By: Shayla Lee
I will be the first person to admit that I am a music addict which is great… but it can also be a bad thing. Spending hours and hours discovering new artists, creating obscene curated playlists based on the color I think best suits certain songs, watching live performances and covers of my favorite musicians on YouTube… it all sounds good in theory right? Although my music listening tendencies are necessary for me to survive, I know I over-consume music. Finding one of those “special songs” that I fall in love with and play on repeat for a month is a rare occurrence these days.
When I first heard DRÆMINGS’ track ‘Stay Up All Night (Dancing to the Knife)’ a few weeks ago, I knew it was a special one. Each time I hit the replay button I fell deeper and deeper into a winding tunnel of glittery nostalgia. I eventually stopped myself from reminiscing about moments I can’t relive and decided to listen to the band’s other music.
I am happy to share that not only is ‘Stay Up All Night (Dancing to the Knife)’ special, all of DRÆMINGS’ music is special. The band has a unique ability to transport me to a different world with each song. Delicately weaving synths and ethereal vocals with punchier instruments, the band creates a beautiful balance of airiness and grit.
Although DRÆMINGS is now a band of four, it initially began as a creative solo project by now lead vocalist and guitarist Kimi Recor. I had the chance to chat with Kimi about her journey as a musician, the scariness of growing up, and her experiences as a female musician. Aside from being a nostalgia addict like me, Kimi was full of beautiful words and advice!
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
Kimi Recor: When I was 17, I moved to San Francisco to join a band. Up until that point I thought I would be a poet, but I realized that by setting my words to music, they could become much more powerful. Since then, I’ve become more immersed in the world of music, picking up instruments, learning how to produce and always trying to make myself better.
Outside of my obsession with music, synths, drums machines and Fender guitars, I also LOVE cats, trying to live a plastic-free life (as much as possible at least) and finding magic in the world.
DRÆMINGS has evolved from a solo project into a full band. Can you tell us about this journey?
I started Draemings during a time when I was going through some MAJOR life changes. A long-term relationship had just ended, my old band Black Flamingo had gone on a, what seemed like, permanent hiatus, and I was essentially homeless, living on friends couches. I wrote and produced the first EP as a way to process the trauma of being “free” from all these things that had defined me for such a long time- my relationship, my band, my possessions. It was such a labour of love, and really helped me cope with my situation.
As the project progressed, I realized that I missed the dynamic of being in a band + so the solo project grew into what is now Draemings the band, which is essentially Chris Vick, Thorson, and me. We write and produce all our own music in Thorson’s studio. It’s super fun and I feel really like to get to spend time with my best friends making music.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Dreamy, ethereal, dark goth pop. Someone once described it as Siouxsie Sioux fronting Depeche Mode, and I’m TOTALLY ok with that comparison.
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Who are some of the band’s musical influences?
We love so many different bands and musicians. Fever Ray, NIN, Depeche Mode, The Knife, The Cure, HTRK, Siouxsie Sioux, Enya, Ace of Base, Grace Jones, The Black Madonna… the list could actually go on forever.
But in terms of writing our music, we get super inspired by actual sounds or moments when we’re jamming. The three of us have a really interesting, special energy- I’m sure lots of bands feel this way – and when we get together all of our influences merge to create something completely different.
I’m in love with your song ‘Stay Up All Night (Dancing to the Knife).’ You absolutely nailed how it feels to be nostalgic. Was it difficult to capture this feeling and how did you know when you had it right?
Thank you so much. I am a nostalgia addict. I think the older you become, the more chaotic and heavy the world seems. I don’t think this is just a symptom of our generation, I think almost every generation goes through this. We just feel it more because it’s amplified via technology. Nostalgia lets you escape into your memories, and I wanted this song to feel like an escape.
I wanted to capture how it felt to be young and free and on the verge of “adulthood”- which I basically think is just popping the bubble and being affected by what’s happening around you. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, it was much easier to just coast through the world in a carefree manner, but the minute I started looking outside of that privilege and seeing the dark corners of the world, my perspective changed, and I could never really get back to feeling full carefree. I guess this song is about that. Knowing that you’re about to turn the corner into something that is going to change your entire life- and processing that feeling.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women facing challenges in their own lives?
I think if you’re a woman in this industry, and haven’t faced gender-specific challenges, you should consider yourself very lucky. I have, and these challenges- they have broken me, and rebuilt me. They created in me a severe desire to be better and create a community where women felt empowered.
A couple of friends and I started a collective called PLAG (Play Like A Girl). We throw shows + workshops empowering women and non-binary people.
The LA music scene right now is being run by women, and I feel that some of the most exciting, interesting music is being made by women. The world is changing, and waking up. I feel lucky to be making music during this time, and sharing the stage with so many amazing, talented women. I hope that in my lifetime there can be equality in the way men, women and non-identifying people are treated. How rad would it be if music could just be non-gendered in a sense, and just be music? That’s the ultimate goal.
How rad would it be if music could just be non-gendered in a sense, and just be music?
If you’re facing challenges, reach out to someone. You’re not in this alone, and you don’t have to move through it alone.
Don’t let a bad experience stop you from making art. No matter what, the one thing you always have is your art- in whatever form that is.
What can we expect from DRÆMINGS this year? We can’t wait to hear your new music!
We’re releasing LOTS of new music, trying to plan a tour to Europe and the US. Just trying to keep things interesting and fun!
What songs are currently listening to?
We’re currently in heavy writing mode, so I actually have been trying to listen to as little music as possible- because I don’t want to absorb something and think it’s mine. That being said, here are some of my favorite tracks from friends in bands. (and the last 10 track I played on my Spotify haha).
- Smoke Season – The Sweetest Thing
- SLUGS – Moon Meets Mountain
- Fever Ray – Mama’s Hand
- Vowws- Wild Wind
- Sudan Archives- Sink
- Iress – Breather
- Love/Drugs – Strange Familia
- Come Correct – Blimes/ Gifted Gab
- Death Valley Girls – Glow in the Dark
- Kitten – Pink Champagne
Writing this track list actually made me so happy, because all these people are my friends, and they make AMAZING music. I feel so honored to call them my peers. [ end emotional corny outro here 🙂 ].
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Some advice I wish someone gave me:
It’s never too late to learn anything. You can start over whenever. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Being cool is SUPER overrated.
I want to thank Kimi for doing this interview and for sharing her inspiring words! You can join me in anticipating the band’s new music by following their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All of DRÆMINGS’ music can be found below!