At The Corner Hotel Thursday 6th September

Dream On, Dreamer began with a bang in 2009 – and they’ve never really slowed down. Ahead of their inaugural national headline tour, Matt O’Neill catches up with bassist Michael McLeod to discuss the Melbourne post-hardcore outfit’s unstoppable momentum.

Michael McLeod is being diplomatic. He’s discussing his band’s debut album, Heartbound. Released last year, Heartbound elevated his band Dream On, Dreamer from promising members of the Australian underground to global contenders. Distributed through legendary hardcore label Rise Records, it introduced Dream On, Dreamer to appreciative audiences here and abroad. Strangely, McLeod appears to be almost badmouthing it.

“Definitely, at one stage, we were all so proud of it. It was something we were happy with at the time and obviously we produced it for a reason,” the bassist reflects. “But, since it was released, we’ve had a lot of critics go through the pros and cons of it. We definitely take everything the kids say about our music onboard and we’re hoping to really step it up on the next album with a more mature sound.”

To be clear, it’s not a bad album. Not even close. Quite frankly, it’s kind of brilliant. A clear product of the modern post-hardcore landscape, Heartbound saw Dream On, Dreamer bring together both post-hardcore standards and idiosyncratic experimentalism to craft a record that seemed to sit comfortably within its genre while also expanding that genre’s boundaries, polished choruses crashing into almost math-core breakdowns.

“It’s actually a real priority for us to stick out like that,” McLeod comments. “You know, I think we take a lot of pride in how we tackle our sound and how we tackle our lyric writing. There are so many bands out there who are in our genre and our sound who do sound fairly similar. We want to keep up with the times but we want to be able to bring our own little Dream On, Dreamer spin on it.”

“You know, we take a lot of care in writing our music and writing our lyrics. We concentrate on it all a lot and we really just hope that allows us to come out with something that’s a bit different. I actually think, when people heard our album was released through Rise, they thought we were a bit generic – like another keyboard-breakdown band – but I think you can hear we have our own take on things.”

Still, McLeod’s attitude towards his band’s debut album very much speaks to Dream On, Dreamer’s outlook as a band. In a word; unrelenting. The band were formed in Melbourne in 2009 and have progressed with almost unbelievable velocity ever since. Not only did they release their debut album within two years, following 2010’s EP, Hope, released through Boomtown Records; they secured an international following equally as rapidly – they’ve actually just returned from an extensive US tour.

“We haven’t really been home for awhile, actually,” McLeod laughs. “That tour was amazing. We made a lot of friends over there. It’s always so strange and so incredible to find yourself doing what you love on the other side of the world and having people appreciate it. I mean, the first time we went to the States was just bizarre. We had kids who knew our names and what we were into individually.”


“Like, even some crazy kids who had Dream On, Dreamer lyrics tattooed on their body. It was unbelievable. It was absolutely next-level stuff. I think, through having stuff like Facebook and Twitter and stuff like that, it’s a lot easier for bands to reach out and connect with people around the world. We’re absolutely stoked with how we’re received in America at the moment. Blown away.”

Again, it comes back to that outlook. Dream On, Dreamer, from the outset, have been both unflinchingly ambitious and unstintingly brutal in their work ethic. You can hear it in how McLeod discusses his band’s approach to their sound. You can hear it in how McLeod views the six-piece band’s exceptional debut album as simply another opportunity to improve. You can see it in their meteoric progression from formation to international acclaim.

“It has moved in leaps and bounds. It’s really been quite full-on. We’ve all worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to get to this level. I think, starting this band, we didn’t really have any idea it would get this far and I think we all feel like we can actually still take it a lot further. I do think, though, that when we formed the band, we did all want to take things more seriously than we had before as musicians.”


“You know, we’d all been in bands previously. I think we all kind of looked at Dream On, Dreamer as our sink-or-swim kind of moment,” he admits. “It’s been incredible. We’re all so close now and we make sure to keep a real level head about our success. You know, we’ve gotten a lot further than we ever thought we would and we’re just going to keep on that path and see how far we can take it and what we can really do as a band.”

He doesn’t speak with any kind of hyperbole or arrogance. Dream On, Dreamer – contrary to the implications of their name – are a very practical band. It goes hand-in-hand with their unforgiving approach to their own work and their meticulous musical output. In discussing the changes the band are making for their next record, for example, McLeod doesn’t discuss insecurities or possibilities. Dream On, Dreamer already know their next step.

“Well, I just think Heartbound was a lot more polished than everything that came before it – which will happen when you get more money to record than you had before – but, for this next album, we’re going back to that rawer sound. We’re even thinking quite seriously about recording to analogue. You know, the way records used to be made. Not quite so clean and digital.”

“I mean, it’s funny. When we started writing the new album, we were really careful. Really, really cautious. You know, we wanted to get it absolutely right and we looked at everything really closely – and it just wasn’t working. We got to the point where we’d be building a song for a month and just kind of going, ‘Hang on a minute, shouldn’t the song be coming a lot more easily than this if it’s a good song?‘ and actually just scrap it.

“All of a sudden, we’d just punch out three songs, without even thinking, and just be infinitely happier with them,” McLeod laughs. “I think that’s really what we’re looking at doing with this record. Not tiptoeing or over-analysing; just do it. I think, sometimes, politicians will deliver speeches that have taken weeks to write and get nowhere – and then on the spot they’ll just nail it.”

“I mean, that’s what you want to hear, isn’t it? Realism. Honesty. Something that’s not too over-produced or over-analysed.”



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