Christopher Hall: A Rock And Roll Fables Conversation

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“I didn’t really have a vision for The Dreaming when we first started, just an urgent need to continue making music. If you listen to the progression of albums you will hear how the different members affected the sound dramatically. Jinxx from Black Veil Brides defined the sound of the 1st album (Etched In Blood) with his blazing fast guitar style. Carlton (Bost) took over on Puppet with his modern programming and heavy guitar and Walter (Flakus) brought back the sound he and I became known for on Rise Again.”

That, my friends, is Mr. Christopher Hall giving a brief history of The Dreaming leading up to the release of Rise Again. Due on February 10th through Metropolis Records, The Dreaming’s third album is everything fans have been hoping and waiting for over these past four years. Speaking on the four year gap between albums, The Dreaming’s resident mouthpiece continues:

“Nine of the ten songs already existed in my head so I thought it would be a pretty fast process but because of the lineup changes I simply didn’t have anyone in the band that could write up to the level I was accustomed to. I tend to write melodies and chord structures to my songs but I don’t write guitar riffs or all the detail parts. I leave that to better players than myself but I looked around me and realized that there was no one capable or willing to contribute. So I reached out to Carlton and asked him to come back and write with me. He graciously accepted and we set to work right away. It really wasn’t until I saw Walter for the first time in a decade at my father’s funeral that the writing team really came together. After that it was very exciting. I woke up each morning excited to see what those two had come up with over night. Music became fun again.”

“A lot of this album is dealing with the anger of having The Dreaming nearly dismantled by our previous label/manager. At the end of that record cycle I looked around me and didn’t recognize anyone but Johnny (Haro, drums). This band that we had spent 10 years building was suddenly a bunch of strangers and we had no record deal and things were looking pretty dark so many of the songs are about regaining control of my life and not giving up and showing those who would try and keep you down that you will never give up.”

Never giving up means hitting the road once again with a recently announced slew of West Coast dates with more coming which will showcase much of Rise Again live:

“We are currently learning 8 of the 10 songs to play live. I really like ‘Blink Of An Eye’. It’s in 6/8 which is an odd meter for us and it has a pretty cool message. ‘Still Believe’ is a cool emotional song with a bass line that gives a nod to our roots and ‘Rise Again’ is an angry anthem that should be fun to play.”

As for the East Coast, there’s hope for us yet:

“We have missed Boston for too long. We are planning a Midwest tour and then a separate East Coast tour. We need to break them up in order to accommodate Carlton’s touring schedule with Orgy but we hope to hit as much of the US as possible.”

Getting back to Rise Again, Hall reveals what being on an industrial heavy label like Metropolis Records and working with Rhys Fulber on the new album meant to the overall sound and vision of The Dreaming:

“Our 2nd album was intended to be much more ‘industrial’ but our record label wanted us to sound more rock radio so they had the mixer tone down the synth tracks. It was a flashback to the self titled album where the same exact thing happened so I made myself a promise on this album that we wouldn’t let anyone change our sound. It was amazing working with Rhys. He has such a great ear and musical sense. So many mixers are just engineer types with no real understanding of music beyond the faders. Rhys is such an accomplished composer and musician that I fully trusted his ideas and opinions. It was scary to trust anyone outside the band but in the end he made Rise Again a better album.”

But the biggest reason for the return of the “Stabbing Westward sound” is the addition of former SW bandmate Walter Flakus to the ranks of The Dreaming:

“Walter and I reunited last summer and he was deeply involved in the writing and recording. He took several songs I had in my head and turned them into the amazing tracks on the album. ‘Alone’ is almost 100% Walter as is ‘Afraid’ and ‘Rise Again’. He and Carlton worked together on several tracks as well bringing the best of both their styles together. After 10 years of trying to show the world I could do this on my own I’ve come to realize that I am better with Walter.”

And Flakus isn’t the only new member as The Dreaming has recently announced the addition of a permanent bassist:

“So far this is the perfect lineup. Franccesca (De Struct) is a really great bassist. She has such an ear for detail and precision in her playing and when you are playing music with tons of synth basses and layers the bassist and guitarist need to be playing exactly the right part or it sounds muddy. She also brings a great energy to the band with her enthusiasm. She has started rebuilding our webpage and helping with the Facebook page and contributing in every way she can. That is awesome. And she is rather pleasant to watch play or so I have heard. My eyes are usually closed on stage.”

While Rise Again has yet to hit retailers, the follow up is already in its planning stages:

“Walter, Carlton and I are currently working on getting the new songs (and some older Dreaming songs) worked up live for the new set but as soon as that settles down we will get back to writing so that the next release doesn’t take so long. We already have a handful of songs that we’ve started but just didn’t have room for on Rise Again. I really look forward to the next album because this time I don’t have a head full of songs already written. I can just let Walter and Carlton create and then add my vocals to whatever they come up with [which] will open up more musical possibilities for them which is exciting for me!”

For our review of Rise Again, head over here, and for our talk with Rhys Fulber, you can go here. Rise Again is out on February 10th through Metropolis Records. For more on The Dreaming head here and to get Rise Again, head here.

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