Numbers have a weird pull on some people. Who doesn’t have a favorite, one they deem unlucky or one they can’t forget because it’s their pin number for the ATM? While math is a subject that will forever look like a foreign language to me, I myself do have a special place in my heart of hearts for certain numerical delights. Zero has always been my go to, but for Ryan of A Shoreline Dream, it’s 333. So that’s why they decided to go ahead and release three EP’s Three, 3 and III. You can read below why that has a significance to him, and also note that looking at band pictures isn’t the way to find out how many members are in a band (d’oh!).
So you can continue this journey and read about not only the connection to 333, but also what autographs A Shoreline Dream collect, their ideas on touring and what gets their creative juices flowing.
Kendra: Three members of the band, the release of 333…Was there always a group connection to “3?”
Ryan: This number (333) has haunted me since a child. It shows its face daily in the strangest ways. Erik, our second guitarist has been creating music with me for over 10 years now and can vouch for it. This is actually our second release where we’ve used the digits (our first being in our old goth band Pure Drama), but for sure our most involved conceptually. Oh, also we are no longer three, we are now four with Kevin Skreness on Drums as of September…
Erik: It’s more of a Ryan deal. My number is 11:11 and the idea of 11, 11 song EP’s…you can guess the rest
Ryan: None of them really represent people as much as they represent moments in time in specific locations.
The first, titled Three was written during a time of breakup, both in personal circumstances as well as when we lost two members of the band. As a way to clear the mind and to go through these transitions, the sand dunes in southern Colorado served as a reset point and inspired the overall tone of these tracks.
The second disc, titled 3 was written entirely in our studio, which resides in the Barnum neighborhood. I was personally locked away in the studio for three weeks straight working on these tracks, which were both a reflection of the emotions of starting a new era of ASD and the influence the studio has on us. This disc has one of our most unique tracks to date, that being “Oneside”, which is essentially a merging of industrial and ethereal, two sounds which we have been heavily influenced by over the years.
The final disc, titled III represents a sense of driving, as we’ve always felt our songs were best heard while driving down a long stretch of open road at night. Each track is an interpretation of the roads they are written about, with the final track, “103” being written about the one highway we’ve used to preview all of our discs before putting our final stamp of approval on them. This also happens to be a highway that traverses up Mt. Evans, one of the most amazing, and highest mountain roads in our state…You can see in our video we’ve made for the track.
Erik: In some sense yes. We are all very different people doing something similar.
Kendra: Since your music is heavy on the instrumentation, is that where you start when an idea comes to you for a song?
Ryan: Generally yes, but each song is written in its own way. Dynamics and composition drive where each song travels, and overall special qualities of the sounds motivate next steps. In some instances a layer of vocal reverbed noise kicks off the motivation behind song writing, whereas sometimes a simple guitar melody gets us going.
Erik: For me yes. I’m a much better guitar player than a singer.
Kendra: Is there a prime place in Denver to write music?
Ryan: Music always comes from within but the landscapes here indeed do inspire those sounds to find their way out. I personally could drive up to the mountains and write an endless string of songs…
Erik: Late night Weeknight Records IMO.
Kendra: I noticed “Osceola” was exactly three minutes and 33 seconds. Why didn’t you make that the goal for all the songs in the 333 collection?
Ryan: What was interesting is we originally weren’t even thinking of ending that track at 3:33, but it was so close to being that time once we completed it, we decided to slightly format it to fit. It really worked to have the final moment of the final track to land right on that number. It all came full circle so to speak!
Erik: I am not sure if we or Ryan ever intentionally try to do things in 3’s (sans the idea for the EP of course) but more often than not we stumble into this number.
Kendra: You guys are going to personally number and sign copies of 333 before they’re sent out. As someone in love with the written word, gotta ask, do you have any precious autographs you cherish at all?
Ryan: I overall am not a big fan of collecting autographs, but when it’s a limited release I think it’s just a given and for sure puts that extra touch into the effort put into it. But with that said I do have a few I hold dear. One from Doug Bradley, the actor playing Pinhead in Hellraiser, as I had a chance to meet him while working as an actor at a Haunted House about ten years back. Another would be from the recently released Dead Can Dance album. I bought the limited edition version that came with autographs from both Lisa and Brendan. Their first self-titled album was such a huge influence on A Shoreline Dream in our infant stages and they are indeed one of my favorites overall.
Erik: I have always had bands we tour or perform with sign either the show poster or their CD so I personally think it is a really cool touch.
Lauren: I once saw my bass hero, Peter Hook of Joy Division DJ at a local dance night in town. Listening to his bass lines growing up is what inspired me to start playing, so when I saw him I grabbed a flyer and barely worked up the courage to have him sign it…it’s my favorite autograph.
Kendra: You’ve got some shows coming up to round out the end of the year, some in Denver and some scattered about. What are the pros and cons of shows outside of your home turf?
Ryan: Overall I think getting out of your home city is crucial. You may find that your music had a greater impact in a different location, and without exploring you may have never known. Some of our best gigs have been on the West coast, a few of which were much larger than any of our shows in Denver. “Local” artists become “local”. National artists are never referred to as “national” and that’s a good thing, because the music is the most important part, not where it comes from. It’s polarizing to stay in one location, and even though the biggest drawback to heading out is the cost, it’s worth every last penny.
Erik: I am all about the pros. You get to focus on music and get away from the daily balance that musicians must strike. Even though it can be rough going I have had some of the best experiences of my life touring and I enjoying the emersion. The cons are moving and thinking as a group. Sometimes you want to zig when they are ready for a zag.
Lauren: For me playing on tour is less about what the shows are like and about bonding with your bandmates and creating a common history together of shared experience. That closeness makes writing new music easier and better, there’s more trust between people you’ve come to rely on while traveling. When you play a great show out of state, it leaves you totally satisfied and believing in what you’ve created, but at the same time when you play a really hard, difficult or empty show, it can really bring the band together in sort of an “us against the world” sort of way. for me, there are really no cons. the experience is worth it all the way.
Kendra: Now we’re in the homestretch and I want you to give me the top five songs you’d put on a mixtape to take a hike in the Colorado Rockies, go!
God Speed! You Black Emporer “Dead Flag Blues”
A Shoreline Dream “neverChanger”
Explosions in the Sky “A Song for our Fathers”
Smashing Pumpkins “Rocket”
Silversun Pickups “Getting Old is Getting Old”