First enjoy the single “Carpeted” which is the very first track available from the Pittsburgh band Dream Home, who’s new album drops March 19th via Mint 400 Records.
Camerawork/Cinematography: John Praksti
Editing: Joe Praksti
In March 2018 The Lampshades were winding down as a band and lead singer Jaren Love wasn’t sure what the future held. The Lampshades were at times Flaming Lips, Pavement, Wilco and other times noisier and sloppier. In the years between ending The Lampshades and forming Dream Home it seems Love’s style has matured. The new project sounds like a mix of Ben Folds, Ben Kweller and Jeff Tweedy with short jangly indie rock songs that were produced by NJ’s Steven Donahue of Young Legs. That plays into these newer songs have more pop dynamics than the previous project. We caught up with Jaren Love and here’s what he had to say in advance of Dream Home’s debut album:
1. Tell us about The Lampshades briefly. How and why did it end?
The Lampshades was a long-time project that I started with former bassist Chris Kibler in 2003 as a teenager near where I grew up around Altoona, Pennsylvania. Eventually, Dane Adelman joined in 2007 and then we disbanded in 2009. We found ourselves all together living in Pittsburgh around 2012 and reformed the band after the hiatus as sort of a new era. We made two full-lengths in the 2010's (Numbskull Nothinghead <2014>, Astrology <2018>) and some one-off recordings and played a ton of shows. We did our 2018 release Astrology, which literally took around four years to make. After all the blood, sweat, and tears of making the album, the project just kind of ran out of gas.
2. When did you come up with the concept for Dream Home and how did you make it a reality?
The ending of The Lampshades was pretty devastating for me, I had wrapped up so much of my identity in the band, it had been a semi-constant for most of my life since high school. I started out by just doing some solo acoustic shows after the breakup but I've never been a big fan of doing that. It was a big step out of my comfort zone. I met Sam Winward playing pick-up basketball at a park in Pittsburgh around Spring 2018 and we realized somehow that we both worked downtown and enjoyed doing music and kind of instantly connected. We did some two-piece stuff for a while and I eventually asked Joe Pratski to join us who I knew from playing in other bands around town. The name Dream Home was one I used to make solo demos/electronic music in the past so I just went with it.
3. Who are the other parties involved with Dream Home? Any writing partners or is it all Jaren Love?
It's just Sam, Joe and me. I did work with Dane Adelman from The Lampshades on the album too. When we did The Lampshades, he always provided so much as a collaborator and did all of our producing and mixing. We co-wrote more than half of the Astrology songs together. He helped me finish up some songs on the Dream Home record and add some auxiliary instruments.
4. What has it been like to work on your album with Steven Donahue of Young Legs?
Steve is a pro and one of the most gifted musicians and songwriters I know. My dad is a snowbird but primarily errs toward living in Florida. We picked a weekend in August 2019 when my dad's house was vacant in rural central Pennsylvania and Steve drove down from New Jersey. We had a great time with the band and Steve hanging out and just banged out all the initial instrumental tracks over a weekend. I went to New Jersey in November 2019 and recorded vocals in one of Steve's friend's houses where the studio space looked like an old doctor's office or something. It was great. Steve's been a friend for a long time but with us living pretty far apart, I don't see him too often so being able to work with him on this was awesome. I'd certainly love to work with him again.
5. What is the songwriting process for Dream Home and do you feel it comes from different influences than The Lampshades? Where as The Lampshades always seemed more like Brian Wilson meets The Flaming Lips in some aspects this new project is more pop and seems almost Ben Folds meets Pavement inspired?
Dream Home is basically just material I write alone and then it evolves with help from the band. I think with The Lampshades.... the Flaming Lips and Brian Wilson vibe came from working with Dane. Dane is really talented at layering and making songs really shine and getting more of a wall of sound/psychedelic vibe. I used to write a lot of songs starting out with basically all guitars, and mostly distorted ones. I think I basically plateaued as a guitar player around 21 years old and really found myself reverting to all the same chord progressions. The older I get, the less interested I became in that distorted guitar sound and having everyone say 'you sound like Weezer'. I started taking piano lessons in 2015 hoping to learn so I could become a better songwriter. I really have found that the instrument is way more dynamic and helps me think of better melodies.
Dream Home, overall, is more stripped down and clean sounding than The Lampshades. It may be a reflection of the more chilled-out listening habits I have as I get older.
6. Tell us about the video, the concept and where you filmed it? Was everything actually transferred to VHS or does it just look that way?
I wrote the song "Carpeted" in 2019 while hanging out at a cabin with some friends and it was an idyllic snowy weekend near a ski resort. I wanted to create the vibe of that weekend with the snow. I told Joe and Sam about the idea and Joe said there was some good nature spots behind his childhood home. We were able to get Joe's brother to film a few weeks back, and yes, it was a VHS camcorder. It was frigid and Sam carried the drum kit up and down steep hills into the woods. We basically just filmed until one two-hour video cassette tape ran out. It kind of ran out of tape at the perfect time.
7. What is the Pittsburgh scene like and do you expect it will look the same after the pandemic?
The Pittsburgh scene has a lot of great talent and people. I wouldn't consider myself the most connected person but I certainly enjoyed going to shows and supporting old friends back before the pandemic. It's pretty sad because multiple venues that I've been performing at for over a decade have shut down permanently during this time and who knows what it will be like when this is all said and done. It's frankly a surreal feeling to think of playing a show again but I really look forward to it once this is over.
8. What else is on the horizon after the release of the Dream Home debut?
It's hard to tell. I have been on the more extreme end of COVID cautious so things have been on a long hiatus. I would love to play a show as soon as possible to commemorate the release of this debut album and to hopefully make another record in the next two years.
- Sam Lowry