Still only 21, self described college dropout Dream McLean isn’t a newcomer to the UK music scene by any stretch of the imagination. Having emerged several years ago through the grime scene as a talented rhymer with a skippy flow, today Dream Mclean stands more mature with a wider interest in music and a broader outlook on life. Not exactly someone I’d describe as your typical Essex boy, I
caught up with the Dream as he detailed his current quest in establishing his identity and individuality.
Sabotage Times: You took a break from music for a while and came back re-energised, over the past 12 months your sound has expanded, what inspired you decide to experiment more with your music?
Dream McLean: I came to make my own path; I’m not into genres, categories or boxing myself in any more really. I think it’s just me maturing, as a person. Obviously when I was younger I just wanted to make the grime or rap that I would hear then I eventually realised it doesn’t have to be like that. I can experiment with other types; I don’t feel like I have to do it like everyone else like it was back in the day. Now, whatever you make, if you’re good you’ll get there.
Being from Essex, what are the most common misconceptions you’ve come across? What do you think of the media led image of people from Essex?
[Laughs] I dunno maybe people think I get on sunbeds or some shit. The only thing people know about Essex is from the program (TOWIE) or they either assume it's just country-ed out. Most people haven’t got a clue of what Essex is about really - so, them saying "He’s from Essex he’s gonna be like this and that" don’t bother me, they haven’t got a clue, I’ve just gotta show them.
Give us some background on Regime? Would you consider yourself the front man of the crew?
Basically, there are about 8 or 9 of us – mostly MCs and most of us are from Essex, we live quite close to each other and all met each other growing up in college and whatnot. Erm, it’s not really one of those things where there’s a front man, everyone’s doing their own thing. I wouldn’t even regard us a group, we’re more a group of friends that happen to do music. We’re not a boy band, even though I do say it sometimes, its just banter [laughs]. We just do what we do.
How did the initial connection with Chase and Status come about?
The initial connection came about randomly on Twitter maybe about two or three years ago and I got a tweet from Chase and Status, “Yo, what’s good” we followed each other and they DM’ed me and told me they were big fans of my stuff, it was kind of a surreal moment and we went on from there. They got me to freestyle over “Saxon” and the rest is history.
Chase and Status told me they were big fans of my stuff. They got me to freestyle over Saxon and the rest is history.
What made you decide to go with your record label MTA of all the offers on the table?
We had the same minds, I guess. Its very different to major label situations but it weren’t about anything else but the music. They were the only ones I was talking to that wanted to give me a firm choice and would let me retain creative control, not only that but I respect them as well as the producers they work with.
Network was released as a free download. What made you decide to go with this strategy?
Mainly because I’ve been away from the scene for a while, I probably wouldn’t say that’s like the first proper single its more of a warm-up. We thought if we chucked it out there for free it’ll show people I’m back and it’ll help to build up the networks, the social sites and mailing lists so I can reach a firm audience with the next one. The next one will be the first single and I guess it’ll start to form then.
So what can we expect from the next release?
Boy, just expect the unexpected that’s all I’m saying, Network was just the tip of the iceberg man. I can’t give away names or proper details right now, I’m sorry I can’t say too much on the direction of it but trust me you gotta hear it.
What are your views of the current grime scene and how would you compare it, opposed to when you first emerged a few years back?
I think with the grime scene, that’s what you get when you focus on genres you must box things in. Grime is a strict type of music, a lot of people who were making that sound aren’t making that sort of sound any more, but it’s still the same as in you still see the same faces.
Your fan base has really expanded over the past year, has it surprised you how far reaching it’s become?
Yeah, it’s mad I never thought it’d come this far. It’s literally not even the beginning it’s weird. I never even expected to be this far and now I’m here all I wanna do is progress further. I get less and less happy with the little progress I’ve made I just keep on going init.
So by this time next year, what would you like to have achieved to be able to say its been a good 12 months?
Erm, I wouldn’t say I’ve got a real goal apart from just having a real album or at least a body of work in front of me that I’m happy with. That’s my goal. As far as numbers and all that shit, I can’t call shit like that, who knows man. If I’ve got an album I’m happy with that’s all I care about, if I please myself everyone else will come after that.
Follow Tobi Oke on Twitter: @TeflonTobz
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