Canadian music duo, Neon Dreams, have been creating a variety of different styles of music through spending their first year pushing limits and setting new boundaries. With that, they found themselves working with Canadian legend Kardinal Offishall on their track ‘Marching Bands’ and touring alongside world-renowned talents such as DVBBS, Diplo and Waka Flocka Flame. Fast-forward to the present – all the hard work has lead with them over 20 millions steams, gold-certified record and a loyal fan base. Consisting of Frank Kadillac and Adrian Morris, Neon Dreams have evolved their sound and put everything into their debut album ‘Sweet Dreams till Sunbeams.’
Holding down their energetic pop-style, Frank has taken a real and open perspective lyrically. Discussing adversities and personal struggles he faces through life while mixing in an electrifying sound, we can easily resonate with this project as it keeps you in a good mood as you face your personal adversities. The Halifax natives have found a great way to create a shelter for those who can’t open up about their issues and just crave the feeling of getting lost with a comforting sound as their thoughts grow.
Watch the new music for ‘Life Without Fantasies’ by Neon Dreams:
Today, the duo have just dropped the music video for their song ‘Life Without Fantasies’ off of their album ‘Sweet Dreams till Sunbeams’ – which pays homage to some of Frank’s favourite films growing up, such as Napoleon Dynamite and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “When you don’t fit in, it’s like you’re forced to see the world differently. These are the fantasies of a very uncool, unpopular kid,” Frank says in a statement on their new music video. “I realized fantasies about money, girls and luxury are fun to think about but in reality those things don’t make you happy. All I want is some happiness and a little bit of pain to know what’s real.” The visuals for ‘Life Without Fantasies’ was also written and directed by Frank Kadillac and close-friend Alex Gayaso, which was filmed in parts of Toronto and even nearby their hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Through an exclusive interview with XMPL, Neon Dreams open up on their music, ‘Sweet Dreams till Sunbeams’ album, the work behind ‘Life Without Fantasies’ and more. Listen to ‘Sweet Dreams till Sunbeams’ by Neon Dreams and read the full exclusive interview below:
XMPL: What can you tell us about the beginning of Neon Dreams?
Neon Dreams: I moved to Nova Scotia when I was 13, I was the odd kid out cause I was this weird 6″2 child that no one grew up with so it was easy to pick on me and young adults would do the same because I looked like an adult too. It was a strange time for me. My mother had a boyfriend that showed me guitar chords and from there I knew music could be my best friend. And I made my first guitar out of ten pieces of paper taped together and I would practice my form on the fake strings I drew up until I could afford to buy my first Yamaha guitar from a pawnshop.
This was the start of Neon Dreams because I had a tool to unlock the other members. It almost feels like a video game thinking back.
I started hanging in the music room at school learning Billy Talent covers and met Matt (our manager). Then later I met Adrian, the second member of the band from a drum cover he made on YouTube (Flo Rida ‘Low’ Travis Barker Remix).
We’ve been inseparable since and have been in multiple bands together.
First I would like to congratulate you on your debut album, ‘Sweet Dreams till Sunbeams’. Can you tell us the meaning behind the name of the album, and discuss the creative process that made this project come to life?
I became obsessed with the Mamas & Papas after I heard a club mix of their song California Dreamin’ – this song was so hypnotizing I had to start studying these guys. I started listening to the rest of their music and heard “Dream a little dream of me” I’m three quarters into the song and heard the lyrics “sweet dreams till sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you” and I was so in love with those lyrics because that’s the message I’ve been trying to portray through my music. I just couldn’t get it out my head, it was haunting me “sweet dreams till sunbeams” then I started asking people “is this a vibe for an album title?” and every single person loved it.
At the start of the year, I decided 2 things that changed this helped the creative process. #1 Get rid of my apartment travel and learn. #2 Scrap the album we already have because it didn’t feel right anymore.
I got to go to places like Berlin, Copenhagen, Korea, England and America… I learned so much and brought some great ideas back to Canada, where I would finish them with Adrian and our best friend and silent member of the band Corey Lerue (producer).
That was a fun process cause I’ve never done anything like this before.
Kicking off the album, you have an uplifting sounding tune in ‘Life Without Fantasies’. This track stood out because of the instruments used in it. What kind of sound were you aiming for and how did everything come together on this track?
This one was special. I was on my way to Copenhagen and listening to Nelly Furtado’s Powerless. The song is timeless and the sounds were such a vibe, no one has ever recreated since. But you know when a challenge is presented in the game of life – I do accept it.
When I got to Copenhagen, I was working with my friend Elias, which is the co-producer of ‘Life Without Fantasies.’
We made this hip-hop tune and got nowhere with it then he started playing the intro sound to Fantasies, which was similar to Powerless’ vibe and I’m like broooooooo this is what I’ve been looking for. It’s like the universe was planning this.
Eventually we got all the right sounds, a lot of it with our voices and was like “what would Timberland do to this beat?” Then I remembered that beat he had on “drop” kinda brought that on to the weird bell sound Elias found and it was wrap from there, we knew exactly what to do.
What influenced the writing process behind this project?
I went to the healing retreat in Sedona Arizona and they helped me peel back the layers of my mind and get me back to my true self. It was a very painful process but I came out better and confronted all my suppressed memories.
After this I wanted to dedicate a majority of my songs to helping people heal. The more personal, the more real, the more it’s better and believable.
Someone once told me. “Who do you listen to?” Someone that’s never did what they are saying or someone that’s lived and made it through it. I’ve gone through some bad things and for some reason I didn’t turn into an evil human, I came out positive.
Neon Dreams is for anyone that’s dreams of better days.
Songs like ‘HIT Like This’ & ‘We Were Kings’ discuss real topics that might be hard for people to open up about. Can you talk about the influence and meaning behind those two songs?
On ‘Hit Like This’: The night before the birth of ‘Hit Like This,’ my homie Kate Morgan asked me to go to session with this Kpop producer, Thomas Troelson, while I was in Denmark. While he’s pouring his $600 bottle of champagne in my glass and I’m nervous as hell cause this guy is huge writer and his studio looks like he remade the Austin Powers movie set… he’s telling me why he only likes the great songs from artists and doesn’t vibe with songs that are considered B-tracks. Eventually says it’s like walking into a museum for him and only wants to see the best pieces. So I’m blown away and I really wanted to impress people of that taste anyways. Flash forward to the next day; I’m hungover and 3 hours late to my session. Had 2 hours left and had this one idea about the side-effects of being with me in a poetic way, making it a double meaning of taking drugs and being with a musician. Most of the time, it’s not a good idea. Both things can be equally as bad for you. It’s sad but true; it takes a special human to deal with a creative that’s always changing haha.
On ‘We Were Kings’: Honestly this was an easy one, I was really missing my friends and felt bad that I barely text anyone back from how hard I work. And just wanted to let them know I really love them and remember they are the reason I’m here today. It was actually made right after “Belong!” on the same day
Speaking of ‘We Were Kings’, that song has a completely different vibe than the other tracks, sounding a little more intimate. What made you go the acoustic route with this song?
Sometimes things are perfect the way they are. Usually songs of ours are started out on an acoustic. We tried to make it a full production but it took away from the honesty, so we kept it simple and hoped for the best.
Though the lyrics are deeper than ever on this album, your energetic pop sound has not faded away. Your song ‘if not now, when…?’ Has a whole new level of energy in it. How do you transition sounds from track to track and what were some adversities you faced putting this album together?
I was a quiet kid I spent most my life studying reactions, emotions and why people were hurting me for no reason when I did nothing wrong. I came really in tune with feelings that I could catch vibes in parties and know if something bad was going to happen and even when meeting someone for the first time I’d know if I’m bout to have the best adventure with them or not.
What does that have to do with this album? Well music is all feeling. I did my best to put myself in the listeners perspective with my hyper active imagination. Take their emotions on a ride.
I had to get rid of 3 songs that were great but just did not fit the feeling I wanted people to get. I’m happy it turned the way it is. For the first I’m proud of what I put out in 3 years.
You gave a thank you before ending this album with the last two tracks ‘TY’ & ‘Belong!’ Can you tell us about the relationships you sang about and why you felt it was right to mention them on this project?
These are all my best friends. I wanted to acknowledge them show them respect because these guys changed my life just by believing in me. I’m bad at giving gifts because I grew up not celebrating anything cause my family was too poor to do those things but I’m good at making a song about people so this is my gift to my friends that will last forever.
Going forward, what new sounds can we expect? Are there any collaborations you are interested in trying out?
When making music, I think about what’s going to help the people listening to this. So expect more healing sounds!
I do want to work more with artists from different genres. I like taking something that doesn’t belong together and making it work because that’s who I’ve been from the start someone that looks like he shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.
To close out the back end of 2019 you gave us an album we won’t forget. Where can our readers see you perform?
When the time comes hopefully we’re touring the world for 2 years straight but for now we are touring across Canada! So keep checking our website to see exactly where we are.