A new track from Dark Horses is always a good thing…
in a music world where quality and consistency are not interlinked or reliable. XIII is out and, with that numerical indicator; is bad luck and superstition at its base?! Dark Horses have an album on the way and have, in their career, supported Beck. I talk to them about their latest work and its spark; what we can expect in the coming months; how they came together in the first place – and what they will be doing with the remainder of this year.
They are heading out to support Black Rebel Motorcycle so I quiz them about their gig plans and what we can expect; any new artists we should keep our eyes open for – and the music that means the most to them.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. It’s been a week of Black Rebel (Motorcycle Club) at Brixton, blind dates; losing house keys and releasing our single
All-in-all…not too bad, thanks.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
We are Dark Horses: a five-piece band of talented chancers; a soulfully obstinate sonic family
XIII is your new single. What is the story behind it? What is the significance of the number thirteen?
Some believe it to be unlucky - but we consider it to be a karmic number. It is the number of upheaval...so that new ground can be broken. We were also challenging ourselves, musically - you should have seen the concentrated looks on our faces while writing this song; trying to stay in the same time signature!
It seems, as you look at people being broken into numbers, there is a fear around the modern ways – and the digitisation of humanity. Is it conflicting having these feelings whilst having to rely on social media/streaming services for publicity?
We are not against digitalization: it is interesting, scary and exciting to witness the evolving marriage between humanity and technology.
We have faith in the warmth and unpredictability of human nature - let’s see how that all plays out! (if we live that long!)
I believe an album will follow. Can you reveal any songs that will appear? In terms of themes; what will you be investigating on the record?
Yes. Themes include:
Collective attitudes, runaways; authenticity at the risk of ridicule, hype machines; personal space and identity, fluid perspectives; learning from history, mathematics and silliness.
How did the band get together at the very beginning?
As a band, we had an exceptional beginning...
Everything was done upside-down, so maybe what is important now is to recognise and value the most simple aspects of being in a band together; having fun making a racket!
In some respects, I think we can be overawed by our own history….
You have, already, supported Beck and been backed by big sources/radio stations. Is it quite hard to take in all you have achieved so far?! What have been your favourite memories from your music careers so far?
I recall checking myself out of the hospital after suspected appendicitis - in order to perform at the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust…standing on that stage to honour all those brave young people and their families and friends was an emotional moment I shall never forget. The hall is built in such a way that I did not have to make any effort to project my voice and, with limited physical strength, that was definitely a bonus.
I felt at ease and very lucky to be part of such a magical evening.
Which musicians did you all grow up listening to? What might we have heard in your childhood homes?
The Beatles, Pink Floyd; Swedish Folk music, Janis Joplin; Carole King, The Who; Prince - and plenty of Classical and Jazz.
IN THIS PHOTO: Spring King/PHOTO CREDIT: Henry Muller
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Gosh. Not an easy question:
Anastasia: Carole King - Tapestry
I recall really connecting with her lyrics. She seemed to be singing to me.
Lisa Elle: Björk- Debut
When I heard this for the first time as a kid; I remember thinking: ‘That's what I want to do… sing and write stories like that.
David: Radiohead - OK Computer
What melodies! Got me really hooked on my Telecaster.
Bobby: ABBA - Greatest Hits
Not cool - but I used to love it as a child.
Stevie: Bob Marley and the Wailers – Legend
What can I say - it sounded extra-good when I was stoned.
I believe you are heading out with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. You guys pumped about that? What other dates do you have approaching?
We have opened for them when we first formed so it’s going to be fun to do it again now.
We are also doing a headline show on our way back in Budapest - a city we have fond memories of playing in before. We have another release lined up for the end of Jan and we shall return to the stage in the spring.
I know Milan is part of the tour. Have the band ever been to Italy? Have you boned up on your Italian for the trip?!
Well; Anastasia, on bass, is from Molise - in the centre-south of Italy! We performed at Zanne Festival, in Catania, which was great; especially as the line-up was comprised of some of our favourite artists: Toy, Blond Red-Head; Clinic and B.R.M.C.!
Needless to say; we are most excited about returning - not least, for the food (smiles).
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Just make music that you enjoy and excites you and, as much as you can, find a way to share it on your own terms. A lot can be done D.I.Y. nowadays: if you can create a scene for yourself and your music, it will only be more appealing to an industry who might want to work with you down the line.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Hibernating and generally warming up after gallivanting across Europe, in a van, on tour!
As you are called ‘Dark Horses’, I have to ask: is there a member of the band with a secret – something nobody knows? Who is the biggest dark horse in the band?!
Ahh…good question! Probably, Bobby. It involves a Tinder date - and no more can be said about that!
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Anastasia: Mass Datura - Fantasy Friction
David: PINS (ft. Iggy Pop) - Aggrophobe
Bobby: Donny Hathaway - Jealous Guy
Stevie: Camera – Synchron
Lisa Elle: Ariel Pink - Put Your Number in My Phone
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