Secret Colours is a Chicago band founded in 2010 by guitarist and vocalist Tommy Evans. The newest full-length from the four-piece, Dream Dream, is a testament to the band's earned status as indie rock veterans. Expansive but concise, Dream Dream continues Secret Colours' preoccupation with 60s' and 70s' psych rock and 90s' Britpop. But there's also a melting pot of other evident inspirations: punk, soul, funk, and more.
We spoke to frontman Tommy Evans about the creative process for Dream Dream. Check out the conversation below.
How many albums have you guys released now?
With the new one, 4 full length LPs.
You've gone through a few line up changes over the years. Is this the same line up that recorded your last release, Positive Distractions?
Not quite, but that same crew was involved in the production of the record. We had a different bassist, Eric Hehr, during Positive Distractions, who actually helped produce Dream Dream in the pre-production stages. That dude knows how to make songs balanced and how to make sure each instrument is filling the space in the mix it's supposed to. We also had a keyboardist from Chicago, Maxx McGathey of Gramps The Vamp, add a ton of textural and melodic keyboard parts to it. We worked with the same producer, Dan Dusynski down in Dripping Springs, TX. He is a production wizard and is one of the most creative musicians I've ever met.
Our new bassist Max Brink, is a buddy of ours and only listens to music from 1972 or before, so I think that's why the bass lines are as groovy as they are. We met him though the practice space we share, which is actually in his company's warehouse, Chicago Electric Piano Company.
You're collectively the self-proclaimed children of 1960s' psych rock and 1990s' alternative, and it's very evident on your new album. But it sounds like you also brought in new influences and references into the making of Dream Dream? What was the recording process for this album like?
This record took two attempts to make. We tried making it here in Chicago, and the tunes weren't sounding as powerful as I'd like. So we scraped it and re-worked a ton of it. The songs sounded a lot different in the beginning; it took a lot of time and collaboration to get them to where they are now.
Usually the process is, I bring a song in with chords and lyrics, and the rest of the guys add their flavor to it. This time around much more was done and reworked after I'd bring in something that I thought was finished.
This actually was the first I've been involved in making where influences weren't really discussed. I wanted the unique flavor of each individual making the record to come through instead of trying to be something they are not. Records are better when they are honest to the artists.
Can you explain your new video, "Places I'm Going"?
The video is a direct representation of what the song is about. It shows various people in nature and partying only to see at the end it was someone "living" these experiences through a computer screen.
The song itself is more of a observation of our culture and how we have become so tied to our technologies and screens that we are forgetting to live in reality. This is a theme throughout the whole record.
I personally feel there is a balance that still needs to be addressed between technology and the human race. Right now we are in the era of "because we can" and I feel many people aren't thinking to themselves "because we should”.
Do you think there are any positive trends that have come out of this current era of social media and technology?
Yes, the ability to have access to nearly everything and to be able to be in contact with anyone at any time is incredible and beautiful. There are endless benefits to advancing technology. If there weren't, there would be no desire to advance technology. It's more so important to find a balance. Some technologies we don't "need" but really "want" and vice-versa. So it isn't easy or black and white. It's important we become aware of the influence of technology on us. Understanding that it advances at a far faster rate than us a species, and figuring out how we are going to deal with these fundamental changes in our nature.
Dream Dream is now available on streaming platforms and on CD and vinyl. Stream below.