Dream Tröll

Dream Tröll is one of the most promising newcomers of the heavy metal genre that are both talented and hardworking. After the presentation of the band’s latest EP, Grande Rock had a chat with guitarists Matt Baldwinson & Paul Carter about the band’s future plans and heavy metal music among other various metal things…
Dream Tröll band pic

Hello Matt Baldwinson & Paul Carter and welcome to Grande Rock! Thank you for joining us today! First of all, how did the stupendously wondrous name Dream Tröll come about? (It’s up there with Finland’s The Wandering Midget as far as super amusing monikers go!)…
Paul C: When the first album was getting close to being finished, we had the hard decision of naming the band. We had decided long before this that we wanted to grab people’s attention, and we needed a name that straddles the boundary between “Serious and Fun”.
Matt: Let’s face it – Heavy Metal can be a bit ridiculous to say the least! But equally amazing! Even if you love it as much as we do, you’ve gotta take a step back and objectively look at how ludicrous it can be; the themes, the imagery, the clichés… We’re not laughing at it; it’s more of an endearing tongue-in-cheek homage to something that has been part of us for most of our lives. We wanted a band name to reflect this. When we were thinking of band names, I quite liked the name “Falcon Hoof” (from Limmy’s Show), but it had already been taken... “Hammer Montana” was possibly a step too far!
Although I dig both Rob Stinger and Paul Walsh’ vocal styles, the latter’s arrival certainly provides the band with a new element and overall sound; do you mind me asking what inspired this development i.e. change of vocalist? Is it safe to assume he’s in for the long haul?
M: You can’t assume anything with Wildcard Walsh! Haha! Seriously! When we first started out writing, we were doing it purely for fun and with no objectives in mind. As we progressed we started to recognise the potential the music had. As the creative process progressed, the demands for the people involved increased; what Rob Stringer originally signed up for was no longer what was required from him. He was unable to meet the increasing demands of the writing and recording schedule. This made way for the Wildcard! We love the unique character that Walsh adds to the band; a lot of traditional metal bands have a very operatic vocal style, while Walsh adds a really cool expressive, almost bluesy twang to the music.
On both releases, the drums resound quite prominently, thus they’re a major contributing factor to Dream Troll’s stout production. In fact, said production is very good! Where were the albums recorded and by whom?
M: All 100% DIY! Si (drummer) and I recorded/engineered the drums at Silent City Studios – we’ve known Rob at Silent City for many years and he kindly rents the studio out to us. Si gets involved with the initial stage of the drum production then he quickly passes it over to me and the rest of the magic takes place in the Dream Cave; my home studio.
This question is rather related to “The Witch’s Curse” EP; obviously, the three tracks comprise a fabled narrative, what with Cyrian going all out (accursed as he may be) to rescue his damsel Isabella. That said, was the story line established over the music, or was it created with the intention of the musical composition revolving around it?  In other words, which came first, the music or the lyrics?!
M: The music came first. We had a lot of new music written by the time Walsh joined the band. In fact, we had almost enough music for a second album but we chose 3 songs to release as an EP to kinda showcase our new vocalist and to test the creative workflow and band dynamics before diving straight into the second album.
Paul C: We spent a good while with Walsh, who had created this fantastic narrative, drafting vocal phrasing and melodies over the songs we had chosen. This was the first time we had really heard his ideas and they certainly sounded different to the first album. Walsh brought a number of different styles to the original workings of the songs, and we love the bluesy overtones that come through.
At the end of “Blood Moon”, the listener is somewhat left in the lurch as to whether or not Cyrian manages to slay the evil witch and reclaim his flame (Isabella!)... Do they need to stay tuned in order to grasp the denouement? Or rather, does “The Witch’s Curse” stand alone thematically or will they’ll be new related developments in the future i.e. a highly anticipated sophomore release (or further EP)?
Paul C: In truth, we have deliberately left some gaps in the story and left some parts slightly ambiguous. One thing is for certain though – there is a huge twist in the tale. We’ve been gently hinting in a few subtle ways, be it on people’s artwork, hand drawn thank you notes with “clues”. Ultimately, we do anticipate doing a further EP in time, to tell the story of our characters.
Hence, have you set up a plan for the new full-length album? Have you thought of some new lyrical themes that you’re gonna deal with or are there any song-ideas ready or in the works yet?
M: We’re currently recording album number 2; 10 news songs, over 70 mins of music! We can all officially say that album 2 is kicking our ass!
Paul C: Lyrically, there will be a slight change from the music we have put out so far. Whilst we love the familiar imagery that can be easily associated with metal music (thinking of castles, battles, fantasy), we don’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves as a band only interested in this. There’re so many more subjects out there that we love playing around with. I’m sure you’ve picked up on the retro-80’s esque themes we’re working with at the moment. There’s a huge amount of imagery within this era so I’m sure it’ll keep us busy through the second album.
M: We’ve had some discussions recently about whether we’re going to continue to write in the same 3rd-person storytelling narrative style as the EP... We’ve come to the decision that we’re going to temporarily break away from this style for the second album and focus on writing straight-up catchy rock hooks. Don’t panic though, we will be returning to Cyrian story and fully indulging in the story telling style for a prequel to “The Witch’s Curse” very soon after the release of the 2nd album.
Can you tell us which are the similarities and the differences between your full-length debut and the new EP?
M: The different additional instrumentation on each release helps create a different sound and atmosphere. While the album was layered with subtle strings, pianos and the signature bell-like synth, we went with heavily layered with 80s style retro synths on the EP. Other than that I think we stick to a fairly consistent simple formula – we know exactly what the main ingredients are needed to create a Dream Troll song, it’s the other extra musical spices and seasoning that will change on each release. As previously mentioned, there’s a difference with the storytelling style of the EP compared with the lyrical writing style of the album.
Do you think the time is right to work with a label for your new release? Which label would be the ideal to work with?
M: We’ve had a lot of interest from record labels! I’ve lost count now! It doesn’t make sense to hand over 50% of Dream Troll to a record label to do a job that we’re currently doing very well and love doing ourselves. We love the direct interaction with our fans, which is why we’re very hesitant to bring in a ‘middle-man’. If we were to work with a label they would need to bring something to the table that we currently can’t achieve ourselves.
Are there any touring plans in the works? As well, which other bands would possibly share the bill?
M: Just local gigs at the moment with the potential of a few gigs further afield. The reality is, if you’re not Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, touring is very difficult these days! We’re not in a position to throw away our careers, get into debt just to chase a teenage rock n roll fantasy. Haha, that was the most un-rock n roll answer ever!! Basically, we’re focusing our energy into writing and recording new music at the moment which will hopefully make touring further afield easier in the future.
Ah, time for some /weird questions!!! What are some of the bands which greatly influenced the band's musicianship and/or style?
M: We listen to all different genres of rock/metal and I think they have influence on our style. The most obvious ones for me that have a direct influence on Dream Troll would be Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Guns n Roses, Megadeth, early Metallica, Queensryche, Children of Bodom, Devin Townsend, Ghost, Blind Guardian.
Name 3 essential metal (or rock) albums every self-respecting music fan needs to hear?
M: Impossible!!!! Ha! It’s impossible to narrow it down to just 3. OK… This is the best I can do… Iron Maiden – especially everything up until “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”. Megadeth – “Rust in Peace”. Queensryche – “Operation Mindcrime”. Devin Townsend – Pretty much everything he’s released! Death – “Sound of Perseverance”. It’s difficult to pick just one Children Of Bodom album, maybe “Are You Dead Yet?”. Emperor – “Prometheus”. For the old-school rockers saying modern metal is dead; listen to “Sumerlands”! That album is incredible! The first 4 Metallica albums and “Appetite for Destruction”.
Do you have a favourite 2017 release at all?
Paul C: My “favourites” tend to shift every few months however I find myself returning to certain albums over and over. From 2017, Havok – “Conformicide”, Sceptic Flesh – “Codex Omega”, Mastodon – “Emperor of Sand” and Morbid Angel – “Kingdoms Disdained” keep being replayed.
M: Leprous – “Manila”, Nightbringer – “Terra Damnata”, Brendon Small – “Galaktikon II”, Decapitated – “Anticult”, Mutoid Man – “War Moans”, Rope Sect – “Proselytes”. And how can I forget about II II II – “Frequency Illusion”!
What is your favourite comedy (can be a TV show, movie, play whichever!).
M: I’m a big comedy fan, especially League of Gentlemen, any of Chris Morris’ work, Alan Partridge, Limmy’s Show, Peep Show, Charlie Brooker, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Doug Stanhope, Eddie Izzard… Too many to mention!
Are you a (video) gamer at all?
M: No – there’s not enough free hours in my week to focus on music let alone gaming!! The last thing I need is to be getting addicted to playing computer games!
What was your coolest Halloween costume ever (either as a kid or grown-up!)?
M: Alan Partridge Zombie – Shower curtain, rubber bath mat, shower cap, kettle lead, tungsten tipped screws – Lovely stuff!
Which music kind can’t you bear to listen to at all?
M: I can respect any type of music which comes from a place of creativity and integrity. So that just about covers everything apart from pop!
Fill in the phrase… “Heavy Metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
M: The fans.
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
Paul C: Dave Mustaine!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
M: A few months into the future - I can’t wait to hear what the new Dream Troll songs sound like when they’re finished!!
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
M: Gangnam Style – so I could retire from my dayjob, set up my own recording studio in the countryside and spend my time writing/recording music.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extra-terrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
M: Mr Bungle – “Disco Volante”…
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife/life partner is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
Paul C: She wouldn’t….. so I’d be very surprised!
Thank you so much for taking the time to enlight those of us trolling the dream, and we here at Grande Rock wish the band much future success!
Paul C: Thank you from all of us!!