D:REAM On: 90s icons discuss their comeback ahead of Dubai gig
After a chance meeting in a London park, Peter Cunnah and Al Mackenzie decided to resurrect D:Ream, best known for the early ’90s hits U R The Best Thing and Things Can Only Get Better. Recording new material, the lads are heading to Dubai to roll back the decades. What’s On teamed up with Hype and their reporter Dominic Beesley to chew the fat with Al…
When your singles U R The Best Thing and Things Can Only Get Better were released, did you ever think that they’d become as enduring as they have? I don’t think you can say ‘This will stand the test of time’ or even ‘People will get it’ at the time. You just have to make music that comes to you, music that connects with you, then hope others will see where you’re going with it. I think the lyrics on both, love them or hate them, do have a timeless message that many people can relate to.
After splitting in the ’90s what made you reform? We met up purely by chance one morning, in a park in London. Pete was out with the kids, and I was still up partying with some friends. It was very surreal as we hadn’t spoken in such a long time and it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
What were you up to during your hiatus? We were both having families but were still involved in music in some form or another. I was busy DJing and owning the Avenue venue in Birmingham, running club nights and making the odd tune, and Peter was making music and writing for others.
Has your music changed much since you first started out? Pretty much. We’re older now, and experimented with a more live sound on the last album [In Memory Of…]. It surprised a few of the hardcore fans. Not necessarily for the good!
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the music industry over your career? Well, it’s still full of sharks and charlatans so that hasn’t changed. The obvious change is the shift in people buying CDs and records.
What are you up to in the studio?We are recording new material, and will release it. How we do that, we’ll see. An album will also appear at some stage.
‘Pin-up physicist’ and TV presenter Brian Cox played keyboard for D:Ream back in the day. Do you think you’ll ever perform with him again? He keeps threatening it! He’s ace – we love him. Good luck to him in anything he does.
Would you follow in his footsteps and change careers? We do have other interests but music will always be in us.
Will this be your first time in Dubai? We did a gig a couple of years ago on the beach. We flew in, did the gig and were back on a plane straight after, so didn’t see anything. We have a few friends out there who love it so we’ll probably meet up with them. We only have a day so we’ll probably try and get some sun – something that the UK is severely lacking at the moment.
What can we expect from your performance? We’ve reworked the bigger tunes from the ’90s. Nothing too drastic, we’ve just beefed them up a bit. We may throw in a couple of new ones but we’ll see how it’s all going before we decide. We’ll just go with the flow.
What new music are you listening to at the moment? Peter’s listening a lot to the emerging dance music that’s hitting the charts – Disclosure, etc – and still listens to a lot of new singer and songwriter types, too. I love my weird, wonky, disco and acid house – new, old, whatever. Arthur Russell is getting a lot of play at the moment and I still buy a lot of new vinyl, mainly deep electronic acid house stuff.
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