Living the dream2/10/2016
Aquamarine Dream Machine, the Des Moines-based proggressive rock four-piece, is comprised of Daniel Wipf (guitars vocals), bassist Justin Kurtz, keyboardist Joseph Antelman and drummer Justin Bristow. The act’s influences and individual ability creates a sound that is one of the more free-flowing, yet intricate, sounds in town.
“Our sound can be very technical, but we’re also very melodic,” Wipf said. “We all love that classic rock sound, but we’ve been drawing more inspiration from progressive sounds lately.”
“A lot of times we’ll improvise on stage,” Kurtz added. “So our shows are planned out to an extent, but really, that’s the exciting thing about our shows — there’s never two that are the same.”
The group can be a bit “jammy” at times, and the prog influences are clearly evident, with several band members having served stints playing with Des Moines prog legends The Maw. But what really defines the band’s sound is how collaborative it is.Recording sessions on the band’s last two albums have resembled large jam sessions, and songwriting is handled with a similar, laissez faire attitude.
“It’s very collaborative,” Wipf explained. “Our last drummer helped write a lot of the songs on our last album. Right now, sometimes (Antelman) will come in with a whole song ready. Usually we do it over the course of weeks, maybe even months. Whoever has something good, we’re going to go for it.”
Looking at 2016, Wipf and Kurtz feel like the band is putting a solid emphasis on releasing another album as opposed to trying to hit the road.
“Yeah, we definitely want to get recording,” Wipf concurred. “We have probably nine songs that we have considered for an album. We’re unsure if we’re going to do a homemade album or find some place to record this one, but that’s our plan. Live shows, we kind of only do when someone asks us.”
But whether it is live or on an album, Aquamarine Dream Machine is an experience that never hits the listener the same way twice.
“We always record every session we play,” Kurtz said. “We’re constantly trying new things, so there’s always the potential for a moment when one of us will go, ‘Oh, I wish I remembered what we played there.’ ” CV