Oliver Pigott sings for the year with his dramatically idiosyncratic take on Aerosmith’s 1973 classic Dream On — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
“Here we were, my wife, kids and I, in a charming small town across the border in the U.S., riding out the next wave of 2020,” the Toronto singer-songwriter recalls. “We were in a basement playing music with a few new friends and strangers when, that night, we met a man who suffers from amnesia; he came down to listen to us jam. Apparently, he had been a musician himself before his near-fatal car accident. As I played a few arpeggios over a D-minor chord, he began to half-mumble/half-sing Dream On … He nodded and looked through me with piercing eyes; ‘Great song, man.’ ”
As the night wore on, the man forgot that moment — and even forgot who Pigott was. “Yet we both knew the song would live on. Once I was back home, I began to dream of covering it in the studio and producing it with dramatic, orchestral-like instrumentation.”
Recording the ballad would prove to be a journey all its own. “My wife (Danka) recorded the piano track on a beautiful grand piano in our friend’s home. Her take sped up significantly over the course of the song, but it was full of feeling so we made the choice to keep it. I had the same approach to my vocals; I recorded that night, and decided to keep everything that came out of me on the first take. Too much music is auto-tuned and set to a click, and I wanted to make a departure from that. I wanted to trust the moment
“With my twin boys in the other room as I sang, I could not help but feel the weight of the lyrics. This song has always spoken to me and I wanted to create something that captured my feelings about 2020 as well as what I imagine a lot of people have grappled with over the course of this volatile year.”
His Lamb/Lion bandmate Danka contributed to the video as well, directing and filming the stunning visual accompaniment. On a cliff at dusk, overlooking tumultuous waves giving the shores of Lake Erie a piece of their mind, the entire video was captured in one take, with the partners once again trusting the moment in its entirety.
“The two of us followed each other’s instincts and let the performance and camera angles unfold in real time,” Danka shares of the powerful dream-like sequence that evokes states of anguish and passion. Adds Pigott: “And melancholy. It’s where the struggle for freedom and the yearning for truth is unyielding. My wife always says ‘your art is your politics’ and, with this cover, that may well be the case.”