Factory of Dreams is a collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Hugo Flores and vocalist Jessica Lehto. This Portugese band plays a gothic, slightly metallic brand of neo-prog. Neither Flores nor Lehto are new to the music business, as Flores released his first album, a solo effort "Atlantis" in 2000, and then formed the band Sonic Pulsar which released two albums. Flores then created Project Creation, a band more in the prog-metal vein, and released two albums, part of a multi-album story arc, under this name.
I got in touch with Hugo Flores for the Factory of Dreams story.
Our Factory Of
Dreams biography is pretty extensive so just let us bypass that. But
what was yours and Jessica musical visions for Factory Of Dreams ?
Hugo: No problem,
I can do a quick bio for FoD. Here we go, Me does music, Jessica does
vocals. Hope that was ok (laughs)!
Ok, so I wanted
to show different worlds with this project, and try out some
innovative ambient sounds’ approach. This was my initial idea to
start this specific band. I also wanted to write very spontaneous
music that focused more on the ambiental side of me. By then I still
didn’t know Jessica and wasn’t sure what vocals would be best
suitable, music was all that mattered before jumping to vocals. This
is why I am so surprised when a few people mentioned that Poles’
music perfectly fits Jessica’s voice, because it was the other way
around, at least for Poles! But indeed they have great chemistry and
the music and vocals complement each other. So, I simply started
playing and in about a week I came up with some 12 ideas for tracks.
This would later become our first album, Poles.
The vision for
Factory of Dreams was also to make very mystical music, and
occasionally use some ethnic instruments, but not as much as in
Project Creation. On a few tracks you can hear the ‘Factory’
working, before the actual music starts evolving. Other sounds were
also specially crafted to depict this bizarre World created for
The 2nd album was
more complex, it didn’t deviate that much from my Project Creation,
even though it retained the initial vision for Factory of Dreams and
a predominance of Jessica’s vocals as expected. A Strange Utopia is
a voyage through an imaginative mind and to impossible worlds…well,
impossible considering our limited knowledge obviously, but the
universe is huge with endless possibilities…
But Factory of
Dreams won’t stick to a formula, as you probably might have guessed
by now. Each album will have a story, a type of sound and a very
specific vibe. Our next album will be quite different from the first
two. However, if you’re familiar with our kind of melodic content,
both musically and vocally, you’ll know that it is FoD.
Jessica: When Hugo got in touch with
me my vision was just to contribute to the overall sound and mood
with my voice and have as much fun as possible with the project,
while at the same time learning more about and improving my vocal
technique when working with Hugo. This is still the vision I have for
my part in Factory of Dreams.
I will get
back to Sonic Pulsar, Project Creation and your solo career in
another interview so let's bypass those for this interview. But
Jessica has/had her own project called Once There Was. Please tell us
more about this project.
Jessica: I started the project in
2002/2003 some time, and released a first demo in 2003. In this
project I write all the music and I sing, and helpful people do the
things I can't do (guitar recordings etc) or that I'm not really
interested in (mixing, mastering). Of course the first demo sounds a
bit horrible to my ears by now, but that's a good thing because it
means I have learned a thing or two along the way. At the moment I'm
working on a fourth demo and I have collected tracks for a fifth demo
too. This music is unsigned but I doodle around with artwork a bit
and sell these demos on my website. Hopefully at some point I will
find people who would like to play Once There Was stuff, so a band
would finally exist behind the music. Anyone interested can find some
free downloads at http://www.oncetherewas.com -
Please give me
your (long or brief) thoughts and lowdowns on......
Poles from 2008
Hugo: A very
special album to me. Some songs have a strange effect on me, either
the intros or the evolutive melodies. It’s like they’ve
awaken something inside, ya know. ‘Sight of a
better Universe’, ‘Factory of Dreams’, ‘Crossing the Bridge
to the Positive Pole’ are examples of that feeling.
I think that this
album is also an example of simplicity and complexity at the same
time. The structures are relatively simple for me, but the
orchestrations are detailed and thorough.
It’s also an
album that is more intimate, and doesn’t have that band sound if
you will, in opposition to A Strange Utopia.
It’s also an
album that reminds me of getting familiarized with Jessica’s voice
and also getting to know Jessica.
So, this is not
band evolution, these are albums that work on their own and are
specific of their time. Each album has its own sound.
Jessica: It will always be a very
special album to me, since it was the first one we recorded. I had to
use a much more fast-paced way of singing than I had previously
tried, and it was a bit tricky but I was happy to see I was able to
deal with it. All in all I mainly tried to just contribute to the
mood on each individual track.
Utopia from 2009
Jessica: This album is very
different from Poles and I like it equally much. Having so many
guests was definitely nice, and I particularly have to mention the
violin sections, I love that instrument and I love what was done on
the tracks where this instrument was featured. This time around the
fast-paced vocals came a lot more natural to me.
complex than our first album Poles, definitely. Very bold too,
breaking some ground here and there for the genre…if there is a
which is kind of unseen for a progressive sound/band. Many guests,
including other vocalists. To me it has some memorable tracks like
Sonic Sensations, the opener Voyage to Utopia and the amazing violin
solos from David Ragsdale on ‘Slow Motion World’ which has become
a favorite. The downside is that people used to Poles, may have found
it too complex or progressive, but I do what I wanna do and not what
people want to hear.
currently working on your third album which I guess will see the
light sometimes in the near future. Please tell us more about this
Hugo: First, I
have to say that it’ll be the most appealing album to global
audiences. Not because I wanted to, but because it turned out that
way. The tracks evolve according to what I felt was the natural way
for them to grow. All tracks will be quite unique, very powerful,
despite two songs that will be just Jessica and synthesizers and
piano. One of those tracks is an old song I did on my solo album
(Atlantis, 2000) called ‘Something Calling me’. Jessica’s voice
there works incredibly well and I’m sure people will love it.
The rest of the
track list is pretty much strong, punchy, bombastic and shorter, like
on Poles. Actually, that’s it, this album will be a stronger Poles
album, much stronger…Can you see I’m excited, yes?
So, the vision
for this 3rd album is to simulate the evolution of an artificial
molecule, evolving into life, seeing it’s own created dimension
grow, change and influence its thoughts.
The sound is
going to be very ‘Tronic’ combined with Prog, goth and metal and
two ambiental tracks. Our new single,
which should be out very soon, will provide an overview of the kind
of sound to expect for the upcoming album.
anxious to have it complete. It has some recording techniques I had
never used and turned out great. And except for a 8 minute track, all
will be some 4-5 minutes long, and will have many rhythm changes,
guitar riffs and vocal harmonies.
is even greater than before, and she just keeps surprising me.
A new thing about
this album is that I’ll be singing along with Jessica on some
tracks. The album is so strong, that sometimes, a male voice fits
very nicely here an there, and I’m sure people will enjoy it. The
new song/single will show this interaction that I’m talking about!
What is the
lyrical topics on your albums and how is your creative process from
coming up with a theme/riff/idea to you get it down onto an album ?
Hugo: Most of the
time I start a song by playing on my synthesizers, hardly ever on
guitar and sometimes vocally. Then I’ll have to figure out how that
melody will change and evolve through the track. Usually I just let
my thoughts go and see what they come up with. When I run out of
ideas I stop, means that the track is done. A few orchestrations can
be arranged on top and stuff. These are the foundations for the
After that is
settled, I begin recording the electric guitars, then the bass and
later vocals. I also lay down my drums along with the synths and
orchestrations, thus, before the actual guitar recordings.
I like an album
with a beginning and an end, story wise. Most of the time my concepts
rely on scifi visions, mysterious places and sensations. On Poles
there’s this invisible Factory, that ‘injects’ dreams on
peoples minds, and a World where only one side is shown, the negative
Pole. The album is a journey through that world and how a person
manages to find a passage to the positive Pole. The issue is that the
‘positive’ land, if you will, can’t really exist without its
‘negative’ side. The Factory serves as a mediator between places.
On A Strange
Utopia, I try to show a voyage through a universe populated by
planets with landscapes and societies unlike anything seen before,
such as a land made of and created by sound and music, a land where
chaos is the norm, a place where destruction can be…destructed,
..etc.. . On ‘The Weight of the World’ we show a place where
people’s mistakes and all evil inflicted on their planet, such as
excessive pollution, have a direct impact on the planets mass…people
become unbearable heavy and life becomes impossible. Learn from your
How do you
decide that this music/new idea is for Factory Of Dreams and that new
idea is for other of your bands ? Is there any conflicts there ?
Hugo: It’s not
common, unless a certain track didn’t make it on an album and is
left over. There I have this spare one to see if it fits on a
project. If the song isn’t good enough, or simply doesn’t please
me that much, I delete it. So, like I was saying, it’s not common,
because when I start working on new tracks, it’s already with a
concept and an album in mind.
I record vocals for three different projects but I don't have any
problem separating what vocals shuld go for what band. I think that's
because the music styles I work with are quite different for each
project, so it just feels natural to have certain melodies and paces
for one project and others for another project.
How would you
describe Factory Of Dream's music ?
Hugo: To me, it’s
a combination of Prog with very atmospheric music and really heavy
guitars. It’s not the usual prog metal or symphonic metal.
Sometimes we have very calm and other times very bombastic passages.
Poles was calmer, Strange Utopia had all of these genres. The next cd
will be bombastic most of the times and more aggressive.
I feel that the music is quite diverse, it's obvious that with each
album there's a change although you can still hear the Factory of
Dreams-sound in there. There are many different elements and
influences to be heard and describing the music with one genre only
would maybe not really do the music justice. It may not be the most
easy-listened music out there, but I suppose that depends a lot on
what kind of music you are really looking for.
A question to
Jessica really: Which vocalists has influenced you most and do you
find any inspirations in the very active Portuguese female vocals
based folk music scene ?
van Giersbergen, Sharon den Adel, Enya and Tarja Turunen have been
some of my greatest inspirations. Hopefully I don't sound too much
like any of those though, I hope I mainly sound like myself instead.
:) Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with the Portuguese female
vocals music scene, but for the Swedish one I can mention for example
Anna Ternheim, she's an excellent songwriter with a wonderful
Factory Of Dreams is a studio band. Is there any plans to expand into
gigs, festivals and tours ?
Hugo: We never
know, but it’s indeed a studio project for now.
What is your
experience with the music industry and the internet prog scene?
Hugo: The prog
scene is quite well served by online prog radios, I’d say most
airplay comes from those radios made out of passion from the DJs,
unlike more commercial radios that rely on strict playlists. And
these playlists, is that fair, is that what the DJs really wanna
hear? Most of the time featuring only new songs from big time labels
that have the power/money to place those tracks on rotation and on
those playlists.. Well, there’s the internet, people can now browse
and buy what they want to hear, but sometimes they just don’t care
or don’t have the will and time to do that…so they hear what
The industry is
changing, there are much more projects and bands, with the internet
and more accessible means to create music. But sales dropped down
like hell. Piracy is a big issue and the labels must thrive to find
other kinds of business models. Selling an album is nowadays very
difficult, despite the online stores. So, fans must be aware of this
and buy the albums instead of illegal downloads. That’s the only
way to keep new music comin’
But I must say
that these are exciting times. The internet and the new means to
promote provide lots of freedom for a band and their labels. I’m
happy to be able to live these moments, they are very exciting indeed
and you can immediately see a response from your fans, either via
comments or number of plays/downloads.
Besides of the
new album, what is your plans for the rest of this year and next year
Hugo: Indeed the
new album is a priority that I hope to be complete by the end of the
year, but before that, we want to release the single and introduce
the sound for this album thru that song. It’s gonna be a nice
Next year it’s
surely time to concentrate efforts on my Project Creation as well and
resume work on the 3rd album. It’s gonna be challenging but it’s
a goal I have.
want to add to this interview ?
You can follow every news on our Facebook and myspace pages, listen
to us at myspace, reverbnation or Lastfm.
comment back, say what you think about the music, we welcome every
comment and we reply back. And, very important, if you like the
music buy the albums, that’s the only way to help a band make more
and better music.
free to browse:
Thanks so much for this interview ;)
Hugo & Jessica
Thank you to Hugo and Jessica for this interview
The band links is as above.
Their PA profile is http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=4809 -