Dreadnought’s New Album Represents “The Endless” Power of Change (Interview)
Dreadnought’s new record The Endless represents a huge change in the band personnel-wise: with the departure of their original vocalist and keyboardist Lauren Viera, guitarist Emily Shreve picks up from where she left off. What has come about with this album in particular is a shift away from woodwind elements and more of an emphasis on general vocal dynamics in front of an ever-changing heavy music machine. The Denver-based progressive metal band formed with many different influences, many of which are still felt within the confines of this powerful four-piece, but still more are likely to be uncovered. They may have changed a bit since Emergence, but longtime fans will be right at home.
We chatted with vocalist/guitarist Kelly Shilling about what these changes have meant for the band creatively as well as what it was like to play as a part of 2 disparate festivals in Fire In The Mountains and Psycho Las Vegas. We also spoke about their subsequent tour with Elder, Ruby The Hatchet, and Belzelbong, what songs from The Endless have garnered the best live praise, and which songs they are looking forward to breaking out live. We continued on the topic of the initial response to their new record and what the future holds for Dreadnought. It seems like the plan for this musical machine is to continue to get inspired and put that inspiration out for all to hear. Toss on The Endless and read on below:
What are some of the biggest changes/challenges Dreadnought has dealt with since the release of your last album Emergence?
The biggest change has been the departing of our original keyboardist / vocalist Lauren Vieira. The pandemic gave us all new perspectives on life and music and with that came the inevitable change. All is well for both parties, we'll all be family forever! Aside from that, after writing and recording The Endless, we realized we need to have a second guitar player in order to fully represent the songs in a live setting. Ryan Simms has since joined the band on guitar alongside Emily Shreve who has taken over keyboard and vocal duties! We are so happy to have them both on board and look forward to where this new chapter takes us.
How did you decide on the extreme dynamic shifts in your music?
We decide on the shifts by feel. It all depends on the energy of a part and if we feel it declining or rising. Sometimes we will try both a rise in energy and a fall and choose what feels best, where sometimes the shift happens without much experimentation needed. The genre mixing comes naturally to us as when we started Dreadnought we wanted to play all of the music we love, which is quite a mix. We didn't want to settle for one style and now we have our own.
Where does most of your collective inspiration come from when in the songwriting process?
We feed off of each other very well so I think a lot of inspiration comes from the interaction of hearing each other play. Anytime I bring a riff and/or a vocal idea to the band and they add their flavor to it, it opens a ton of creative ideas. It's a very gratifying process.
What are some of the most unique elements of The Endless when compared to your other albums?
I think the vocals on this album really shine in comparison to our previous works, and I think that is a result of years of practice and dialing in our craft. We wrote more intentionally with the vocals in mind, forming riffs and movements around what the vocals would do. We also wanted to experiment more with synthesis on this record and I wanted to simplify my guitar playing. We've learned over the years that space is important and we have to be intentional with how many notes or rhythms each of us are playing at a given time. I think this shows.
The beauty in your music especially on songs like “Worlds Break” is just marvelous, what helped to shape that collective piece for the band?
Thank you! That was the first song we wrote for the new record, beginning in early 2020, so perhaps the darkness and uneasiness of the pandemic's beginning gave way to its formulation. It was an incredibly anxious time that translated to the feelings within this song, brooding, but reaching for hope wherever it could be found.
What were Psycho Las Vegas and Fire In The Mountains like this year?
They were both amazing! They are very different festivals, so it was a pleasure to have both experiences. Playing in front of the Grand Tetons is incredibly magical. Everyone is there to revel in two powerful forces, music and nature, which lends itself to a strong feeling of community. We go to Fire In The Mountains every year, even when we aren't playing, it is a truly unique and powerful experience that I recommend to anyone that wants to get away from the daily grind of city life.
Psycho Las Vegas is just as fun, but has a very different feeling. It is entangled within the party and chaos of Las Vegas which is exciting in its own way. I love the mix of artists they include and watching music in a pool is top tier. We always love playing this festival too.
What road memories have you made on your follow up tour with Elder?
So many! The shows have all been wonderful and it has been a pleasure to share the stage with Elder, Ruby The Hatchet, and Belzebong. It is all moving much too quickly and will be over before we know it, so we are really trying to soak in each moment. Everyone in each band is so kind, Elder are absolute pros and one of our favorite aspects of this tour is watching them every night. We've also been happy to reconnect with old friends from all over the country after what feels like an endless break from touring.
What has the overall response to the album been like?
It has been incredibly posititve! We did not include woodwinds on this record, instead we focused more on vocals, with new vocal techniqiues being introduced, and so far it seems the changes have rendered a positive response. We spent a lot of time demoing and making sure that every note had a purpose. We are so proud of this record and thankful to Pete de Boer at World Famous Studios for making it sound immaculate.
What is your favorite new track to play live? What track(s) garner the best crowd reactions?
“Gears of Violent Endurance” has been a ripper of a live song. When writing the song we all were excited to unleash it live, and it has since proven to garner a great crowd response. I'm really excited for us to unleash “Liminal Veil” live too.
What are you most looking forward to after the tour ends?
Making more plans for Dreadnought! We are all feeling really inspired by this tour and are going to keep the Dread-train rolling. We have a lot of ideas for the future and are very excited for this new chapter of Dreadnought.
Anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you to everyone for your support and for checking out our new record!!
The Endless released August 26th via Profound Lore.