Being that I know you and your family, it’s an honor and a privilege to interview you as your NEW album is released!
I became aware of this dream of yours a few years ago when I was asked to be a part of the music video for “In The End“. I was able to witness firsthand the God-given talents that you and your brother Joshua and the band possess! Truly was an honor.
In The End was the first song that I heard because of the music video, and I loved it! As you released song by song, I watched and listened and was thrilled when you announced your debut album! This dream has come true!
* Where did the name of your band (One Day Dreamer) come from?
I am a dreamer’s dreamer. In the beginning of everything I start, I skip ahead to step 20 in my mind when I should be focused more on step 3 or 4. This helps me better envision the big picture. It’s also a drawback when step 3 or 4 really need to get their full attention.
In the beginning of One Day Dreamer, the hook was set pretty deep pretty early with the kind of stuff I wanted from this band. With every new conversation I would say things like,”What if ONE DAY this happened?” or “It would be pretty cool if ONE DAY we got to do that?” The problem came when I realized that there really was no “we” yet at that point.
So yeah, in the beginning it was very close to a solo project. I wanted the band to be bigger than just my name but I was by myself. I played with the dreamer idea because that’s who I am. So there was a possible One Daydreamer. And then the conversation kept on with “What if one day…” Eventually, it just settled into its own as One Day Dreamer.
* Would you tell us a little bit about the members of your band and yourself, and how long you all have been together?
Musically, the backbone and heartbeat of One Day Dreamer is shared between Josh, Thomas, and I. I met Josh back in 2008. When I first moved up to the suburbs of Atlanta I met this young kid named Josh, and he was in a band that I had the chance to hear quite a bit. It was obvious to anyone with ears that the musical talent in that band sat on a drum throne. I took notice immediately and grew in my respect for his musical ability. About a year and a half later I got the itch to jump into a music project again, this eventually became One Day Dreamer. I began making demos and I would always run them past Josh to get his opinion, but we still never played together as One Day Dreamer until November of 2011.
So it’s been just the two of us and a bassist since the beginning. We’ve been through a few before landing on TJ Mercer. TJ and I have mutual friends from several different angles and he is actually the 1st cousin of my childhood girlfriend from South Georgia. That made for some interesting conversations in the beginning of me meeting him at age 27! Although TJ is “The New Guy”, he fit right in immediately to our weirdness. He was the missing puzzle piece for One Day Dreamer. The three of us all have very individual tastes in music but we all meet in the middle on our mutual appreciation for Classic Rock.
In our personal lives, we’re all juggling a lot. Josh has a toddler, TJ and I are navigating relatively new marriages, and TJ is a dad-to-be as of a few weeks ago. We have a lot going on musically and personally in these crazy times.
* The artwork for the album cover, the photography, the design, is just amazing! It can be seen on the cover, your social media, the music videos. So much talent! Who is responsible for the artwork?
My brother and founding bassist of One Day Dreamer, Joshua Sims of Paper Rocket Picture Company, is responsible for most of the end design of all print and official pictures. He and I brainstorm almost everything exclusively. I keep coming to him with ideas and revisions of ideas until he stops calling them stupid. The working brothers paradigm really works to ensure that the quality control stays where it should.
I pretty much manage the bands social media. Fortunately, we’ve done enough cool things along the way that we can keep the posts coming and engaging for our friends and fans across our social media platforms.
* How long has this album been in the making?
Specifically, Dying Art & Lost Romances has been in the works since January 7th, 2013, the first night of tracking with this end product in mind. That night we tracked drums on the song called Brand New.
However, some of my original demos, which date back to August of 2009, contained individual tracks that made the final record. Specifically, the guitar intro, the organ, and the background “ooohhhs” in the repeat of the second chorus are circa 2009 for our song called Inverted. Those were good enough to recycle for the final album master.
* After listening to all 10 of the songs on the album (Dying Arts & Lost Romances), I have a few favorites. I’d like to know if you have any favorites and if so, which ones and why?
Well now I want to know what your favorites are! These songs are all directly out of my life experiences or the life experiences of those around me that I happened to be close enough to witness. With that, they are all special to me in one way or another. If I had to choose, based on the memories attached to them, Limelight and In The End would be my two favorites.
In The End is a song that I waited on for about 5 years. I lived verse 2 with one of my closest friends in high school. Over the years I wrote that memory into several songs that will never see the light of day. I never felt comfortable with the previous iterations because I didn’t think that they were good enough to immortalize that memory for me. I woke up one morning in November of 2009 and the whole song hit me all at once. I couldn’t write fast enough that morning. I didn’t want to lose the inspiration. After trying and working for 5 years, I wrote what we now know as In The End one morning in my PJs in about 8 minutes.
Limelight is the reason I’m here now doing One Day Dreamer. In college, I was sucked into a “Hey! I can make you the next big Christian Band” kind of contest. Long story short, it was not what it claimed to be and we lost a lot of time and money trying to get to be that next big thing. Among a ton of other reasons why he said I wasn’t ready for a career in Christian music, I remember one of the judge’s critiques being,”You know, you don’t really need a ‘cool’ guitar part for every song…” I was devastated after leaving there. I quit for a good while. I wasn’t going to chase something like that again until it was the right thing for the right reason. I did a ton of soul searching and I decided that I want “the better side of the limelight” which is a lyric from that song. We’re going to play what we want to play on our terms, I’m going to write songs that matter to me and not try to be something that some contest is looking for. To this day, I don’t bill One Day Dreamer as a Christian Band because there’s more to it than that for me. I’d rather play music that can be beneficial to and be appreciated by all. I would much rather be known as a Christian for who I am and how I treat people outside of the context of that three and half minute song. If fame, fortune, or whatever comes from all of this, then we’ll just take it as it comes. I’m focused first on writing and playing music that is real and honest. As a side note, the irony for me is that the song Limelight contains what I believe to be the best guitar work on the whole album. Limelight has lots of “cool” parts! Not sure if that is a coincidence or some sort of poetic justice. Who knows?
* What is your vision in making music and art via music and then sharing it with the world?
My vision is pretty clear. I started a record label for the release of this new album, GLOW Records. Before there ever was a One Day Dreamer, there was GLOW. This is at the core of my life. GLOW is an acronym for Go Love Our World. For years I have owned and operated a production company called GlowCreativeStudio with the same namesake. I believe in telling stories that matter and also creating stories that matter. The studio has retained a clientele of about 90% church and non-profit clients that are doing wonderful things in their communities and the world.
GLOW Records is my chance to create a narrative in which we make a lasting and valuable impact on our world. We have plans to obviously support our families and forge a career with this thing. With that, we also plan to use music to make a permanent as well as eternal change in people here and abroad. Specifically, using existing connections that we have in Central/South America and the Caribbean, we hope to take our music to these places and partner with local schools and churches on the ground there. We’re hoping to join what they are doing in their communities. We will use the impact that a band can make to spotlight what they are doing and try to elevate it with them to the next level.
I have countless stories of how in my travels around the world I have been able to transcend language barriers and social stigma just by holding a guitar. No matter where they live, people are people and music is something that all people have in common. Through something that we are currently calling “The GLOW Project”, we hope to start using our music, and music in general to open these doors in the days ahead.
* Is producing and releasing an album a dream that you’ve had for a long time? How long?
Absolutely it is. Ever since I wrote my first song that I could play from start to finish on my own instrument, I’ve had the itch. That was the year 2003 so I guess you could say it’s been a while. I have made recordings and demos along the way for class projects in college and little demo CDs for the merch table for other bands and music projects with which I’ve been involved. To me, they were never good enough and were never the real thing.
What happened last Tuesday on the 18th of August, was a major milestone for me. That was the first time I’ve released something knowing that it is good enough and that everything was done the right way. Dying Art & Lost Romances is something that I am proud of and it is something that I know can live beyond me. Those 37 minutes of that album have the ability to make my future unfold before me in a different way entirely, than if I had not made it. I have never created something before this that has that kind of power. This is significant for me.
* What have you learned through this process of pouring your heart and soul into making music and recording an album and all that goes into it?
Above all I have learned patience. I have learned that I cannot force anything. Things are going to happen when they happen and I have to live with that. This sounds like a bad thing that I’ve had to endure. I see it as something else entirely. I am grateful for the length of time it has taken on this record. We initially expected a Summer 2013 release. With the extra two years, I have learned SOOOOO much about the music industry from the actual creation of records all the way to the marketing and backend potential.
This project has been gaining momentum because of that extra time. We’re poised for something special to happen now because of all of that extra time spent learning the business. I prefer it to be this way rather than having to retro-act this knowledge onto a second-rate album that we rush released two years ago had we pushed for the Summer ’13 deadline.
* What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream that’s inside of them and yet they are afraid to take that first or even second step to make it come true?
Make. Sure. You. Love. It.
If its big enough, it will be the hardest thing that you have ever done. Nobody will understand you or what you are doing at first. The burden will fall on you and you alone. If you are not driven, you aren’t going to make it. Take your heart off of your sleeve. Put it somewhere deep where it can’t be affected by anything at all and just work. If you aren’t sold on it, if you do not absolutely believe in what you are doing, you will quit.
Once you settle it in your soul that this is your dream, you have to hustle. You can’t get frustrated when people don’t get it. It’s not their dream, it’s your dream. Eventually, you’ll find people to join you. Until then, you have to wade through the initial disappointment that comes when the people that you think should care simply do not. It’s a fight all the way. Be prepared and dig in. “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” is more than just a colorful phrase. I have shed more than my fair share of all three on Dying Art & Lost Romances. Looking back, It’s totally worth every drop of all of them. Now that I am at this point it’s easier to say that. However, that was something that was settled in my soul long before I got to this point. You have to settle it on the front end of a project like this in order to even make it to the back end.
* Where can we purchase the One Day Dreamer/Dying Arts & Lost Romances album ?
It’s available in most digital distribution outlets. iTunes is the one that we are pushing. It’s also available on streaming services like Spotify, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, Rdio, and Google Play.
It is physically for sale out of the trunks of our cars until we get our Merch page set up on our website. Physical CDs will be available really soon at OneDayDreamer.com/Merch
* Any plans for future albums?
Absolutely yes! But not right now. The side effect of taking over two years to record an album is that you write more songs during that time. That’s one of the hard parts of a new band trying to break. The songs on Dying Art & Lost Romances are old to us at this point. At gigs I have said things from the stage like, “You guys want to hear a new one?” only to be reminded that every song that we’re playing is new to the audience. It has made for some weird times. But yes, we have some songs that are new to us that we think have a shot at album success. We’re going to focus for the time being on making the songs on Dying Art & Lost Romances come to life in front of fans in a live setting.
* As I listened to the songs (all 10), I noticed a story trying to be told… What is that story?
It’s a little like a journey through life and the struggles/benchmarks we hit along the way. The opening line is “Standing on the edge is wearing thin.” This pretty much sums up the thoughts that anyone feels as a catalyst for change in their life. For me, that is this project. Since I was 17 years old and played my first song, this is what I wanted. Ten years later in 2013, it was time to put up or shut up. I had to prove to myself that this is what I want in life. There comes a point when you just need to dive in and quit just staring at the water while talking about how good it could be to go swimming.
This journey really is a dying art. We live in a world where music is made up of producer tricks that have tested well in focus groups. These tricks include the trite whistle parts that happened in almost every song a few years ago, or the more recent use of old celebrity names like Michelle Pfeiffer that is currently making an appearance in 2 songs in the Top 40. Despite this musical landscape, we said what was on our hearts at the time from a sincere place, and we played our own instruments over the entire record.
I wanted to make something that was timeless. Only time will tell if I succeeded. I wanted to make something that would meet people where they are and matter to them. These songs are based on my life. There is no way that I’m alone in these thoughts that I happened to write down. That’s the story. In life, we’re all in this together. Let’s talk about it. Or sing in this case, sing!
Check them out on this mini documentary as well: https://vimeo.com/107494183
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/onedaydreamerband
Instagram: @1DAYDREAMERBAND http://instagram/1daydreamerband
Thank you for your transparency in this interview. I truly feel like I know you better and that the songs mean even more after “hearing” your heart and soul behind this dream. To answer your question about MY favorites on the album, my top 3 are Spiral, Limelight, and In The End.
I wish you the best. I also appreciate the advice that you shared, and believe that it will hit home for a lot of people. Your advice struck a chord (pun intended) with me and has inspired me to “quit staring at the water” as you put it. Thanks again. Shine on my friend.
You won’t regret it. Especially after reading the background to the dream that has now come true. Just go check it out. Especially if you are a dreamer too…and if you are like me, you may have some dreams that you’ve stuck in a closet somewhere.
Until Next Time,