Songwriting can be a strange process. For me some songs come and evolve from fragments, and pieces of ideas, and then sometimes songs just leap out of the ethers while you are driving down the road.
The recording Machines of love and war is, to me, the break up album of ‘The Dreaming’. We went through quite a bit of tribulation during the production of that album. A lot of emotional upheaval and bruised egos. Members leaving, other members taking more prominence as the band evolved, finally becoming what it has now become, ‘Dream Collective’.
I even lost my best friend during that recording project.
The project, our fourth album, was recorded in Silvercreek, New York between 2006 and 2007 and we were lucky enough to have Armand Petri as our producer. Armand is known for his production work with the goo dolls, six pence none the richer, and the 10,000 Maniacs. He is also a winner of many Dove awards for his production work with many other artists. His presence in the studio and his expertise shines through in the final product. Strangely enough it took almost 10 years for us to put this recording out because of the break up of the band in 2007 and the reuniting of four core members in 2015. To me this album is one of our best and I feel, even though it’s 10 years old, it carries on a life of its own and needs to make an appearance in the canon of ‘The Dreaming’, now ‘Dream Collective’.
When I look back at the compositions from this album the songs are over 10 years old and a few, I swear, I don’t know how they came about. While some, such as ‘summerland’, came to me from an emotional event, the death of my father and younger brother, others like ‘you are the ghost’ and ‘machines of love and war’ were written for specific people in my life at that time.
‘Machines of love and war’ was written about my feelings concerning the leaving of singer, and friend, Ann Janish when the band was known as ‘The Dreaming’. It came about pretty quickly lyrically and the music as structured was an exercise in dadgad tuning I wrote to be performed as an instrumental.
The tunings I have chosen for this album run from standard tuning, to dadgad, to open G, and drop D tuning. All these different guitar tunings create the need for many different types of guitars while performing live. So, I’m going to be bringing at least three guitars to the live shows. My Seagull 12 string, my Larrivee six acoustic, and my Dearmond champagne finish electric.
‘Shining Day’ was actually written while I was contemplating a painting by William Blake entitled glad day. It has such optimism that I wanted to capture it in my work. Shining day also balances some of the heavier songs on the album. It has a weird time signature change the throughs a little wrench in the works and it is a good example of some of my songwriting quirks. It’s a little Americana progressive epic.
‘Without you nothing even matters anymore’ is an introspective song reflecting the break up of ‘The Dreaming’ in the mid 2000’s. It has a kind of Kate Bush feel in the chord changes that I love. The tuning is open G and again I wrote it initially as an instrumental and added the lyrics much later on.
‘Tipharet’ is an acoustic guitar piece I wrote that is inspired by my interest in the Qabalistic tree of life. TIPHARETH is considered the center or heart of the Tree of Life and it’s title translation is Beauty: the Beauty of Perfect Balance and Harmony. … The God Name of Tiphareth in the level Atziluth is YHVH ELOAH VE DAATH meaning the manifestation of the Divine in Knowledge and Balance.
‘I don’t know’ is it piece written on 12 string guitar in open G tuning. The song reflects my feelings of how time seems to slip away the older we get. A lot of time gets wasted along the way. Time is relative and consciousness has a reflection in time. This was the last song I wrote for this release and I wanted a nice little sweet ending for the album. Plus I wanted 13 songs so this is the 13th.
I need to mention two musicians who offered their services and had such an impact on this recording. Mary Ramsey from the 10,000 Maniacs performed violin and viola on many tracks, and Joe Rozler of John and Mary and the Valkyries recorded some very tasteful piano parts.