Written By Tilda Gratton //
Hannah Cobb and Maria Toase met at college in Preston before later joining with their bassist Liam Ogburn in the Preston scene. At just 15, Maria and Hannah would play open mics before being in a band together at college. ‘It was really raw the old stuff, a bit more acoustic, but we were listening back to it quite recently, we used to be a bit like “ah that was so embarrassing”, but it was actually really good like it’s nice to look back on that time.’ (Hannah). 6 years later, having moved from Preston to Manchester, Dream English Kid blend layers of hazy, dreamy synths and sparkly guitars with angelic vocals. Pure lush.
Having experimented with an array of different drummers, where they ‘learnt a lot about writing and structuring’ they settled for drum machines. It’s ‘a really different way of approaching songwriting and performing because you’re limited in a way but you have to go along with that but also you’ve got the freedom that we can program all of that and we decide how it goes, so we are sort of that forth member ourselves…but maybe that will change in the future, we will see’ (Maria). Having created a gig in their friend’s gallery (Working Man Gallery in Salford) last year with monochromatic day-dreams of visuals against their sonic performance, we can get very excited about what their future live shows might entail. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to go to one of these special events again soon, but for now, we can daydream over this recording.
Dream English Kid are here to save you through lockdown, having just released their delightfully dark yet soothing new track. They describe their newest release, ‘I See Red’ about being ‘uncertain in a weird world but being curious and finding solace in the unknown’, which certainly fits the haunting guitar melodies and sombre synths of the track. The track was recorded prior to lockdown, but was released after being mixed by Maria Toase from home and mastered by Tavish Cross. Hannah ‘wrote the lyrics about 4 years ago and they just seem really relevant now, it’s just about not knowing what’s going on all the time, just being completely uncertain about what to do with your life. Later in the song, it gets a bit dark when it goes into the driven bit and that’s sort of like stepping into facing your fears and being in the dark and not really knowing what’s going on but just trusting that it’s gonna be alright’. We can all relate to that at the moment. The track’s roaring guitars and sombre synths with echoing delicate vocals are definitely a mood for lockdown. Like with a lot of their music, Dream English Kid went back to an old track ‘Holy Ground’ (on streaming platforms) using it as a sample that was reversed and manipulated creating a whole new unique sound.
It is clear from their newest releases that Dream English Kid are big fans of synth, crafting atmospheric dreamy layers upon layers combined with juicy guitars. Beach House have been hugely influential in their work, bonding all three members’ music tastes together along with bands such as Ulrika Spacek, Beak> and Mount Kimbie. ‘We’ve all got similar taste but then there’s one or two genres that we’ve all got that will be like some sort of weird out there jazz that one person will listen to…like Ethiopian dinner jazz’ (Hannah). I’ll definitely be looking up an Ethiopian dinner jazz playlist after this…
Dream English Kid are happy about their reestablishment in vibrant Manchester, ‘Preston had a scene but it’s sort of gone, venues just sort of stopped supporting the live scene, which was a shame really because there was a really good music community at one point, we caught the end of it. Manchester’s just a bit more vibrant. I think being around more diverse people there’s a bit more for us here’ (Hannah). Venues such as Soup Kitchen, where Maria once went to see a quadraphonic with speakers in each corner of the compact venue, Band and on the Wall and Albert Hall also take their fancy. Their favourite bands of the Manchester scene being Pearl City, Ice Boy Violet and White Flowers, some dreamy recommendations for your lockdown.
Dream English Kid have celebrated lockdown as a time to work on music and get creative: ‘we’re fortunate enough to be ok in this time and we’re really grateful for that, financially because we’re students we’re just really enjoying it and taking the time to relax and reflect and eating good food all the time…we’ve been going on loads of bike rides, listening to loads of music’ such as Burial, and films such as Under the Skin. ‘We’ve come back to old songs and are thinking about how we can bring them back once we start playing again and we’ve made a Spotify playlist’ (Maria). Well whilst you’re waiting patiently for more gigs, check out Dream English Kids’ isolation Spotify playlist here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4RLsEPhvYWa3DZrLsWjDL4?si=U7AJ00DhQhmduX4g9VWBjQ
And don’t forget to show support by pre-ordering one of their gorgeous pylon t-shirts designed by Hannah Cobb here: https://everpress.com/dek-pylon-sun-shirt?fbclid=IwAR1vm1tEoS95dVQ58li_8c51BAG00K8ZJZ0h6f0zZSQrnWOu1J1Ss0GDvJQ
All photos: Dream English Kid Facebook
Interview date: 26/05/20