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Interview Archive

Amon Duul II: German Psychedelic Rock in the Modern Age
by Jeff Melton with John Weinzierl

The Viper Queen
By David Lilly

Dream Machine
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
By Jeff Nutkowitz

Grilled : Interview with Chris Gill
by Richard Cornick

A Giant Step for Guy: Interview with Guy Manning
by Richard Cornick

Hooploops: Interview with Hugh Hopper
by Melo

INTERVIEWS

Dream Machine
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
Interview By Jeff Nutkowitz

Sleep was in short supply as I made my way, via planes, trains, and automobiles, with several intermediary stops along the way, to a small, charming flat, in an old Victorian building, located in a mostly quiet, South London residential area. I was on my way, as a surrogate for PB's Melo, to interview one of UK's newest, up and coming, A-list spacerock ensembles, Dream Machine, and to then later to experience one of their absolutely incendiary performances. Unlike sleep, there was plenty of Dream to be had!

We are here in the South London home of Mari and her husband Gabz, bassist for Dream Machine. The band is in the middle of preparing for tonight's Dream Machine Gathering, organizing equipment and lugging gear down the three flights of stairs, from the flat to the street below. With a little bit of time to take a break from the madness, I was able to sit down with Dream Machine and ask the band a few questions…

Dream Machine are:

  • Alex Pym – Guitar,
  • Gabriele Tosti – Bass,
  • Metro – Drums,
  • Julian Adamoli - Piano, Organ, Synths,
  • Joie Hinton – Synthesizers,
  • Jon "Champignon" Egan - Kaval, Nay, Duduk, Concert Flute,
  • Mindflux - percussion module

Dream Machine's websites: 

JNLet's have you introduce yourselves, tell us your names, tell us about yourselves, what you play, what you do in DM?  Your musical background?

Metro:   My name is Metro.  I am the drummer.  I joined Dream Machine through Jon, who I played with in Ozric Tentacles.  Before that I was living in the US, and finishing a degree in Music Composition, playing with bands, going to graduate school.  And here I am now playing with bands in the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Mindflux:    Mark, "Mindfllux".  I play percussion.   I started when I was six, so I play full kit and various hand percussion.  I play dadouk, djembe, tabla, that sort of thing. Also I play keyboards, and guitar, and I produce my own music at home.  My first sorta venture onto stage, really, was a gig with Ozrics back in 2001, which is how I really got to know these guys.  I play percussion with Champingon, which is Jumping Jon's band.  We play very ethnic world music, which is really quite spacey.  I play percussion for Zub Zub,  which is Zia's project, from Ozric Tentacles.  That's basically how I got into Dream Machine, from knowing these guys..  I guested with them in June at the Sunrise Festival, and they liked what I did, so now I am a permanent member.


Joie:   OK, I am Joie, and I have known most of them for years and years.  I play keys and synths and stuff with Jules, blends quite well, different layers..  It works quite well.  It's been a laugh.  I play in a techno band called Eat Static—and a kind of spacerock band called Here and Now--

JN:  --Which we are looking forward to seeing in November.  Another band I have waited 30 years to see.

Julian:    I am Julian.  I have been with Dream Machine right from the start, before it was called Dream Machine, with Gabriele.  We had several different lineups—

JN:  Incarnations?

JA:   Yeah, incarnations.  We really took off when Alex came on board on guitar, and Jon followed,  and at one point we had Seaweed from Ozrics.  But he couldn't commit to the band.  And Joie.  I've been playing since about 10 years old, played with all different kinds of bands, including in the army in a band that did balls for officers.

JN:  OK… that's a change of pace!

JA :  I am Italian, and like Gabriele, I have an Italian connection with the band.  There are Italian titles and lyrics to songs, though we have never actually performed them.

JH:    OK, what else do I do?  Plasmodics, which is starting up with the guitar player from Here and Now.  I think that's it isn't it?  I do various other things with Merv from Eat Static.  I used to be in the Ozrics for a long time.  About 13 years.  I was in that band for a long time.  Everything up till "Arborescence". 

JN:  Did you tour in the US with Ozrics in 1994?

JH:   We actually left, Merv, and the drummer, and myself just before the 94 tour.  But we have toured the US prior to that.  So yeah, I have known Alex for years. He was in a band with the ex-bass player of Ozrics.  Gabrielle, I have known so long.  He has been in various bands with various friends of mine.  It's a huge family thing we've all been doing for decades now.

Gabriele :  I am the bass player Gabrielle Tosti, and I am from Rome.   I came here 21 years ago, I started lots of bands like Thunderdogs.  I became a bass player because my friend Roly of the Thunderdogs, and we had this amazing night and he actually kind of disappeared, unfortunately he went mental a little bit.  I was kind of learning the bass.  For many years we did this band.  Dream Machine started as, you know, a jam, and it was meant to be progressive.  We started the band with a different sound.  We were working with a scratcher, and then it was working in that way,  kinda make the whole thing dancey. 

JN You were just testing the waters?

GT:  Yes, really, I'm really into progressive rock and I really love spacerock, and to mix the two into one is very important. 

JN:  Excellent

GT:  It's very important:  the freedom of the developing sounds come out, fantasy as you are doing this, as though you have these bridges and places where you can go and progress.

JN:  Like a living organism?

GT:   And then you go to a different universe. You are free and you can develop whatever, in the moments that you do.  You focus the cosmic energy through your body. And you see these little people running through your body and up and down. You connect and make little words. 

JN:   OK…Brilliant!, as they say here in England.

GT:   and this is Alex, he came with me to play in the past, and now he's so great to have in the band because we've been…  When we jam in the beginning of Dream Machine you know, you know we kind of, really lock together.  We were like strict, like a singer, making a song. 

JN:  Stuff was already arranged?

GT:  We were already flirting.  I love him.  (laughter).  That's not true.

AP :  I remember a seminal gig we played.  The Thunderdogs were headlining.  We played at the Charlie Chaplan club.  The Thunderdogs were headlining and Damidge were playing, and I wasn't in Damidge in that point.   I was in Wildcard with Rad, who went on to play with Ozrics.  Anyway, so I was in Wildcard.  Anyway, after that gig we met everyone.  For a couple of weeks I was in Damidge and we supported Ozrics at Brixton Academy.  That's how I got to know everyone.  Playing in Damidge with Roly and Rad and Seaweed, and we were always doing gigs with the Thunderdogs—

JN:  It was a pretty close community?

AP:  Yeah a big family.  You know, we don't think about what we do, and this and that, it just happens. 

JN:  The thing takes on a life of its own?

GT:   Cosmic energy--

AP:  The first Dream Machine gig, the first time I played in Dream Machine was with Gabriele.  It had some experimental lineups.  I remember Jon just turned up.  He just got up and started playing with us.  And so the band just kinda , formed itself

JN:  Isn't that how a lot of spacerock musicians got to play with their bands, they just kinda showed up and stumbled onto stage?

AP:  Yes, yes.

GT: That's how Keith Moon got his job.

JN:   Yeah, yeah exactly.   Alright, great.  OK…Do you have any formal musical training?  Or, what kind of training do you have?

GT:  Well ok, I do have classical training of guitar—

JN:  classical guitar—

GT:  Training is very good but you gotta keep the freedom to experiment and develop, and .not be constrictive in all this kinda (slap slap)

JN:  So would you say that education is basically learning the vocabulary, but then what you do with the words is your invention? 

GT:  Yes

AP:   I had a few lessons--started off playing classical.  My mum was a classical pianist, my sister was trying to get a scholarship into school..  So, when there was a guitar in the house it was like a rebellion.  Soon as I got on electric,  I played AC/DC power chords. 

GT :  Power chordsssssssssss!!!

AP:  I had a few lessons but not…it put me in the right course or the 'wrong course'

JN: Jon…any words for us?

JE: (Jon playing flute in the background)

JN: Excellent. Alright, what other projects are currently you involved in?

M:   I am currently involved in a band called the Elementalists, which is like a funk solo hip-hop breakbeat thing.  And another live hip-hop band called the No-Phaffing Philharmonic.  And another group that I am soon to be involved with, called the Sign Star Project, as well.

JA:    I work in music television.  That takes up most of my time, actually.

JN:  So you are a full timer?

JA:  I am a lifer.

GT :  Dream Machine, Dream Machine is:  amazing!   We think we are gonna make the next album.  Especially with Metro:  all this really great input to the band!  Metro is really kind of locking in as a member—amazing drummer.  So, we can develop some incredible stuff.  "Trilogia" is a good album, but the next one we really kind of like. 

JN:  That was your freshman effort. Your sophomore is gonna be--

GT:  Yeah the next one--

JN:  More focused?

GT:  Yeah--

AP:  Oh, definitely

JN:  OK, are you involved in any other projects?

AP:  You're in the Land of dreams (to Gabriele)

GT:   Land of Dreams is me, really.  I am living in the Land of Dreams half of my life, in fact. (laughing)  But no, the Land of Dreams is well, I don't know if it's going to stay as we are now. But it's an album that we are writing for this project called the Land of Dreams.  Worldly music sounds with Gavin who is an ex-member of Ullulators, original founder of Ozric Tentacles.  It's more like worldly sounds, cosmic energy, in a way of dancing.   The world comes together dancing, happy.

JN—Uplifting

GT:   Yeah , but I don't know if it's gonna be called Land of Dreams.   Actually, Land of Dreams was me before that, so maybe we gonna choose a different name.  But that's what the project is, and we already finished most of  the album.

JN:  Excellent, excellent. 

AP :  Yeah, I also play in Zub Zub as a guest, live with Mindflux.   We play live, usually done to a specific dance crowd.  I play with Jon as well sometimes, his acoustic set.  Kinda Turkish, Farouk, I am sure he will tell you about it. 

JN:  Yes he has, he has--

AP:   And all that kinda stuff.   Jon's  original songs.

JN:  OK excellent.   Do you have any comments, anything to say about possible comparisons with Ozrics or other projects,  your former musical lives, or peoples' expectations? Any thoughts?

JN: Jon?

JE: (flute playing)

M :  For me, it's a lot different than the other projects that I am currently involved with.  And as far as being and ex-Ozrics member, it's in the same vein of music:  synths, spacey bits, but the music sounds different.  And there's a lot more improvisation, so—

JN:  Kinda getting back to the roots of what Ozrics was more like 15-20 years ago?

M:   Yeah,  a lot of bands are a lot more improvisational, so I guess, from what I can tell, that is kind of a huge part of it.  That's the same with every band who improvises.

JN:  The thrill of taking chances.

M:  Yes, the thrill of taking chances where it might go.  It might not go anywhere.

JA:   Stronger funk element than a lot of the Ozric-style bands.

JH:   I reckon that Dream Machine is like the Italian Ozrics.

JN:  The "romantic" Ozrics.

JH:  The "romantic" ozrics, the "vienetta" ozrics.. the "spaghetti" ozrics. (laughter)

MF:   It's very melodic, it's got a funkier edge.

JH:  I suppose, in a way… but it's very very spacey.  Very spacey.

JN:  The dance market is a very good market, and they're open to spacey dance music even in the States from what I can see.  If it's got a funky beat, people are dancing to it.

JA:   We'd rather do a gig where everyone's standing, rather than sitting on the floor thinking about what we are playing

M:    There's gotta be some sort of entertainment value, otherwise you should probably be going to the Philharmonic watching Stravinsky.

JN:  Uh-huh,  OK, well they both have their merits.

M:  Exactly.  I'm a big Stravinsky fan.

JN:  Excellent.   I love the "Firebird Suite".

M:  Yes it's amazing.  He was in his mid-twenties when he wrote it too, which is a scary thing

JN:  Definitely! OK, you know Cyndee, who is guesting with you tonight, is a classically trained violinist.  She's kind of taking it to the next step though, with that 5 string electric Viper. After 400 years, there's something truly new in strings. 

JA:   We're looking forward to her set, and for her to come on and play with us.

JN:  Excellent.   She's been very excited about coming over here.  I mean she can't believe that people have been so receptive these last couple of days to what she's doing.

AP:  Well, we're kind of a big family tree really.  We've got a lot of ex-members of Ozrics.  But that's not intentional, it's just, cause we all…

JN:  It just flowed that way…

AP:   We're all just children of, descended from, the Canterbury music scene, Steve Hillage…

JN:  Ah, we just lost a major figure from the Canterbury scene.  Pip Pyle.

AP:  Yeah

JN:  Any words to say about that?

GT:   I love Ozrics.  They have always been a great inspiration of mine.

JN:  OH OH…I meant about Pip Pyle.

GT:  Pip Pyle?  Don't know.

JN:  Oh, you're not familiar?  OK, are you familiar with Caravan?

GT:  Oh yeah.

JN:  Hatfield and the North? 

GT:   My favorite band in the world is early PFM, Aria—

JN:  What about Le Orme?

GT:   Yes. Famous Italian progressive rock.  I like Gong.  Then I discovered Ozrics.  I am a big fan.  One big family.

JN:  And now you're a part of it.

AP:  For someone else, a big influence was Steve Hillage, and mine as well, but I don't think we play anything like it.  Steve Vai--I am much more bluesy..

JN:  Well, you don't have to play like someone to be influenced by them.  Their energy--

AP:   They're taking more from Hillage than anyone else, perhaps.  I love Hendrix, but we're on different paths.

JN:  Well, you should be.

GT:   That, and Genesis, Yes, old early progressive rock

JN:  All my favorites!

GT:   You develop a new..it goes, you don't know where you go because really,  they're all bridges--places that we're trying to get to, then follow the moments as we play..

JN:  And take the paths that present themselves.

GT:  Yeah 

JN:  Alright, excellent.

AP:   Gabz took over on bass because of Roly,  because Gabz has this Roly influence,  which is a very unique style of playing.  Makes it very distinctive when you're playing. It's a unique style of playing.  When I played in Damidge with Roly,  we had unique kind of bond.  We can't get away from that.

JN:   And he's another one who is among the missing now too, unfortunately.  Went much too young.  Very tragic.

GT:  He's everywhere.

AP:  He decorated my guitar I play.

JN:  Excellent.

AP:  You see all the stickers.

GT:   My bass was the first bass for Thunderdogs, which was Tom's bass.  Roly was playing it since he didn't have a bass at the time.  And then one night, he was playing this gig and he broke his head—I mean he was bleeding on it, and he kept playing for ages and ages.

AP:   It still got the blood on it.

JN:  It's still on that instrument???  Alright.. let's see…Make this my last question.  If I were to go into your house and went into your CD player, what would I find it in it right now?

GT:  Oh my God.  OK, oh let me see.

JN:  Oh, we can do a physical on this one!  We are here in Gabz' living room, actually, and right there is the cd player...

GT:   OK this a good choice for me.  This is Duke Ellington, classic recordings from1927-31.

JN:  Classic!  Duke Ellington, a true classic.

GT:   What a great inspiration.  Freedom of playing.

JN:  Here you're talking about spacerock and Steve Hillage and Roly, and in your CD player is the Duke!

GT:   Yeah 

JN:  Excellent, excellent.

M:  Lots of different stuff.   I think Bartok string quartets.

JA:   I haven't played my CDs in years.  I use iTunes. 

JN:  OK what's on your iTunes right now?

JA:   OK, right now the last thing I was listening to.. a compilation of New Orleans funk from the 1970's… 

JN:  OK, so we have one person listening to New Orleans funky jazz, another one classical, another one of your compatriots is listening to the Duke from 1929.  This is fascinating!

M:  Yeah, you gotta have an open mind about music. This is all music.

JA:  You should try not to listen too much to the kind of music that you play, or you can end up sounding like it.  The whole idea about Dream Machine is that each one of us is kinda into a different thing, and when we're together the synergy comes out with our sound.

JN:  Yeah it's always gonna be bigger than the parts.

AP:    In the car just coming here, we had "Green" playing by Steve Hillage.   I can't get to the CD player at home cause there's too many children's toys in the way (laughter), but I think the last thing I put in there was Dan Arborise.  He's kind of another guy from the family, he's quite young, very good acoustic player, very Nick Drake-y.  He's a new figure on the scene. 

JN:  Something old and something new.  Classic Steve Hillage "Green" and…

AP:    Actually, the guy who produced Steve Hillage "Fish Rising" produced his new album.  So there's a connection.  He's acoustic, but he uses a lot of delay,  Steve Hillage guitar effects. 

JN:    So the family resemblance becomes stronger…

AP:   (laughing)  You can't get away from it.

MF:    Well for me at the moment, really it's a lot of  Square Pusher.  He's amazing,  Drum and bass, genius like nothing else really.  He's got a jazz background, he's one of the best producers around for me at the moment

JH:   For me it's Street Urchin.  One minute he's a jazz maestro.. then, he's one of the most potent computer programmers in the world.  Listen to him.   Tom Jenkinson's his name.

JN:   Alright, excellent.  Any final comments?

AP:    We are going to be late for the sound check!

GT:  But we are going to have a great gathering tonight as the first Dream Machine Gathering

JN:  I am looking forward to it!

GT:   It's going to be fantastic, very magical!   I think the people are in for something special with our new drummer.  So whoever's going to read this:  I wish you the best in the world!

JA:  Get better soon Melo.

M:   Don't forget to have your pet spayed or neutered.  Bob Barker!  He's a genius!

MF:   Looking forward to tonight.  Culmination of a lot of different talent in this band that comes together well, really gels well.   We have a new drummer tonight, Metro.  He played with the Ozrics most recently.  He's injected some real new life into the band,  better dynamic, new energy up there.  We are hoping to knock people off their feet. 

JH:  I think it will be a laugh.

JN: Jon?

JE: (flute playing)

JN: THANK YOU ALL!!

 

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