What are your names and where are you from?
JZ: Jesse Zénon from Abbeville, LA
JB: Justin Batiste from New Orleans, LA
How long have you been making music as 13 Dreams?
JZ: Since we randomly decided to become roommates and move in together in early 2015.
What other bands have/do you play with? What are your musical histories?
JB: I started making music in late 2007 after I heard Panda Bear’s Person Pitch. I was living in Oklahoma at the time and staying in this really nice apartment that had no furniture. So I would lay on the floor and blare that record while I stared into the vaulted ceilings. After about six months there I moved back to New Orleans. I guess I never bought furniture for the place because it never really felt like the right fit. But the one thing that I took away from it all was that I’d finally found a way into the idea of making and producing music. I’ve been at it ever since. I made a lot of music in another duo prior to this, that project was called Shadow Rabbits. I’ve also made music on my own for awhile under a few names — Marine Radio, Audionyx.
JZ: I also play with GIVERS. I started playing music heavily while in school at ULL and decided once I graduated that I wanted to move to New Orleans. So my bandmate and I uprooted our project "we are UP" to New Orleans where we lived together and released two EPs. Justin was actually planning to do a remix of a song so the project dissipated directly into 13 Dreams.
We’re also working on a new project together called v1ktor.3a thats darker and more dancey.
How did you two meet?
JZ: We first met at a Prom Date show at Gasa Gasa through a mutual friend. Remember that band? We then proceded to take the party to Miss Mae’s where we argued until the sun came up… about something.
JB: To this day, I still don’t remember what that argument was about. Probably about music if I had to guess, because what else would two musicians be arguing about at 5am? I wasn’t really sure if I even liked Jesse when I left the bar that night, but I offered to do a remix for a track that We are UP was working on at the time. The remix never materialized, but somehow out of the ashes of his old band and me moving back to New Orleans for what seems like the millionth time, we actually bonded and ended up starting this 13 Dreams.
We love your sound. Would you like to talk about your influences?
JB: We make music that’s conceptual and sonically forward-thinking. I honestly feel like we don’t know how to write anything other than a concept album. So put those two things together in any song or artist and we’ll probably be paying attention it. But that doesn't mean we hate things that are fun either. Some music just exists for the sake of being dumb and feeling free, and if you can't get behind that kind of energy, you're probably doing it wrong.
Our list of influences could go on forever. It’s hard to pinpoint specific bands, but I definitely like certain things about music and genres: abstract art pop, dreamy synthesizer work, 70’s disco, old school soul, sensual r&b jams, gospel-y funk music, modern hip hop production techniques, sugary big-budget female-fronted pop music, and I’m a sucker for a funky elastic bass line.
Here's a playlist for a taste.
What about living in New Orleans informs your sound?
JZ: I think mostly the uninhibited lifestyle everyone lives here. It’s okay to unapologetically be yourself, so it makes it easy to do what you feel without having to think too much about it or having to explain your actions. It is because it is.
JB: For me, New Orleans doesn’t have much to do with our sound, but it has everything to do with our lyrics. Our personal experiences with the people here inform so much of what I end up writing. I know our sound isn’t going to conjure images of New Orleans in anyone’s head, but for me, it’s all I see when I hear these songs.
Any dream collaborations or show / festival / venue goals?
JB: Q-Tip, Pharrell, Kaytranada, the Paul Brothers (Jai and A.K.) and James Blake are all on my list of dream collaborators. Also, I love the idea of playing in weird locations, so I don’t know... it think I’d be pretty cool to play in one of those geodesic domes or something like that. I love those kinds of immersive art spaces. Unique concert experiences are hard to come by these days, so I appreciate the ones that you just don’t run across everyday.
JZ: I like how Pink Floyd did the live in Pompeii or Toro y Moi did live from Trona. So I agree with Justin, something like that would be cool. Red rocks is pretty cool. So is tiny desk (I do love NPR). Pharrell as well, Timbaland. Dave Friedman and 40.