Dream System 8 is a newly-formed, synth-based pop duo out of Los Angeles that combines the talents of veteran musicians Erica Elektra and David Klotz.
The vintage instruments used on the band’s debut album Music from The Dream System 8 (Feb. 9th, Minty Fresh) are veterans, too, and include a large assortment of Rolands, Korgs, and Yamahas, along with the (attention, geeks!) Crumar Performer, LinnDrum LM-2, and Omnichord System 100.
Recording with synths from the early 1980’s, Dream System 8's debut emerges from these origins of artifice with natural-sounding pop songs inspired by Vangelis, The Human League, Tangerine Dream, and Duran Duran.
Not only is the musical partnership of the humans in Dream System 8 new, so is the relationship to the band’s large brood of keys. Klotz, whose day job has earned him numerous Emmy awards as the Music Editor of television shows such as “Stranger Things,” “Game of Thrones,” and “American Horror Story”among others, started acquiring the gear in 2015.
“I was inspired when I started working on ‘Stranger Things’ in 2015 and first heard the score,” Klotz recalls. “I loved the sounds that the show’s composers created with synths. It was unlike anything I’d heard before in the world of film scoring.”
Klotz, who has been making records under various band names for years, starting in the mid-90’s as Fonda and most recently in 2016 as People and Stars, began plotting to make a record of pop songs based around the sound of these keyboards.
His first stop was eBay.
The first three synths Klotz bought are the main instruments heard on “Losing All of You,” the debut single by The Dream System, scheduled to arrive on Oct. 17th.
At this point in the story, Dream System 8 might be conjuring images of a Nick Rhodes-ian utopia where racks of gear stretch to the sky, surrounding an isolated man who looks absolutely perfect in an expensive linen suit and make-up.
But just in time, Elektra’s lyrics and vocals take these tunes out of the atmosphere and ground them in feeling – heart-tugging and delivered with emotion – exposing the roots beneath these musical landscapes.
“I grew up in a musical household, my Mom is a piano teacher and songwriter,” she says. “I’ve always loved songs with good melodies and classic chord progressions, but I’ve been held back by the technical aspects of music making.”
And then a Tinder match with Klotz yielded a band instead of a romance. Moreover, it gave Elektra the opportunity to make the greatest use of her strengths as a songwriter and vocalist.
“We’re both single parents, both musicians, and both live in Pasadena, so I thought we might still have a bit of a connection,” Klotz says. “It was a short date but at the end of it we decided to meet up again to collaborate on music.”
Emotional maturity in the age of app-based dating is hard to come by, but when it happens, great music is the result.
“I honestly thought I’d never hear from her again, but she reached out,” Klotzcontinues. “I played her my demo of ‘Losing All of You,’ and she picked up an acoustic guitar and performed ‘I Think of You.’ It was beautiful.”
That song, “I Think of You,” written as a lullaby to Elektra’s then six-month-old daughter, is now one of the album’s highlights. Additional emotionally moving moments on Music from The Dream System 8 include “Dedication,” written about Elektra’s father’s struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and “Help Me See”about a love interest of Elektra’s who passed before his time.
Heavy topics, not typically associated with a genre where any remotely electronic-based music is suddenly Electronic Dance Music. Here, Dream System 8 succeeds mightily at memorably combining and sustaining these seemingly disassociated sonic worlds over the course of an entire album.
“Dream System 8 is the perfect name for us,” Elektra concludes. “For me, it’s literally a musical dream come true.”
Music from The Dream System 8, the debut album by Los Angeles-based duo Dream System 8 arrives on Feb. 9th, 2018 preceded by the single “Losing All of You,” out Oct. 17th, 2017.