Dream Chief’s Luke Tuttle talks tour with The Band Perry, modern influences and Indianapolis
November 14, 2018
Indianapolis based electro-pop duo Dream Chief – consisting of cousins John and Luke Tuttle – have become one of the city’s most intriguing up and coming acts in recent years. Dream Chief have released a handful of singles since their origin, displaying introspective lyrics and catchy rhythms. Their most recent single “Can’t Get Enough” released in late October mixes elements of dance and confessing lyrics. While it’s a formula used often in music today, Dream Chief achieve the sound in a way that sounds fresh.
I got a chance to sit down with Luke and discuss different topics related to Dream Chief, including their recent tour with The Band Perry, lyrical and modern inspirations, and the city of Indianapolis.
Michael Cottone: So to start off I thought it’d be appropriate to ask how you and your cousin John brought Dream Chief to fruition and what inspired it to come about?
Luke Tuttle: Well John and I have been super into music since we were little kids, it was always a big part of our dad’s lives. We grew up playing together, he played guitar and I would play piano. At first my Grandma would have us play stuff at Christmas, fun stuff like that, but as we got older we continued to play shows together at the Hoosier Dome under the name “John & Luke,” it was hilarious. That was like sophomore year of high school, but when we got to college ages we were like “let’s do this for real and make what we want to make,” so three years ago was about the time Dream Chief became a thing.
MC: Your music’s themes often hone in on certain emotions and states of mind, but what would you say inspires you lyrically?
LT: So I can be very like, neurotic sometimes, and it can be very frustrating. Sometimes you can’t stop thinking about something, so John and I’s writing styles are different because mine is kind of just to let it all out, let your feelings dominate the music. When I write something, it comes from past relationships, or I’ll describe thoughts about my general state of mind at a certain time. Looking back on the song “Payphone” I think to myself “would I write that again?” and I really wouldn’t, but when I wrote that I had a whole setting in my mind and everything. I didn’t know if it would make sense to people, but I just wrote it because my mind chose words that described the feeling.
MC: So you just let it flow out.
MC: So right now your guys’ discography is very spread out having single after single come out periodically. Is there a strategy you guys have to what song gets released when or have a certain time in mind?
LT: Well as you know, it’s a singles market out there right now because of streaming, but I think our next move is to put out an EP probably. We’re going to get a lot of weight behind “Can’t Get Enough,” and push that hard. We have a video for that one done that’s being edited, once that’s out the push will start. But to answer your question, it has being single after single because after “Can’t Shake U” came out we got mixed up in some talks with a label. So we were making a lot of songs on the DL, and we would show them these songs we would make and that’s why there was a gap between “Can’t Shake U” and “Novacaine.” Right now we’re just releasing stuff when we can, but our next effort is an EP.
MC: That’ll be exciting!
LT: Yeah, and we’ve got a lot of songs that are ready to go. Owen Thomas (manager) told us that we should take time to release songs and choose what we really want. Like if we’re about to release a song and something better gets written, and you want to release that instead, ya know? You got to account for things like that. John and I also watched this interview with Diplo I think where in essence he says that he had written 500 songs or some ridiculous number, and he had released them and he doesn’t look back or question it. Because if you sit on something for a long time you don’t get as stoked about it anymore, ya know?
MC: Yeah, like if you keep looking at something new it just loses its excitement.
LT: Exactly, and you’re in a different state of mind and are on to new ideas.
MC: So what artists inspire you two collectively?
LT: I would say Empire of the Sun is a huge one for both of us. I know for me I think Travis Scott and Vince Staples are the two hardest rappers in the game right now. A lot of oldies inspire us too though, like America, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), Supertramp inspired my keyboard play a lot, Disclosure’s up there too.
MC: I hear a lot of Disclosure in your guys’ stuff.
LT: Right on, that’s actually sick. There are a lot of players in that house, underground area.
MC: The electro-pop scene.
LT: Yep, exactly.
MC: So what do you think being from the city of Indianapolis has done for you guys as artists?
LT: I feel like we’ve had a lot of support from the Fountain Square community, especially the Hi-Fi. The guys at the Hi-Fi really got behind our stuff and started graciously letting us open up shows for certain artists that we would fit with. That was really cool because those shows got us really good exposure and have gotten us lots of new fans.
MC: So is Fountain Square the spot local bands should be looking toward for opportunities?
LT: Oh, absolutely. That’s where it’s at right now. There are other random joints in the city that support music and put on shows that are really cool. But that whole MOKB community is really prominent now. I’m not really sure what the Hoosier Dome is up to these days, is it still metal shows mostly?
MC: I believe so, ahahah.
LT: Yeah, that was kind of the culture when we first played there.
MC: So how was your guys’ opportunity to tour with The Band Perry a few weeks back?
LT: It was an absolute blast. That was our first, like, actual tour. We had booked shows regionally and locally but that was the most extensive it’s been for us. They were really nice to us and it was very new for me and John.
MC: How did it come about? Did they come to you or did you go to them?
LT: Owen Thomas does creative direction for the Perry’s for a good while now with Absorb. And about a year ago I went to visit my sister in LA and they invited me over. They had this place in A Thousand Oaks right outside Malibu, and I went over and hung out, got to see some of the stuff they’ve put out. Owen introduced me and showed them our music, and they had already been talking about doing a little tour, 16, 17 dates, something like that. They had to ease back into the scene since they had been out of it for a little while, and they’re like a whole new band now. Seeing them live was awesome, but there were always these very country fans that got confused at the shows. I thought it was cool because they weren’t afraid to switch genres, because there is a lot of hate that comes with it. But at the same time, do you want to make music you hate just to satisfy the masses?
MC: Exactly, you got to keep it authentic and true to yourself.
The road ahead for the Dream Chief boys is certainly bright. You can stream their new single, along with the rest of their discography here.