Stevedreez Is an Old Soul With a Fresh Sound in "Darling" Music Video [Premiere + Q&A]
How does one describe the visionary that is Stevedreez?
In both sight and sound, he is the human embodiment of the '70s era... but on planet Mars. His sound embraces hints of Channel Tres' deep vocal style, a soothing splash of chillwave vibrations à la Toro y Moi, and a bonafide DIY bedrock that guides all visual and sonic selection. Just take one look at his wide array of self-produced music videos and cover art, and it becomes clear that Stephen Dries is the sole creative director of Stevedreez.
The self-described "old soul" has mastered the art of guitar from his birthplace of Japan all the way to his current residence in Virginia, and he infuses it into each of his otherworldly releases. Plus, his vintage aesthetic exudes an effortless confidence that could single-handedly bring the word "swagger" back in style.
On August 27, Stevedreez will unveil a new single and music video for one of his best creations yet, and Ones To Watch has your first look now. Set in the golden age of the 1950s, "Darling" follows Dries from a classic diner to a dreamy, sunlit escape with his lovely lady. The pair's romantic musings are complemented by Stevedreez' signature breezy synth lines, hypnotizing listeners into utopian daydreams of their own.
Dries shared his own interpretation of the track, "'Darling' is a warm and breezy love ballad that indulges into an alternative universe of how a late night diner date would feel in the '50s. With subtle riffs and smooth solos, 'Darling' rekindles a blissful masterpiece of both nostalgia and imagination."
Get to know the man the vision in our interview with Stevedreez below.
Tell us more about the making of the “Darling” music video. Where was it shot, who shot and edited it, any funny or interesting stories in the creation process?
The video was shot and directed by Sandra Camargo, she’s a very talented local film director. I did all the editing myself and we shot the diner scenes at Staunton, VA which is about two-and-half hours from where I live and the owners were kind enough to let us film there for a few hours because they were closing for renovations that week. I drank a lot of sweetened coffee for the shots of me stirring the coffee which was awful haha but I insisted on actually adding the sweetener to make it real. We ended up getting back home around five in the morning and we were all pretty exhausted so we shot the daytime "dream sequence" scenes two days later. Those were filmed at two different local parks not far from my house.
What’s your message to the boys (and girls) about the classic romance we see in the "Darling" visual?
It’s pretty old-fashioned. I’m not sure if that kind of thing connects in the modern age. We have Instagram and dating apps and stuff like that. I might just have an old soul.
What are your best swooning methods?
Definitely playing guitar!
What is it that draws you to such a nostalgic sound and visual style?
Like I said, I might have an old soul. Some things from past decades just hit differently. I love old cars and vintage wear. I also draw a lot of inspiration from french new-wave films! There’s some great music coming out these days but it’s cool to go back and see where everything came from. There’s always an analog vs digital thing too. Both have their pros and cons.
Describe Stevedreez in three words.
I’m just chillin.
Who are your top musical influences?
I grew up with my parents’ music. My dad likes the Beatles and Rolling Stones. My mom had every Sade CD in her car. I love all that stuff!
How does living in Japan and Virginia influence your style of music?
When I was a kid in Japan I didn't really watch MTV or anything like that. I've always found most of my music downloading songs from the internet so It didn't really matter where I was. When I moved back to Virginia I started producing and Wiz Khalifa was blowing up here at the time.
Tell us more about your very DIY process of music and art creation.
It comes from me keeping to myself and not having many friends on the same wavelength. I have a very clear vision for how I want everything to sound and look and it’s just easier to learn how to do things myself. It’s a lot of work but very rewarding when you have the final piece.
What can we expect for the rest of this year and what is your ultimate goal for the project?
More music and shows! I have my first ever headline show on October 9 in DC. Hopefully this project continues to grow. I'd love to tour around the world and film everywhere.
What can we expect to see when Stevedreez hits the stage?
Expect to have a good time. My music covers a range of different sounds so hopefully there’s something for almost everyone. I want it to be visually and aesthetically pleasing as well and bring some of the visuals to life.
Name your three favorite songs from a previous decade.
It’s always hard to name a favorite anything. I'll go with a few songs I’ve been playing a lot recently:
1. Rolling Stones - Miss You (1978)
2. Prince - I Wanna Be Your Lover (1979)
3. New Edition - If It Isn't Love (1988)