Dark Horses Talk "Black Music"
Mon, 25 Mar 2013 09:38:27
Dark Horses Videos
"We artists are all dreamers," affirms Dark Horses singer Lisa Elle.
It's a fitting proclamation as the group's new album, Black Music [available April 2], feels like falling into a dream. Rapturous synths pulsate under Elle's hypnotic melodies, making for an aural pastiche that's as elegant as it is entrancing. Black Music comes to life vibrantly and vividly as the vocalist's lyrics evoke cinematic visuals that are utterly unforgettable. There's nothing quite as wonderful as falling into the world of Dark Horses.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Dark Horses singer Lisa Elle talks Black Music and so much more.
Did you approach Black Music with one particular vision or vibe in mind?
We very much felt like we wanted to define our sound. For us, the first record needed to be identifiably Dark Horses. We might have stepped out on a limb, took a few more risks, and pushed ourselves a little bit more with the whole energy of the sound, taking it song by song. We felt like we have one opportunity to debut a record. You can move from that place, but it's hard to go back to it sonically. We had a wonderful opportunity to tour some of the songs before we finished the record. We were very clear about we needed to add to the album to complete it. That's what you're hearing. From that experience of playing the songs out, we hope there's a sense of circular balance in the record. We felt what needs to be there and imagined if we had a set what song we would love to play next. If it's not there, we should write it [Laughs].
What ties it all together?
Songwriting is very much like a diary. In hindsight, you can see so much of yourself in a song whether you're writing in first-person or third-person. There's always some underlying connection to the individual. The listener needs to interpret the themes personally. My mother is Swedish, and she learned a lot of English songs before she spoke English very well. She thinks the lyrics of all these fifties and sixties are totally different than what they are. She understands and sees them in a totally different way because of that. It doesn't diminish her experience of the song. It just makes it unique to her. I like the idea a song can be translated in any way.
Do you perceive music visually?
Absolutely! Songs are like little movies. You build characters, journeys, and adventures. They have many depths to them. Some are very simple and direct, while others have deep layers. For example, take "Anna Minor". If you have a character or person in there that you're trying to capture, you might know different things about them or visualize how they look, move, and smell. That adds to pinpointing the identity of that song, but you don't have to describe it all in the song. You just have it playing in your head.
How did "Boxing Day" come together musically?
Good question! I really wanted to take more of a dance production style to that song in terms of the pace, length, and the journey it takes sonically. I think a lot of deep house and club music has this wonderful ability to never rush into anything. It takes its time, follows the heartbeat, and gets into the zone. It's about being in a club atmosphere, getting into the music, and being totally enveloped in that sound. I took a little bit of that production style into this song by getting into that space and taking our time with the breakdowns.
What other art forms inspire you?
We love movies. Harry inhales books he reads so many of them. I work more visually. I like reading in short bursts which may be why I appreciate poetry more than novels though I have read lots in my time. I go through phases of reading. I love listening to vinyl records. I'm sitting here with piles of my records around my room. I'm reminded by the large format cover art and the booklet that when you listen to music it's amazing to have this book to pour through and draw from. That's another a visual element I think is important to my appreciation of music and our experience as a band making music and expressing it.
When you listen to the record on headphones, you can hear so many different flourishes and nuances.
You've hit the nail on the head when it comes to our attention to detail and wanting to take risks when it comes to the production. Therefore, I say the main thing we've done is to take the things away. We'd record the songs from beginning to end live as much as possible. Then, we'd record any overdubs and take things away. Richard Fearless is a big part of that. Sonically, there's a 3D feel which I really wanted to achieve.
If you were to compare Black Music to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I don't think there is just one [Laughs]. Of course, it's very hard. Maybe it'd be a mix between Easy Rider and Let the Right One In. I wouldn't want to take it too literally in terms of the gore and darkness in Let The Right One In. I think that movie is a real love story. I don't think about the vampire aspect of it. I think of these two lost souls who found somebody in each other and a friend. I think that's really beautiful.
The most beautiful thing about the movie is the only connection comes from them. Everyone else is so distant.
Have you heard Dark Horses yet?