This interview with John Snead - drummer of Dreamscapes of the Perverse - was done face to face by Anne Lamm McDuffy on January 11th, 2006.

Here's a band you may not have heard - Raleigh, North Carolina symphonic black metal gods, Dreamscapes of the Perverse. You will have the chance to hear them soon however, with the release of their debut album Gignesthai, which will be released by Tribunal Records on April 25th, 2006. John Snead answers Anne Lamm McDuffys questions at his house on January 11th, 2006.

For the people who aren't familiar with your band could you give us a description of what you sound like, and who your influences are as well as who you're compared to?
We are – its hard to describe – we're called symphonic, we've been compared to black metal, things of that nature. A lot of bands we are compared to are Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, things like that. We take it and build off of what they do. Its not really a total similarity. We take aspects from that genre, we write really long songs and there's a lot of symphonic edge to what we do.

Do the comparisons ever annoy the fuck out of you, do you get them a lot?
No, its easier to use those bands as our comparisons because they're the big hitters on the block. It's not necessarily an annoyance when someone says “You're a Cradle rip off” or “You're a Dimmu rip off”, its more of an ignorance because if you listen to the two they do not sound the same. We do derive a lot of what we do from those guys and we are going to be compared to them because we are similar in the writing aspects and the structures of our songs.

I don't know who tells you you sound like Cradle of Filth. You don't sound like them to me. I definitely hear the Dimmu Borgir though. In fact, I said that myself, that you sound like them. I don't mean that as an insult. I like that band and I like that style of music.
Yeah, well, Dimmu is definitely a big influence for me because I like their songwriting from Stormblast on, and I like what they've done since they've had Nick Barker in the band. They popularized the realm of what we were doing – or what we wanted to do anyway. It was nothing we set out to sound like, we just ended up sounding like some of these bands that are out there and those are just the biggest two comparisons. There's really not a lot to choose from when you get out into the big, long symphonic songs mixed with heavy guitars, heavy vocals, clean vocals mixed in and we get lumped with those bands. If we do, oh well, maybe it will be good press for us.

Thats true, I mean, just look at how popular those bands are. It shows the there is definitely a market for this style of music.
Exactly, and I'd like to get our little share of the market, y'know? Hopefully, when the album comes out people will see those comparisons but will see the differences as well and will say “I like this, it's taken it in a slightly different direction”.

When you started out did you say “We want to play music like those bands” or did you just eventually move into that direction?
Well, Bob [Robert “Bob” Daugherty - Guitar, Vocals] and I initially started jamming together well before Dreamscapes was formed and he had a couple of ideas for songs that he had come up with and we started working on them. We decided that we wanted a keyboard aspect to it as well, Bob had incorporated it in. We didn't want to be one of those bands who incorporated that on recording but weren't able to produce it live, so we began to look for a keyboard player. Once we had that we just started writing songs not necessarily looking for a particular style. I had been playing drums and percussion for years, Ron [Ron Kirk – Keyboards, Vocals] was classically taught at a younger age on keyboards and piano, so we had already had some actual studies of music from the past. That just melded together with what Bob had written, and his guitar history, and it all began to combine together and the sound evolved into a sound that might be similar to Cradle or Dimmu even though we were not trying to follow in their footsteps.

What year did you form?
We formed in 2000. We went over to Rons house, picked him up and went to a local bar. We sat down and talked about music, what we liked, what we didn't like, and if we three were in the same band what we would like to accomplish with that. It just kind of went from there. We started as a three piece and we began adding members, people we thought would fit with what we were doing.

Tell me about the line up changes. You were out of the band for a while if I'm not mistaken?
Ron, Bob and I began Dreamscapes in 2000. Nathan Ellis, who is now the vocalist for Daylight Dies, was going to be the original vocalist, but he decided to do the vocals for Wehrwolfe instead. It was a long commute for him and Wehrwolfe were much closer to him, plus thats more along the lines of the style of music he wanted to make at that point. Shortly after Nathan left, we brought in a guy to play lead guitar named Ryan Neal. Not long after Ryan joined the band I departed. I had other things going on, other obligations and I just wasn't satisfied with where the band was going to start with so I left. They brought in a new drummer, Doug Spears, and a new vocalist, Joe Dobbins, who were both from Charlotte. This was the line-up in Dreamscapes for probably a year and a half, two years.

Now that's the line-up that was on the Rise of Self EP, right?
Right, that was the line-up that was on the Rise of Self.

And that was released on Profane Records, right?

Now, what do y'all consider that, do you consider it a demo or what?
It's more or less their first demo. A lot of the songs are the ones that we wrote when I was in the band, but when Doug and Joe joined the band they took it and put their mark on it, to make it sound more like their playing. Yeah, thats considered like a demo, pretty much to put the name out there. That was released in fall of 2002. The band started playing live shows for the EPs release, and it was at that time that Adam Peterson was brought in to play bass. Around that time Ryan Neal left the band and Ryan Johnson, who is also in another local band called Blatant Disarray, was hired to take his place. In October 2003, Doug and Joe both left the band because the commute from Charlotte to Raleigh was too much for them. They weren't getting in enough practice and things like that. I was approached at that time to rejoin the band. I officially rejoined in November 2003, and by then the line-up had been solidified. It was decided that Bob and Ron would do all the live vocals, and 90 percent of the studio vocals, with everyone else contributing what, or if, they wanted.

So now that the line-up was solid, when did you start recording?
It started sometime in 2004 and carried over into 2005.

What are the 2004 demos that are posted on your website? Are those earlier recordings of the songs that are going to be on your official release?
Those are the actual recordings that are going to be on the full-length. They are pre-mixed versions of the songs, before setting up for the final mix and the master. There were so many tracks involved we needed to get a feel for how everything needed to be mixed and mastered. We were having so many requests for songs that we uploaded a few onto our official website and our MySpace website just to see what kind of reaction we would get.

We just put that up to give the fans something to listen to, and to kind of set up the release as well. Once we get the final copies ready we will probably pull those old songs down off the site and put the mastered copies up, which are 100 percent better quality. So if you want those older versions now, you better go ahead and get them because they won't be up for much longer.

So when did you start playing live?
They probably didn't start playing live until late 2002. Some of their first live shows were in late 2002. I didn't actually play live until after I rejoined.

Now how did you guys hook up with Tribunal Records? That's actually based in Greensboro [North Carolina], so did you just know them through some people?
Yeah, well I've known Matt Rudzinski, the owner of Tribunal Records, through mutual friends for a really long time. Plus he runs one of the best record stores in North Carolina, B.B.s, in Greensboro. He knows what kind of music I like and always has stuff set aside for me to listen to. I'd always send Matt copies of the bands I was in, just for him to listen to. It was probably January or February 2005 when I sent him a copy of the stuff Dreamscapes was doing. I sent it pretty much like “Here you go, check it out, this is what I'm doing now. Tell me what you think.” He said he liked it and kind of left it at that. A couple of months later I got an e-mail from him and he asked “Who's putting it out?” I said “No one, we're going to shop around, see who's interested.” He said “I want to put it out. I'd like to sign you to Tribunal.” Its been a nice little edge to have, having someone put it out that you didn't put a lot of pressure on.

I thought it was interesting that Tribunal signed you guys. You are not the style of what they usually have – killwhitneydead, they had Atreyu a few years back. Why did they decide to sign you guys?
Well, Matt had dabbled in metal before. He had Daylight Dies before they went to Relapse, he signed Widow, which is more power metal. He has a wide range of artists that he likes. He did the hardcore stuff because that's what he and his bands were into. I think he saw the potential to pull in another market with what we are doing, and maybe building a more metal side as well. The way he said it to me was “You guys have a little niche and I think its going to do something and I'd like to start bringing other bands in as well.” Hopefully we'll lead to an influx of more metal bands being on Tribunal, as the label gets bigger.

Now how wide is the distribution of the album going to be? I know Tribunal aren't Relapse big, but how far reaching will the distribution be?
Tribunal is probably like what Relapse were in '92, '93 or '94 in terms of size. All of the distribution companies will be nationwide, you'll be able to find it at major retail chains like Best Buy and all your local record shops.

What online distros will this be available through?
Lumberjack, Relapse if he's still got the Relapse distro deal, which I'm sure he does. It'll be available through Tribunals own website, it will be available through our website, and even though Lumberjack isn't worldwide, Matt has some contacts that will probably get us overseas as well.

So when will the album be released?
It should be released on April 25th, 2006. The album name is Gignesthai, which is Greek for “The Beginning”.

So who came up with the name of the band and the lyrics and all that?
The name was brought to us by Ron Kirk, something he had in a dream years ago that stuck with him. We had about five names on the table and Dreamscapes of the Perverse won out. We all thought it had a marketable edge to it so we went with that. Ron is also the one largely responsible for the lyrics. The rest of us may tweak something here or there but its mostly him.

Who designed the cover to Gignesthai, and what is that suppose to be really?
The artist is Mike Bohatch out of California. His website is www.eyesofchaos.com. He's got a lot of great work on there. He does a lot of artwork for other bands, a lot of movie posters, a lot of book covers. He did the artwork on the new Confessor cd. He's very talented. We found him on the web one day, contacted him, and he's been really great to work with.

The cover is an abstract 3-d graphics piece. We went through his site and each of us picked about ten things we liked then we weeded it down to the ones we had picked the most and out of those we decided that image suited us best.

What will happen after the cd is released? Any plans on touring?
We're gonna release the cd, have the release show, we're going to promote it as much as possible, with the combined efforts of us and Tribunal.

Now how is this gonna be promoted? Webzines..? Are you gonna be able to get ads in magazines as well?
Webzines... Well Tribunal isn't quite big enough to do a lot of magazine print issues, so we're gonna eat up a lot of that ourselves. We're probably gonna try and work a combo deal out with the record label – if you don't want to pay for a full ad, which they don't have the money for – we can get other bands on the label to go in with us and maybe under our big heading they can advertise their albums as well. I think that would be beneficial for us as well as the label as far as exposure goes. We're also planning on doing a video shoot, which will hopefully coincide with the album and that will probably be posted on the website. From there we're gonna play locally and start branching out, getting to Charlotte, Asheville, maybe Wilmington, Greensboro, Richmond, Atlanta...

You already did a show in Ohio right?
Yeah, we played a Deathtree Productions show in Cincinnati, Ohio in October and it went over really well. The show went really well and we went over really well for a lot of people who hadn't heard us. We got a lot of new fans out of that and we're looking to play bigger markets to drum things up for us. We'll see how that works out. Hopefully once we start getting the name out there we'll be able to pick up a booking agent to find a way to get on a tour somewhere. It's gonna be hard because we're not on a larger label but we'll make do with what we've got.

Are you contracted to do a certain amount of albums on Tribunal or is this a one album deal?
Basically, Tribunal signs one album deals. If we don't have any interest from anyone else after this album and we've got another albums worth of material and we're ready to record and if Tribunal was satisfied with what happened the first time around, we may do a second release. We have no problem with that. Matt's been really good to us.

This interview was originally twice as long. We talked about Johns band history, fellow North Carolina bands he and I both liked, and his history of tapetrading. I also got to listen to some of the new album. I'd like to thank John Snead for the interview.

Links of interest:

Dreamscapes Of The Perverse
Tribunal Records