No blue pill or red pill can replicate NGHTMRE’s mind-blowing matrix DRMVRSE.
NGHTMRE released their long-awaited debut studio album on September 9 after eight years of hits such as “REDLIGHT” and “GUD VIBRATIONS.” The album is but a shining star in the deep expanse of DRMVRSE.
The film project is a methodical piece of fiction with music, animation, and narrative elements – and that’s only scratching the surface of the planet. DRMVRSE tells the story of a fictional NeuroTech company that discovers a sound frequency called “Unsound”, leading users through gateways to other physical planes of existence.
A DMT dose of portal jumps and epic battles are the status quo in the NGHTMRE playground.
“It sends you into this universe-like crazy dream state and it’s controllable,” said NGHTMRE EDM.com. “Things like this almost become like a controlled substance…It’s set in the future where someone wakes up [hooked] at a machine and they’re like, ‘Okay, we’re about to send you on the craziest journey of your life right now…'”
“Unsound are those frequencies that perhaps could not have been heard, felt or experienced before,” continues NGHTMRE. “It sends you to the depths.”
DRMVRSE is only NGHTMRE’s debut studio album, but he crafted it meticulously in hopes of presenting his magnum opus.
“It was naturally having the ambition to want to create a cool piece of art that was a whole, rather than just little pieces of inspiration here and there,” says NGHTMRE. “Something a little more cohesive that would stand the test of time and give me more of a framework and a platform to have all these little stories and tales and videos and songs to exist in a universe for DRMVRSE.”
In writing their new album, NGHTMRE was inspired by the Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth, an archetypal story pattern involving a hero. There are three acts: departure, initiation and return. The hero goes on an adventure, emerges victorious from a crisis and returns home changed or transformed.
“Joseph Campbell was a theologian and spent all this time studying all these different religions, figuring out what the common theme was. It ended up being this hero’s story,” says NGHTMRE. “I wrote the music before I started to create the actual story. I wrote according to the stages of this hero’s journey. I often felt that I really identified with the story when we went through Icon [Collective music school] talking about our own lives and how it applied to everything and seeing ourselves on the journey and fighting those fears and completing those tasks to get to where your happiness is, whatever your goal is. I felt it was a story that a lot of people could relate to.”
The construction of the universe DRMVRSE will extend far beyond the dark recesses of the album.
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“We tried to try to tie all the music to that story and create a show as well,” NGHTMRE said. “Part of the desire to create this album was also for the show. To take the show from just a DJ set to like, ‘It’s a show. It’s an experience’ and it’s not just like , ‘I’ll go hang out and rage’, which, you know, is also that. It’s fun, it’s a party, it’s a cool experience, but it’s something of a little higher.
“I want it to be a visually immersive experience,” he continues. “I think a lot of the shows we go to are a lot of overstimulation: a million things going on at once. There’s 99 lasers and 99 of this and that. We try to really schedule a lot of times where it’s just lasers or just lights or a cool moment of just visuals. Every moment of the show is much more thoughtful and planned. There’s timecoded elements and things like that where we sync videos that we’ve made and put a little more time in these elements.”
So why did it take NGHTMRE eight years to release their first studio album? After all, the DJ has collaborated with SLANDER, Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead and The Chainsmokers almost from the start. The arrival of DRMVRSE concludes a long, fast and sometimes arduous race through the electronic music scene.
“It was sort of a natural progression for me. I moved to Los Angeles to be a producer and make music. I went from zero to 100 bedroom producer tracks and immediately started on tour,” NGHTMRE recalls. “It got really busy, really fast. I always tended to do all sorts of things. I love all different genres of EDM and different types of bass music. I took things year by year and it always made sense to release singles or EPs.”
“Once I had those years of touring under my belt and spent more time figuring out exactly what the NGHTMRE sound felt like, it felt like a natural moment for me to quit. [the cycle of touring and quick releases]. I felt quite tired and exhausted from touring and traveling all the time in 2019,” he adds. “My plan was to take this free time to write an album. Obviously, when COVID came around, it became a natural pause and I was like, ‘Well, I’m just going to start getting into it.’ It was really nice to go back to the studio and write music when I don’t have a list of things I have to do in the studio. There were so few days when I could just walk in and say, ‘What do I want to do today? I will do it. It was always like, ‘Okay, I’m home for three days next week. I need these two days in the studio and I need to do this mix. It took a bit of the fun out of me for a while.”
DRMVRSE was NGHTMRE’s escape from a fever dream of endless touring and outings. It was a fruitful cycle, but one that exhausted him. What started out as a three month hiatus ended up being 15 months.
The album is the fruit of a patient and well-nourished seed.
“It was much more therapeutic than I expected,” NGHTMRE said. “I think in my head, I was like, ‘Man, I need three months off, six months off to relax and work on an album.’ One year and three months, I was like, ‘Damn, I still need time off.’ It was really nice to spend time hiking outside and enjoying free time and doing things outside of the music that I needed for so long. It was extremely therapeutic to go back into the studio and just hang out.
To listen DRMVRSE below and stream the album here.