A Talk with Ann Janish-Schieder

So . . . now with the release of your third CD, Shadow Days, how does this reflect on the previous releases?
This CD, people have commented, is much more orchestrated and more progressive. Also, Dan and Ray’s style has, in my opinion, become more prolific.

Do you see this as a turning point for the band?
I do . . . the turning point would really be to see more people in Buffalo out and seeing the world of local music. We have such talent here.

How would you describe your new music?
This is the question most often asked and least easily answered! We have influences and experience in most styles, rock, fusion, soul, folk. People really need to hear it in order to form a comfortable niche to classify us.

What is your band’s method of writing?
Usually, the core of the songs are written by Dan and Ray. Leah and I try to find melodies and harmonies that fit within the framework of the progressions. Leah is a songwriter as well. We’ve been recently working on some of her tunes. It is very refreshing to find writers who consistently have the vocalists in mind.

How do you plan out recording for an album?
Usually we’ll have a group of songs that we’ve been working on in the course of the year that we haven’t recorded yet. The difficult part is agreeing on the instrumentation for songs and on the overall affect of the project.

How did the Dreaming actually come into existence?
Ray and I were in a group called Cloudwall in the 1990’s which also create original music. It was somewhat challenging because Ray has such a slick way of playing. We were always trying to rework the framework from acoustic to electric (we didn’t fit within the folk scene and we didn’t fit in the rock scene). our violin player left and we had to rework the band once again. Dan and Ray have been playing guitar together for years but I didn’t realize how well they complimented each other. Ray also knew Pat (percussion) from “way back when”, Pat knew Leah. Everything really gelled the first time that we were all together. I remember the first time hearing Leah’s voice and thinking, “I haven’t felt this comfortable singing with someone in a very long time!” She is a great person.

What has been your highlight of being in the band?
The highlight of being in the band is really the accumulation of events rather than one big event. Sometimes just coming to rehearsal is therapeutic for me. Above and beyond being extremely gifted musicians, they are just fun to be around.

What do you feel you give to the world of music?
I’d like to think that we are telling stories and creating music of substance that doesn’t sound superficial, or too easy. I like the idea of conjuring up different emotions in people.

The new CD is very eclectic. Do you have a favorite track?
My Resurrection holds special meaning to me because it was created during a very difficult time.

Do you feel your albums have got better as you have progressed?
I believe that we have all progressed as a band. I believe that our image has become a bit more solid over the years.

What styles of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything. I still go through periods where I’ll focus on one style and really try to capture the feeling of it. I enjoy music that instills passion and emotion.

Who are your heroes and whom do you admire?
I’ve been listening to Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight lately. I really admire the pioneers of soul and R & B. I admire all of the groups that not everyone is familiar with: Jonatha Brookes. Oh, another one is Julia Fordham . . . there are way too many!

The Dreaming is a band with two strong singers. Does this influence the way the songs are written or arranged?
Dan and Ray always write with our voices in mind. We’ve really never had to change the key on anything. With Leah’s voice, we can change intensity and add more textures to the vocal lines. They are very good about letting us discover what works and what doesn’t.

I hear the project was recorded in Pro-Tools, a digital resource. Do you think technology has affected your music in any way?
Definitely. Technology is our friend. We still need to do the work in the studio but it makes “cleaning up” much easier! I am amazed watching the controls on the board during mastering. It’s amazing to see what can be done to just a single sound wave.

What’s Next?
Well . . . I am hoping that the CD will be well received. There is talk that we might create an all-acoustic CD next!