Aquamarine Dream Machine, the Des Moines-based prog rock four piece, is comprised of Daniel Wipf (guitars vocals), bassist Justin Kurtz, keyboardist Joseph Antelman and drummer Justin Bristow. The act's influences and individual ability creates a sound that is one of the more free-flowing yet intricate sounds in town.
“Our sound can be very technical, but we're also very melodic,” Wipf said. “We all love that classic rock sound, but we've been drawing more inspiration from progressive sounds lately.”
“A lot of times we'll improvise on stage,” Kurtz added. “So our shows are planned out to an extent, but really, that's the exciting thing about our shows, there's never two that are the same.”
It can be hard to describe the band's sound with a quick genre title. They can be a bit jammy at times, and the prog influences are clearly evident, with several band members also having served stints playing with Des Moines prog legends The Maw. But what really defines the band's sound, is how collaborative it is.
Recording sessions on the band's last two albums have resembled large jam sessions, and songwriting is handled with a similar, laissez faire attitude.
“It's very collaborative,” Wipf explained. “Our last drummer helped write a lot of the songs on our last album. Right now, sometimes (Antelman) will come in with a whole song all ready.”
“Usually we do it over the course of weeks, maybe even months,” Wipf continued. “Whoever has something good, we're going to go for it.”
Looking at 2016, the Wipf and Kurtz feel like the band is putting a solid emphasis on releasing another album, as opposed to trying to hit the road live.
“Yeah, we definitely want to get recording,” Wipf concurred. “We have probably nine songs that we have considered for an album. We're unsure if we're going to do a homemade album or find some place to record this one, but that's our plan. Live shows, we kind of only do when someone asks us.”
But whether it is live or as on an album, the certain thing is that listening to Aquamarine Dream Machine is an experience that never hits you the same way twice.
“We always record every session we play,” Kurtz said. “We're constantly trying new things, so there's always the potential for a moment when one of us will go 'oh I wish I remembered what we played there!' ”
Originally appeared in Cityview February 10, 2016