Desert sun stretching over miles and miles of open space, not a soul in sight. With COVID-19 on the mind, it’s imagery that might conjure up thoughts of Mad Max or Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. But when Australian-native, Brooklyn-based songwriter Cate Von Csoke wrote her new single “Dream Around,” she didn’t have apocalyptic visions in mind. The single is a hazy, psychedelic interlude that conjures up visions of lovers entwined in the back seat of a car; the rest of the journey on hold for a moment.
“There’s a look in your eyes tonight / And it’s written all over your smile / I’ve been walking on dandelions / All I wanna do is dream around,” Von Csoke’s voice echos pleasantly. The repetition and reverb of traditional psych music are alive and well within the track, but there’s a refreshing subtlety in Von Csoke’s approach that reveals itself upon a repeat listens. Her upcoming LP Almoon, due out June 5th, is billed as a journey in “western noir.” Von Csoke, the desert’s answer to Lana Del Rey, dressed in all white, is delightfully mercurial in her promo pictures. The style is familiar, the music nostalgic, a much-needed dalliance with a simpler time.
Listen to AudioFemme’s exclusive stream of “Dream Around” and read our full interview with Cate Von Coske below.
AF: You’re originally from Australia and you currently live in Brooklyn. Would you say your sound is mostly influenced by your home country?
CVC: The desertscapes of both the US and Australia as well as the urban landscape of New York are all constant influences on my sound. However, I believe even if you aren’t mindful of a particular landscape or experience, you are taking it all in with the chance these moments will reappear in a dream or a sound unknowingly.
AF: When did you start writing music? And what was the first song you wrote that made you go: Okay, I should really do this?
CVC: I grew up in a family of musicians so it’s hard to recall a time when we weren’t “writing.” The first song I can clearly remember (perhaps because I sang it on the bus as a painfully shy 11-year-old) was coincidentally called “Dreams Come True.” Writing has always been a means of escapism and feels more like a necessity than a desire to achieve something. Moving to New York was certainly pivotal though and is an amazing source of inspiration and a place where dreams really do come true.
AF: You worked with Jared Artaud of The Vacant Lots and Grammy award-winner Ted Young on your upcoming album Almoon. What was the recording process like?
CVC: I met Jared at a Slowdive show in New York and then played a show at a night he curates in New York called Damage Control. After the show he told me he would produce my album. Ted Young was there too and offered to engineer. They have worked on all The Vacant Lots albums together over the years as well as with many musical greats individually. All that experience and the relationship between them is extremely evident and valuable. We recorded at Sonic Youth Studio and were blessed to have Steve Shelley on drums and percussion. It was an incredibly inspiring experience and I believe we created something beautifully unique.
AF: Tell us about “Dream Around” – did this song start with a lyric, a memory, a place in your mind?
CVC: “Dream Around” is a celebration of the beauty and danger of dreams. It began with the line “I’ve been walking on dandelions…” romantic or crushing.
AF: The video for your debut single “Coyote Cry” was super dreamy. Do you spend a good amount of time curating a look to go along with your sound?
CVC: Thank you. I was fortunate to work with two dear friends, Nicole Steriovski and Jenna Saraco of Either And Studio on the music video. Their work embraces a subconscious reveal, the line between fiction and reality often blurred and up for interpretation. The aesthetic is genuine to an aspect of who I am as a person. We all play many characters in our lives, but the mysterious has always been something I’m attracted to as I’m often accused of being “off with the spirits.”
AF: In a few short words, tell us what we can expect from the album.
CVC: Almoon is a psychedelic, minimal-for-maximum effect eight-track offering of introspective anti-love songs, anchored by dark, hypnotic vocals and intriguing lyricism to not reveal, but hint at, the beauty and secrets of life.
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