"This record is what has made me become a fan of Dreamshade, not just a member.”
Dreamshade have just released their new album 'A Pale Blue Dot'.
A sprawling combination of metalcore, pop-punk, hard rock, EDM and everything else in-between, it's a record that captures the chaos of the last year but also offers hope and solace. 15 years in and making the most considered, technical and confident music of their career, it really feels like the start of an exciting new chapter for the band and all that support them.
We jumped on the phone with vocalist Fernando 'Fella' Di Cicco to dissect the record and find out exactly what it means to the band...
What as it that you wanted to achieve with this record from the offset?
"In many ways, this album is a snapshot of this moment in time, not just of the band musically but also of humanity and what we are going through. And honestly, this was the fastest process in terms of making an album that we have ever had, and we still don’t really know how it happened. It might be that the pandemic helped us out a little bit. It forced us to stop touring and forced us to stop working on other things within the band and made us focus on working on the actual music.
"It has allowed us to spend more time on every single little detail within every song, and it shows. You can hear all of the work that we put into the production as well as the recording. It took only five months from the start of the songwriting to the production phase. That’s crazy because we’ve never worked like that before. Though perhaps we have been holding these songs inside of us for so long and some of the topics we have ended up talking about, so have matured. So when we felt ready to talk about them and create songs like this, we let it all out and worked hard to make it a reality."
So how did you take that excitement and set about making the vision a reality?
“We were coming off the band of our record ‘Vibrant’, which was released in 2016. We felt like we were forcing ourselves, due to the pressure from fans and the label and ourselves, to try and be so many things at once. We still love the record, but we realised that afterwards, we wanted to be 100% ourselves. Though touring for a year in 2019 and after seeing how much better the band was doing than ten years ago, that was the first sign that we were ready to be exactly what we wanted now in a way that we perhaps weren’t when we started.
“So after writing the first song for this record, we simply never stopped. We had so many ideas coming out, and even now we have so many that we haven’t yet used. The other guys are pushing me to create things that can be considered Dreamshade but also things that aren’t the same as what we have started as. In my eyes, that’s what Dreamshade is. It’s a type of songwriting rather than a genre. So when we unlocked that side of this mindset, we felt like we could do absolutely anything."
So how did you transfer that energy into the concept of the record? How did that develop?
“The core of this band and this record is positivity. It always has been. When we started we were being ourselves in a world of metal bands that were super negative and super dark. We just didn’t feel that vibe. We wanted to make the music that we liked in a way that we wanted to, and communicate our lives and our vision and attitude through that. It was a shit storm on the Internet because we weren’t metal enough for some.
“Right now, the yin and the yang of the universe is the most human thing we have. The good and the bad of everything is within us and every moment in history has had something similar to what we are living through now. When I figured out this idea, I also realised that other artists were releasing music that wasn’t talking about a brighter future or brighter tomorrow. We’re living through a unique situation, one that we may never live through again, so we should take advantage of it. How can we really connect with our listeners when we aren’t able to tour or be around them? We provide positive vibes. We felt like the songs that we had created throughout this period needed to be released now because to release them any later would mean that they lose their meaning. People need this right now. Because of that, we feel the most satisfied in terms of what we have made for the first time in ages. This record is what has made me become a fan of Dreamshade, not just a member.”
It’s almost like you feel as though you owe it to the people who support you to be the light at the end of the tunnel, and that in turn inspires you to see the light too…
“Having the spark and then having the right conditions and the right team around you means that you’re able to express yourself properly. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people in this band who see what my vision is and also push me to be better. To follow the feelings that I feel when I start writing a song and help me to bring it to life because they do a lot of work themselves is the most precious gift that I feel like we have. Even as a listener and hearing other artists do exactly that, you feel as though you know exactly what they were going through in that exact moment.”
For those people who want to dive in deeper, that’s where they find community. That album feels incredibly poignant in that way because it doesn’t just represent the Dreamshade community but also the global community that everybody is a part of…
“I feel super lucky that we are able to be in this position after so long. It’s not something that can be taken for granted. We come from a very small town in one of the small countries in Europe. Back in the day, I knew that it would take a lot of time to reach this point. We had no tools around us, no other bands in our area to draw inspiration from, nothing. The only thing that has allowed me to let us keep going for this long is our attitude. Looking at the band in a positive way and only putting out music that we believed in, I knew that somebody out there would feel somehow the same way as me.
“Luckily I found other people who wanted to put that much energy and time and effort into this. I then luckily found an audience who also believed in it. Perhaps they didn’t listen to metal before and now they have started exploring because of Dreamshade. Back when I bought my first album, which was ‘Hybrid Theory’ by Linkin Park, was the exact moment that my life changed. I knew I wanted to be a musician from there because that feeling of discovering something that’s going to stay with you forever is what I wanted to recreate for myself. Even if one person out there is able to feel the same as I do through my music, then that’s amazing.”
And that’s something that will continue to drive you no matter what…
“The best bands that are still out there today after existing for 10 or 15 or 30 years all have the same purpose. It’s that feeling that you can do this than anything else in your life. When you have that, you can’t just let go. That’s why you wake up at 4am with an idea in mind and force yourself to get up. You have something to say and you want to go and be able to say it so other people can hear it. I live for those moments where I can even show my bandmates what I have made and still shock them after 15 years.”
What has this period of creation taught you that you feel as though you wouldn’t have learned any other way?
“The thing is that you put your heart and soul into it and you hope that it’s something that’s going to stay with people for a long time. It’s not fast food music. So doing this with people that you love, be that your family or your friends or bandmates, and people that really believe in what you’re making with all of their passion, that’s something that nobody is ever going to be able to replicate or take away from you. It’s very rewarding to be in that position and I know how lucky we are to be here.”