Daydream perform coarse, noisy rock ‘n roll that feels emotionally accessible yet relentlessly energetic. While unmistakably powerful, the project’s melodies feel poignant and piercing. Amidst waves of hazy, psych rock-like distortion, every element feels vibrant and full of rebelliously persistent life.
Get a first listen below to the entirety of the Portland project’s new album Mystic Operative, which drops officially via Dirt Cult Records on Dec. 11.
Daydream perform with a snarling, punk-like ferocity, infusing their music with a kind of cathartically exuberant spirit, as if suddenly rushing out into the street to dance while surrounding buildings crumble and sirens wail in the background. Their dynamics make the chest-thumping, fist-shaking music feel rich – by track two, called “Rendered Ghosts,” they’ve interwoven some swagger into their groove, with a comparatively slower tempo that seems more invigoratingly bellicose than overtly aggressive.
Daydream keep up their overall energy throughout their work, and the music pops as it briskly darts along like a sputtering motorcycle cruising through debris-strewn city streets. The songs don’t feel particularly bound to a verse-chorus-verse structure, which helps the energy feel relentlessly forward-moving.
Meanwhile, among other rich dynamic hues, “Duality Of Love” gets into a kind of surf rock vibe, albeit one with a significantly quicker tempo than that style might suggest. “Dissolve Into Their Likeness” feels angular yet confrontational, and the dynamic shifts go on from there. “Spies for Personal Peace” is a standout moment among many – the off-kilter rhythmic malaise seems to tensely clash into itself, but there’s a vibrant, emotionally Illuminating energy at the core of the mix. Riffing on the album’s closing track, called “Male Kinship,” feels like anthemic hard rock that’s been thrown through a blender of the band’s psyched up, noisy, and hardcore-infused punk rock
Pre-order Mystic Operative at this link.
Listen to Mystic Operative below! (If there’s an issue with displaying the music, please refresh the page and/ or wait a moment.) Scroll down to check out a Q & A with Daydream about Mystic Operative.
Daydream features Tyler on guitar, piano, and chain; Ian on drums; and Alix on bass and vocals. Check out the Q & A with the band below!
The Core of Mystic Operative:
Captured Howls: Thanks for your time! The new record is very compelling. I read the explanation of sorts for the record that’s available on the album’s Bandcamp page associated with Dirt Cult Records, and the prose raises poignant points about the “sacred moments that are unique to us.” So, broadly speaking, what would you describe as the kind of emotional core of the record? For you, what themes or ideas does the album revolve around?
Alix: Surveillance & our complicity in it is a big one. We now live in a world where we have to exist with phones that act as tracking devices that constantly collect and extract data from our lives. The “sacred moments” bit is about trying to save parts of our experiences for ourselves and/or the people we experience them with, or the people we care about, and not constantly uploading everything to some sort of social media, or even using our phones to take photos of these things.
These sacred things I also see as very abstract ideas too — like dysphoria for example, or trauma or any other kind of pain or suffering. The sacred things don’t always have to be “good” or “positive” things. [They’re] things that are unique to your life that others shouldn’t take from you to commodify parts of your experience.
I think another big topic is struggling to find your own spirituality or self, and trying to connect to different communities. I think that our really specific subcultures we have today are really important and beautiful, but also we rely on social media so much to connect with each other and to promote events and such. So it feels like maybe it’s too easy for those that have power over us because we are aiding our own commodification through these platforms. I think that our culture engrains in us to subconsciously surveil and spy on each other and we have to really examine our actions in these ways. The liberals love to be spies!
Tyler: Identity, change, and infiltration.
Inspirations for Mystic Operative:
CH: The album’s sonic imprint itself seems rather poignant and unique. Are there particular sonic directions that you wanted to go when crafting these songs? Did you tend to build the songs around particular emotional moods? Some of both?
Alix: Yes and no! For the most part, we write all of the music together. We will just jam for a long time and feel out what seems to feel right to us, and then edit it more and more over time. I feel like we each put our own emotions/tastes into the mix and that makes it what it is. I would say it’s anger, pain, anxiety, but also joy and bliss. I do feel like we intentionally want to mix up the mood, have it swing and feel fluid.
Tyler: I feel like we never intentionally set out to write anything specific. We just wanted to try out new things we hadn’t done before for this record. Most of our songs are jams; the ones that are on the record are the ones that stuck.
CH: The cover art and some of the sonic vibes in the record seem to suggest a kind of retro feel. Do you feel inspired by and/ or connected to a kind of older rock ‘n roll or punk sound? Have you been listening to a lot of retro-leaning music?
Alix: We take a lot of aesthetic influence from different radical movements from the 60s/70s, and from UK peace punk bands, which I would argue took influence on their aesthetics from those same or similar movements. There’s an intentional nod to that era, as there are a lot of connections between it and today — which is another underlying theme of the record, sort of how movements of that period were squandered or redistributed into other things, and how radical beliefs were commodified. [The album is] tying that to living in a place like Portland, OR, where green capitalism is so rampant and how we are led to believe that it’s not bad, but it’s just as evil as anything else. But musically, we wanted to incorporate the danciness of bands like Crass, Zounds, or Flux of Pink Indians while also being inspired by US bands like The Wipers or Husker Dü.
Tyler: We like new rock n’ roll, we like old rock n’ roll. We like country and we like the song “Strutter”. We are all just trying to do our own Zen Arcade.
The Core of Daydream:
CH: Daydream, as a whole, seems to be on the newer side — the earliest release that I see on Bandcamp is from 2018. What themes or driving sparks tend to guide the project as a whole?
Alix: I think for us, writing music together has felt so natural and rewarding. We all have put a lot into this project and I think we all feel some type of weird deep love for it that makes us want to keep making music. Part of what feels special about this project to us is that the whole process has felt really organic. Ian and I started jamming together in 2017 and I randomly invited Tyler to jam with us and it just worked out. We never intentionally set out to do anything aesthetically or sonically, it all came together over time so effortlessly. Also being from Portland, we feel a bit like an anomaly in the punk scene. Our sound kind of fits in between a lot of popular subgenres, but I think for us, it drives us to want to push ourselves further into doing something a little different than some of our peers.
CH: There’s a real sense of personal urgency that seems to shine through on the new record — the music feels rather energetic, to say the least. What is your personal connection to the music like? Have you been involved in music for awhile?
Alix: The record is pretty firmly rooted in my own personal experience with a variety of topics, but I try to take those experiences and tie it to a broader sense. I talk about my experience with growing up very religious and how that ruined spirituality for me, and later as an adult, trying to rediscover that. I also talk about being trans and queer and the communities I’m surrounded by, [and] my experiments with hormones. Daydream is definitely a cathartic release. I feel like the lyrics from both records are basically a stream of consciousness of my life of the last few years. Beyond that though, we’ve all been playing in bands since we were teenagers and have probably been in like 40 bands between the three of us. We’ve all been a part of booking and organizing shows and events for a while as well.
CH: And finally, for a slightly less involved question — what music have you heard and been listening to lately that you have really connected with, whether old or new? What have you liked about it?
Tyler: It’s felt hard to connect to anything during the pandemic. I mostly just listen to the same 10 country records and the Game of Thrones theme song.
Alix: It’s also been hard to connect with a lot, but I mostly listen to dance music. I am a huge fan of Kaleidoscope though! Their newest LP and 7” are crazy good.