Bingeworthy

Dreadlight Tears Up Portland’s Music Scene

An interview with alternative/hard rock duo Dreadlight

Dreadlight is composed of besties Kandra Tolvstad and Toria Beck. They’re a “pleasantly headbangable” alternative/hard rock duo that’s pretty badass. I talked with Kandra and Toria about how the band has influenced their friendship, the hunt for the perfect drummer, and their aspirations to have their music inspire people to be their best selves.

Did you guys become friends because of the band or did you start the band after you were already friends?

A little bit of both actually! Initially, we met each other through a music program at our school. We were both very shy and our teacher really pushed us to collaborate. Since then, both our friendship and our music grew simultaneously.

How has the band influenced your friendship? Do you fight often or has it been smooth sailing?

We actually get lots of comments on how well we work together and handle conflict. We rarely ever fight. Having a ‘business’ together has really strengthened our personal relationship and forced us to work through rough patches while being best friends has made all of the hard work and long days a lot easier!

You’re both from Oregon City—how’s the music scene down there?

Even though we’re from Oregon City were actually much more a part of the Portland music scene. We’re really just starting to see what it’s like in our area but so far we’ve met a lot of awesome and diverse musicians. Portland is really all over the place genre-wise, but regardless of genre, people here are always eager to support each other and help out when they can.

We were both very shy and our teacher really pushed us to collaborate. Since then, both our friendship and our music grew simultaneously.

Any plans for a future tour?

Dreadlight is definitely planning on touring! There are no solid plans yet, as we’ve mainly been focused on developing a following in our area, but it’s definitely something we are going to do soon!

MoPop made an interesting statement about your lyrics:
“Dreadlight thrives in the space between dreams and reality, demanding action in the face of harsh truths while simultaneously exploring worlds beyond our own. Their lyrics emphasize the importance of balancing the two sides, to both make sense of things and to carve out a way to move forward.” What do you make of that in regards to your lyrics?

We’ve always cared a lot about balance and we try to convey that in our lyrics as much as possible. We think it’s vital to recognize all aspects of life: the good, the bad, the confusing, the dreams. At the end of the day, we’re really just trying to make sense of our stories as they happen and hope others can resonate with them!

In live videos, I noticed you had drums but no drummer. Do you usually prerecord a backing track to play to for live performances?

We do play with pre-recorded tracks! We have been through 11 drummers in 4 years, and there was a point where we just took it as a sign from the universe that we should just focus on our art, bounce off each other and try to improve what we have, further developing the core of the band.

We think it’s vital to recognize all aspects of life: the good, the bad, the confusing, the dreams.

I read you’re looking for a female drummer… is that still true? Who knows, we may have some female drummers reading this!

We’ve always loved the idea of having an all-girl band! While we’ve had plenty of people come and go, girls and guys alike, we still dream of finding the perfect match someday!

You have two albums on the way which is super exciting! How has that been going?

Working on our first two albums has been a total blast! We really value being as involved as we can be in each step of the creating process, everything from writing to producing. We’re both studying audio engineering at school and we’ve put together a home studio where most of our recording happens.

We have been through 11 drummers in 4 years, and there was a point where we just took it as a sign from the universe that we should just focus on our art, bounce off each other and try to improve what we have, further developing the core of the band.

In an interview, you mentioned you hope your music will inspire people to be their best selves and change the world. Lofty, worthwhile ambitions! What kind of changes do you hope to make?

We’re huge dreamers and hopeless romantics… One of our dreams is to inspire a culture through our music that motivates people to take care of themselves, look out for each other, dream big, and realize how important and powerful the individual is. We think it’s important to normalize the idea that life is full of ups and downs and that each experience is a unique and valuable part of being human. Other than that, we also have plans to use our art to support specific issues. There are a few projects in the works right now to be on the lookout for!

dreadlight

What does feminism mean to you and why is it important?

We discuss this question quite often! Feminism is a huge part of our personal and musical journeys. To us, feminism is about giving all people the power of choice and the knowledge of their own responsibility in creating the world they want to see. It is about growth and discovering the courage to stand up for what you believe is right while facing your own faults and biases. Feminism is about recognizing (and correcting) power imbalances, that we all enter this world with different opportunities, expectations, and predispositions. It’s the fight for a culture where everyone has the ability to exist freely and safely, and be heard when they express themselves. It’s the alliance of people everywhere, the real, genuine, vulnerability that is human connection. The demand for safety and equality- culturally, personally, and emotionally. And it’s realizing that since we don’t have all the answers the best we can do is give others the ability to speak their truth. We hope to advocate these ideas through our music as much we we can and do our part in developing the world we want to see.

It’s the fight for a culture where everyone has the ability to exist freely and safely, and be heard when they express themselves.

Stay tuned for the release of Dreadlight’s two upcoming albums! 

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Tigerlily is a writer and musician living in London. She has released two...