Dralms Issue (number-15)

Dralms is the musical alias of Vancouverite Christopher Smith. A Dralms song often starts simply, a foundation built upon a simple idea, and steadily builds up from there into glittering, triumphant peaks, barely-contained cacophonies that finally discharge like a shower of sparks.

Smith keeps his voice drawn and distant, yet forceful, his falsetto running like a current just above. Together with the music, he creates hypnotic, mesmerizing stacks of sound, monuments that rise ferociously and fade just as quickly, their echoes rebounding around your head.

Photography + Introduction by: Grady Mitchell
Art Direction: Redia Soltis

Portrait Series: 7 questions For Dralms

What made you decide to be a singer?
Christopher Smith: I didn’t make a decision to be a singer so much as I wanted to write songs; one just came with the other. When I was younger I wanted to do something with visual art, but once I started dabbling in music and song writing it just took over; it was very organic. To be honest I don’t really identify as a musician, music has always felt like the medium that I’m working within at the moment, though that being said it’s been my primary creative focus for almost 10 years, maybe it’s time to commit!

How would you describe the music that you make?
I usually describe Dralms as pop music, though I know that doesn’t really cover it. With this project I’ve always tried to make material that’s accessible to a wide audience but also artistically sound. For me that means, experimenting in a way that’s inclusive and engaging to the listener. There’s a sweet spot in there somewhere that I strive for. I definitely tend to make earnest and heartfelt music, maybe even to a fault. I think nowadays people often latch on to music that’s more aesthetically driven, something that ticks certain stylistic boxes. Maybe it’s the product of some combination of social apps and music streaming; just the sheer magnitude of readily available content asks the listener to connect on surface level, passing over content that speaks to a more emotional kind of engagement. I’m not wholly against it; it’s just not something that motivates me when I’m writing music, or compels me so much when I’m listening to it. So I guess what I’m saying is the type of music I’ve made varies, but the intent remains the same regardless of the form or shape the material may take.

Name all the jobs you have ever had?
-Actions and Repercussions Adviser

-Animal Colourist

-Light Bender

-Oyster Floater

-Happiness Advocate

-Information modeller

-Director of First Impressions

-Cat Behaviour Consultant

-Bread Scientist

-Massive Information Engineer

-Problem Wrangler

-Space Travel Agent

-Hair Boiler

-Master Hand-shaker

-Change Magician

-Fashion Evangelist

Why did you decide to call yourself Dralms?
Honestly there isn’t any sort of deep answer to this one. I wanted a word that sounded like how I wanted the music to sound, if that makes any sense. As well, something that didn’t have any real meaning or message attached to it that I could grow tired of.

Name two songs on your playlist?
“Tanto” by Sessa from the album Grandeza

“Life Hacks” by Laurence Pike from the album Distant Early Warning

You have a new album coming out. Can you give us a bit of insight on what to expect from the new release?
I’ve been working on this record for around 5 years, and despite my best efforts at times it’s taken on a life of its own. I think it’s the record I wanted to make, but really I’m just too close to it at this point. At the time of recording I was listening to a lot of lush, hyper romantic music; listening to old Italian and French film scores, that kind of thing, It’s very orchestral, and I’d say prettier than the last record, but as well dark and brooding. Its far more a studio album than Shook, I won’t give you too much at the moment, we can save that for a later date.

What’s on the horizon?
Once the album comes out, travel and touring.
But in the mean time doing a lot of reading and writing, trying to figure out what’s next.

Listen to Dralms here