A Dirty Dozen with KEVIN CALI from DREAMSHADE - January 2021

January 14, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

According to a recent press release: “Modern metal band DREAMSHADE have announced their fourth album A Pale Blue Dot. The record arrives on March 5, 2021. Pre-orders are live here. To celebrate the release of the album, the band has shared the new track "Lightbringers." Watch the animated visualizer video here. The album includes two features — New York-based Italian pop singer Rose Villain and Darkest Hour's John Henry. The closing song "Save This" boasts a very special collaboration — the band included gang vocals from 517 Dreamshade fans from 70 different countries, all shared through WhatsApp. Because #technology.” We get frontman Kevin to discuss new music, reflection on his past, and much more...

1.Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I think the new album will be a great return! Something we have been looking for a long time. The way we wrote the new songs was an experience that took the band to the next level in my opinion. We worked in complete harmony and each of us contributed and worked hard to achieve the final result. All of this has led to free writing without worrying about anything or anyone. There were difficult moments that brought despair within the band but we managed to get out of it and get back to being in top form. In fact, each song contains nuggets that the listener will be able to discover spin after spin. I find it really interesting to be able to offer music that doesn't end only at the first listen but that every time surprises you and makes you want to listen again and immerse yourself in our sound. This makes our songs a constant astonishment. We have always enriched our music with everything we like without having limits. A constant search for sounds that distinguish us and make us feel fully satisfied with what we do.

2. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I feel lucky because in my family music has always been part of our life. I am the youngest son and I remember that when I was a child and I was with my parents or my siblings they made me listen to everything. Pop, rock, reggae, metal, disco, etc.... and any style of music that came out of the speakers I remember that I was fascinated by. One day the band Europe was playing "The Final Countdown" on a TV show and I immediately fell in love with that kind of sound. Those melodies, their movements, the long hair, the distortion of the guitars had captured me and transported me to a new world. I was 4 years old and I had a little toy guitar, I went up on the coffee table we had in the living room and pretended to be them haha. I remember begging my parents to show me the video recording of that program again and again because I always wanted to hear that song that ignited something inside me. I think it was then that I realized that music would forever be a part of my life.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Surely if I have to think about what my musical influences have been I would definitely say that the music from the 60's to the 80's that I listened to with my father has certainly ignited a flame in me. The 80's and 90's Pop music that I listened to with my sister and the Rock / Metal that I listened to with my brother then kicked off everything that brought me to today. It is certainly not easy to mention five artists or bands because there are many that have meant and still mean a lot to me. But if I have to name a few for you guys I would definitely say Queen, Metallica, R.E.M., Led Zeppelin, Misfits, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Elvis, The Beatles, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Eiffel 65 and many more.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Without going too far I think my first thoughts go to James Hetfield from Metallica because it’s thanks to him that I approached guitar and vocals when I was a young boy.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I believe our music is really a mix of everything we love to hear and that has inspired us over the years. It contains a set of different musical styles. Of course we do it in a metal key but every listener could find influences of all kinds. I find it interesting that everyone can draw their own conclusions from what they hear and it is certainly not us who have to interfere or judge the way it is done. The beauty of music is that everyone can interpret it in his/her own way and if I disagree with a review or another point of view, I certainly wouldn't want to make them change their mind! We love to focus on what we do and try not to leave anything to chance. I believe that to make your sound always fresh and unique you must always have an open mind to new challenges. Fortunately I don't remember any comparison that made me cringe haha.

6. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I can say with certainty that the cooks of the band are Fernando and I haha... and maybe Luca a bit too. Let's say we are the ones who always make themselves available when it comes to cooking. Honestly, I've never seen the other guys at work in the kitchen, I always look forward to an invitation to dinner tho! As for the drinks I think we are all on the same page, some more and some less, but over the years we have accumulated some experience with drinking and enjoying the moments ;). Honestly we really like each other and enjoy spending time together. And if you are looking for the man who cracks out the acoustic guitar and entertains audiences and friends surely that is Fernando haha. I remember a tour in Russia when one evening after the show we went with some fans and friends at their place and Fella and Rocco (former member) even after I went to bed they stayed up to play all night with the few who were awake.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

If I have to think of the latest celebrity who deeply affected me I would definitely say Joaquin Phoenix with his speech at last year's Oscar Awards. A speech on the importance of love, sharing, compassion and solidarity for the weak. An incitement to support and help each other to grow and move forward in search of redemption. I saw myself in all his words. I found a deep connection that unites his point of view with the message that our lyrics and music want to convey to our fans.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is freedom of expression. Through music you can vent your imagination, you can communicate your feelings and why not even your frustrations and fears. You can give joy, happiness and carry any listener wherever you want. Music is everyone's freedom, it's a journey that takes you wherever you want and as I said before, everyone can interpret it in their own way. Surely there is also the live aspect of being a musician. Being able to take your music on tour, get to know the fans and put a smile on their faces is just priceless. You confront yourself with experiences and realities that only in these situations you can live. If I could no longer carry out this activity my dream job would be to be able to work in a music shop like I used to do when I was a boy. I loved that job!

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Honestly I never thought about it. I'm open to everything... so come on guys, bring it on! Ask me what you want ;)

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

No honestly there isn't a moment in the past that I think was a misstep or that I would like to change. Looking back, I certainly cannot complain and I am proud of many achievements I have achieved in my private life and in my music career. Maybe sometimes I think I could do more, I'm very self-critical of myself and I don't seem to put the right effort into it. It may happen that you can get lost during your life but the challenge is then to be able to find yourself again and redirect yourself on the right path. But perhaps it’s just those phases of fragility and uncertainty that happen to everyone.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

The first thought I had is definitely Clayman by In Flames. If I could magically go back I would have liked to be part of this recording session. I find it was one of the albums that marked an era. This record like others in the genre in those years brought Swedish melodic metal beyond all borders and marked the history of this genre which then influenced bands all over the world.

12. Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Surely Covid-19 has taken away our freedom for various reasons. Not being able to perform live is certainly an aspect that we miss a lot. It is a situation that is creating distance between us as human beings. There is always a certain tension and discomfort in relating with people precisely because you have to be careful and respect certain directives. It becomes more and more complex to face everyday life and what I miss is definitely being able to be free to live carefree and without worries. Hope that soon we will have the opportunity to hug my loved ones without being afraid of contagion.

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