Static Daydream

Interview by Kaylah Rodriguez
Issue 34 • December 2015 • Fredericksburg

By focusing on the studio recording first, this darkwave band has captured a sound with all the emotional force of a live show.

Music video for “More Than Today” by Static Daydream

Static Daydream is the latest sonic brainchild of Paul Baker, founding member of the shoegaze cult favorites Skywave and Ceremony. His girlfriend, Jamie Casey, makes up the other half of this melancholic noise-pop duo hailing from Fredericksburg. Underneath the dense layers of fuzz distortion and vocal effects, the couple stick to a refreshingly pure motive—staying true to the music that inspires them.

Paul and Jamie became romantically involved in 2012 and embarked on their musical collaborations almost immediately thereafter. “We started dating and I discovered that Jamie had a wonderful singing voice. She was kind enough to participate,” Paul recalled sincerely. That year, they began recording what would become their first EP, The Only One, a preview of things to come. This past August, in partnership with Moon Sound Records and Saint Marie Records, they released the full version, a self-titled eleven-track album that demonstrates a remarkable level of polish and conceptual focus. Although singing had always been a passion for Jamie, the recording studio was an unfamiliar environment. “It was a completely different experience to be singing with headphones,” she explained, “It was very disorienting at first.” Despite this, there is no hint of uneasiness in her vocals as they sync flawlessly with Paul’s on the punchy, soaring opener “More Than Today,” then shift hauntingly to the slightly darker “Run Into the Night.” Paul’s seasoned songwriting combines with Jamie’s fresh interpretation to create a sound that is genuine and unaffected. While the album’s musical approach isn’t a dramatic departure from the distortion-fueled darkwave jams of Paul’s past projects, the sound carries a subtle complexity that sets it apart. Each carefully placed track flows sublimely into the next, leading you on a dreamy lo-fi journey through post-punk guitar rhythms, wistful mid-tempo sequences, and moody layers of reverb haze.

Part of what made this album’s writing process distinct was that they had no intention of performing the songs in a live setting. Paul revealed, “When I started Static Daydream, I honestly had no interest in doing shows.” He wanted to create an album that truly showcased the music. By approaching the songs without the usual expectation of the stage as their primary destination, he was left in a situation where he “felt more free in terms of recording” and could remain focused solely on the sound. The result is a skillfully crafted soundscape awash in texture and marked by a palatable sincerity.

As tempting as it is for many artists to identify themselves with a lengthy list of genres (and subgenres), Static Daydream is hesitant to claim any such labels. They prefer to let the music speak for itself. “Different people tend to interpret it their own way based on their experiences,” Jamie explained. Rather than catering to a specific genre or scene, they are more concerned with creating something that is authentically their own and, in turn, inspiring other artists to do the same thing. “I think the local scene is better when there are more groups out there doing diverse things,” Paul affirmed, “I hope that we will be one of those groups that is doing something different.”

These two have clearly found a certain magic in this project, and they seem to be self-aware of that accomplishment. “Sometimes, I can start going in every different direction,” Paul admitted, “but Jamie helps bring me back together and figure out where I was trying to go.” Paul has been a continual source of encouragement for Jamie as well, especially in becoming at ease with the recording process. “I feel like I get more comfortable every time I record,” she confided, grinning, “I plan to continue to sing.”

Since finishing the album, Paul and Jamie have hardly missed a beat before diving into a slew of new projects together. Between writing new material and working out the mechanics of the possibility of gigging, Static Daydream has also managed to contribute to several compilations. The highlight was definitely a cover of “Something’s Wrong” for a tribute to The Jesus and Mary Chain’s album Psychocandy, a long-time favorite and solid source of inspiration for both Paul and Jamie.

In spite of all these commitments, their focus remains as clear as it was from the start. Static Daydream possesses the kind of authenticity that demands respect, so remaining true to their sound will always be priority number one. Paul clearly summed up this intention by telling me, “I just want to keep making music and do it as well as I can.”

Listen to the full album at staticdaydream.com.

Photography by Kaylah Rodriguez

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