ST. GEORGE — As indie rock duo Pale Dream, Southern Utah musicians Trey Hoskins and Mari Ericksen have launched their first creative effort, the debut EP “Velvet.”
“Velvet” embodies the beginning stages of Pale Dream; a handful of tracks telling the story of a young band navigating the transition to adulthood while showcasing their evolution as musicians.
“We really feel like it’s honest and true to who we are and who we’re becoming,” Ericksen said. “We feel that the EP is exactly where it should be, and honestly we are just super happy it’s finally out for people to listen to.”
Hoskins and Ericksen met in eighth grade. They struck up a friendship and played music together occasionally throughout high school. In 2019, they began writing songs as Pale Dream.
Inspired by watching local bands perform at the old Jazzy’s Rock ‘n Roll Grill, Hoskins started learning guitar in middle school. He is self-taught in the art of music production, mainly through YouTube tutorials. “Velvet” was recorded, mixed and mastered entirely in his bedroom and garage.
Ericksen is a multi-instrumentalist who landed her first professional gig at age 13. A familiar face in Southern Utah’s music scene, she has performed with bands including Dick Earl’s Electric Witness, John Houston’s Gospel Choir, The Naturals and Vivid Youth, lending her skills on drums, guitar, ukulele and more. She has also toured nationally with Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls.
Pale Dream’s sound is primarily guitar-based with a blend of male and female vocals rather unique among rock bands. Ericksen said that Pinegrove, Snail Mail and Tigers Jaw were among their early influences. More recently, they’ve taken inspiration from The Cure, The Smiths, Talking Heads and the Salt Lake City-based Choir Boy, as well as venturing into hard rock with Black Sabbath and Nirvana.
While growing as musicians, the duo has taken more of a new wave approach mixed with indie rock and dream pop, though they’ve never strayed far from the foundational rock structure and songwriting style.
Ericksen said her creative process with Hoskins is thoroughly collaborative, as the natural chemistry of their friendship inspires ideas and allows for freedom and honesty when it comes to feedback. Also, they simply have fun playing together.
“Usually, the songs start with Trey writing a chord progression or melod, and then I will write the drum parts,” she said. “Sometimes, Trey writes the entirety of the song and I help with structure and other instrumentation, and sometimes we collaborate on melodies and lyrics.”
The five tracks on “Velvet” intertwine elements of indie rock, folk rock, emo and pop. Hoskins described the EP as a “hodgepodge” of new and old songs that trace the humble beginnings of Pale Dream.
“‘Velvet’ is very raw in terms of production and writing,” he said. “The songs are true to who we are and the experiences that lie within the lyrics.”
The title track was composed most recently. Meandering and carefree, Hoskins said it’s one of his favorite songs that he has written and marks the first time the duo created something that fans can rock out to.
“I think it shows a lot of our growth, not only in writing but performing, production quality and overall tone in general,” he said.
“Velvet” also features the first song the duo ever recorded together, “blue denim jacket.”
“The EP as a whole is very nostalgic for us, being that it was written through all the growing pains of graduating and the new chapters of life that that brings,” Hoskins said. “‘Velvet’ has its ups and it has its downs. All of the songs are super honest and straight from the heart for us, and we think that is evident throughout.”
Ericksen said the duo is already back in Hoskins’ home studio writing and recording a new album that will explore a more dynamic sound and push their creative boundaries, both as individuals and musical partners. And they’re eagerly awaiting the chance to connect with fans at live shows again – whenever that may be.
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