Static Daydream, Opening Up a Bit

Static Daydream are an enigma… no, really… there’s like no info available on them… anywhere… Pretty much the most the internet knows thus far is that the duo is...

Static Daydream are an enigma… no, really… there’s like no info available on them… anywhere… Pretty much the most the internet knows thus far is that the duo is comprised of partners (musical and otherwise) Paul Baker and Jamie Casey.  That and that they make hyper-fuzzy pop music reminiscent of both proto-and-post-punk, but with an extra heavy dose of what the shoegazers brought to the table.  Oh, and (I promise this is the last thing I could find on them.) their self-titled full-length debut drops this Friday, August 28th, on Saint Marie Records and Paul Baker recently took some time to fill me in on all the things I’d been wondering about Static Daydream.

Izzy: So this project is still pretty new, with your debut LP coming out next week. What was it that first made you want to embark on this project? And do you feel like it’s allowed you to do things that you couldn’t in previous bands?

Paul Baker: I decided to leave my previous group back in 2012, and even though I had a bit of music I’d been working on, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. Working with Jamie Casey inspired me to keep working on things, and I decided to just go for it. Jake Reid was incredibly helpful, from helping me to use technology a bit more, to recording some vocals and guitar, to working with me on the mixing and mastering aspect of things.

I don’t think I’ve felt like I’m allowed to do anything I couldn’t have done before, though that’s a good question.  Maybe I’ve just taken some time and felt a breath of fresh air, so to speak, and enjoyed experimenting a little bit more.  It’s been both humbling and really rewarding to start Static Daydream from almost nowhere and feel good about what we’ve done, and to have gotten some really nice feedback from people out there.  Sometimes I can’t believe how nice the response has been.

Izzy: I especially love the track “Just Stay,” which sort of sounds to me like if Angelo Badalamenti had composed something for The Cure in 1988.

Paul: Thank you!  I don’t know if there’s a question there, exactly, but that was one of the songs that started off as an experiment, messing around with lots of delays and things, and eventually became a favorite of both Jamie and me.  I totally understand the comparison to Angelo Badalamenti and The Cure.  I think the deep Bass VI sound was probably inspired by Twin Peaks and the delayed lead parts were inspired by The Cure’s Disintegration album, so you caught me!  Good work!

Izzy: What would you consider to be some of the highlights since Static Daydream first began?

Paul: The number one highlight was realizing how wonderfully Jamie can sing, and what an asset she is.  Second would be getting to work with Jake so much, given both his knowledge and great ideas.  Third would be getting the great feedback for our cassette EP on Moon Sounds Records last year which really inspired the completion of the album.  I’m sure we would have finished it eventually, but that was pretty motivational.

Izzy: How would you characterize your process of writing and recording together? I know it can sometimes be a bit different when your musical partner is your real life partner?

Paul: I write and record most of the music.  After that, she and I work on what her parts will be, and then I pretty much leave until she tells me that either there’s a problem with something or that she feels good enough about it to call it finished.

Izzy: And while we¹re talking about this (and I ask all couples in bands this), do you have any favorite musical couples from throughout music history, whether they’re doing anything similar to yourselves or not?

Paul: I don’t know.  I really enjoy male/female vocals in lots of music, but I’m not always sure who were actual couples or who were just people making music.  I guess Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead from Slowdive were a couple at some point.  Maybe Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher from My Bloody Valentine were as well, but I really don’t know.  Okay, Johnny and June Carter Cash, there you go.

Izzy: So there are kind of a lot of bands now embracing the kind of sounds of the mid-80’s ­ mid-90’s that you seem to be into, in addition to a lot of those original bands getting back together. What are your thoughts on the current state of indie music and how what you’re doing seems to fit into that?

Paul: I think it’s great that some of those groups, like Ride, Slowdive, and the Jesus and Mary Chain have reformed and gotten the respect and attention they deserved before the British press wrote them off because of grunge or Britpop or whatever else.  I think a great deal of that music has stood the test of time, first and foremost because of great songwriting, but also because they had wonderful ideas about soundscapes.  That concept has always inspired me, because I can truly appreciate a great song played on an acoustic guitar, but to really hear it come to life with arrangements and effects done well takes it to another level entirely.

How do we fit in?  I’m not sure.  I’ve been making this music in Skywave and Ceremony and now Static Daydream since the mid to late 90’s, and I’ve always felt like an outsider.  That’s okay.  I’m really not good at talking to people or talking myself up, so I’m fine with making the music and putting it out there and hoping some people get some enjoyment from it.

Izzy: At the moment, what would you consider to be your most significant influences?

Paul: Night by Elie Wiesel, Let Not The Waves of the Sea by Simon Stephenson, everything released by Screen Vinyl Image, and the remixes of The Cure’s “Lovesong” and “Fascination Street, ” from the Mixed Up album.

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you? Any chance of some touring or maybe even some more new music?

Paul: We’ll definitely need to do a lot more rehearsing before we play any shows, honestly.  At this point, I need to relearn how to play a lot of the guitar parts that are on the album!  I really just messed around until I found something that worked, recorded it, and moved on to whatever was next.

We do have several songs recorded for our next release, and enough more in the works to make an album.  I’m not in any hurry, though.  I’d rather we take our time and release something when we feel it’s really good and ready.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.