Nik Fackler was probably shaking the sand out of his shoes when I got ahold of him to discuss his outfit InDreama. The musician/filmmaker just finished escaping the Los Angeles asphalt for an evening of ocean gazing, only to be met by a prolonged traffic jam on the returning commute. He needed some nature, he says, after spending the day putting his projects in line before his two-week leave to Omaha the next day.
With eight current projects — since first trekking to LA last summer with two — Fackler clearly hasn't become a beach bum. Over the past year, he’s finished InDreama's debut record and then some, collaborating with Flowers Forever pal Derek Pressnall (Tilly and the Wall) through their dance music project Icky Blossoms — swapping ideas and stepping in the studio whenever he’s back in Omaha. This time, Fackler’s back to celebrate the release of a four-way, double 7-inch split featuring Indreama, Icky Blossoms, Conduits and Darren Keen persona Touch People9 p.m. tonight (April 15) at the Slowdown.
InDreama’s lineup is quite the array. Capgun Coup/No I’m The Pilot’s Sam Martin isn’t quite the beholder of the band’s art-rock style, Fackler says, “but I think he likes the challenge.” He accompanies Fackler with vocals and guitar.
A New Year music video by Nik Fackler, starring Capgun's Sam Martin
Film industry friend Aaron Gum is the poet on synth, he says. Percussion will be on the double with Craig D. (Tilly, David Dondero) and add-on Kevin Donahue.
And then there’s Dereck Higgins. The local bass virtuoso has been deeply connected to Fackler, he says, since Fackler's puppy days as a 21-year-old picking up the guitar with The Family Radio. So it’s not surprising that Higgins influences Fackler’s first legitimate LP. Fackler definitely did some growing first, though.
“Family Radio, I look back and sort of feel like that was learning to play music,” he says, “cause as soon as I learned guitar I kinda started a band, and was sort of putting it all together. But then once we recorded the music, I didn’t like how it sounded.”
InDreama picks up from where his first band left off. Initially just a recording project, Fackler found his bearings with recording and production through experimentation. He also took the time to feel out the sound, with the goal of harnessing something interesting, not normal.
“InDreama is sort of my way of learning how to make an atmosphere for a song to exist in,” Fackler says, “which I think I learned a lot from working on Lovely, Still, and growing as an artist over those two years,” he says of his 2008 first feature film, shot in Omaha.
The album is set for release by this summer on Slumber Party Records. It’s untitled, and may never have a name to put to its 12 tracks, he says.
“The world that I was living in when I was writing, mixing and making the record isn’t the world that I live in now, internally and mentally,” Fackler says. “So it’s sort of weird to name something when I’m not connected to it anymore.”
Fackler began writing the music as he traveled from film festival to film festival promoting Lovely, Still. The creative free time was a nice change from being 100 percent busy with the film, he says. Entirely new experiences and feelings, as well as falling in and out of love with a girl, shaped the album’s lyrics and variant of tones. He made sure to leave behind genre limitations and any doubts about what he was creating, he says. All musical expression had to be captured.
If there’s one word to describe the album, Fackler says, it would be eccentric. Interests in prog rock and classical music, thanks to Higgins, are mustered in with the experimental — the quality that really glares golden with an incredible range of sound elements, percussive and synthesized. Fackler touches totally different spectrums of vocals, something he says represents different characters within a story, on a journey depicted in a world called Dreama. In no way is he necessarily trying to sing like himself.
Make sure to check out the dreamy track “New Feeling,” an HN exclusive stream! And stream two additional tracks at their MySpace page. Psst: free downloads at Fackler’s Soundcloud page.
And possibly the most interesting detail: The album’s dynamic nods to a classical music listening experience (see the nine-minute electro-cadence epic “Exodus from Reunion, A + Storm ^ Great = End”).
“It has its moments where you’re supposed to reflect,” he says. “It will be very slow, but when it gets to a moment of intensity, it can break into something else.”
Listening to these songs, you probably wouldn’t believe that they were all recorded on GarageBand by Fackler on his laptop, using only the built-in microphone. He opted not to rerecord the lo-fi tracks when it came to bringing it all together for mixing, which he did get professionally done by friend Ashley Miller (Sscion) at his secluded Kansas City farmhouse.
Much of InDreama’s current lineup assembled around a reunion show for Fackler's parents' band. He decided it was a good excuse to assemble a band to play his new songs. Fackler’s parents, Doug and Denise Fackler, played guitar and sang with the 1970s Omaha acid blues band Bumpy Action. InDreama got booed off stage at the reunion.
“As soon as we got into the weird, six-minute drone,” he says, “people were like, ‘Get off the stage.’ And then my mom came on and was like, ‘You guys have to be done now.’ It was like the perfect, mythological first-show-ever, complete disaster show that every band has to go through. Like in That Thing You Do.”
Fackler does another (official) first show with dance-pop project Icky Blossoms at the release show. Icky’s songs were introduced last fall at the Slowdown during a Flowers Forever opening set. But they hadn’t officially taken the Icky name. In technical terms, it’s the band’s first show with a full Icky set.
With Fackler usually always writing, and Pressnall writing the fourth Tilly and the Wall album, the two find themselves lending their poppier tunes to the Icky project.
“I think the intent behind it is to write songs that are catchy and poppy that have interesting twists on them. So it’s kind of a different thing,” he says. “It’s sort of becoming more producer-like. Me and Derek are producing these songs that we’re writing. But working with different people, for fun, made with the intent of them being dancey.”
Flowers Forever/Icky Blossoms live
Far from the beaches of LA, Fackler looks forward to another dose of much-needed nature away from the concrete jungle — in an actual jungle in the rainforests of Gabon, Africa. He travels there for two weeks of work on a low-budget documentary-like project in June. Other musicians are also involved in Fackler’s spontaneous project.
“It’s more just like intuitive filmmaking, like guerrilla,” he says, “going out and just trying to capture a moment.”
He says his album release and summer tour will likely follow the African adventure.
The rest of his filmmaking forecast includes a mythological epic, an 1800s coming-of-age period piece in New England and Tim Kasher’s Good Life album-accompanied film Help Wanted Nights, which they hope to get off the ground with Fackler’s industry connections.
Fackler has also been tediously working on inventing a new style of puppetry, his initial reason for going out to L.A. It’s for a children’s movie starring a sock monkey. Called digi-nette, he describes it as basic puppetry with enhanced realism using digital effects.
After having his share of primates, real and stuffed, Fackler says he may be at work again shooting in Omaha on a film project with Pressnall. No more details to spare on that one.
“The main goal is to make as many things as possible,” he says. “I don’t know why I gotta do it, I just am supposed to.”