Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Dream In Transit – Interview with Steven Heath

“People kept Saying David Lynch, David Lynch, David Lynch but I’ve never seen his films,” says I Dream In Transit’s Steven Heath when queried about whether the band’s nightmarish compositions would make for killer movie soundtrack material. “Something pretty strange, a little bit dark, I think. When I hear Sigur Rós I think of icebergs for some reason. What I see in my head is like a 1940s movie with the sound turned down, and that doesn’t make for a very entertaining hour and a half.”

For the moment Heath’s sights are set on this weekend’s Paranoia Pop mini-festival he’s organising at the Workers Club. I Deam In Transit’s insomniac dreamscapes will be joined by Cuba Is Japan’s high-seas adventures, A Dead Forest Index’s discordant brooding and a bunch of other, equally boundary-pushing, outfits for what is shaped to be an aural extravaganza for those bold enough to experience it. “The idea behind the event, and even calling it an event and not just a gig,” Heath continues, “is that all of these bands do express things differently with their stories and experimenting with sound. Hopefully it will be a listening event where people can come along and stand in the dark and have things happen around them.”

A recent relocation to Melbourne from Sydney has opened the door for Heath to get involved with more events like Paranoia Pop. He explains that while he thinks the quality of music in Sydney is equivalent to anything that’s happening here, the numbers of gig-goers pale in comparison. “We fit in to the music scene here a lot better,” he says. “I don’t think I could have put this kind of event together in Sydney. There’s a lot of interesting projects up there but there’s just not the audience for it. There’ll be a lot of fascinating things up there but Sydney people just don’t go and see them for a lot of reasons. It’s just not as welcoming as here. In Sydney people tend to prepare for a Friday or Saturday night out but when they go out they don’t really seem to be enjoying themselves. Here it’s about going out as opposed to the preparation.”

Interestingly, similar thematic sentiments run through I Dream In Transit’s music. As their name suggests, their tunes somehow revolve around a disorienting core of the airport lounges and restless wakefulness we experience during travel. “We came up with the name at the airport in response to the idea that it’s a very strange thing to do to be a person who’s constantly in transit,” he continues. “I guess the idea of air travel and way we live now is kind of strange, a weird form of psychedelia. So the idea of jetlag we tried to convert into a sound.”

The results are strikingly accurate given the existentiality of the subject matter. There is a familiarity in the mood of the music they create that floods with recurrent memories of the forgotten ‘in-between periods’ of our journeys. It’s a universally appealing concept, and one that will make for a unique live experience. “It’s all we knew in a way,” Heath continues. “A lot of the psychedelic music being made I enjoy but the lyrics and the concepts don’t really mean anything to us. A lot of it was centred around the Vietnam War and themes of the ‘60s, even with bands like The Black Angels, bands making music now. What we did know was airports and travelling and industrial areas and shopping malls – anonymous empty spaces and so we just tried to convert that into a sound. It’s not really about overseas; it’s more about the process of getting there and the in-between periods of life. It’s a weird kind of grey area of existence that nobody seems to notice when they’re out of it. We tried to remember it for some reason.”

Samson McDougall

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