If you were to create a band that was raised on a crash diet of Tool, Bullet For My Valentine, and Fall Of Troy that blurs the lines between the post-hardcore crunch of Alexisonfire and pre-self-titled Paramore, with choruses that could erupt an arena full of fans into a sing-along at the same time as moshing in a frenetic frenzy, you’d probably find yourself with South Wales quintet Dream State as the result.
Following the release of their sole EP, 2015’s ‘Consequences’, 2017 saw Dream State sign to Australian label UNFD, home to Architects, Crossfaith, and Tonight Alive. Having recently released ‘In This Hell’, a song that wrestles with harsh and clean vocals as the band throw infectious riffs with breakdown-heaviness that goes together like a house on fire, they’re sitting on the top of the pile of what’s to come in rock music, honest and raw lyrics in hand.
“I’ve had a lot of people write about ‘White Lies’ and how it’s helped them through hard times, and how ‘In This Hell’ has helped them battle anxiety,” says vocalist CJ. “It’s good not to be alone with it. It makes me feel good not to be alone with it, but it’s inspiring more than anything. It’s more inspiration for me to carry on with it, and try and help people through music the way it’s helping me.”
She’s reflecting on these moments before a mid-tour set, which has seen their self-described “raw, energetic, and very honest” sound reach corners of the UK they’d never expected, their lyrics hitting home more than they could ever expect.
“Lyrically I had to sit down and lock myself away and put into words what it feels like to have that anxiety and to have that feeling of being trapped and inside your head. Sometimes you have to get in your head and be in a dark place just to get those lyrics onto paper. It’s therapy, and it’s reflecting in fans.
“We had a fan who said he suffers from bad anxiety, didn’t really go to many gigs but he came with his mum. He was at the front row singing all the songs, and he felt like it was healing him. He got to scream and get all that tight-chested feelings off of his chest.”
In an industry where stealing audiences away from the screens of their smartphones and getting them to go to a gig is becoming increasingly more difficult, Dream State have gone from playing to a couple of their friends in Swansea to playing to a couple of hundred, and it’s only spurring them on.
“I feel like rock is making a comeback, everyone is saying rock is dead, and I really don’t think it is. People are in a lot of pain right now, and rock music addresses lyrically deeper meanings in life, and that’s drawing more people in.”
With a sound made for arenas and a level of hype few bands achieve across their entire careers, Dream State are riding a wave of confidence that is infectiously inspiring.
“In a non-egotistical way, I can see us doing bigger stages, headlining a festival. I’ve got to keep those positive thoughts and set those goals because if I don’t, then they’re not in sight. I believe we can get that far, we want to tour as many countries as possible and meet as many people as possible. We just want to gig and gig and gig.”