Editor’s Note: Kevin Cali, vocalist of Swiss-metal band Dreamshade, joins Madness To Creation for a mental health conversation. In this mental health conversation with Madness To Creation, Kevin of Dreamshade discusses how they made music through the Covid-19 pandemic, how they were effected by it and how their home country Switzerland has dealt with the pandemic. Dreamshade released their latest album entitled “A Pale Blue Dot” independently, which is based off of Carl Sagan’s novel “Pale Blue Dot”, which was released in 1984. The album features the singles “Stone Cold Digital”, “Question Everything” and “Shanghai Nights.” Fans can find Dreamshade at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: A Pale Blue Dot was released on March 5th, what were the major challenges creating this album given the Covid-19 pandemic? Also, does it tie in with the book, if it does, how so?
Kevin Cali: The approach in songwriting during this pandemic period has led us to discover a new way to compose and work together. Working remotely and not being able to confront each other face to face as usual was certainly a novelty for us. This did not negatively affect the way of working, on the contrary it almost seems to have speeded up some processes that perhaps in the past had seemed more cumbersome. Despite the difficulties we encountered due to the lockdown, we did not let ourselves be discouraged and continued to work with enthusiasm. Everything came out so naturally and without any forcing that the album took shape in no time.
We learned to appreciate who we are and what we do. Selfishness and individualism have no place in the bigger picture, and this makes more and more sense to us as we wrote the record just before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and most of it was recorded and produced during lockdown, with a very different approach and experience than what we’re used to. This was a very important lesson for us as human beings.
The title was obviously inspired by Carl Sagan’s famous book “Pale Blue Dot”. We were looking for something that contained the meaning of both the importance and the futility of life as we know it. A distant look at humanity and our planet as a whole. Everything that is important to us on earth is so insignificant out there in the Universe.
Madness To Creation: How has Switzerland been coping with the Covid-19 pandemic? Were there lockdowns?
Kevin Cali: I believe that as in the rest of the world, Switzerland has dealt with the lockdown as best it could. It was and continues to be a delicate and difficult moment. The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns is affecting the economic situation of many people, families and companies. Extraordinary aid measures are in place to overcome the difficulties due to the limitations of economic and working activities. Many sectors have been affected and companies have suffered enormous losses.
We are living in a unique historical period in which we are increasingly distancing ourselves from each other. We must not be discouraged and as far as possible remain positive. We will all be back to the LIGHT soon!
Madness To Creation: How much do you all miss the stage?
Kevin Cali: We all miss it for sure! A concert is not just music and performance but it is a set of emotions that follow one another and that contribute to making the moment memorable both for us and for our fans. Getting face to face with the people who are there to enjoy your music is a surreal experience especially when we understand that there are guys who have been following us from the very beginning and spend all their energy singing and partying with us.
Madness To Creation: What’s the big plans for a release celebration with A Pale Blue Dot?
Kevin Cali: We are moving to promote the record in the best possible way and social media are helping us a lot in this period. Surely all these new social platforms and apps can help us out and it’s our interest to learn how to take advantage of this new era and use everything at our disposal to promote the new album and have greater visibility. I think it’s also a good thing to be able to create this contact with our listeners to promote all the news about the band.
Madness To Creation: From a mental health perspective, you had 517 Dreamshade fans sing along to “Save This”, via WhatsApp, how did that impact your music? What was it like having your fans singing to your music so passionately?
Kevin Cali: It was definitely a way to make the fans feel closer to each other and us. We had no idea how things would turn out. But I’m happy with the significance this part of writing the album had. Making people feel close to each other is part of the magic that music creates. We owe who we are today to our listeners too and it was important for us to include them at this time and in this song. “Save This” means save and hold on to what you love and make you feel alive. And that includes our loved ones, our friends, our passions and life as a whole. I would say that we can be satisfied with the final result. It’s as we expected and the fact of having everyone sing as he wanted helped to make the choir even more “real.” The idea of different styles of voices allowed us to have more frequencies that together sound like a huge stadium choir. The work to put them together was long but necessary to make them sound well together. We spent hours on it but in the end we managed to find a good balance between them and the music.
Madness To Creation: How was the collaboration with John of Darkest Hour? What were some things that you learned from him?
Kevin Cali: We’ve been listening to Darkest Hour since we were kids. They were one of the bands that inspired our sound and it is a collaboration that we have always wanted to do and that we finally managed to achieve. Fernando (former guitarist) has been collaborating and playing with Darkest Hour for some time and it is mainly thanks to him that we were able to make contact with John who immediately made himself available for this collaboration. A man with an exquisite soul, a very open-minded person with whom we felt comfortable right away. There is always something to learn from artists like him who have been traveling the world for years bringing their music beyond all limits. He has given us an incredible passion for what he does and the love he has for music. It was a great experience!
Madness To Creation: You collaborated with Italian pop star Rose Villain, what were some of your favorite moments working with her?
Kevin Cali: We have enjoyed Rose as an artist for years. She had caught our attention a few years ago with some feat she had done. We immediately fell in love with her voice! Having her as a guest and working with her was a unique experience. An artist with a truly unique voice and with great character and style. Our drummer Fry and she have known each other for many years but we didn’t know it at the time. They went to the same music college in Los Angeles and then also played in a band together. It was a lot of fun and casual how we came to collaborate with her. It all started during the last tour in China, one day we were waiting in a hotel lobby, Fry was sitting next to Fella and he was writing a message to Rose. By chance Fernando’s eye fell on Fry’s phone and seeing that he was writing to her he was amazed and exclaimed: “Wait! Are you writing to Rose Villain? But do you know her? Whaaaat? haha!” Btw it was really hilarious. Here’s what I remember with pleasure of this collaboration.
Madness To Creation: We cover mental health at Madness To Creation. Self-care is so important, what helps you when times get difficult?
Kevin Cali: Personally, thanks to this period I was able to put my head and my life in order. Not that it didn’t go well before but when you are always in a hurry you don’t notice many things happening around you and you take many more for granted. Life runs next to you and you don’t even notice it. Let’s say that I managed to take some time for myself, my family and my life in general. This lockdown has somehow recharged my batteries, it has given me a new enthusiasm. I took advantage of this situation to reorganize myself and be ready to start again when the time comes.
Madness To Creation: What’s the first thing you want to do when this is all over?
Kevin Cali: I will simply try to fully enjoy every moment lived with family and friends and to savor the beauty of life in its entirety.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add about Dreamshade?
Kevin Cali: One of the proudest things about these 15 years of Dreamshade is the relationship that we’ve been able to build with our fans. It’s incredible to think that many of these people started to listen to this band so many years ago and stuck with us for such a long time, grew up listening to our music and are still so excited about our new releases. That to me is the best gift ever and we want to thank you all! Hope to see you soon guys on the road! Love ya!
And there you have it! Check out Dreamshade’s music video for “Question Everything” below: