Twin brothers James and Jake Taylor started playing music together back in 2016. They later added drummer Diego Corrales and formed the emotive indie-punk trio now known as Dream Haze. I got the chance to talk to James about how the band came together, why they were forced to change the name of the band, how San Diego influenced their music, their new single “Gloss” and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!
For those who may not have heard of Y’all, can you give us a brief history of the band and how you guys came together?
Of course! My name is James and I sing and play guitar in Dream Haze. My twin brother Jake plays guitar, and Diego [plays] drums. To start things off, Jake and I recorded a 7-song EP back in the summer of 2016, and shortly after it’s release, we recruited Diego to play drums for us. We’d known about Diego from his previous band Bondage and knew he’d be a good fit.
I’m totally intrigued by the name Dream Haze. Where did it come from?
We used to go by the name Headchange, but I guess there’s a hat company/record label that went by the same name so we were forced to change it. One day we were all brainstorming a new name when one of us mentioned Dream Haze. It just sounded sick so the name stuck.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you produce?
For me personally, I try to write songs that convey how I was feeling at a specific point in my life. If the song doesn’t give me a feeling, I usually scrap it. I guess our music is pretty melancholic and maybe a little angsty at times.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences as a band?
Some of my personal influences are bands like Blind Mr. Jones, Airiel, For Against. Something about their sound just does it for me.
You guys are based in the San Diego area. How much does San Diego play a role in the music you create, whether it be referenced in the lyrics or just the overall sound of your music?
I feel like our time living in San Diego has influenced the music we write for sure. There’s a few lyrical references to the San Diego Bay and a lot of lyrics pertaining to driving which I guess is from always being stuck in traffic. I’m sure it also plays a huge role subconsciously in the vibe that we bring to the songs. Your surroundings definitely play a part in how your music sounds.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Gloss.” What’s the story behind the song?
“Gloss” is made up of riffs and melodies from song ideas that we’ve scrapped. The original demo sounds absolutely nothing like the release which is kind of cool. The lyrics are basically a collection of situations and feelings I’ve had this past year. Now that I think about it, “Gloss” is just one big collage.
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What was your writing process like for this song? Do you guys like to keep the writing done in-house or do you like to collaborate with others?
The writing process for this song was a total blur for me. It started out being some kind of slow trap song I was writing just for fun, and somehow it evolved into an uptempo rock song. We typically do all the writing in-house and bring it to our producer, Beau Burchell, and we’ll make changes together from there. We’re down to collaborate with others, we just haven’t had the opportunity.
What was the recording process like? Was this song recorded in one single session or was it done over multiple sessions?
This song was recorded over multiple sessions. There were quite a few changes made to the song during preproduction, so we decided to take a couple days out of the studio to rework a few guitar and vocal parts so they were the best they could be. I feel like taking time off really helped this song come together.
Were there any major changes made to the song once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
There were a significant amount of changes made to this song, which isn’t usually the case for our songs. Normally the demo sounds really similar to the finished product. For starters, the tempo of the song was sped up a ton and a majority of the lead guitar parts were changed to fit the new tempo. There were also some structural changes that helped the song make more sense as a whole. As for the lyrics, I’m always tweaking the lyrics in the studio, all the way up until the vocals are recorded.
You guys worked with Beau Burchell on this and your dual single “Menthol”. What was it like working with him and what did he bring to the songs?
We love working with Beau! He’s really great at what he does and he’s super easy to work with. He understands the vision we have for our band and pushes us to achieve the sound we’re after. We’ve never butted heads or anything like that. He’s pretty much like a member of our band.
You guys are still new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks you aim to reach in the next couple of years?
We plan to get to the point where this band gives us the opportunity to travel the world and continue to put out music that we love to create.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something you nerd out about?
Anything and everything that has to do with music. FX pedals, amps, recording gear, new music, old music, songwriting, live shows, anything. I can’t imagine what kind of terrible person I’d be without music.