There’s nothing to signify the leaves changing color the wind getting crisper than some cool jangly rock ‘n’ roll. L.A.’s Dream Boys deliver that in spades on their self-titled debut (check it out on CD or LP). Songs like “Sometimes” breeze through with shimmering guitars and sweet, swoony harmonies, calling to mind a post-punk Byrds or Southern Californian Stone Roses. Few bands dig into this sound so thoroughly, with a wonderfully patient, languid quality, making Dream Boys a standout record even among a crowded field.
I sat down for a minute to talk to these dreamy So. Cal. boys about their somnambulist sound.
PST: It’s hard to find out much about you guys from the Internet! Why don't you just tell me in brief about yourselves—when did you form, why did you form, who does what in the band, and are you native Angelenos or from other parts?
Wayne Faler: We formed a little over a year ago. There are three songwriters. Band members are Wayne Faler and Wallace Meek on guitars and vocals, Will Ivy on bass and vocals, and Mike La Franchi on drums. Mike is from the Northern California. Wallace is from Scotland, Wayne is from Michigan, and Will is a Southwest guy via San Francisco. We formed the band after meeting while playing in other bands. We wanted to combine a certain set of influences that really spoke to us and present them in a more modern way.
PST: You guys don't seem to do very many interviews or anything and didn't have any demos public, yet lots of people have noticed the band, you've played Part Time Punks and are playing this Buzzbands show. Have you guys tried to deliberately keep a low profile a la Belle & Sebastian? Is now the time to shine, now that Dream Boys is out?
Faler: Maybe a little. We sent some demos to friends who asked. It took us a while to figure out what we sounded like. We started writing songs together and demoing them and then realizing them as a live band. Then we knew we had to start making a record and documenting them. So focusing on the record kept us from trying to play a lot of live shows.
Faler: We liked the way the demos were sounding so we decided to make it ourselves. We recorded the drums with Andrew Schubert and did the rest in a backhouse with a soundproof box. It was a pretty smooth process, but it took longer to complete than we wanted. We gave the record to William Faler to mix with an idea of what we wanted it to sound like, and he enhanced it and smoothed it out.
PST: People tend to refer to you guys in terms of other bands—Flying Nun bands and other jangle-pop acts, for example. Do you like the comparison? Does it seem limiting?
Faler: A lot of those comparisons refer to the actual roots of the band, so we don't mind that. We're flattered. It’s music we like. All of us have similar influences, but also some different ones. We bring in songs and everyone contributes to them and when they're done there are these slight taste variations that make each song unique. You could say that about most bands though, I bet. Maybe we do have a common aesthetic goal right now.
PST: Dream Boys does feel nicely in line with L.A.’s history of Paisley Underground bands. Were you guys inspired by some of those bands? Who or what else inspires you musically?
Faler: We love those bands. I mean, I think we’ve all obsessed over Rain Parade’s Emergency Third Rail Power Trip at different times. We love the Paisley Underground scene and have a lot of respect for it. We all listen to a lot of ’60s music too. Bands like Kaleidoscope (UK), The Hollies, The Everly Brothers, The Byrds, and the list goes on. We are also influenced by power pop, new wave and C86, etc. We all grew up following a lot of indie labels and all of these things factor into who we are.
PST: What about emotionally? Dream Boys seems to deal in grays, indescribable emotions and such. It feels sort of melancholy but not in an overly gloomy way, like it seems perfect for fall. What inspires the songs and lyrics?
Faler: Wayne and Wallace grew up in places with gray, shitty weather listening to a lot of gloomyish British bands, so that's definitely in there. The lyrics vary for each songwriter but, in general, there’s an attempt to capture a sentiment, feeling, idea or moment. Like most songwriters, we just try to write songs that we like or that move us somehow.
PST: I heard you guys were recently on 98.7. That’s crazy. I used to listen to that station as a kid when it was called STAR and they played Hootie & the Blowfish. Was that a pretty big deal to be on there?
Faler: It was great. We were on the local show with JJ. He was a gentleman. We had fun. The studio was really intimately lit at 10 a.m.!
PST: Can you make me a list of your top five jangle-pop records?
Faler: Well ... jangle-pop could be a lot of bands. Hard to pick favorites but we'll pick five biggies for us:
The Byrds—The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Primal Scream—Sonic Flower Groove
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