Losing three members of a five-piece band has at least one upshot — the remaining two musicians can sell the van. Justin Wiley and Joshua Francis from the Portland-based electro-rock duo Dreamosaic did just that earlier this year.
“It makes for an extremely mobile situation,” said Wiley, who plays keyboards and sings. “We can get all our gear into one car. You have no idea how easy it’s made things.”
Last spring, Dreamosaic went from being a five-piece rock band with electronic tendencies, to a two-piece electronic band with rock ’n’ roll tendencies. Wiley and drummer Francis knew they were ready to move more toward a live electronic sound, and away from the world-influenced jam-rock that they were playing as a full band. The pair had been playing together for several years in various bands before forming Dreamosaic, and shared a love of electronic music of all kinds — from downtempo pioneers Kruder & Dorfmeister, to electronic composer Aphex Twin.
“I love the music that came out of the electronic scene in the early to mid-’90s, like the Chemical Brothers, Crystal Method, Tricky and Underworld,” said Wiley. “There are so many elements in that kind of music. I listen to ‘Dig Your Own Hole’ by the Chemical Brothers and I still hear new things each time.”
Wiley and Francis lost the guitar and bass, gained instruments such as a sequencer and a MIDI controller, and went full steam ahead. Trying to mimic the sound and feel of a DJ set, using live instrumentation, isn’t easy — it requires massive amounts of both talent and stamina. Fortunately, the pair has both in spades, something you can see for yourself if you go to the band’s late-night set on Saturday night at Harvest Fest in Starks.
“The foundation of electronic is essentially drums and keyboard, so it’s really a perfect match for what we do,” said Wiley. “We try to fuse the idea and philosophy of DJ music with live instrumentation. We work on it. It’s a science. We try to have seamless sets, transitioning out of different songs.”
Francis has the impressive ability to drum with an extremely high BPM — beats per minute, that is, the rhythmic number that defines many a style and genre of electronic music.
“Justin is an absolutely incredible drummer. He can power through two or three hours of music. He’s a juggernaut,” said Wiley. “I’ve never met someone who can play 170, 180 beats per minute, like you’d hear in drum n’ bass. You can’t get that from some drummer off the street.”
Wiley and Francis spent the past summer playing all over the state — from regular gigs at Congress Street venue Empire Dine & Dance in Portland, to a very well-received set at the Waldo County electronic music festival Beltek. They also put the finishing touches on Dreamosaic’s debut album “Moving to Neptune,” due out in late October. A CD release party is set for Oct. 25 at the Empire, and the album can be pre-ordered through Roadside Manna Records, the band’s label (www.roadsidemanna.com).
The album reflects Dreamosaic’s roots as a rock band, and its current incarnation as a live electronic band — though regardless of whether it is a five-piece or a two-piece, the band’s mission is to make people get up and dance.
“We’re really all about the dance vibe,” said Wiley. “We want people to just enjoy the music, of course, but if they can let loose and dance to it. We’re happy. We kind of came out of the jam scene originally, and that’s got the same outlook on things. It’s all about getting into the groove.”
Dreamosaic will play a late-night, marathon set starting at 1 a.m. Saturday night-Sunday morning at Harvest Fest, set for Oct. 3, 4 and 5 in Starks. For ticket information, visit www.mainevocals.net. For more information on Dreamosaic, visit www.myspace.com/dreamosaic.