Paula Walker and Adam Pickering make up the UK based acoustic duo, The Daydream Club. The pair had known each other for years, both having studied at Paul McCartney’s prestigious university, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), but didn’t start performing together until February 2010. Their debut album Overgrown was released worldwide via their own label (Poco Poco Records) in November 2010. Prior to the Daydream Club, both had worked on musical projects. Adam, a multi-instrumentalist, could be found supporting acts such as Sam Sparro and The Wombats; while Paula (a trained professional dancer), toured internationally with the hit percussion show Noise Ensemble. In April 2011, they released a limited edition 7” Vinyl The Record Shop to coincide with Record Store Day. “Neon Love Song (Part II),” the band’s third single, was recently hand selected by Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey to be part of the new Burberry Eyewear Summer 2012 campaign.
Looking outside the office window, I see rays of Californian sunshine filtering through the trees in the courtyard, shimmers of light dancing off the water coming out of a fountain. As the stark, brooding piano notes of The Daydream Club's “The Affair,” from their debut album Overgrown, make their way through my headphones—sounding almost like an old movie score—suddenly I'm in my own daydream. I've been transported to a gothic Victorian manor in the English countryside, gazing moodily at an inky black sky through floor-to-ceiling windows: “she weeps as the curtains close/an aching sorrow lingers in the air/the love that once was is no longer there,” sing The Daydream Club's Adam Pickering and Paula Walker in unison, telling the tale of a tragic love affair. Since 2009, the Leicester, England-based duo have been creating acoustic folk music that, much like a good movie, is meant to temporarily take you out of your immediate surroundings. With their album Overgrown, the duo strips down their compositions to just the bare minimum—an acoustic guitar, piano, and the two voices of Pickering and Walker melding together seamlessly. Read on to find out more about The Daydream Club’s take on musical escapism, and making the soundtrack for everyday life.
Band of the Day: Question: There’s a feeling of escapism with your music; where would you say you would want your music to take people to? What songs take you away, and where do they take you to?
The Daydream Club: The entire album ( ) by Sigur Ros transports us right back to our time at university, living in Liverpool, days playing "keep the dream alive" on a blackboard that we'd turned into a ping pong table and road trips to Formby Beach. We both agree that for us, we love it when a song takes you back to the time you had originally fell in love with it. If our music does that for others then that's amazing.
Band of the Day: Tell me about the first time you shared your music with other people. What was that like?
The Daydream Club: Our first gig together was at an open mic night in Leicester at The Musician. We played two songs, “In The Arms of Another Day” and “Be With You Always.” Both became part of our debut album Overgrown. We were both very nervous, neither of us had ever been the front person in a band and I (Adam) had never played guitar in public before - I'd always been on the drums or keys. Everyone loved it and we haven't looked back since.
Band of the Day: What’s been one of the most surreal moments of your career so far?
The Daydream Club: A few surreal moments spring to mind; holding our very own vinyl for the first time, getting played on the BBC for the first time, featuring in the legendary Rolling Stone magazine, seeing our faces on a big billboard and being told that it's in Burberry stores around the world... that's all a bit crazy.
Band of the Day: When you’re about to record new material, what part of the process excites you the most?
Adam: I get excited about adding lots of different instrumental textures and building on the foundations of the song.
Paula: For me the best part about recording are the happy accidents. The moments that come out of nowhere, without planning or practice. They can capture the whole magic of a time and place.
Band of the Day: Where did the album title Overgrown come from? And the album artwork?
Paula: “Overgrown” was one of the first songs we wrote for the album and everything seemed to stem out from it. If we were to get deep into the meaning, we both had the experience of unsuccessful creative pursuits and lost our way. Calling the album Overgrown was like a cleansing of the past, clearing out the weeds to make space for new roots. The artwork, simply put, is the result of two little daydreamers roaming the North Yorkshire countryside with a no-frills camera and a tripod.
Adam: I had to set the timer then run to get into shot. It was a memorable day and I think we really managed to capture our personalities and the nature of the music in those images.
Band of the Day: How much does your location inspire your songwriting? Do you feel like you would’ve produced a completely different album if you grew up in, say, California instead of England?
The Daydream Club: The weather has a massive part to play with a person’s state of mind and naturally that affects the direction a song might take. England obviously has a more colourful array of weather under its belt than California and so in that respect it probably keeps us on our toes and helps us to continue to explore the distant corners of our sound...plus if it was sunny all the time we'd never get anything done!
Band of the Day: When you’re playing live, are you completely in the present moment, or does your mind drift back to when you first wrote the song you’re playing?
The Daydream Club: Our songs can often be quite technical and with it being just the two of us, there's little noise to hide any stray notes so we are mostly fully focused on that moment. That being said, for our songs with more of a strong narrative we like to try and put ourselves right in the midst of the story.
Band of the Day: When and where do you feel most creative/inspired, in terms of songwriting?
The Daydream Club: For both of us, inspiration comes from so many things; people, places, stories, other music or just simply being sat at a piano. We like to take stock of the things around us and reflect on it in lyrics. That can happen anywhere from the beautiful countryside to a bus stop.
Band of the Day: What’s been the biggest struggle you’ve overcome as a band?
The Daydream Club: Finding ways to expand our sound live with just the two of us so that we can have the best of both worlds...intimate and epic in equal measure. As a duo creating intimate-tender music there can be a tendency to be overlooked as just a warm up band to something noisier but not necessarily always better.
Band of the Day: Ultimately, what do you hope people will get out of listening to The Daydream Club?
The Daydream Club: A soundtrack to everyday life. Really this brings us nicely round to the first question. Music should be inspirational and moving. It should take you places. If our music does that for others then we've really achieved something special.