Indie rock band Conversing with Oceans capture the push and pull of life in their passionate debut album Wild / Dreams, an electrifying record full of emotion, tenacity, and charisma.
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Life is full of obstacles and issues – some good, some bad; all of which present unique challenges we must learn to overcome. We never truly are at a perfect equilibrium. For better or worse, there is always something going on right now, waiting to be worked through, or a something on the horizon. New York indie rock band Conversing with Oceans capture the push and pull of life in their passionate debut album Wild / Dreams, an electrifying record full of emotion, tenacity, and charisma.
You and I will write the story
of a hero’s path from death to glory
Though terrified, at first bewildered,
we march on, our hope unwaivered.
Our heads held high. Our tears not bitter.
Our fists are tight. Our hearts grow bigger.
the chains we were given.
the hate we’d forgiven
– “Kindred,” Conversing with Oceans
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Conversing with Oceans’ debut album Wild / Dreams, independently out November 29, 2019 via The Orchard. Founded by Bronx, New York-based Alex Bondarev in 2016, Conversing with Oceans currently consists of Bondarev, guitarist Christopher Ragone, bassist John Endico, and drummer Danny Castro. In premiering the band’s very first debut EP Past. Present. Future. nearly three years ago to the day, Atwood Magazine highlighted Bondarev and co’s ability to create outside of boundaries and without restraint:
The EP is a journey of self-awareness and awakening, its music openly searching for the new and the undiscovered within and surrounding. The epic moments are epic; the introspective moments quiet and reflective. Bondarev seems to question the meaning and significance of life at least once on each of the EP’s five tracks, balancing the often light-weighted nature of his music with the heavy weight of his words.
Three years later, Conversing with Oceans are releasing their debut full-length on top of an already-extensive catalog consisting of multiple EPs and a litany of singles. The result of this prolific creating is a highly fine-tuned record: One whose incredibly intimate songwriting sit atop a driving, tight performance full of immersive energy and raw fervor.
Underscoring Conversing with Oceans’ passion for musical and emotional exploration, their album is divided into two parts: WILD and DREAMS. “Both offer different perspectives and energy,” Bondarev explains. For him, the record as a whole is about creating. “It’s about writing down your dreams, your aspirations, and seeing them realized no matter what; of dedicating yourself to this daily practice.”
Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Conversing with Oceans’ Wild / Dreams with Atwood Magazine as Alex Bondarev goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s debut album! “I wrote about the songs mainly from the perspective of the songwriter, but I believe the band and their performances really underscore the themes and bring this all to life,” Bondarev explains. Dive into Wild / Dreams now!
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:: Inside Wild / Dreams ::
(The opening sample has my 2-yr-old daughter’s voice.) “It’s finally clear just who I wanna be: to create like I breathe, like it’s a part of me.” The opener sets the tone for “WILD / DREAMS” and lets you know this is an album about creating. It’s about writing down your dreams, your aspirations, and seeing them realized no matter what—of dedicating yourself to this daily practice. The line “I don’t even want to talk about it” also addresses the transient, ephemeral nature of dreams—how sometimes even naming them and describing them distorts their original subconscious nature or intent, making them something else altogether. “I wake up from this dream, singing words you give to me.” Songs often come to me in dream form and the spoken part during the instrumental bridge (“Visions of a bunch of windows glowing..,”) is an actual recording of me waking up in the middle of the night and recalling a dream I had. Fairy Tales is also addressing both the belief we have in our own dreams and knowing that in
the present moment there’s a disconnect between where we are and where we want to be. This song is attempting to bridge the two. (“Cause I believe in all these fairy tales. I believe ‘em.”)
“Write. Listen. Breathe. Speak.” is a sort of mantra I’d written down a while ago to help me keep the practice of creating. This song kicks off the “WILD” half of the album—generally songs that are heavier and address the battles between the darker and lighter parts of ourselves, giving voice to some of those particularly darker facets.
“‘Cause I’m in Arizona with fears of getting older and all I wanna say—I know it’s not too late. Can never say it’s over.”
I wrote this song in Arizona, during a night where I was just about ready to quit on music and having quite a difficult time expressing myself. I remember thinking it was interesting that I was sitting in front of a blue pond at a hotel where the water was dyed blue to give it an appearance of bluer, perhaps more ocean-like water, but it just looked silly and fake. It made me think of how many things are covered up in life to make them something other than what they actually are. I was thinking about how difficult it is for me at times to put truth to paper, how trivial the things we do to distract ourselves from the work are, and how much more put-together life can seem for others when you’re watching it from a distance. “I got my drink but see it’s still got no effect..” I love AJ Perdomo’s verse and vocals in this song. The Dangerous Summer was a tremendous influence for me and the band with our writing, our music in general. His signature rasp and delivery captures and energy the weight of the frustration I was hoping to express so perfectly. It caries that theme of covering our problems with distractions, with alcohol and other vices. There’s a certain frustration there about life going on without you. There’s fear about opportunity passing you by. At the end, my stubbornness in sticking with this craft, with this music wins. “Can never say it’s over.” echoes that. In this song, I hear my ego and my truer creative self at war. Ultimately, the two feed one another though and are able coexist.
Time Traveler is about obsession. It tells the story of a time traveling detective who becomes haunted by the person he’s pursuing. It’s a metaphor for the lives we want, for the dreams we’re always chasing, and how sometimes that can really take a dark turn. It can truly be all-consuming. We sacrifice so much of what we have to get to what we believe we want. We’d even travel through time, just to get the illusion of being closer to it. “I always thought that I was lost but night quite as lost as you are.” There’s some level of delusion in there. There are things we tell ourselves to justify our actions —that as lost as we are, others are more so. “Just let me dream..” This line reflects that sometimes what we’re chasing is more fulfilling than the actual destination.
This song just poured out of me. It felt like a cathartic journal entry when I’d written it. It’s ultimately about me telling myself that these dreams are my own and that I knew this journey would be challenging when I’d decided to embark upon it. I probably didn’t realize exactly how challenging it would be. This song is me pleading with myself to hold on, to keep going and see this realized. It’s also about acceptance: that this is who I am and the path I’ve taken.
The end bit is actually a recording of my grandparents (with my uncle) from Russia singing over Skype during a recent conversation. My grandparents were the first people that instilled the power of imagination, and the importance of creative expression and music, in me from when I was very young.
This song is about a person who’s let their dreams grow into a nightmare because they’ve repressed them for so long, being absolutely terrified at the thought of their realization. There’s a famous quote about our biggest fear actually being that we’re powerful beyond measure. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. In this case, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it grew into a monster precisely because it was ignored. It’s pleading with this person to notice it.
“Sometimes, anything’s better than what you’ve been doing. You know time won’t break any rules for you.” It’s about realizing that the more we deny the existence of our dreams, the stronger they grow. And that when we give voice to our darker facets through creating, we let light in, and we gain power over them. We’re able to express them in a healthy way. There are also a couple of nods in there to the show Stranger Things. I loved the imagery of the monster and “the upside down” being a great representation of that.
While other tracks address the tension that exists, Knife is an all out battle—an epic war between you and your demons. This song is about trying to cut those demons out of your life. It’s about deciding to break ties with anything that holds you back. And that’s truly a lifelong process, a daily battle rather than a one time thing. It’s also about the all the twists and turns that path can take. I wanted the song to reflect that in its changes of pace and different sections. I love crazy Danny’s drums in this song. He captured that energy perfectly. “One day I finally arrived at my destination…” Ultimately, once you make it to your destination, there’s a profound realization that every thing you run from is actually inside of you to begin with. That realization must be accepted, made peace with before you can heal. For whatever reason, I was originally a bit hesitant to put this track on the album but the band absolutely loved it and pushed hard for it. I’m so glad they won that fight.
This song marks the end for the “WILD” half of the album. The following songs represent the “DREAMS” section — you’re waking up from the nightmares, the battles. The next songs are more about resolution.
Last Day on Earth
“Write. Listen. Breathe. Speak.” Marks the second half of the album. This is the “DREAMS” portion. “The ghost of everything I thought I’d be is right here—he’s standing right in front of me.” So after this epic battle takes place, there’s this post apocalyptic scene of having a conversation with the person that you’d dreamed you’d be, or who you were meant to be on your last day on this planet. There’s a feeling there that we create so much unnecessary conflict and turmoil for ourselves with our thoughts, and by straying from who we know we are. That we do this by accepting others’ beliefs of who we’re supposed to be. “Who told you that you’re no good and why did you believe them? Why was your whole life spent just trying to deceive them? Or trying to appease them?”
This song is about actually becoming that person – of realizing your true dreams, and of having those dreams for others. I’d originally written this song inspired by my younger brother, who’d saved my parents with his wise-beyond-his-years words at a very young age. We hold such incredible power as individuals and we often forget that. This is an ode to our better, nobler natures, knowing that they will prevail in the end.
“You and I will write the story..” is one of my favorite lyrical passages from this entire album. That outro sequence is one of my favorite things we’ve ever done. Chris did that high pitched synth lead towards the end and it felt so classic when he’d recorded that. The whole song kind of fell right into place. It really encompasses the feeling I wanted people to take away from this album. It’s triumphant and hopeful.
Coffee Shop is a literal dream I had. I transcribed its story when I awoke in song form. It helped me bring closure to a relationship I had with someone who had a tremendous impact on me. I realized that they were more of a mythical figure in my life, however, than an actual one. The dream helped me gain some powerful insights into truth: that we tend to give more weight to people’s actions, and make certain things about us that actually aren’t. We include others in our dreams and often times, their own dreams may be very different. And perhaps, if this person inspired you or encouraged you at all, that’s a beautiful and complete thing in itself. You give thanks for what that person was able to give and move on. I felt a great sense of peace after this realization.
It’s difficult for me to even speak about this one. It’s about dealing with loss and a very trying period in our lives. It’s a sincere apology to a person I love more than anything. It’s me putting my ego aside. It’s my fears about starting a family and the way I initially approached it. I’m often resisting change and this song helped me understand that. This song is a letter to this person saying that I should have braved up. In the outro of this song, Chris brought back the guitar lead from our song “Indie Films” from the EP of the same name and it gave me chills. The chorus in that one was “Who am I to you when it goes down? And it goes down.” The song “Two” is about it going down. and that very question being answered in the process. It tied everything together.
“I wanna say I’m sorry to you and apologize. I wanna hold you closer, wanna look you in the eyes. I wanna be a part of you. I want a family. I wanna thank you for the way you’ve been supporting me. When you inspired and encouraged me to hold my own, so many years with you I never felt I was alone. And now you needed me for something big and to be strong—you needed me to be who you’ve been for me all along.”
It’s easy to become so obsessed with your dreams that you can forget, or neglect the very people and relationships who brought you to them—especially at times they need you the most. This song is an acknowledgement of that.
I love this song so much. It’s a homecoming. It’s realizing your dreams, and in a much greater way than you’d perhaps even imagined. It’s waking up and knowing that your current reality is actually your dream. That’s such a beautiful thought.
“How did I get myself here? Oh, how did we find ourselves here? I don’t even wanna talk about it. ‘Cause the moment you try to name it, you believe you can explain it.”
This line is about the actual magic that is dreaming, that is creating. It brings back the opening track. This album tries to describe it, but it’s only a pointer. It’s only a celebration. There’s no way to fully explain, make rational, or describe the actual magic that’s in our lives. It’s knowing that all words will forever elude you. But for us, the artists, that’s all the more reason to try.
“Love of mine, think you know the answer, don’t you?”
(The ending sample again contains my daughter’s voice.)
— — — —
Wild / Dreams
an album by Conversing with Oceans[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/932694811?secret_token=s-cy28w” params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
:: Stream Conversing with Oceans ::