Brooklyn-born, LA-based band Dreamers—Nick Wold (vocals/guitar), Nelson (bass/vocals) and Jacob Wick (drums)—burst onto the scene in 2014 with their first single “Wolves (You Got Me).” After the success of their debut self-titled EP, they ended up in a songwriting frenzy, penning over 100 tracks, many of which found their way onto the band’s debut LP, This Album Does Not Exist. The album, featuring singles “Drugs” and “Sweet Disaster,” confirmed the band’s commitment to producing music that blends genres ranging from pop to jazz. Following the LP’s release in 2016, they brought their eclectic grunge-pop sound to stages around the country, including a stop at SXSW.
We caught up with Dreamers before they hit the road on The Low Lifes Tour with The Griswolds (kicking off February 8) to talk about style tribes, flannels and the horrors of cargo pants.
Paste: Is fashion something you’ve always been interested in or is it more of an afterthought?
Nelson: From the time we started listening to bands in our early adolescence, fashion has been intrinsically tied to music. Like a lot of people, we looked to the bands we love to inform our personal sense of style. It’s an identifier. We were the kids wearing flannels and doc martins and Nirvana t-shirts. The clothes we wore made a statement about who we were and more importantly who we wanted to be.
Paste: How would you describe the clothing people wore where you grew up?
Nelson: Where I grew up (Nelson) was a very rural place in Maryland. There wasn’t a Nordstroms around [laughs]. A lot of the clothes reflect a rugged rural way of life. Basic. Which is why fashion was so important growing up. If you went off the path, you stood out. You were stereotyped. But also, you put yourself in a clique and like-minded people could easily find you. It was one look and “you play guitar? So do I. What are you into? We should jam.” Style is nonverbal communication and community building. It identifies you by tribe.
Paste: Who are some of your style idols?
Nelson: Iggy Pop. Lou Reed. David Bowie. Kurt Cobain. The Strokes. Currently, we love The 1975—stylish lads all around.
Paste: Is there a movie, TV show or music video that’s had a large influence on your sense of fashion?
Nelson: Too many to name! Everything from Twin Peaks to The Doors movie to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There is this Jesus and Mary Chain video where they look cool as fuck.
Paste: Do you dress any differently in your normal day-to-day than you do onstage?
Nelson: Not since we were able to quit the day jobs and do this full time. Sometimes, I’ll walk to the corner market in my pajamas and hope no one sees me. Actually, I think we do secretly hope to run into someone. A musician first waking up for the day is a comical thing. It takes a few hours and lots of coffee to even know what era we’re living in.
Paste: Do you feel that you dress more for yourself or for others?
Nelson: We definitely dress for ourselves, with the understanding that that’s how others will perceive us. But style is personal. Assimilation won’t get you anywhere, unless you just want to blend in at the office. The clothes you put on your back, how you wear your hair, these are the first and fundamental pronouncements of, “Here I am, world” that you make in the day. We want the world to take notice.
Paste: If you had to sum up your style in three words, what would they be?
Nelson: Classic, Cool, Fun. Or “I guess, dunno.”
Paste: What is the worst fashion trend that ever existed?
Nelson: Hate answering this… we don’t like to talk shit and EVERYTHING passé eventually comes back around again. But we’ll go for an easy one: Cargo Pants. They always look like shit.
Paste: How does fashion relate to music?
Nelson: Music is fashion. They evolve and revolve with the times and culture in the same way. When you think of a great time in your life, an important era, you remember how everyone looked and what the soundtrack of the moment was. They can both be completely superficial and yet the most important reflections of self in a person’s, or entire culture’s, life.
Now excuse us while we tune our guitars and polish our boots.