INTERVIEW + SHOW PREVIEW: DARK DARK DARK (AT THE SATELLITE WITH Y LA BAMBA IN L.A, APRIL 28TH)
April 28th, 2011 at 8:30 PM
The Satellite, Los Angeles, California
Eclectic folk quartet Dark Dark Dark will be coming to Satellite in Silverlake on April 28 with support from Y La Bamba and Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? They will be rolling through well into their spring 2011 tour in support of Wild Go, their second full-length album on Supply and Demand Records. Dark Dark Dark’s haunting and whimsical storytelling has evolved and become even more inviting. The melodic harmonies and impassioned instrumentals by Marshall La Count, Todd Chandler, and Jonathan Kaiser nestle in the sublime shade of Nona Marie Invie’s meandering vocals.
Y La Bamba’s effervescent style is an ideal compliment to the line up at Satellite along with the old world charm of Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? Portland, Oregon’s Y La Bamba is fronted by the mystically mesmerizing songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza, who’s vinyl crackling Alida St. recently gave into a lush folk album rooted deep in American folk with the spirit of her family’s Mexican heritage. The album, Lupon (review), was inspired by her six toed cat lovingly named “Bamba”, who comforted her to health following a devastating sickness. For more info on Portland’s Y La Bamba, check our previous interview out with Luz Elena Mendoza. As a sample of what Los Angeles is about to experience from them, check out this live version of “Winter Skin.”
The Show starts at 8:30p.m. and tickets are $10 here: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/29307/ or at the door.
Marshall La Count from Dark Dark Dark was kind enough to chat with us about the band’s passion, progress and plans for the future.
Much of what comes out of Minnesota in music tends to hover around The Replacements, Prince, or more recently Atmosphere, Low. Yet your band as well as Spirits of the Red City shows another side not often known. What’s the Minneapolis music scene like to you? How has it embraced Dark Dark Dark?
Dark Dark Dark (Marshall La Count): The Minneapolis music scene is diverse and abundant. There is so much going on and so many people interested in different things, that I think you could dream up any type of music and you’d find someone playing it around town. It’s great. It has been a very diverse community of artists and musicians to grow up and work in. For us, there were definite scenes to grow through and be accepted by, but our friends and community accepted and supported us right away, enough to keep us going no matter what. Now I feel we are part of something much bigger than a scene or a neighborhood.
How do you feel the album Wild Go compares to Snow Magic as a whole album? Do you feel growth as a band on Wild Go?
We have grown so much as a band since recording Snow Magic. We developed musically and emotionally together and the songs reflect those changes. Musically, The Snow Magic was written to compete with other sound, because we were acoustic and playing in loud bars or on the street. The “chamber” of “chamber folk” or “chamber pop” that we’ve begun to identify as our genre, helps imply that we’re much more intentional now, in that regard, and able to use subtlety, quietness, more dynamics. Wild Go and the EP Bright Bright Bright are much more emotional, and to me, passionately and smartly arranged, and the poetry and writing have developed with age and experience.
You just finished a ten-date tour in France. Why tour so extensively there and what stood out the most? What would you say to someone considering touring Europe?
We are very fortunate to have met some people that make it a little easier to tour in Europe, especially in France. Our first more formal (non-CDR) release) was actually an EP for a little French DIY label called What A Mess! Records. We toured behind that release two years ago, and made it back last year. Audiences there are passionate about our music, but perhaps not more so than here…it just feels a little more romantic because hospitality in Europe is infinitely better, at least at this point…perhaps our acceptance in France was a little easier or faster than in the “indie” or “rock” circuit which is standard in the US. I’d say find a local host and start touring in Europe in a small, probably ambitious way. Do it yourself with help. That’s how we’ve started everything. We don’t know the other ways, but eventually we gained all the infrastructure to start losing our “DIY” badges. I haven’t seen the results yet, but we did a very strange little photo shoot for Vogue France last time we were there, so I guess we’re famous, (sarcasm I guess) but it started very basic. Now we’re doing an EU release of both the BBB EP and Wild Go, double cd and double vinyl, with a label in Manchester called Melodic, and working with an agent from Belgium who is great. Whatever the point of all that is…this is all we do, because we love playing for people, and want it.
What kind of responses have you been receiving on your current tour? Are you received differently in Europe than in the States? How so?
People are passionate differently, but passionate nonetheless, in the US and in Europe, and probably everywhere else we want to go. We feel incredibly supported and encouraged at home and abroad. I’m not going to say that Europe is better anymore. As above, only in hospitality…anyway, the response is very positive, people are passionate alongside us, and we are excited to make another record and continue playing. We’re often oblivious to what you’re talking about, and try to feel good while performing.
You have participated in several artistic events outside of live music performances. How do you go about choosing which events to participate in? Do they mean something to any of you on a personal level?
Of course! All of our choices are specific and personal. All of the events we’ve been fortunate to participate in are friends’ projects. As an example, we are so grateful to be able to say we’ve been to the Venice Biennial, and that because of the nature of Callie Curry’s “Swimming Cities of Serenissima,” and our crew, had a completely unique experience in Venice, had the keys to the city, and were able to connect with the residents and local community, as well as the art patrons and tourists. We are so proud of our friends when we look at a list of the other projects we’ve been involved in. Flood Tide, the film, has been another experience that has been incredible, and the Empire Drive-In. Installation and living art have a way of inviting us, as a band to participate, which is great, because it is some of the most accessible and change-effecting or experience-inducing art. Ugh. Have I gotten carried away yet? Quit making me talk this way!
What are you currently working on musically? Artistically? Otherwise?
Musically we are poising to make another record, patiently, by thinking and talking about how we will write it and what it will be. This is the most important thing. We will continue touring in the US and EU, record a soundtrack for Flood Tide, do a special live soundtrack performance for a Fritz Lang film at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and hopefully by then understand better what we are going to do next.
How did the members of Dark Dark Dark first come together?
Nona and I started playing some friends’ songs in order to play shows and make gas money on the way to New Orleans in 2006.
Jonathan was foolish enough to come along. Walter was there when we got there. Todd was waiting for us in NY. Brett and Adam are just really good. On this tour we’ve also fit in a performance of our Flood Tide soundtrack at a festival in Boulder, which means we’ve had our alternate line-up and members from NY, New Orleans, Chicago, and Mpls. This question is confusing. I don’t remember.
Because you all live in different locations, how do you go about having rehearsals? The song writing process?
My fun new answer to this question is, “None of this matters, because it is all changing again.” Historically, every time I’ve met one of Nona’s aunts or a Grandma, they say “Where do you sleep, all this traveling around?” I say, “Under bridges and in gutters.” I think we’ve started admitting to rehearsing on the road, in front of audiences.
What are some of the challenges that Dark Dark Dark has faced as a band in the last four years?
I can’t remember because I have post-traumatic stress. It feels like one big endurance match sometimes. We love doing this thing, and to do it and be us, we have to give up everything and then figure out how to get it back, and it takes good music, years, and tens of thousands of miles, and decent health, and a channel for money to flow through. We are a channel where money flows. Then, when we don’t want this anymore for a moment, its all we have. I mean, if you’re thinking in terms of challenges…
Are there any recording artists, past or present, that you call on for inspiration while you are performing or creating music? If so, who?
Yes, definitely, and of course, but I won’t name them. Our friends are so busy and passionate and inspiring that they are the first, whether they are in Minneapolis working in their community, or in New Orleans, really deeply learning their craft, or in New York or the Bay working on spectacular projects, they inspire us the most directly.
What does the future hold for Dark Dark Dark?
Okay, so, we are going to make two masterpiece records, then we are going to make one more record before we realize we should stop for a while, The Hood Internet is going to do a mash-up of one of our songs, we are going to be sampled for a Hot 97 hit, we’ll get guest spots in R&B and hot jam hits, we’ll score movies, and have songs used in countless others, we’ll support our community and be supported by our community. We are really excited to make a decision about what our next record will be and where we’ll make it.