INTERVIEW: Dreems + Astral & Friends Giveaway
Angus Gruzman is a man with many hats and his achievements in music are as varied as they come. His latest electronic project DREEMS is extremely unique, which has resulted in a large amount of hype from music enthusiasts around the world.
Following his spectacular audio visual performance debuted at Vivid LIVE, we had a chat to DREEMS ahead of his second live show ever for Astral & Friends at Sydney’s Goodgod Small Club on Friday.
You just played your debut live show at Vivid LIVE a couple of weeks ago, how do you think it all turned out?
I was happy to jump over that musical hurdle. I think it turned out better than I could have hoped for. I’ve been a DJ and an extremely harsh critic of live performers for quite some time now. Now I’m a DJ and a live performer with an extremely high level of empathy for other live performers.
How much rehearsing was involved before the performance?
Me and the boys locked ourselves in my dungeon for a couple of weeks, purged ourselves and performed flagellation until the music and blood was thick and warm.
What sort of musical backgrounds do the other performers in your live set have?
Chris aka The Colonel had a project called Bumblebeez. They were signed to Modular way back. If you advent ever experienced his music do yourself the solid and jump on it. This guy was ahead of the curve – the original internet cowboy.
Alex aka Turps is a bit of an autistic wonder kid, not much information on his history – he doesn’t even know where he learnt to play like Mozart on ketamine but damn it’s the good feels.
Your visuals on the night were fantastic and a great fit with your sound. Was it always the plan to incorporate a strong visual element into your music?
The idea was to project a picture of myself in a hammock sipping a pina colada over in the Bahamas with a “We are experiencing technical difficulties” for the whole set…it developed from there into what it is now.
Will you be bringing the visuals to your Astral & Friends live show on Friday in Sydney?
We are going to try something a little different this time round. There will be visuals, but with a different space that is more intimate, we have been toying with a few options – panty cams, oculus rift and personal projectors for everyone perhaps.
You played at another Astral People event recently with Flako, Black Vanilla and Beat Spacek. Do you enjoy being apart of such a mixed line up?
It was actually challenging, in the best possible way. Being surrounded with artists from such a broad spectrum pushes you harder to explore different sounds and approaches to pimping your music.
You’ve been playing a lot of DJ sets in Sydney lately at quite a diverse range of parties, big and small. Can you please tell us why you think it’s important to support a range of different promoters who vary in experience?
I love playing music. That’s one of the few things I know about myself and that makes me happy. It’s very easy to go and support other people with the same passion no matter their size, experience, or background. At the end of the day, this is my job. I chose it and to shun away from it and not step up to your responsibility of being part of the bigger picture is not doing your job properly.
Next month you’ll be playing a nine hour DJ set for Picnic’s famous ‘One Night Stand’ party. This will be the second time you’ve performed at this particular event. Do you go into these sets with a specific journey mapped in your head of how you want it to go, or do you simply just wing it?
I buy a new set before each one. This time I’m going to splash out and get a set of pterodactyl wings and start with prehistoric slo-mo grooves and travel all the way through time into wi-fi quadricopter-delivered techno.
I’ve always been curious to know, during these lengthy gigs, what happens if you really need to go to the toilet halfway through? Is it a matter of mixing a really long track and power walking to and from the bathroom asap?
I like the bucket technique, but failing this I have a few edits that have yet to let me down. I made a 25 minute edit of the Pachanga Boys smash hit ‘Time’ (Dreems‘ time to do the doo doo with madame foo foo in the loo loo re-edit) which works a treat.
What about food? It isn’t particularly professional for a DJ to be seen eating while they’re playing. Do you have a really large meal beforehand or snack it discreetly until you finish?
Oh, I actually have a pretty strong opinion about this one. I actually think it’s a great vibe to see a DJ tucking into a three course meal on stage. The weirder the food the better. It demonstrates skills and it humanises him, it makes them less God-like…you know? For anyone reading, next time you come up when I’m DJing to make a request, the gift of food speaks in volumes round my paddock.
As a veteran of the Sydney party scene, what do you currently love about it?
My hip thrusts are pretty notable. Juno Mars is also possibly the best DJ I’ve watched play in the past years. SRSLY.
This question is completely off topic but it’s something I had to ask. Your cousin Hugo shared an amazing story with us recently about an adventure you had at Splendour In The Grass a while back. Did you end up finding your missing shoe?
I replaced it with a “gift” from someone’s dressing room. Thanks anonymous international rock-star, you are most certainly a generous breed of human.
Lastly, what’s next for Dreems? Will you be staying in Australia for the rest of the year or heading back overseas?
There’s a few OS trips planned. I’ll most likely spend the latter half of the year over in Europe collecting stamps and records. I’m going to take a month off and head down to Bumblebeez HQ in Braidwood to finish off the new album sometime soon.
WIN: We are giving away a double pass to one lucky reader to see DREEMS perform his live set for Astral & Friends at Goodgod Small Club in Sydney this Friday. For your chance to win, email [email protected] with the subject line ‘DREEMS’. Good luck!
Words by Tony Kingston