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Tip: if you’re ever in a bad mood, listening to Dream Koala can provide some sonic relief and quell that tension. It’s hard to categorize the 21-year-old French singer/ songwriter/producer’s music as it encompasses several genres, but the final product is finely tuned. Inspired by spirituality, space and science-fiction, his work is an ode to nature and a criticism of the modern world, and he creates immersive musical and visual universes. With his singing, Dream Koala falls within a lane similar to the legendary Sade, as his vocals is very ambient and soft, which can lull you in a relaxing trance that gets you in the feels.

Dream Koala

I watched Dream Koala perform a couple of weeks ago as part of a showcase presented by MATTE Projects at National Sawdust, a new event space in Brooklyn. It was the first installment of a yearlong series produced by the two entities.  Opening last October, the $16 million National Sawdust is an artist-led, non-profit venue for exploration and discovery. The former sawdust factory, hence the appropriate name, will be a place where emerging and established artists can share their music.

National Sawdust

National Sawdust has a very unique layout for a concert venue. The main room is quite small and the performance stage is somewhat low to the ground, which provides for a very intimate music listening experience. This should allow guests to engage with artists, like Dream Koala, to better feel their performances. As you can see from my pictures and video, National Sawdust has a nice interior aesthetic that actually helps amplify the sound. If guests wanted a different perspective, there’s an elevated level that sits high above the floor, providing a bird’s eye view.

National Sawdust

Dream Koala took the stage with his guitar, barefoot and in a kimono, so the relaxed vibes were established right from the beginning. Under the purple hues of the stage lights, he performed a very strong set that impressed a lot of people in the room. Being so close to the stage, I could tell that Dream Koala was very passionate in his craft, as I can see the concentration on his face while singing or strumming away. I closed my eyes at times to shut out my surrounding and to really absorb in the music, and his songs put me at ease. My mind was able to peacefully float for a bit, until some rude assholes behind me started talking with each other about their upcoming waiter shifts and other annoying hipster issues. I hate how disrespectful and socially inept some people can be. If you’re not here to enjoy the music, why the hell are you even in the room? Anyways, I tried to zone out them and Dream Koala put me back at decent mood. I was anticipating him playing his hit song “We Can’t Be Friends”, but unfortunately it wasn’t on his set list for the night. At the end of the set, the young and talented artist showed a lot of gratitude towards the crowd.  Hover, it was an overall great performance and I recommend you check out Dream Koala if ever you need a pick-me-up. Stay posted to National Sawdust and MATTE for future showcases.

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.