Dream State Primrose path
Photo by: Gareth Bull

The U.K.’s Dream State made waves with their 2018 EP, Recovery. Their debut full-length, Primrose Path, which drops tomorrow, is a genuinely special offering in a world where most of its inhabitants are simply ordinary.

Primrose Path is named after a person on the pursuit of pleasure despite disastrous results. The band dug deep and showed courage in the production while facing immense pressure from a rigorous touring schedule. Ultimately, they chose to veer off the original timeline to create the best music possible.

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“We felt like we put ourselves in a box to start with,” vocalist CJ Gilpin explains. “We thought, ‘Does it need to be similar to the EP? Does it need to be a certain way?’ We decided just to write from our heart and write what we love and try new things. ’Cause that way we grow as musicians and individuals, as well. It all started to flow naturally when we [decided] we’re not going to have a theme and [that] we’re just going to write what we love and what feels right for us.” 

The album’s 10 tracks address social media, alcohol, drugs, suicide and more, with Gilpin seamlessly switching back and forth between delicate harmonies, gut-wrenching screaming and haunting, spoken-word monologues. Sonically, the band weren’t afraid to hone their sound, yet they explored electronic nuances and more airy sensibilities.

“It was important that what we were writing, we love, and we weren’t afraid to try new things,” she says.

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Produced by Dan Weller (Enter Shikari, BABYMETAL, Bury Tomorrow), the body of work is a true statement of intent to be real, open and honest. Solidifying this mission is “Made Up Smile” (where Gilpin confesses, “I don’t want to be the same as everyone, be false and put on a fake smile”) and the single “Open Windows,” which takes aim at our current society that continuously seems to promote more and more disconnection from one another due to the way we live through social media and computer screens.

With the album’s closing track, “I Feel It Too,” Gilpin admits it’s the most honest and emotional she has ever been. The song touches on an engrossed darker side and solemnly alludes to suicide.

“I knew I had to write it for myself,” she reveals. “Even listening back at the end, I was like, ‘Oh Jesus, [I don’t know] if I can put this out.’ I followed my heart with things, and it felt right. Like exorcising demons in a way.”

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After finding herself in a much healthier and happier place than ever before, having made important lifestyle changes throughout the recording of Primrose Path, Gilpin and her bandmates hope their music can serve as a reminder that not every dark moment has to end in a desolate way.

“The goal is to reach as many people as possible and to offer a guiding hand to people that are suffering as well in their own way,” she says. “We want to grow as a band and grow as a team so we can do this forever, but for me, it’s not just about career focus. It’s [about] helping people the same way music saved [me] when I was growing up. So, the goal is to make people feel like they’re less alone. That they can always turn something negative into something beautiful. Everybody’s going through their own pain.”

Primrose Path drops Oct. 18 via UNFD, and you can check it out here. This feature originally appeared in AP #374 with cover stars Sleeping With Sirens. The issue is available now here or below.