Los Angeles-via-Brooklyn band DREAMERS (Nick Wold and Nelson) have shared stages with the likes of X Ambassadors, The 1975, Bleachers, Atlas Genius, Catfish and The Bottlemen, and Weezer while garnering coverage from Fader, Entertainment Weekly and Paste, among others, and performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live. In 2016, the band released their debut full-length album This Album Does Not Exist, featuring the top 10 Alternative radio hit, the electro-sprinkled pop gem “Sweet Disaster.” They just released their new single, “Robbery” and will be performing at The Complex with The Score on August 31!
We had the opportunity to chat with vocalist, Nick Wold yesterday. We talked about touring after the pandemic, songwriting, his first concert, and more! Enjoy!
Interviewed by Kevin Rolfe
UCR: Nick, how are you doing? It’s good to talk to you. So catch me up a little. How far into this tour are you?
Nick Wold: We’re kind of in the first leg I think. We’ve done like five shows out of 20. And yeah, we’re trucking because it’s our first tour back since the pandemic since the world ended.
UCR: Yeah. So how does that feel? It’s gotta be the craziest feeling to have that huge break and then be in front of people. In a way, does it feel like a new experience again or like an “old hat” kind of thing?
NW: It feels really new. It feels surreal that this used to be our life and uh it’s kind of a new world now. So it’s just kind of, you know, strange but it’s really cool and really fun. I feel like we’re a different band in a lot of ways. We’re just gonna see what happens and kind of like a forced reset.
UCR: Yeah It’s kind of weird when that happens, right? It’s like all of a sudden it’s just this abrupt end and then it comes to be this unfamiliar thing, like you said, like you kind of reset. Do you feel like you’re maybe a better performer than you were knowing what it was like not performing?
NW: I’m way better. I’ve been practicing a lot. And I feel like I’ve been writing a lot just kind of growing. We kind of got three years in a wood shed basically. So yeah, I feel way better. It feels like a kind of a brand new start. I Feel like the life of touring is always unexpected, you’re always moving and there’s always weird stuff happening that you never thought of. So in a way it’s kind of more of that just in a supercharged kind of way,
UCR: That makes sense. I know with some artists, they had all the time in the world through the pandemic, but for some reason just maybe the nature of everything, it was hard to write. I know you just released “Robbery”, I think just a couple few days ago if I’m not mistaken. But did you find in that time it was nice to kind of have that just all the time to write or or did you struggle with it at all?
NW: I thought it would be really nice. I actually thrived during the lockdown because we toured basically without a break for five years and it was kind of nice to be like, all right, we’re taking a sabbatical, this is like much needed and I got to set up my home studio for the first time. I got to like learn some other skills like coding. I’m making a video game. I was making techno operas with my girlfriend who’s an opera singer. And I got to write a ton. We have a whole era for me of new music from that period. So part of me was like, let’s do this again every few years.
UCR: It does have to be kind of nice. Because it’s always blown my mind that bands can tour and record at the same time. I get being inspired to write. I get like the experiences and just being around music, new music comes to the surface, but to have the time to record and being meticulous about it while on the road. I’ve never understood how bands have that ability and so just not having to worry about that part and just focus on touring must have been so nice.
NW: Yeah, it was interesting. It was different. I never write too well on the road either. I’ll always like have to come back and like your home for a week. I’ll just write like five songs. I’ve always done it that way. So I’m with you. I don’t know how people write on the road to be honest.
UCR: Yeah, I mean, I know you have time and the traveling of it all and the off time from being on stage, but just it still doesn’t feel like a situation that’s conducive to recording and being creative.
NW: We’re a small band. We’re like carrying equipment ourselves and we’re setting up everything, we’re driving the van cross country. So I could see maybe if you were in a cushy palatial bus and you didn’t have to do any of the work? Maybe you’d have time to write. I can see that.
UCR: That’s a good that is a good point. Some of these guys on their private jets I’m sure can find the time to write some hits.
NW: Right? Have someone set up a studio for you on the jet.
UCR: You were in a band before this. I’m curious about when people are in something that doesn’t whether it doesn’t work out or it’s just time to move on or whatever, Is there a fear going forward? I always feel like for me, I would be afraid. Okay I’m leaving this thing and now I’m going into the unknown. Do you just have the confidence to know what you bring and that you can like find success elsewhere? Or is there like a real fear? Like what if that was my only shot to make it at all? What was that like for you?
NW: I think it’s just like constant uncertainty in this whole game. I don’t know if I would call it fear but just like not knowing, You kind of just have to be like, well I’m gonna just sleep and see. Nelson and I always say like it seems like half of the battle within music is just not quitting. Because artists will get burned out. Some will have quite a lot of success but they’ll feel like it’s not enough and they’ll quit. Whereas the bands that are still crushing it are just the ones that didn’t die, you know, or didn’t stop. So I don’t know if it’s confidence or just addiction or just not having anything else that you want to do. I don’t know. The bands that are still around just for whatever reason, they just kept doing it despite failures, you know?
There were there were probably like 10 times in our career that we could have quit or that some people would have quit. When my first band broke up or when we lost our drummer, when we lost this and that, or when, you know, we had a sort of a hit, but then the next one was a dud. But forever reason, we just we just kept going in it and usually these like kind of big moments or things that seem like a failure really just like a new start, you know, and you can like sort of reset and start fresher than before.
UCR: That’s great. Have you been on a co-headlining tour before?
NW: Yeah, I think this is our first co headline like that. It’s kind of like a thing that I wasn’t really aware of too many years ago. It feels like a newish phenomenon, the idea of the co-headline. But it’s actually a really cool thing because instead of like one band that really draws tickets and then openers who don’t, it’s like, we have two, that kind of are on a similar level. Both playing a bigger spot. We can both maybe expose ourselves to each other’s audience and just kind of do it together. So it just kind of made sense for this tour. And I had written with The Score. So we just kind of jumped on it. Thought it was a good way to get back in the swing.
UCR: It seems like an awesome idea. So I’m glad you’re doing it. Do you remember the first concert you ever went to?
NW: Yeah, I have a really good one for that because I grew up in Seattle in the 90s. So there’s a lot of music. I was like radio station there, The End, has their Deck the Hall Ball, like Christmas concert. And I went into that when I was 12. And it was like Hole played and Cake and Cherry Poppin Daddies. At that time Swing, big bands were topping the charts. And the opener was this dude on acoustic guitar. There were not that many people there watching him, but I remember being really struck by it in a kind of formative way. I found out later it was Elliott Smith himself. So that’s kind of a crazy memory.
UCR: Wow! In the moment where you’re like “this guy is pretty awesome!”? Did you realize who it was? Or was it not that big of a deal to you?
NW: I didn’t think it was a big deal at all. But I remember being 12 and being like, “Wow, I’m feeling some crazy new feelings like, um moodiness and beauty” and stuff and being really struck. I remember having this song called “Say Yes” stuck in my head after that. So now, even today, that song gives me those mystical feelings. That connection to that youthful brain space.
UCR: You’re right, that is a good one. You’ve toured a ton and you’ve played a lot of shows, but do you have a show or maybe shows or tour in particular that sticks out?
NW: Yeah, Yeah, there’s a couple. On our first big tour, we opened for Stone Temple Pilots and I’m like a grunge head. I love grunge music, so that was like, legendary, insane for us. We had a whole tour in like some of my dream venues and they were super welcoming and awesome to us. So that was crazy. And then after that, probably like our first headline tour that was like our own tour, we actually could fill up the small rooms with our own music. That was another great moment that I’ll never forget. For sure.
UCR: Yeah, both of those make a ton of sense, You know, just being with these legends on tour. I’m sure you played some pretty cool places. Then just headlining to your own fans. That’s just gotta be so weird. You’re coming to like a random state or town you’ve never been to and yet there are people there when you show up.
NW: Yeah. That’s still weird to me. So hard to believe. It’s cool. It’s what it’s all about.
UCR: I love it. I think that’s so cool. I really enjoyed talking to you and I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
NW: Yeah, you too. And thanks for the good questions.