Pale Dream Feature | Music | Salt Lake City Weekly

Pale Dream Feature 

Pale Dream puts their spin on new wave

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  • Riley Ownby

The bands we love have a way of influencing us, even if we're not totally conscious of it—especially for those who create music themselves. They might not realize a chord progression they think of comes from a favorite song of theirs, or a melody that's been used in the past. For Pale Dream, they didn't seek out specifically to make new wave-inspired music, but because the deep influence of the genre was so prevalent, that's what ended up coming out. And that's not a bad thing.

The SLC group didn't always call the city home; they migrated from St. George after high school, where founding members Trey Hoskins and Mari Eriksen started jamming together and knew they had something special. With members Michael Hockman, Bray Buell and Nate Harris, Pale Dream was complete.

Coming to Salt Lake just made sense for the group. With little-to-no music scene down south, they knew they'd be able to make a bigger impact and have more opportunities. "It used to be a little bit better, but since we've graduated high school and stuff, venues have closed down, not as many bands down here. So we decided to move to Salt Lake, because there's just a really great music scene up here," Ericksen said.

Pale Dream began releasing singles in 2020, leading up to their EP Velvet in 2021. The band really came together for their first full album, Curse. The intriguing and addicting collection of songs was a group effort. While Hoskins was at the helm for a lot of writing on the album, his bandmates helped bring it over the finish line.

"We began writing songs with the intent of putting out an album," he said. "As I started writing more and more, it turned into this self-portrait, and then it turned into this collaborative self-portrait. It was kind of cool, and unique from our previous releases in that way, and it was still very much a collaborative effort, but just a little bit more personal, I felt like."

Upon pressing play on Cursed, listeners are greeted with an ethereal and surreal-sounding introduction, featuring soft keys in the background while voices fade in and out. It sounds like falling into a dream, and as it fades, then as the first official track begins, you're awakened by delicate reverb strings and a kicking drumbeat. Hoskins' soft vocals come in with an echoey effect, almost lulling you back into this dreamlike state. Pale Dream is heavily inspired by the new wave sounds of the '80s, as well as indie rock from the same and following decade. Their music transports to these sounds of yesteryear, but still sounds fresh enough that you feel like you're embarking on a new experience.

Hoskins mentioned he started to get into this new wave and indie rock mode after high school. Bands like The Smiths, New Order and Joy Division became a source of inspiration for the young musician. "I liked it because it kind of crossed the border between punk rock and indie, and it was the first kind of indie rock that there was," he said.

"I feel like nowadays, there's a lot of bands that have that kind of classic indie rock sound, but then I was like, 'If you could use that and make it a little bit more new wave and punk-like but without screaming in the mic, and just kind of having fun with dreamy vocals, but harder guitar and guitar solos and old blues stuff,' I just felt like it was a cool mix," he said. These sounds naturally came out of the band, according to Hoskins. They never purposely set out to write a song that sounded similar to something from The Cure; their music just progressed in that direction.

Before Cursed was released in November 2022, Pale Dream delivered the single of the same name to give listeners a taste of what to expect from the collection. "I feel like 'Curse' is kind of the quintessential track of the album, and brings about the same emotions that the rest of the album does as well," Hoskins said. "If the album means anything, it's probably within 'Curse' that you'll find it."

The group set out to release this song as a single and dub the album with the same name, though. "I feel like I always figure out more about my songs or our songs after they're done," Hoskins shared. "I feel like when I'm writing and recording, there's not a lot of forethought that goes into it. It's almost like after they're complete, I'm like, 'Oh. This is what it means.'" Once "Curse" was written, they knew it was special, and wanted the rest of the album to have a similar feel.

Pale Dream took a bit of a break over the holidays, but they're ready to hit the ground running for the rest of the year. They want to continue writing new material while pushing out their current catalog to new listeners. Speaking of which, Pale Dream gave us a perfect Valentine's Day gift with their first new single of the year, "Heartbreak on Film," which is streaming everywhere now.

The band hopes to play some kick-ass shows this year, so be sure to follow them on Instagram @pale.dream.ut for updates, as well as their website for scheduled events.

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About The Author

Emilee Atkinson

Emilee Atkinson

Ogden native Emilee Atkinson has spent her life obsessing over music and enjoying writing. Eventually, she decided to combine the two. She’s the current music editor of City Weekly.

More by Emilee Atkinson

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