV and stereo on top of myself. We had to screw it to the wall. That was about six years ago. That’s where “Little Girl” came from. It’s the only song I’ll ever tell anyone the meaning of because it’s quite funny. We moved into a new flat and every night she would wake up thinking there was someone there and it was just taking the mickey out of her. The situation had swapped round—I wasn’t the crazy one anymore!
Both you and Craig have a lot of tattoos. What was your first one? Do I have to answer this? I used to be a very big Kate Bush fan…
And you’re not anymore? I listened to her recently and found it quite cheesy and I used to really love it. Although “Cloud Busting” is still one of my favourite songs ever. I think it’s because my mom used to dance to Kate Bush when I was younger. Teaching it, not just dancing round the house. When I had my first tattoo I was 20. On the back of the Hounds of Love record there’s a stanza from a poem by Tennyson ["Idylls of the King"] and I’ve actually got it on my back. It’s five or six lines. Half the album’s called “The Ninth Wave” and the lines are to do with waves which I used to relate to it in some way. I don’t regret getting it. It’s not a unicorn holding a hamburger.