An Interview with Daniel Haskin of Machines of Love and War and The Dreaming
So . . . now with the release of your third CD, Shadow Days, how does this reflect on the previous releases?
Well . . . this is certainly a progression. I think of the recordings as reflections of what we were going through at different parts of the bands existence. This latest one seems to reflect our growth as songwriters.
How would you compare this one with the others?
I do love each of our CDs, no matter what was going on at the time. When I listen I can be reminded of what we were doing in the studio at the time. Our little artistic wars, etc. Hey, all bands have them. :) Shadow Days is clearly a growth spurt for us artistically and the addition of Leah greatly enhances our already strong vocal presence.
Do you see this as a turning point for the band?
A bit . . . the band is a never-ending circle with infinite turning points, as opposed to a square shaped band.
How would you describe your new music?
Powerful and delicate. I know those are odd pairings but definately a mixture of dynamics. Ray has penned a few harder edged numbers this time around. He's the power guy in the band. Mr. percussive. It's in the way he plays. I tend to be the ballad and ambient guy. Though my writing seems to have changed a bit due to the acquisition of a new twelve string guitar. I have always been sort of a flat picker and the twelve really opens me up creatively. I don't think Perfect Skin would have come out the way it did without that twelve string.
I have always been drawn to film soundtracks and I think that definitely influences my thinking when it comes to writing for the band. Creating new sound textures is a big thing when planning out a song. It's as important to me as melody and line.
What is your band's method of writing?
Getting together, when we can, and introducing new ideas and seeing where they may take us. When I introduce a song it usually triggers ideas from band members and it all seems to gell from there.
How do you plan out recording for an album?
The usually way. We rehearse material, run through the songs, work them out at shows, and then decide what fits and what might be put on the back burner for other projects.
How did the Dreaming actually come into existence?
I heard it was Ray's ego. Kidding. ;) Actually it was Ray and Anne who put this little thing together from the ashes of their last band, Cloudwall. I have always written songs with Ray here and there, since high school, and I thought this was the time to get involved within a band structure. The ideas were great and the potential was there to do something memorable.
What has been your highlight of being in the band?
Opening for my childhood favs, the Strawbs, has to be at, or near, the top. Signing with Witchwood Records is another, and I am sure another one is around the corner. Perhaps when someone connects with a song is another. Sometimes it's the small things that do it for me.
What do you feel you give to the world of music?
Well . . . actually I think it's all been done before. All I can do is lay it out and hopefully people can connect and get some enjoyment out of what we do.
The new CD is very eclectic. Do you have a favorite track?
Piglet and the Black Fox and Love is a Grieving Thing. I love the transition between the two.
Do you feel your albums have got better as you have progressed?
Yes. They better have! :)
What styles of music do you listen to?
Hmmmm . . . lately I have been listening to film soundtracks, such as composer Lisa Gerrard's work for that great film Whale Rider. That is a nice little disk. Then there are the days I crack open Tony Iommi's Solo CD, and so on. I am interested in quite a few genres. Interestingly enough I am drawn to the music of David Lynch. I also like ambient and techno. Go figure.
Who are your heroes and whom do you admire?
I can list a few people as creative influences: David Lynch, David Cousins, William Blake, J. W. Waterhouse, Patti Smith, Brian Eno, Lisa Gerrard, Steve Hackett, Nancy Wilson, and so on. I have been reading some of the writings of Michael Gira lately. Gira was the writer, and mind, behind the NYC band Swans. Dark, dark, stuff.
The Dreaming is a band with two strong singers. Does this influence the way the songs are written or arranged?
For me I need to remember I am writing with a woman in mind and as a lyricist I think it is challenging to write from a woman's point of view. Ann is such a brilliant interpreter, Leah also. I really feel blessed to have two great singers to work with. Lately, I have collaborated with Leah on a few pieces that I really like since they are a little bit different. Leah has brought a new set of ideas into the band which fits us quite nicely.
I hear the project was recorded in Pro-Tools, a digital resource. Do you think technology has affected your music in any way?
Yes . . . . in the way we record. With Pro-Tools you can cut and paste, move things around, and create interesting layers, and textures, more easily, and faster, than traditional tape recording. I love working in the studio and Pro Tools makes ideas come into fruition faster.
What direction will the music take you?
Usually sideways and a little ways over the hill.
What do you think about music file sharing?
I may be talking a different stance here but I tend to like the sharing of music. Honest sharing, but not reselling. If people like the work please share away.