Dream System 8 is a twosome from L.A. featuring David Klotz, the Emmy award-winning Music Editor of Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, and American Horror Story, and singer/songwriter Erica Elektra, a well-seasoned artist who fronted the synth-pop group Hearts Of Palm UK. The pair got together through the ways of the internet, but not what you might be thinking. Oh they met on SoundCloud? Tell me something new. The pair actually met through Tinder. The result was the formation of their new musical act, Dream System 8. With a debut album record on the way, complete with vintage synths only, and a new single "Shine A Little Light" out today, we're grateful that these two swiped right. With inspirations like Vangelis, The Human League, Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder and Duran Duran, the pair are bringing back all the nostalgia you might have felt when you fell into your Netflix binge alongside Number 11 and her faithful squad.
Get to know Dream System 8 below and give their new single "Shine A Little Light" a spin, which follows on the heels of their debut "Losing All Of You
EM: Dream System 8 is the byproduct of your recent collaboration, can you tell us how and when you both got together?
ERICA: We met on Tinder I think last October? I remember a few hours before our first date, David texted me and had apparently found some music online I’d done in the past. He was quite complimentary and shared with me some of the music he’d done. I really liked what I heard and we tossed around the idea of working together someday. So, even before we met in person, there was already this shared musical appreciation of each other’s talents. When we met, he told me he had purchased some analog synths and wanted to do more with them, and I was super excited because I’ve always loved to create synthpop music. So even though we didn’t find a romantic connection, we decided to jump into making music together. From the first time we met up, it felt really natural and like we were on the same page. We never intended to become a band and record an album, it just happened that we kept on meeting up and kept making new music. A few months after working together, we realized we had a bunch of songs and we should probably formalize what we were doing!
EM: What's behind the name Dream System 8?
ERICA: We wanted to come up with a name that evoked an era, a feeling, a vibe. Something dreamy, soft and lush, and retro as well. The 8 is an homage to the Roland Jupiter 8, one of the synthesizers that features heavily on our album.
EM: Your music has been described as synth-pop, if you could describe your music in your own words, what would you say?
ERICA: I would say that our music is rooted in well-written songs with honest lyrics and classic song structures. Then we take that framework and embellish it with these lush sounds from the analog synths, we add arpeggiators and drum beats that make you want to dance and move your body… and top it off with soft female vocals which give everything a dream-like quality.
EM: Theres a big influence of early 1980's music, can you expand more on the influences and inspirations?
DAVID: It was a convergence of a couple of things. American culture these days is well infiltrated by 80’s nostalgia lately which personally brought me full circle back to my childhood. "(Keep Feeling) Fascination” by The Human League was the first record I ever purchased when I was 11 years old. And now, serving as music editor on the Netflix show Stranger Things helped revive my interest in vintage synths again. Working with Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein's score made me realize that I had lost the plot a bit by using all these computer instrument plug-ins all these years, and that I needed to ditch those virtual simulations and start using real instruments again. So, I started buying all these late 70’s & early 80’s vintage synths from eBay and Reverb. The Human League’s Dare album is one of my favorite albums and in the liner notes they list all of the synths they used on that record, so that kind of became the start of my shopping list. There’s a few rare ones that I couldn’t afford, but we grabbed a Roland Jupiter 4, Roland CS-15, a Korg Delta and that little Casio they used on "Get Carter”. Along with The Human League, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran were all influences on this record.
EM: David, you've been working on big TV hits like Stranger Things and Game of Thrones, how much of a role does the music selection come from your own production and style?
DAVID: Firstly, I am part of a broader team with the shows' composers, producers and music supervisors, etc. And as the music editor, I need to adapt to the style and the requirements of whatever show I am working on. But, even though the score of Game of Thrones couldn’t be further from Stranger Things, the work I do is pretty much the same for both. My musical influences are on the sidelines. I am only bringing in skills that help tell the story and that help the music underscore and drive the narrative. For me, it’s all about how the music works with picture. The music production and style is pretty much covered by the show’s composers before I start chopping it up.
EM: Your latest single "Shine A Little Light" is out today, could you share a bit more about the story behind the track?
DAVID: Erica and I got together one weekend afternoon to write and we had just acquired an early 80’s LinnDrum machine. When she arrived at my place, I had it hooked up to our Jupiter 8. We were just messing around with those two things and that’s when we landed by accident on the very cool arpeggio line that serves as the backbone for “Shine A Little Light." We looked at each other when we discovered that sound and both agreed that this is the coolest sound ever and we need to make it into a song immediately!—so we did. It came together quickly. The melody we had was so melancholic and sad, yet the drum pattern and pulsing arpeggio were strong and driving… it evoked images of driving along the ocean, windows down, breeze blowing through your hair—yet feeling quite heartbroken and blue at the same time, so thats when I wrote lyrics for the verse and that kind of guided us into a loose narrative about fate, a missed connection, love never meant to be… classic pop music themes that I have returned to over and over again many times. I like to think of this song as a poetic “missed connections” ad from Craigslist.
EM: What’s next for Dream System 8 as a duo?
ERICA: We are already working on songs for the next album! We just want to keep creating, having fun and sharing our music with the world.
DAVID: Lots more to come in 2018!