Meet The Band: American Dream Machine

This week we shine the Meet The Band spotlight on Virginia rockers American Dream Machine, whose debut album is Deadhearts. Vocalist Shawn Adams introduces us to his band.

Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of American Dream Machine.
Shawn Adams: This band really came out of the ashes of the last project I was with. The lack of creative expression had frustrated me to the point that I just said “fuck it, I’ll do it myself.” So I got a job waiting tables and saved up enough money to record a full 10 songs. I booked the time and after a few months we had the album. Evan and I had already been working together so we just needed another guitarist and bassist. Mitch was in my previous band and we had talked about “doing it ourselves” so many times that he was the obvious choice. Not to mention he’s an absolute prodigy when it comes to guitar.

Scotty had also been a part of the last project, just not as a member. That man literally carried our entire band on his back and kept the sinking ship afloat as best he could. We had been talking about bigger and better things for a while and when it came time to assemble the team, Scotty was the first person I called. After some re-writes and one more trip down to the studio Deadhearts was finished. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy with anything I’ve ever done. Now it’s time to share it with the world.

Describe the songwriting process for Deadhearts.
It started out with Evan and I recording our jam sessions on my iPhone. We’ve played together for years and have a solid chemistry when it comes to writing on the spot. The first song on the album is actually the first thing we played, the first time we ever decided to record ourselves. It just flowed out like water. I also had a few songs that I’d been dying to record for years, just never had the right outlet to do so. So I took all of that and went down to Kile Odell and Josh Landry in NC, and said “lets write an album.” So that’s what we did. Half of the album was written in the studio from scratch, while the other half was worked from already written material. I had worked with Kile and Josh previously and knew we would be able to put something really special together.

What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
It’s hard to choose. There were so many memorable times, but I’d have to say the strongest memory would be right after we finished the first song. I probably played that thing 200 plus times after I left the studio. So many things had to be accomplished to get to that point and to hear the product of all that hard work and determination felt so damn good. Any musician that’s recorded a record will tell you it’s not always gonna come out the way you want it to, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t. Hell, it came out better.

How would you characterize its style/sound?
Deadhearts is fast, punchy, melodic and emotional. It’s a new school hard rock sound with roots in post-hardcore and a touch of emo. These riffs were written with as much energy as we could put in them. We want people to feel something when they listen to our music because that’s what our favorite bands did for us.

What lyrical subjects do you cover?
Every song is about someone in my life that has changed me forever. Some of them for the better, some for the worse. We cover love, hate, life, death, and everything in between. There’s an underlying message of realizing your own self-worth beneath it all and I think people need to hear that right now.

What led you go to the independent route for its release?
Independent was just the way to go for us. We get more control over our music, and we don’t owe anyone anything. We just want to get our music out there, no matter how we do it.

What are your goals and expectations for the album?
This is our first handshake with the world. We want to get our name out there and let everyone know that we’re here to stay. I know it sounds cheesy, but I just hope everyone likes it.

When do you think live shows will be able to resume?
I really don’t know. It’s such a complicated and ever-evolving situation. I think we are going to want them to start sooner than they should, unfortunately. That being said, when things do open back up, it’s gonna be an absolute madhouse and I can’t fucking wait.

How did you get started in music?
I’ve been playing music for as long as I can remember. My mom and dad bought me a guitar when I was 10 and after that it was all music all the time. My friends and I always played in bands and through that I got engrossed in the entire community. Northern Virginia was a breeding ground for musicians and bands when I was growing up and I was lucky to be a part of it.

Who were your early influences and inspirations?
The Eagles were a huge influence on me when I was really young. When I really started to write music though, my big influences were on the more post-hardcore/emo side. Bands like The Used, Story Of The Year, MCR, mixed with all the heavy music I loved like Darkest Hour, August Burns Red, Misery Signals, ETID, and bands like that. But really, my biggest influence was my friends and our shared love for playing music. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.

What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
It was a local show at the infamous JAXX nightclub in Springfield, VA. I believe I was 12 at the time. My friend’s older brother’s death metal band was playing. There were probably 30 people there but goddamn was it awesome. That was the fist time I saw a mosh pit. I was hooked.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the band, and you personally?
Its given us a lot of time to write and focus on the band, which has been a positive. That being said, I think at this point its starting to take its toll on everyone. Summer is starting to kick in and everyone wants to be outside. Me personally, I’ve tried to use this time to catch up on life. I’d been meaning to get more familiar with recording, and I’ve done just that. That, and lots of video games. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I was out playing shows.

What have you binge-watched while having to stay at home?
I’m working my way through Dragonball Super right now. My girlfriend and I went through all the Marvel movies in chronological order. There’s a healthy rotation of The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia, and Parks n Rec. I just started watching Community again since they put it on Netflix.

What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I’ve been listening to Tilian a lot lately, Emarosa, Architects, Thrice, Coheed and Cambria, Cavetown, Neck Deep, stuff like that.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Support what you love. If you want to keep up with us, follow us on Instagram. Check out our website, you can find all our socials there. We’re gonna be hitting the road as soon as things open back up, so keep an eye out!

(interview published June 27, 2020)

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