Soaring in from San Diego, California, is none other than a singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Dream Tonic and her latest electronic rendition of the holiday classic, "Silent Night."
Dream Tonic is the musical vision of Kristin Allen-Farmer, and we've had the pleasure of featuring her music throughout the past year while getting to know her profound love for electronic dance music. Dream Tonic's ethereal vocals, warm pads, and heavy subs offer whispers of her major influences, including Billie Eilish, Morcheeba, Bjork, and Portishead.
Dream Tonic is putting a different spin on the holidays this year with producer Lucien Francis on their latest hit, "Silent Night." The single is everything we were hoping for; a dark and mystical take on the silent, holy night while Dream Tonic's fluttery vocals seep through our speakers alongside Francis' dense and haunting production.
Beginning our journey into the new single, "Silent Night" mysteriously starts with a chilling keyboard chime that sings the classic melody we know well. As Dream Tonic's ethereal and breathy vocals begin to brush past our ears, she and Lucien Francis begin to up the electronic atmosphere with airy drum breaks that take this classic holiday tune to new, ominous levels.
There's something about the hook that keeps our attention locked on the hazy pads and heavy subs, drenching our speakers in this haunting yet exhilarating atmosphere. As a quick build begins to increase, Dream Tonic and Lucien Francis drop us into an invigorating synthy bass drop with a perfectly mysterious and seductive ambiance.
Begin your holidays with the new and improved rendition of "Silent Night" by Dream Tonic and Lucien Francis, now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome back to BuzzMusic, Dream Tonic. We're so impressed with the vibe and ambiance of your latest release, "Silent Night." What inspired you to create your own version of the classic holiday piece?
Thanks for having me! The Producer Dojo electronic music producer community and record label hosted a "Christmas Krampus challenge." I love music production challenges that have certain parameters and restraints, so I dove right in with my co-producer Lucien Francis. The challenge was to create a track that embodies the spirit of Krampus, who is basically like a Christmas demon. He scares the crap out of kids that made the naughty list and is pretty much the opposite of Santa. The challenge was to make anything but happy, cheery Christmas music and to go for the creepy shadow side of the holiday instead. I feel like the Dream Tonic sound always comes out a little dark and haunting anyway, so this was a perfect challenge. I've been wanting to have a Christmas song in my catalog for some time now, and have always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to reimagine this traditional Christmas classic into a minor key, melodic downtempo version.
What was your creative process like when arranging the vocal production and sonics for "Silent Night" with Lucien Francis? How did the two of you begin the process?
I decided I'd like to do a reimagining of Silent Night, so I started playing around on the piano and came up with a version of Silent Night that played around with the melody a bit, transforming it from major to minor and from 3/4 to 4/4. After being happy with the new melody, I decided to turn the piano into a creepy and childlike sounding music box instead, added a haunting cello, some subs, and then got busy with the vocals. I thickened up the lead with lots and lots of doubles, then had an absolute blast getting creative with the various harmonies and thickening those up accordingly as well. After fleshing out the track, I handed it over to Lucien Francis and he took the drums to the next level AND took the tune in a whole new direction with the electro-house section of the track. I was pleasantly surprised, we gathered on Zoom and co-produced the rest of the track together in real-time, adding fun little distortion elements and fine-tuning the drums. This track was truly a blending of both of our unique styles and the final version ended up being something that neither of us could have created on our own.
What do you hope to make your audience feel when listening to your dreamy and modern rendition of "Silent Night"?
I've had a lot of people comment, "If I have to listen to Christmas music, this is the kind of Christmas music I'd like to hear." So, that type of comment is music to my ears! I personally love listening to some of the old Christmas classics put out by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, etc. but I hope that with this particular version of "Silent Night" we've broken the mold a bit. I hope listeners feel a sense of depth and groundedness as well as angelic vibes. I hope our listeners can discover a place between the ethereal and the gritty and sit there happily.
Besides holiday classics, might you create more haunting and ethereal covers in the future, similar to the unique spin you put on "Silent Night"?
I think I'd like to attempt some more Christmas music, actually. I can see maybe a lo-fi house version of a public domain song being a vibe. I tend to steer clear of stuff that would require lots of permissions and stuff though, so I like to look toward the public domain if I'm going to do a releasable cover. In fact, I have a whole catalog of public domain popular classical piano pieces that I've arranged for string quartet and piano. I can see adding some electronica flavor to these tracks and taking it to a whole new level.