Alice Dreamt Interview 3.8.21


Luke Adams, Host of Terminally Online

Alice Dreamt is the pseudonym of Detroit-based Indie artist Tim Jones. I recently had the opportunity to talk to them about their new album All Those Little Things, especially the feelings that went into that record, as well as their plans for the future.


L: The Death of Me was your fourth self-recorded release in about two years! I’m interested to hear more about what your home recording process is like – how you’re actually putting these releases together these songs on your own terms.


A: How I’m like, technically recording it?


L: Yeah.


A: Well basically, I will compose the song, which will start as a demo form, and I will eventually just add on top of it as it goes. The finished will be like half of the demo. You just start as the demo, and then you just add as you’re writing. I record the guitar lines from my laptop.


L: So I’m taking it that your process is very DIY?


A: Yeah, it’s basically not knowing what happens until the song’s finished.


L: When did you actually start recording and making music?


A: I started… around 2014. Have you ever heard of the game Rocksmith?


L: Yeah, actually.


A: I had gotten a guitar in Junior High, and I wanted to learn how to play Led Zeppelin songs, and it was like “well that’s not gonna work, cause this is too fucking difficult”. So I stopped playing guitar for a while, and I picked it up with Rocksmith. And then I got into the Japanese noise rock band Shinsei Kamattechan. I got really heavily into them, which is about when I started writing my own songs – started writing Vocaloid shit.


L: Speaking of Vocaloid, I’m noticing a big variance in some of the vocal effects you hear on some of these songs. Like, for comparison, you’ll hear the almost dreamy effects on “All Those Little Things”, and then you’ll hear the very in-your-face style on “Dopamine” and it’s like night-and-day. How do you figure out what kind of a style to engage with for these songs?


A: That is heavily Shinsei-influenced. You’ll probably hear me mention them alot, that is basically my blueprint for making music, and they’re my favorite band. They made like, cute, quaint pop songs and they just heavily butchered them with vocal modulation. That’s always what I aim to do: to make songs that sound quaint and cute and just completely mutilate them with really fucked up voices. That’s basically what “All Those Little Things” was. The whole album in general was just me experimenting with more modulation.


L: I’m reminded of almost sort of a DS-soundboard nostalgia with some of these sounds. Kind of like how Xiu Xiu used those sound effects from a Nintendo DS on Dear God I Hate Myself. I did really appreciate that mix of sweetness with a kind of latent darkness to it.


A: That album, Dear God I Hate Myself, that’s the kind of shit I want to make. It sounds like a cutesy pop song but it’s really fucked up and heavily modulated.


L: The lyrics on “Caterpillars” really got to me as well, mainly the ideas of change and growing up. Specifically the line about “Caterpillars are ugly before they’re really something”. Was this song drawn from any particular sentiment or period in my life.


A: I guess the period right now, because I’m entering my late 20’s, and it’s like that period where everyone’s grows and starts a family or moves on to a career. I guess it’s just that longing existentialism. Most of my songs are really rough and depressive I feel, but this song feels really shimmering and dream-poppy. I thought for a change that I’d actually make a hopeful song.


L: Is “The Butterflies” a companion piece to that song?


A: Not intentionally, but I think it ended up being that way. They were two completely different songs, but sometimes when I write lyrics it’ll be whatever pops into my head that fits that melody, and that eventually ends up being the song. That ended up taking the tagline of “Butterflies”, and then “Caterpillars” popped up and they kind of ended up being companion pieces, but it wasn’t intentional.


L: This [The Death of Me] was your second album with art from artist Kairi Huyuyori. Do you have any sort of working relationship with them, or are they just an interesting aesthetic touchstone?


A: Probably just that I like their aesthetic a lot. I came across their art a while ago, and I eventually reached out to her because I wanted something with that kind of anime style for The Wretched World. Now it’s basically just me reaching out to her whenever I want art.


L: Do you think you’ll be working with them again on a future project?


A: Probably? I don’t think the immediate next few albums, but probably in the future. I was really pleased with what she did on The Wretched World.


L: More generally, what are your plans for new music in the future?


A: I actually might have a new EP out in a month or two. Like you said, it’s my fourth album in like a year and a half. Right now I’m trying to write as much stuff as possible. It kind of ties back to “Caterpillars” – that existential dread that this is sort of my apex or golden age of creativity. I’m just trying to write as much as I can before I don’t have that. I would imagine an EP in a month or two, and an album by the end of the year.


L: I saw you tease on Twitter that you’re eventually hoping to have some sort of tour…


A: Oh, I definetely want to tour. Did you see about the vaccines in Michigan?


L: I heard that all adults in the US are getting them as of May 1st.


A: It’s April in Michigan now. I’m definitely excited for a tour plan, because if that goes through that means by the end of the year we can do shit. That’s definitely something I’m looking forward to, at least the East Coast, if we can get that together.


L: Do you ever think you’ll push for a festival like Mopop?


A: That’s actually a good idea. I would. I should probably look into that.


L: They sometimes have a few cool local artists on the lineup.


A: Yeah, cause I think Billie Eilish played there before she was big.


L: Yeah! I saw her there in 2018, which is completely weird to think about now.


A: I paid 400 bucks to see her in Chicago. They were at one venue and then they cancelled, so I had to buy the tickets again. Anyways, Mopop is definitely something I think I’ll look into.