Neil Dowd sat down with CJ and Rhys, one half of the Welsh, posthardcore band that are taking the alternative rock scene by storm, to discuss Dream State’s leap to the Main Stage, self-care in relation to mental health, and flying shoes.
So we’re here at 2000 Trees where you guys played the Main Stage earlier today, how are you feeling about your set?
Rhys: Yeah, it felt really good!
CJ: Yeah, it was great.
This is your second time at the festival, having played the Axiom Stage in 2018. Would you say there’s any major differences between playing the two stages?
CJ: Well we played our set right this time, so there’s that difference [laughs]. Um, the main stage is definitely different! With the smaller tents I can feel closer to the crowd. Whereas with the Main Stage I’m nearly killing myself trying to jump down to them!
Can I ask what happened in 2018?
CJ: Well, I did bring it up. My bad [laughs]. Yeah, just technical issues. Everything went diabolically wrong.
Rhys: The second half of the set was alright. It was just during the first half we were like “Oh my god, what’s going on? Who’s singing what?”
CJ: But no, people were really kind about it.
Your latest single ‘Primrose’ premiered on the Radio 1 Indie Show earlier this week, can we talk a bit about what’s happening in the track lyrically?
CJ: Yeah definitely. Basically, I’ve been so honest with myself recently. I have an addictive personality. Most of us do. It comes out in various forms. I find that life for me is about finding yourself in these recurring cycles and the only way to grow as a person, spiritually is to learn to conquer your ego. So that song was just a depiction of a cry for help. It brings me back to a time not that long ago where I found myself stuck. You know, you go from one thing to another and you think “ah, I’ve gotten better from that”. But you’re lying to yourself and then you’re there again. I’ve been learning over the last couple of weeks that it’s about consistency with it. I had forgotten what it was like to enjoy things sober and that’s been really nice.
It’s definitely a great message to give to your fans, to seek that stability and support when dealing with mental health.
CJ: Yeah, it’s definitely helpful to find your own self awareness in regards to your patterns. You’ve got to learn to say no. But you’ve gotta want that change. It’ll happen naturally, you can’t force it.
Do you have any tips regarding selfcare that you’d say helped you personally?
Rhys: One thing that I do is I’ll try and break my day down into the smallest chunks possible. So for instance if you’re lying in bed, the first thing could be ‘sit up’. Then all you’ve gotta do is sit up. Or even before that, a step smaller is turn your phone screen off, you know? You can get very stuck inside your own little cage. Sometimes I think breaking it down into the most minute parts helps you conquer it, little by little.
I completely agree. I think a good one I’ve found is making your bed. Because you’ve then done something productive and are more likely to be in the mindset to keep being productive.
CJ; Yeah, 100%! Open the windows.
Rhys: That’s one thing. If you can’t sleep, tidy your room. I also try to put my phone outside of my room as well. Sometimes I can just find that I’m working or watching videos or getting stressed out, if my phone is in my room. If I can clear my room, I can wake up feeling a lot better.
So you’ve been quite openly working on your debut album, how far into the process are you guys with that?
CJ: It’s ready to go!
Have you guys got a release date in mind?
CJ: Not to share just yet!
Rhys: There’s still a fair bit to do before then, but we know it’s soon.
Along with releasing Primrose, you also announced your headline UK tour for the end of the year. You guys must be really excited about that!
Rhys: Yeah, some of the venues we’re playing are really big! We’re anxious to see how it goes.
CJ: But, the tickets went on sale today and it’s doing really well already.
Rhys: Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of interest, which is really awesome.
CJ: Very scary!
Rhys: Yeah, it’s scary whenever you announce a tour. Anything that’s a step up from what you’re doing before is always.
Do you guys have any ideas for the support acts?
Rhys: Yeah we do. So for our headline tour, me and one of our managers went and tried to find as many artists in as many places as possible to try and find bands we really liked and that were the perfect fit. I think it makes a huge difference when there’s that curated feel because we want anyone that does come to see us, to be coming for all of the bands. It is something that emcompasses everyone. I think if you’re too self-centred and you just leave it to the promoter, I mean sometimes it can go well, don’t get me wrong. But I think the more TLC we as a band put into it, the more that people are getting their money’s worth. So looking ahead to this next tour, there’s been no chats so far, because we’ve been so damn busy [laughs].
CJ: There’s been like no room to breathe. We thought when we finished the album, we’d be like “ah it’s over, we can have a break”. But no, now we have the album campaign to start! [laughs]. Maybe next year.
I can imagine it’s a hectic time! Will you guys be playing any more festivals?
Rhys: Yeah, we have Reading and Leeds coming up next! We’re playing The Pit Stage! Thank you to Daniel P. Carter for squeezing us in on that one [chuckles].
Obviously, we don’t wanna delve too deep into this right now, but do you have any more singles lined up for the album any time soon?
CJ: Yeah, we’ve some lined up. I’m stoked about them. They’re all unique to themselves.
Would you say you’ve experimented with this new record then?
CJ: Yeah, we’ve put no limits or boundaries on Dream State. We just and go with the flow.
Finally, do you guys have any funny tour anecdotes?
Rhys: Okay, I’ve got a good one. We were playing a show the other day. We were soundchecking for it was during the stop time of our song New Waves. I was looking at our drummer and I was like “wouldn’t it be funny if I just flick my shoe during the pause?”. So I go to do it and I just watched my shoe sail across the room, way further than I intended it to. After we were playing, there was this burlesque act playing and one of the girls in the act was watching us, because she was a big fan of the band. Turns out my shoe was sailing towards her and thankfully, she saw it coming and moved out of the way just in time!
CJ: As much as I love her, it would’ve been way funnier if it had hit her!
Rhys: It would’ve been a very awkward conversation for us to have afterwards.
You can catch the band on their biggest headline tour to date, at the dates below:
- Oct 27th – Glasgow Cathouse
- Oct 28th – Manchester Club Academy
- Oct 29th – Birmingham Asylum
- Oct 30th – Bournemouth Old Fire Station
- Nov 1st – Swansea Sin City
- Nov 2nd – London ULU