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Interview: Time For Dreams

Time For Dreams are on an entirely different wavelength. Their vulnerable approach to dream-pop is fresh and austere. You’ve Got A Friend and a cover of The Smiths’ Death Of A Disco Dancer is built as the group’s next 7″ release and only amplifies their sprawling, languid shoegaze textures. We got on the phone to front woman, Amanda Roff, to discuss meditative music, Czechoslovakian soundtracks and signing as a character.

Do you find your music to be meditative, either when you’re in the studio playing live or if you happen to listen back to it yourself?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely one of the reasons we… I should say I. I can’t really speak for Tom, but I’m sure it’s the same for him. It’s deeply meditative to perform and rehearse. Our jams, our recordings, and our shows are really, really fun for us.

What kind of emotion would you want the listener to get from listening to Time For Dreams?

I want people to be transported, and whether that means that they’re calming down or they’re getting psyched up, I guess that doesn’t really matter so much. The idea is just that they lift out of themselves to be in a zone, a pleasurable zone.

What kind of music makes you transport to another world?

I’ve got heaps of records like that. It changes all the time, of course. But just thinking about particular records that really do that for me, one that I’d like to give a shout-out to would be the Regional Curse record. That’s a local Melbourne artist, which is really amazing—a really amazing zany, dark record. That’s a big one for me. I’ve also been listening to this soundtrack. It’s a Czechoslovakian title [Malá Morská Víla] but basically it’s the original orchestral score for a film that is an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid, and it’s 1976, but it’s electronic score, and it’s got a lot of really incredible vocals and orchestral stuff on it as well. That one’s really taking me away at the moment.

Another film soundtrack, the film’s called The Beekeeper, and the soundtrack is by a saxophone player called Jan Garbarek. That is also really, really sending me at the moment. Yeah, using the saxophone I guess as partially sort of like a bee, an insect vibe, which is really great and it’s really drone-y and really meditative. That’s three records that are doing it right now.

You’ve Got A Friend is a homage to Carole King. Why is that?

I really love Carole King—a big, big fan. This song has this kind of shame of the vulnerability of people and how precious and fragile friendship is. I feel like the title of her song, You’ve Got a Friend, it just kept going round and round in my head when I was thinking about naming the song. I just thought, “Oh, well, that one’s already taken, so I can’t really use that.” Then I was like, “Fuck it, I can use it. Why not? It’s not like Carole King’s going to care.”

I suppose her song is a very straight-up kind of sentimental pop exploration of that idea, and ours is kind of the flip side of that. It’s maybe slightly less sentimental and slightly less pop, but it has I guess maybe some kind of, there’s misery and violence and sinister feelings in ours, whereas hers is just all sort of sunlight, sparkles, holding hands with James Taylor in the ’70s.

Death Of A Disco Dancer is a cover of The Smiths. What made you try your hand at that track?

Definitely the lyrics, the theme, the idea that people are being murdered and it feels a lot like no one cares. That’s something that I think about a lot, and the idea that it’s the death of a disco dancer. It doesn’t specify who that person is. It’s a human being, and it’s somebody who used to dance and used to laugh, and now they’re dead and no one cares.

How did you approach doing a cover? How’d you put your own spin on it?

I guess that was very much due to Tom’s beat that he made for it. It’s not really musically based on the original that much. We wanted it to be very, very different musically. Yeah, I guess it was making a bed for the lyrics that was a bit more reflective of our musical aesthetic.

You guys split your time between other projects. Amanda, you also play in Harmony—who released a new single last week. How do you split your time between each group?

Yeah, that’s right. Now there’s a new album coming out and an album tour in August. Harmony is like my family. I’m extremely committed to that project. Not that Time for Dreams isn’t, but it’s a completely different role. [In Harmony] I’m not the main songwriter, the main singer, and lyricist. Time for Dreams, I take a lot of that pressure on myself, being the focal point and being the main voice of the band, but the other one is s like being in a choir. It’s very much a group effort, and it’s about locking into we call, “The cosmic bridge” because there’s this sort of feeling when you get it right, when everybody’s locked in, that we’re connected in this way that we don’t have to look at each other or try hard to do it. Once it locks in, we’re all on the same wavelength. But yeah, being a harmony singer is about dissolving your personality into something bigger, and being a lead singer is about kind of distilling your personality and offering it to the audience.

Do you put yourself in a different mindset for each band?

It’s not so much the mindset, because that sort of gets created by the experience and the social interactions that we have, but the singing—the type of singing is so different. That is actually hard for me, and I didn’t know that was going to be hard. That was a surprise. Harmony, I feel like I sing more like I’m an instrument, because it’s about tone and strength. Whereas Time for Dreams is more like acting. It’s more like I’m singing a character, and the vocals are about subtlety and almost having a conversation. It’s a really big difference between the types of musical expression between the two bands.

You said you try and sing as a character. How about writing your lyrics? Are you writing from a personal view or as a character as well?

Definitely both. It’s all generated personally, but then I kind of add the imagination element to it as well in order to kind of open it out so it’s not just me.

You’ve Got A Friend is out on a limited edition 7″ single via It Records now HERE. Time For Dreams are launching the single in Melbourne at a secret venue on Saturday 30 June with International Velvet and Sha Sharafi. Find details HERE.

Written by Jake Wilton