Sweet Dream puts out its first full-length album, Caricature, on June 5.
Taking a cue from Tame Impala, multi-instrumentalist Julian Creech-Pritchett embodies Sweet Dream’s band-of-one while tackling roles as a producer, engineer and senior at UNCG.
“I love being a multi-instrumentalist, it makes it easy to record pretty much anytime I want,” he said. “It’s challenging but rewarding when done well.”
Welcoming those challenges, Creech-Pritchett taps into an array of arrangements and techniques, which he attributes to his studies.
“My musical experiences in college have only made positive impacts on the way I go about doing things,” said the arts administration major, whose first record and final year of college have been impacted by coronavirus.
“It sucks a lot,” he explained with a shade of optimism. “There are a lot of lost musical and social opportunities that are difficult to deal with, but it’s more or less the same for everyone everywhere, so I try not to get a chip on my shoulder. Just gotta be careful, stay safe, and get through.”
That means keeping Caricature on schedule (even if the nine-day, East coast tour he’d planned has been halted), and propping himself up with ideas of grandeur.
“You never know, one of the songs could be the anthem of the pandemic,” he jested. “It’s kinda morbid, but positivity is key!”
Exaggerations weave through the record. Caricature entwines fiction around Creech-Pritchett’s budding skills of artistry and production. “The definition of Caricature is basically to exaggerate to grotesque proportions,“ he explained. “I tried to take a step back from being super vulnerable in my songwriting by singing from the perspective of made-up characters, or exaggerating situations to fit some kind of lyrical narrative.”
The latest single, “She,” (which saw a video release in May) showers double-entendres of devotion to his guitar while sounding like a love song to a person on the surface—akin to a cleaner-realm of Johnny Thunders’ “One Track Mind” and heroin. Creech-Pritchett leaves room for interpretation.
Both the video and the whole Caricature album are homespun recordings. “I recorded the whole of Caricature in my sophomore year UNCG, at home with no real studio work whatsoever,” Creech-Pritchett said. “The process of recording was basically just me figuring out how to realize the sounds in my head.”
His sounds, which bounce somewhere between Tame Impala and Fishbone, are the product of tutelage and effort. “I went through multiple phases of thinking a recording was final but then discovering some new techniques and figuring out ways to make it better, so I’d start from scratch all over again,” Creech-Pritchett explained. “The whole thing had a big learning curve to it, but I’m much better off for it,” he added, noting the follow-up to Caricature is already underway.
Eschewing the idea of genre, Creech-Pritchett credits the “limitless bounds of jazz” with shaping his idea of music. “It’s inspired me to not feel confined to one particular sound,” he said—an ideal made visual in Caricature’s cover art.
“It looks like a promo picture for some band—four people sitting on a couch—but instead, it’s me four times in different outfits and with different instruments,” he explained. “It represents how I played all of those instruments on the album.”
The backdrop is a photo of Pine Lake, and while the forefront is a boat full of Creech-Pritchett, a few other voices appear off-shore on the album. “Their inclusion is a nice change from my own musical limits,” he said of featured artists Spenser Davis (WOWNOW), vocalist Jessica Schnieder, and saxophonist Chris Peebles. Creech-Pritchett brings Sweet Dream to the stage with help from Ramon Garcia, James McLaughlin, and Nick Moshinski. “All three of these fellas are jazz musicians who also like other music,” he said. “Having the opportunity to bring them together really breathes fresh life into every song we do.”
The group recorded a handful of videos in January, and Creech-Pritchett has goals for a livestream show once Caricature is officially released. “It’s just important that you keep your goals in mind and stay in the shed,” he said of musicianship in a pandemic. “But also forgive yourself for not practicing every day if you aren’t feeling it. It’s easy to get burnt out when there’s nothing else to do. Try to find some balance whenever you can.”
Creech-Pritchett’s kept balance in a few ways: like an AC/DC cover video, recorded Zoom-style with the Quarter Roys; and his monthly Soundcloud series, “RATZ NEZT,” of covers from “Infest the Rats Nest” by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
“Post-pandemic, I’m planning on getting back out onto the live performance scene as soon as possible,” Creech-Pritchett said.
He hopes to use his degree and experience to book worthwhile shows.
“I’d honestly be content to just play where we get paid adequately for the work we’re putting in, and where people are having a good time,” he added. “Nothing feels better than to play to a room full of people who want to be there.”
Sweet Dream releases Caricature on June 5. @juliancpmusic