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Members: Clark Crawford, Simon O'Leary & Shawn Nunnery

Years: 1991-1993

Genre: Dream Pop, Synthpop


Dreamstate was the first band I was in that focused on writing original material and was basically where I cut my songwriting and programming teeth.


I first met Simon O’Leary when I was a sophomore in high school. He was friends with the guitarist in our high school cover band, Mother Neff, and he stepped in to fill the void left when our singer took an unexpected leave of absence just days before the school talent show. He ended up replacing our original singer long-term but before long Mother Neff fell apart and we went our separate ways.


Simon formed an industrial/electronic band called Donderfliegen with a guy named Wally Shaw. When Simon played me some of their demos in October 1990, I was pretty impressed. Soon after that, he asked me if I wanted to join the band in the capacity of bassist/guitarist. I agreed. Once I was on board, Simon said that it would be better if we formed our own band without Wally. There was only one problem with that idea... Wally owned the band’s two keyboards and was the one who had written and sequenced all of the demos. Neither Simon nor I knew the first thing about sampling, synthesis, or sequencing.


Simon convinced his grandmother to bankroll a ton of equipment to get us set up with everything we would need to be a self-sufficient band. The list included an Ensoniq VFX/SD synthesizer and an Ensoniq EPS16+ sampler.


Next, he convinced Wally to give us the sequences for a couple of the demos he had written. I wrote bass lines to go along with the sequences and with that we had our first songs.


We enlisted to talents of Simon’s friend, Shawn Nunnery, to essentially press play on the sequencer for us and fire off vocal samples. Shawn had a voracious appetite for learning new things and spent several weeks reading the manuals for all of the new equipment. He became the band’s tech expert.


For the majority of 1991, I played a supporting role in the band, focusing on writing bass and guitar parts that went along with Simon’s sequences. By the summer of  1992, I was increasingly frustrated with the direction our music was going and began to take a more central role in the song writing and sequencing.


After I graduated high school, the three of us moved into an apartment near UT and focused on the band full time. It was during this period that I began to really focus on synthesis, sampling, and sequencing. By the time 1993 rolled around, I was writing a majority of the band’s material. Over time, Simon’s juvenile lyrics and inability to consistently sing on pitch became difficult for me to handle. This coupled with his increasingly drunken and violent behavior led to my decision to leave the band. I moved out and enrolled in college.


A couple of weeks later, 100 copies of our demo tape, Figures in the Sun, arrived from the manufacturer. Within months, Dreamstate imploded and Shawn and Simon parted ways.

The Complete Works (1991-1993)

This album was compiled in 1996 primarily for the purpose of digitally archiving all of the recordings. The material was transferred from the master cassettes into a PC and cleaned up and trimmed in Sound Forge.

The title is a bit of a misnomer as there are several songs that did not make it onto the disc. When I left the band I foolishly did not collect all of the cassette masters and when I later tried to gain access to them Simon refused. That said, all of our main works are represented on this disc.

We recorded all of the songs live to a 2-track cassette recorder in our living room. It blows me away when I think about how much time it took to get a recording that we were all happy with. We would record a take, listen back to it, make subtle mix adjustments and then do it all over again. There was no punching in. No overdubs. One missed note in the final bars of the song and it was stop and start over. Everything in the band was a complete democracy so if one person had an issue with the slightest element of a take it was tossed and we recorded another version. It was not uncommon for the final selection to be take #37 or take #41.


"Tunnel Vision" and "13th Dream" were essentially Donderfliegen tracks with me playing bass over them. "Tunnel Vision" was Simon at his lyrical worst. I cringed when we played this song back then and I cringe when I hear it today.


"Prodigy" was one of Simon’s early tracks and is typical of the dreamy and hazy stuff he was producing at the time.

"Beauty in the Eyes" was my first attempt at writing the music for a song and sequencing the parts. It was written for Mandy soon after we started dating.

Another one of Simon’s songs, "Christening," had great potential but unfortunately, he could never really reign the vocal in. We must have recorded this track 100 times.

Simon and I co-wrote "Sunshine," "Dream One," and "Anthem." To this day, I still like "Sunshine" and "Dream One" quite a bit. Musically, I really liked "Anthem" but its “white-boy” rap and lyrical content was about as cliché and crap as could possibly be. Not since Iron Maiden’s "Run To The Hills" has a song about Native American genocide sounded so dumb.

"Landrea" was actually one of the first songs we wrote together but it went through several major reworks before we actually recorded it in December 1992. This track was the first time I experimented with multiple bass counterpoint, a technique I still use today. Without the ability to multitrack, I sampled one bass line, looped it and then played the other one live.

"Holding Secrets," "In This Dungeon," "Angel Dust," and "Title Track" were all songs that musically, I wrote on my own as I was at a point where I was actively avoiding collaboration with Simon as much as possible. It is a bit of a shame as I think he did a better job vocally on these tracks than pretty much anything else we ever recorded. Both "In This Dungeon" and "Title Track" feature the Kramer acoustic bass Mandy bought me. It was the same model as the one Simon Gallup played when The Cure did MTV Unplugged. "Title Track" was the last song we recorded together and I have always been a bit haunted by the prophetic Marilyn Monroe sample that Shawn chose to play in the bridge section of the song.

Miscellaneous Debris
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