Bryan Hamilton is a producer, organizer, artist and all around badass here in San Antonio, TX. He’s founder and director of Dreamland Collective, a music house with a record label, production services and content creation capabilities. Dreamland Collective also organizes charitable events and approaches event production through the lens of positivity. I’m excited for this music project Bryan ‘s created called “Aliens with Halos”; it’s a full band collaboration with vocalist Cayman Julia Robinson, Jeff Palacios, Mark Navarro and Lauren Bergmann.
Aliens With Halos are self-described as trip-hop (on their FB) and while that term is loosely defined and thrown around, the songs I’ve had the privilege to listen to, do in fact have the sound and feel of DJ Shadow and Portishead. They don’t reiterate the two bands or the genre, they’re an evolution of those sounds. Like I’ve said before: the overall sound of a song doesn’t necessarily sound like the era from which the parts were borrowed. Meaning: just because a beat or a sequence sounds ’90s, doesn’t mean the overall feel of the song will be ’90s. We witnessed this with late ’00s synthpop and the ’80s.
The first single off the new album is The Source, an eerily calming song that takes full advantage of negative space. The song is very careful and balanced. Hamilton displays his production skills, pulls together key pieces and creates a finishing gloss. Cayman’s voice has a soulful cadence that’s both calculated and full of all the feels. It’s an amazing song and one of the best to come out of San Antonio in a while.
Are you the founder/creator of Dreamland Collective?
Bryan: Yes, Dreamland Collective is a collective that has been in the works over the past few years. It officially launched May 2014. It is an umbrella of various artists I collaborate with on music, videos, art, graphic design, literature, film, events and catering. The goal is to create with a positive message, create a positive environment and inspire others to do so in the process. Dreamland Collective has a precise intention of enlightenment through the arts in everything we put out.
What’s the story behind the creation of Aliens with Halos?
Bryan: I have had this project in the works over the past 3 to 4 years. I have tried to work with at least 4 to 5 different female vocalists at one time or another and it just never came to fruition, until finally meeting Cayman through Jeff. This particular album is a group of songs I have produced over the past 4 years.
The concept of the album is a narrative based off of the silent full length film we will be releasing this year called “Circus Of The Self”. It is a story about a girl with a circus in her head ultimately leading her down a path of spiritual self realization. We are in the last stages of the album and I am hoping to have it done by the end of this month. Looking forward to pushing it out as far as possible.
Cayman: For me Aliens with Halos began in such a funny way. I had met Jeff years before when we worked together at this small vegan restaurant and he had heard me singing on a couple occasions just for fun and fast forward to the future, Bryan had mentioned that he had this incredible project that he had been trying to finish and needed a vocalist that could stick with the project and Jeff recommended me. When he (Jeff) brought the idea up to me I was immediately interested in it and agreed to be of any help i could be. When we started recording it was at first just a bunch of late nights and scribbling down lyrics and figuring out how to make then sound good with the instrumental tracks Bryan had already created. Also, i had never done anything like this before. i was so nervous that i just wasn’t going to be what they were looking for.. long story short, here we are.
What does each member contribute - are they on other DC projects too? Any of their own we should know about?
Bryan: On this particular album I have handled the bulk of the music and production. I wrote 2 songs with Jeff Palacios and 1 with Nathanial Hughes (lives in Ohio). They have handled all of the guitar parts for the album and some of the basslines. We are now incorporating Lauren (lead guitarist from Sandoz) and Mark Navarro (drummer Frontage/Sandoz) to the live set. Also on the album, we collaborated with Mike Evans and “Circus Of The Self” director Kavi Karnapura for some of the lyrics.
Cayman: Lauren, Jeff, and Nathanial are phenomenal guitarists / bassist and they can practically whip up anything Bryan, myself or any other members bring up. having all there of them together just creates this constant flow of creativeness and individuality. Every since Bryan gave me the sort of outline for the lyrics and songs (based off the film Circus of the Self) Ive been so captured by the amount of sincerity and creativity this guy puts forward. I think it is important to note that every one of the band members are like family to each other. we just work through things and are open to communication and new ideas from the other members. I’m always super impressed by each of them.
I’ve heard a few clips on Instagram, is there a confirmed release date? Anything available now?
Bryan:We currently releasing a song called “The Source” available on our soundcloud and bandcamp. It is a song about God being the reservoir from which everything emanates. We will also be shooting our 1st video for another song entitled “The Absolute Path” in March. The album should be ready to go late summer with the film release.
What else can we expect from AWH and/or Dreamland this year? more shows, more short films?
Bryan: We are also having our first full set as a band on February 28th at Espresso Gallery. It is a Shoe and Toiletry drive for Roland’s Shoe Rack and Refuge Port Ministry. Our goal is to collect 50 pairs of new or gently used shoes for kids and as many toiletries as possible for RPM. We are definitely going to release more videos and coordinate more community oriented events (family friendly) with non-profit organizations to help raise awareness on particular issues at hand. The music is a very strong tool in doing so. I have a bunch of ideas in the works as well as finished projects to last for sometime. Looking forward to sharing this to the world. It has been a lot of work to get through and I am grateful to collaborate with such talented individuals, otherwise its impossible.
Cayman:I think it just important to note that we constantly are reaching out for ideas and input from our friends and audiences and we have had a really great response so far.
For more information about Dreamland Collective and Aliens With Halos:
Aliens With Halos will perform for the first time as a full live band February 28.