Evan Linger (Skeletonwitch bassist) and Julia Gaeta (former Albez Duz guitarist) cut their teeth in metal bands. However, both also had a lifelong affinity for darkwave and punk music. During the pandemic, the pair corresponded, and Linger ultimately asked Gaeta if she’d be game to try singing to some music he’d written.
The collaboration took off and the result is the Siouxsie Sioux-meets-Killing Joke-meets-Joy Division project Dreamwheel. The music is melancholy yet breezy and Gaeta’s ethereal voice is the perfect accompaniment. We’re streaming the track “Chain Of Fear” below — as you listen check out a Q&A with the duo. Dreamwheel will release a two-song cassette in the near future – watch their Bandcamp page for details.
How did this project start?
Evan Linger: I’ve had a lifelong love affair with early punk and pop music, like the type of stuff we had on LPs when I was a kid at home. I never really got over the impact it had on me, and over the years I’ve had ideas about a band that sounds like a combination of the stuff I took in during my formative years. With Dreamwheel I finally said: “I’m going to see if I CAN do a band like this.” Metal is very close to my heart but it’s not a big part of my musical DNA. So doing something that reaches back a bit further into my history as a musician, or even predating that – just a listener – felt like something I needed to do.
Julia Gaeta: I’d just moved to Paris. We went into our second lockdown the week I arrived. I was tinkering away at new musical stuff every night. Evan and I had been longtime acquaintances, but he dropped me a note saying he dug a short vocal clip I’d posted, that he’d had some written, and asked if I’d be up for giving it a go on vocals. When I heard the tracks, I was really blown away. Not just by how cool they were, but also by the fact that it seemed we both had such similar goals musically and a compatible trajectory. It’s so hard finding people on the same wavelength and with the same drive, so it was uplifting.
Can you tell us a bit about the track we’re premiering today?
EL: “Chain of Fear” is the second single we’re releasing. It’s a bit of a contrast, musically and lyrically, to the first track “Wild Days” we put out a few weeks ago. We went a little colder and darker on this track than our center, but it fits the current vibe and maybe shows a little bit of our heavier influences – subtly, of course.
You both come from metal backgrounds – did you have an itch to do something different stylistically?
EL: It’s probably less of an itch than a “coming full circle” for me. With metal, you often have this tight framework where you can’t deviate too much stylistically or show off your influences in terms of other music styles. This sometimes forces people to really get interesting to keep people engaged. In metal now, we’re seeing a lot of shoegaze and goth rock peek in and that’s created some interesting subgenres. But it can be creatively stifling to say: “yeah man we can take a little from here and here but NOT here and here.” I wanted to create easier parameters with Dreamwheel where we can be a bit lighter.
JG: I’d gone years being laser-focused on guitar but was lacking inspiration, so I started experimenting more with vocals and electronics last year. It felt great to explore other territories both genre-wise and with different instruments. Like Evan, I grew up on many styles of music – from classical to pop. Metal feels like home, but creatively speaking, I’d put myself in a box I didn’t know I was in for a long time. Doing this kind of project has been a breath of fresh air and a necessary step to challenge myself.
What are plans after the album is released given where things stand with the pandemic?
EL: The project made me realize that the game is really different now. Going full gas 12 years ago meant playing 200 shows a year for less than a living wage in hopes to maybe get some exposure. I’ve lived that life and it’s cool but it’s actually pretty diametrically opposed to having a band be as creative, natural, and fulfilling as possible. It’s hard to be a good player and songwriter and have to sleep in a van most of your life. We’d love to bring Dreamwheel out when that’s possible but we’re just focusing on the craft of writing and putting out thoughtful and, hopefully, timeless music. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and if I take one good thing away from this pandemic it’s that I finally found some time to do it.