I Can Dream – Interview with Vocalist Peter J Bruno

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

I Can Dream is a hardcore act hailing form New York. The group is comprised of members from Young English and other bands that were in the scene around the area. The Alternative sat down with vocalist Peter J Bruno to discuss the upcoming music, pizza and how art manifests itself through music.

Peter! welcome to the alternative, how are you doing today?

Hey! I am doing alright, thank you for having me. How are you?

How do you take your coffee?

When I make my coffee at home, I tend to add a bit of Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk into the mix, and it’s wonderful. When I am out, I usually order my coffee black. I think I do that so I can see what their coffee is like without all the bells and whistles. How do you take yours? 

Doing quite well, thank you! I usually prefer an Iced Vanilla Latte in the summer time, I may not be as strong and might as you are.

Don’t let my tough coffee facade fool you, I definitely like an iced mocha or a frap on occasion. 

Speaking of that, congratulations on the new I Can Dream track, ‘The Most Dangerous Game.’ It reminds me of Norma Jean, not to compare. The way you showcase the wide range of your voice helps keep the song urgent, mind shedding some light on how you came to grow such a huge vocal approach?

Thank you. Norma Jean is a band we’ve been compared to a few times after shows, and I’m more than okay with that. “Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child” was one of the first records that got me into this type of music in when I was a kid. 

In terms of my vocal range, I think it’s a product of a few things. Part of it has to do with the age that I got into independent music. Late in middle school bands like Thursday and Thrice were starting to get bigger, and I think those sorts of bands had a big influence on how I learned to sing. Another factor is just the variety and spectrum of emotions able to be reflected in someone’s voice when you are doing different things, like playing any stringed instrument at a soft level or a loud level. Utilizing melody with singing and the abrasiveness of yelling allows you to transmit both sadness and frustration, rather than relying on one exclusively. 

The lyrics are instantly relatable, did you want them to come off as introspective and almost rhetorical as you did? 

And thank you again, I was actually worried that the lyrics were not going to be relatable at all. I think I just wanted to play with all the sort of love song cliches I tend to see, while trying to reconcile and understand how I actually feel about romantic love in general. And as you can probably tell, I’m rather ambivalent about it!

I think the honesty in the track is definitely displayed, we all have that notion of uncertainty in the realm of love. To be honest bands like Thursday and Thrice were probably the best ot learn from in terms of what you’re describing. It shows.

Thanks, I think that honesty is key to art, although it has become almost a tired trope to use “sincere” to describe music. It’s at the point where it’s almost insincere to say your music is sincere. I suppose maybe that’s because being sincere should be a given, so when you have to say you’re sincere, it’s like, well duh, I would hope your art isn’t based on bullshit.

When can we expect more music from the band?

We are currently in the mixing and mastering phase of the EP, but it should be out before the end of the year!

Being from New York, I am sure you are a pizza snob. What are your favorite toppings to put on a pizza?

And how did you know? We are all pizza snobs here, it’s probably because we are bombarded by pizzerias everywhere in New York. They’re basically like Starbucks, there’s one on every corner, if not two on the same street. I would say that I’m a sucker for a good eggplant parm slice! What about yourself?

For whatever reason I am a huge fan of a mediterranean (green + black olives, red onion, chicken, feta cheese and spinach) styled pizza, or a buffalo chicken. Nothing beats kicking up the spice on some dough! Right now I am having a pepperoni, black + green olives and pineapple pizza and it’s damned good. I manage a pizza restaurant so I get to try a lot of weird things. Best place to grab a bite?

Well that rules. And although I am a vegetarian, I can appreciate the ingenuity of your combinations.

If you’re in New York City, there’s a great place in Brooklyn called “Vinnie’s” with tremendous specialty slices for everyone (even great vegan slices!). They have a black bean and avocado slice there, it’s insane. 

What has been your favorite musical release of the year?

I have a feeling that “Abyss” by Chelsea Wolfe may wind up being my favorite record this year. I also like the new Refused record “Freedom,” and a sort of wildcard would be “Constantly Off” by this band called Fight Amp. What about yours? Anything I should check out?

I am currently wearing a buffalo bills sweatshirt, got anything to say about that?

I have nothing bad to say about your t-shirt, mainly because I am a New York Giants fan. Additionally, my ETID fandom almost makes me want to see the Bills do well. Your team has a lot of new players, so maybe I will wind up with some Bills on my fantasy team this year! 

Fantasy always seems to get the best of me. But yes ETID are a reason I root for them as well. If you like Chelsea Wolfe you may enjoy the new marriages album, ‘Salome.’ It is this haunting record with a similar mood to what she does. The new Counterparts is going to rule as well. My favorite this year is probably alone. – Somewhere In The Sierras. “Refused Are Fucking Alive” haha.

I will give those a listen!

Last question, any weird ambiances you have when you write lyrics? Like candles or things? Or is it sporadic messages? 

In general, when I write lyrics I tend to wait until we have a basic skeleton for the song, because otherwise I find that it never comes out right when I try to superimpose something I’ve written previously onto the music. I tend to jot down odd thoughts I have throughout the day in a notebook (or now, in a computer file), and then I will listen to some of our songs, and see if any of the lines jump out to me at some point in the song, whether in the intro, a chorus, a bridge, or whatever. After that, I work off of that line in the song, then try to do some free writing, and once that is done I do my best to come up with a general idea or theme for the song. Then I revise and revise. I like what Josh Scogin once said, “A song is never finished, it is only abandoned.” At some point, you have to be like, this is good enough, or else you will keep revising and it will never be done. In terms of the environment, I try to find a place where I am alone or at least feel like I am alone. Sometimes that’s just on my bed in my room, somewhere upstate where there is nothing but woods, or for this last EP, I went to a high staircase at my school, and just watched the world sort of going on around me. I tend to feel alone in large groups of people. 

Any last words?

No last words except to say thank you! Oh, and here are some last words of people who have been executed, I claim no responsibility for their accuracy: http://www.corsinet.com/braincandy/dying2.html

all photo credited to: Robert Scheuerman