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There’s little consensus about the nature of dreaming: Why do we dream? What’s the purpose of dreaming? Can we connect with other people through dreams?

On How the Moon Shines on the Shit, the debut record from Somnia—a bi-coastal collaboration between The Max Levine Ensemble‘s David Combs and RVIVR‘s Erica Freas—the nature of dreams and what we experience when we dream is explored over the course of 11 fist-pumping, joyous pop-punk songs. Combs tells City Paper that the project came about a few years ago when his and Freas’ bands were on tour together on the West Coast. “Erica and I had a conversation about dreams,” Combs says. “I have occasionally remembered songs from my dreams. Often it would be me watching a band playing a song, and when I wake up, I realize that really it was my song.”

After listening to a radio show about lucid dreaming and having conversations about dream synchronicity, he and Freas thought it’d be cool to try to dream the same dream (Combs says he has done this before) and write a song together in their sleep. “Pretty ambitious. It didn’t work, if you can believe it,” Combs says.

But the experiment did result in a collaboration of dream-inspired songs, which the duo worked on whenever they crossed paths on tour. Finally, in December of 2014, Combs went to Olympia, Wash. to finish up the songs and record the album.

Musically, Somnia very much sounds like a union between The Max Levine Ensemble’s power pop-tinged pop-punk and RVIVR’s anthemic, melodic punk jams, and that’s most apparent on “Another Night,” an exploration of how we deal with underlying fears in the dream world. Combs explains:

“Another Night” is kind of about exploring the dream world as a way of coming to terms with the unknown. For me, a fear of mortality is an underlying theme in my interest in dreams. Like it’s a place that we engage in and where we experience alternate versions of reality, but it’s not confined to the same rules or logic as the waking world. I don’t have any definitive conclusions about it, because it’s not something that anyone fully understands. But it’s fun to think about.

How The Moon Shines on The Shit comes out July 8 on Rumbletowne Records. You can preorder the LP here, or digitally here.

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