GET TO KNOW DEAN THE DREAM, THE BRILLIANT ARTIST BEHIND HITCHIN’ IT TO HEAVEN
Dean The Dream, the artist behind Hitchin’ It to Heaven, shares stories and insights in today’s interview. Dean will instantly peak your interest as he is no ordinary artist, but a true poet whose art speaks for itself. With an unmatched, emotional and yet seemingly unattached voice, he sings about life and the diverse aspects of it that guarantee to invite you back into the world of “The Dream”. To name a few of our top picks off Hitchin’ It to Heaven, “Changes”, “Kiss Me Kill Me”, and, of course, “Goodbye, Danny” which debuted as a music video, and encompasses everything modern rock should be. See what Dean The Dream had to say about life, music, and much more below!
First off, why “Dean The Dream”? What inspired this stage name?
When I first moved to LA, tons of casting agents, industry people and even dates I went on mentioned James Dean around me. Honestly not sure why—maybe they mention him to every young guy in their 20’s pursuing entertainment—but when I started writing and publishing my music, I realized that, unlike so many actors and musicians from his time or even now, I spoke very openly about my life and my sexuality. No hints, no holding back, so I thought it would be cheeky to name myself Dean the Dream.
But also, I genuinely thought it would be a placeholder name till I found something much more fitting but quickly realized I couldn’t change it via my distributing company, so Dean sorta stuck. I think it fits.
How did you first get into rock music? What attracted you or spoke to you most about the genre?
I think its sense of freedom and expression caught me more than anything. Also the stories and characters that appear throughout rock history are just fascinating and wonderful. When I didn’t feel as though I belonged, the rock world gave me people who made me feel more seen.
How does your life philosophy fit with your music or vice versa? Do you find you write heavily on topics related to your own life or more general ones?
These past two albums were definitely related to my own life; in fact, I think the only way I can write about more general things is to first write out all the deeply personal stuff. In other words, I’m hoping to possibly move into a more general realm and tell different sorts of stories about newer characters and newer people.
And I think there’s one key part of my life philosophy that fits with my music in that it’s just to do what feels right regardless of label or title or genre. I think it’s funny that my music’s been called everything from “experimental” to “psychedelic” to “grunge” to “avant-garde to “folk;” I’ve never really cared about what the genre is, but I love hearing what it’s perceived to be.
We commend you for your noble goal of reviving the psychedelic rock scene! How do you go about it? What old-school characteristics of the genre do you keep and where do you Innovate?
Oh good question! I think one thing that’s fascinating about the psych-rock world is how it’s evolved. When you look at the 60’s and 70’s and classic psych, there were some key components that nearly every psychedelic record had, from Pink Floyd to The Doors to the Yardbirds. I’m not saying they were all the same, but they definitely all surrounded the same sorts of sounds and structures, which makes total sense considering it was such a new genre.
But when you look at psych-rock now? It’s all over the place. You have artists like Tame Impala doing one thing, St. Vincent doing another, even Freddie Gibbs/The Alchemist and Miley Cyrus dabbled in the genre. The lines are blurred more now than ever and that’s pretty cool.
I would love to find a way to hone a medium between the two, have the music keep that classic appeal but always explore and always reinvent.
Do you play any musical instruments? Or do you usually team up with a band?
I don’t play any instruments, so I consider myself a lyricist and songwriter above all. Actually, I guess I consider myself a poet first as that’s where I began. It’s all in the same vein as Jim Morrison or Patti Smith.
And with Hitchin’ It to Heaven, I definitely tried to stick with the same producers and band to have a more cohesive sound whereas Pink Sun was a bit more all over the place and I worked with many different bands to find a sound. It would be cool to try and work with one band for one whole album at some point, see how deeply we can go in one very specific sound.
What is the single best aspect about being an artist in the 21st century? What’s the worst thing about it?
Another good question, but a tricky one. I think the best part is definitely how much access we have to everything. If you want to listen to an artist’s entire discography, you can easily do it in one day in a matter of hours.
And while that’s awesome, it’s also what makes things so difficult. Things seem to be more disposable now. I mean there are 60,000 new songs released on Spotify every day and trying to stand out from the noise seems harder than ever.
What’s your favorite drink?
Anything with whiskey.
Best tip for a starting artist?
Don’t listen to anyone but yourself, no matter how convincing they sound. And that doesn’t mean don’t trust anybody; just always keep yourself, your music and your mission above all else. Always.