The gentle strums that open We Dream Alone‘s newest single “Happiness” unexpectedly lure the listener into a timeless debate: Is happiness attainable, or just a painful illusion? For some, its pursuit will never bear fruit. Heavy themes match the riffs punch for punch throughout the song, from the crestfallen intro to the impending pummel. “Happiness” – the ninth track on the Swedish melodic metal outfit’s new record ÆTHER – is both an outlier and perfect representation of We Dream Alone’s artistic vision. When the first blast of distortion strangles the shimmering shoegaze to death, you can hear hints of Deadguy’s jagged hardcore. Meanwhile, We Dream Alone slyly disguise emo throughout “Happiness” like Bosse-de-Nage if they lived within 30 minutes of Gothenburg. ÆTHER is a striking offering that balances aggression and forlorn beauty while considering Joseph Conrad’s words from Heart of Darkness: “We live as we dream—alone. While the dream disappears, the life continues painfully.“
Below, stream We Dream Alone’s “Happiness” and reflect upon your own pursuits and priorities. Also check out guitarist Henrik Fredriksson’s thoughts on the song’s themes, happiness itself, and the song’s formation. But first, turn that frown upside down and press play.
What’s the lyrical focus of “Happiness,” and how does it relate to the album’s themes as a whole?
Henrik Fredriksson: Define happiness? In the western world happiness is induced by owning (among other things too, of course). To own things you need to make enough money to buy it, right? The more money you make, the more you are able to afford to own. Not only material stuff but also the sense of safety and comfort, as well as economic status. This ultimately leads to some sort of lack of empathy. Hence the words, ”Hell is the inability to love,” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Take a look at the world today. The ones with the most dollar bills win and everyone else loses miserably.
It’s kind of a metaphoric parallel to the Roman empire. The slaves could fight their way to riches and glory by defeating opponents – who they didn’t necessarily have any personal quarrels with – to please the leaders. So the song is part of the whole “break the cogwheels that pulls the chains of modern day slavery” way of thinking that the album mostly addresses.
After Weightless, But Still Sinking was released in 2015, did you have any goals for what you wanted to achieve with ÆTHER?
HF: We had quite a lot of material that we started writing a few months before the release of Weightless, But Still Sinking. So it fell naturally to continue making a third album! For me personally, I always strive to overcome myself and evolve in my writing and playing. So the riffs tend to gush out haha! As a band we wanted to achieve a broader sound to our repertoire and be able to play everywhere possible.
Of the three singles you’ve released from this record, “Happiness” has the most striking dynamics. Was the song’s gentle intro planned from the start or developed during the writing process?
HF: Thank you! We like dynamics. It makes the music both more interesting and fun to play. The whole song is a result of me experimenting with the new guitar tuning some of the songs on ÆTHER possess. The intro grew along the rest of the heavy riffing!
What’s planned for We Dream Alone in 2018 and beyond?
HF: As for now, the album is planned to be released the 28th of February along a short tour in Spain and Portugal in April. We are also shooting a new music video which will be released this spring. The rest of the year is unplanned, help some brothers out and book us!
Order We Dream Alone’s ÆTHER when it’s released February 28th from Bandcamp HERE
Follow We Dream Alone for tour dates and more dissections of happiness on Facebook HERE