Dream Koala is a musician and producer from Paris, France. His EP Earth. Home. Destroyed. was released this year. He was interviewed for The Lab by Fabulous 3D.
FABULOUS 3D—In which musical universe did you grow up?
DREAM KOALA—I grew up listening to different kinds of music because I never found a genre that could satisfy my appetite for music alone. I also looked for new sounds, new feelings, new places where it could take me.
When I was a kid, my parents used to listen to a lot of Brazilian music at home, like Carlinhos Brown, Caetano Veloso or Milton Nascimento. When I started school, I listened to the same things as the other kid used to on MTV. Then I fell in love with Joe Hisaishi’s soundtracks for Hayao Miyazaki’s movies and started listening to other movie soundtracks. When I was around 13, my step-father introduced me to Björk’s music; I was fascinated by how it sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. He also introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Maurice Ravel’s works. Then I discovered J-Rock through anime, that got me into metal, then progressive-rock, then death-metal and then electronic music when I was around 16.
F3D—How and why did you start making music?
DK—I used to play a little bit of piano when I was a kid, but I hated my music teacher so I quit. I wanted to be a filmmake; I loved to draw monsters and imaginary landscapes, but I only started to want to make music when I was 14 years old. I taught myself how to play the guitar and wrote my first tracks. We had a metal band with my friends and I wanted to record some demos at home, but we couldn’t record the drums because I lived in an apartment. This is why I started programming drums on my computer, and learning how to record myself in my room.
I don’t know what made me start making music; it was natural. I always enjoyed listening to music, so I wanted to know how to make it, and that’s how it all began.
F3D—What was your inspiration to create your latest EP Earth. Home. Destroyed.? Do you have a message through it?
DK—What inspired me while writing it is today’s world. The way we over-consume, the way our system is destroying the planet. Being a science-fiction enthusiast helped me to visualize the universe of that EP. The message I want to say through Earth. Home. Destroyed. is that humanity is not the most important thing on planet Earth, and that we will all disappear if we don’t change our lifestyles and start respecting nature.
F3D—What step of song-making process do you prefer?
DK—It depends of the song. I love the part where all the song is already written and I can start building the song’s atmosphere, taking off what I think is too much, choosing the sounds I want to use. But I also love the feeling where you sit in front of a blank page and everything is still possible. That moment of pure creation. I couldn’t just be a producer, or a songwriter, or a singer, because I love to be all of that at the same time.
F3D—What artists are you listening to at the moment?
DK—While I’m writing this, I’m listening to the album Bitches Brew by Miles Davis. I’ve lately been listening to FKA twigs, Ryoji Ikeda, Beach House, Philip Glass and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. I also love that new song by the post-rock band This Will Destroy You called Dustism.
F3D—With which musical artists would you love to collaborate in the future?
DK—I’d love to work with FKA twigs who I think is mind-blowing. I’d also love to collaborate with electronic music artists Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda. And the composers Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran, Ólafur Arnalds, Brian Eno and James Blake. I’ve also sent a song to Chino Moreno from Deftones – since I’m a huge fan of them I hope we’ll have the chance to collaborate in the future.
F3D—What kind of stories do you enjoy watching in movies?
DK—When I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time, it was a incredible experience, never has a movie made me feel that way. I love Gregg Araki’s films because he always creates crazy situations and characters, and Wes Anderson because everything he does looks so perfect. I don’t like a movie because of its story, it’s more about its atmosphere, music, art direction, the feeling it leaves me with.
F3D—Have you already been inspired by a movie to write a song?
DK—I’ve been inspired a lot by 2001: A Space Odyssey while writing my latest EP. The way this movie was ahead of his time will always fascinate me. It is pure avant-garde; it is beautiful and timeless.
F3D—What kind of visuals are keeping your attention lately? Why?
DK—At the moment, I’m really into old-school science-fiction and fantasy artworks. These seventies progressive rock band album covers with space travels, dragons, and space-ships. The work of Roger Dean has been pretty inspiring lately. I love those kind of drawings because I feel like I’m dreaming awake. It makes me believe harder that somewhere, far from here, these extraordinary creatures and landscapes exist.
F3D—What images would you like to generate through your latest EP?
DK—The visuals I imagine for the EP would be what I like to call ‘synthetic landscape’ – the alliance of the poetry of nature and the cold perfectionism of modern technology. We are shaping Earth’s landscapes by consuming its resources, like the irrigation systems in Saudi Arabia. I also believe that in the future, we won’t really ‘build’ cities anymore, but ‘grow’ cities by shaping nature itself to create buildings made of bacteria. This would create man-made landscapes of living organisms.
F3D—What do you think of the association of visuals and music?
DK—I think that the association of sounds and images is one of the most beautiful things we can do. To write music and to create visuals are two different things, but I feel like some musicians are more sensible than others to work with visuals. It is a matter of taste, but I think that when music and visuals merge together, it creates a new experience that one could not create without the other.
F3D—Do you use new technologies in your work?
DK—No, I don’t use new technologies to create music, but I’d like to try it in the future.
F3D—What are your next projects?
DK—I’ve been playing a few shows this summer, so for the next months, I’d like to focus on writing new material. I started to write what I think could be the beginning of my first album. But there is nothing I can tell you about it for the moment.
F3D—How is your life organized with a job like yours?
DK—I think I have a sane and healthy lifestyle. But it can be destabilizing when you have to travel around to play shows in different countries. It can also be difficult to organize when inspiration will come. You can sit down and play guitar for hours and never start a good song. Sometimes an idea for a song comes at 2 a.m. when I’m falling asleep. But I think that my ability to manage my concentration and inspiration has improved with time.
F3D—Which direction would you like to take your work in the future?
DK—I hope that I will have the chance to keep writing my music and performing shows. I’d love to work on movie soundtracks too when I get older and better. Lately, I started to draw again, so why not to release an illustration book.
We never know what the future will be made of, so I’m content with being grateful for the present and with learning from the past.