Requiem for Parachute Pants and Flamethrowers

When I was 15, I played drums in a hardcore metal band we named “Kazm.” It was 1998 and I still lived in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where I grew up. Back in the day, my hometown was an important steel producer, and manufacturing boomed at its height during the industrial age. “The Blob” (a classic horror movie) was even filmed at the Colonial theater downtown in 1958. But by the late 90s, the factories had long been shut down and things had settled into a boring suburban lull.

My friends and I were a bunch of hooligans. Aggressive in-line skating around in parachute pants with chain wallets and black fingernails, smoking cigarettes and blaring bands like Megadeth, Deftones, Tool, and Pantera as loud as the stereo could go.

When we were all 12, our guitar player’s parents agreed to let us practice in one of the empty apartments they owned. It didn’t matter that Justin started out playing “bass” on the bottom string of my electric guitar because he didn’t have a bass, we were thrilled because we had officially begun the rigorous journey to rock stardom.

3 years later–writing, practicing, and performing music had become the most important thing in our lives. Every day in the fall of 1998, we’d walk to our band room after school and practice until the neighbors complained. None of us had anything better to do and some of us were trying to stay away from bad home situations.

When we weren’t practicing we were creating makeshift flamethrowers by spraying turpentine out of a super soaker into a grill lighter, skating around town practicing tricks, or jumping off the train trestle and swimming at Black Rock dam.

Despite the awesomeness of these things, we still wanted to go to concerts, hang out with friends, listen to all the different local bands, and show off their latest karate move in the mosh pit. We were resourceful and planned shows with the other hardcore, punk, and metal bands in town (there was a handful or so) at churches, community centers, and the infamous Hungarian club. An older friend of mine, the screamer in one of these bands started booking legitimate shows, paying the bands, and collecting enough cover to attract bands who were on national tours.

Before long, we were playing shows alongside big hardcore bands like Hatebreed, Madball, and Candiria. I remember being so impressed by how tight these bands played, but I also noticed how cool and supportive they were to everyone offstage.

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Looking back on those days I realize now how much I learned—not just about music, but about the importance of community within a music scene.

My highschool hardcore band experience eventually progressed to a college degree in music where I spent 7 years studying jazz drumset, Indian tabla drums, music theory / composition and classical percussion.

I’ve done everything from orchestral writing to black metal to video game and film soundtracks. I had trouble finding a good job in PA after school, so I forcibly crash landed myself in Brooklyn in the fall of 2010.

Two jobs, two girlfriends, and two jam sessions with other bands later I made the perfect Craigslist ad to capture my new band mates.

Apparently Nathan and Robert (guitars) had been checking Craigslist daily for over a year to find someone with the same influences who wanted to make the kind of music they did (Prog drummers are in short supply in New York, believe it or not). After we connected, we planned a time to meet up before we scheduled a jam session.

Nathan told me later that he was so excited that I wasn’t an asshole, he straight-up committed to a practice space lease after that initial meeting–before we had even jammed. Oneironaught was born. We played for two or three months as a trio and then completed the band with Damon, finding him on Craigslist, too.

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Our biggest influences are bands like Tool, Russian Circles, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Mastodon, King Crimson, and a lot of obscure influences in between.

We check out shows together as a band when we can, email new music back and forth daily, discuss the state of the modern music industry, and brainstorm ways that we can grow Oneironaught into a business that can support itself financially, so we can keep evolving our sound.

I’m proud of the fact that we have over 24,000+ fans spread across different networks, but we don’t just use our social media to blast out our own music (we can only make so much so quickly). If you already follow us, you know we love to share the best progressive music out there, especially new bands we discover. After all, I hope to play a small part in helping all the other awesome Progressive bands get their music out there.

So, yeah… we’re super-fans ourselves. And we love performing and composing.

But it’s YOU, the listener, that makes it all matter.

I look forward to many more sometimes hard, sometimes ugly, always worthwhile experiences along our musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of it. If you’d like to hear our debut, click here to listen to ‘Enlist Today!’

Thank you for listening—and for making it all matter.

–Dave Mieloch, drums for Oneironaught

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