The sound of The Dark Shadows focuses on guitars, combined with silent extracts of gloomy melodies and conjoined with a mix of Psychobilly and Rockabilly. It’s a colourful mix and accordingly a great alternative to everyday bands. How did three strong, self-confident women as you are meet? How come this urgency to combine all those different styles of music and create The Dark Shadows?
Carly (bass player) and I were friends before forming the band… we met at a gig in Sydney and found we had a lot in common taste & style wise so I asked her to play bass… thankfully she said yes. We started out as a 2 piece doing little spots here and there until we found the right drummer… we had a few drummers come and go until we met Ned who was playing in The Fyreflyes at the time. When that band folded and our drummer left, we asked Ned to join and The Dark Shadows were born. We all listen to a lot of different music and have some very similar tastes in style as well as some very diverse and different likes. I guess all of these influences combined with our own playing styles goes together to make up part of the Dark Shadows sound.
Now it’s October and we decided to make you our band of the month. How does that feel? Do you often get the chance to be interviewed by magazines?
We’re very honoured to be band of the month, in Static Mag especially in the month that hosts the coolest holiday in the year... Halloween! This has been a fantastic year for The Dark Shadows... we’ve been fortunate enough to travel to so many amazing places around the world and we’ve met so many great people. It’s overwhelming when we stop to think about it... we’re so appreciative of all the help and support that everyone’s given us along the way and we hope we can keep on making music to share with everyone. Thanks heaps to Static for including us in your mag.
You also found a record label now- Halb-7-Label from Potsdam. How did it receive your attention?
I think it was actually a guy called Bennyzin from German psycho band, The Hot Wheels who also writes for Psychomania Mag who initially made contact with us about our music a while back. Then FX from Psychomania/Halb-7 Records got in touch with us about including a Dark Shadows track on the Psychomania disc sampler. We were then booked to play the Psycho mania Rumble in Potsdam last year for our first tour in Europe. Halb-7 Records were keen to put out a compilation album of our first 2 independently released EPs‚ ‘Identity’ & ‘Stand Off’ with some bonus tracks and film clip especially for European/UK audiences. Our new EP ‘Invisible’ will be released through Halb-7 in Europe/UK and on our own indeed label ‘Select-A-Vision Records’ in Australia & the rest of the world.
You already haunted the scenes for some years now. You play with bands like 45 Grave, Mad Sin and Koffin Kats and make the people dance. You became quite famous and hardly anyone doesn’t know The Dark Shadows. How does it feel to be on tour with popular bands and to receive such a feedback of your fans?
I’m very thankful for every day that we can create music and share it around the world. It’s something I’ve always known I had to do... I’ve always followed my heart and music is my life and passion. So much time and hard work from everyone involved goes into making the Dark Shadows tick. We love the challenge and enjoy every minute of it. We’re so lucky to be given the chance and opportunity to play with so many great bands and meet such wonderful, inspiring and interesting people. It’s been like a dream and so much fun.
In the spring of 2010 you certainly beat all tour records with about 40 shows in short time. You toured in 7 countries. While that you saw and experienced so much. What does it mean for you to play live, to tour and feel the atmosphere of every single show?
We love touring. It can be hard at times with not much sleep, stuck in a van for too long, toothpaste explosions in our luggage, bass amps blowing up mid-set but not even the volcanic ash cloud over Europe could stop us from doing what we do. There are so many great experiences we’ve had along the way and we just love exploring new places and meeting people and seeing how music brings together so many different characters and people from around the globe. We keep a good sense of the ridiculousness of situations and always have a good laugh about things later on. The Dark Shadows have always loved playing live shows. We love the electricity and energy on stage and bouncing back at us from the audience. It’s so cool and always surprises us when we see people in the audience in a town on the other side of the world singing along with our songs... we can’t believe it.
The Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig was also part of your tour. It was so great! When we met you in the city shortly before your performance, you were totally relaxed. Is it a kind of mental preparation for the show to go around and explore the cities where you play? Or what are your methods?
All of us love to travel. I think we all have great sense of adventure and although we don’t always have time to see and do all the things we’d like to on tour, we try to soak up as much of the atmosphere and culture of the places we visit. WGT was so much fun... we’d already been on the road for quite a while before we made it there and I personally couldn’t wait as I’d heard so many cool things about the fest and the bands playing there. Europe is such an amazing place with so much culture and history... we love exploring all the cobbled streets and medieval cities... although my roots Dutch/Australian, I felt a real affinity with Germany and the people. I love how music and art is so respected and appreciated over there. t dort geachtet und geschätzt wird.
I gladly remember your concert at the Felsenkeller The location was great and the other bands that rocked with you were chosen perfectly. You were the 4th band to perform on that night. How did you experienced that particular night? How did it feel to meet old friends like The Deep Eynde and others?
That was a great night. It was a really fun line up and was really cool to catch up with our friends the Koffin Kats and meet all the other bands. It was so cool to play right before The Deep Eynde... I was really looking forward to their set and they put on a fantastic show. I really dig their new album… picked it up after the show and had it on high rotation ever since. WGT is such a cool gathering with so many people from all around the world coming together to celebrate all things dark and spooky... we even ran into a bunch of fellow Aussies after our Felsenkeller show. We were so excited to hear that Alien Sex Fiend were playing later that night... We head out after the the Koffin Kats played to go see them... I was just in the right mood after a rockin’ gig to be transported into an alien dimension by their crazy trance-like sounds. We ended up at the‚ “When we were young” party after the show. They were spinning so much great music that we just got back to the hotel the next m
orning with just enough time to get ready and jump in the van to head to our next gig in Stuttgart... lots of fun!!
After three months of touring you finally made your way back to Sydney. But you did not finish yet, there are new concerts already planned. Isn’t it sometimes hard for you to work day and night? Is there any kind of homesickness or do you just enjoy this way of living and accept the inevitable distance to family and friends?
I love what I do. It’s who I am and my life and I realise I’m very lucky to be able to do all these crazy things so I enjoy every minute of it. It can get tiring being on the road for that amount of time but there’s so much cool stuff going on that you have no time to get too homesick. The hardest thing for me on the last tour was that for one particular week when we were in Italy, every time I got the chance to log on to my email it seemed I was getting bad news from home about relatives getting sick etc... that was upsetting as there’s not too much you can do when you’re in a van on the other side of the world and you feel so helpless. Everyone turned out OK in the end but it’s times like that that you wish you could jump in the Dr Who tardis and transport yourself home for a bit.
Let us return to the aspect of music and last year’s results. You provided us with 3 EPs, full of rocking loud pieces of music, profound lyrics and danceable stuff. We are talking about “Identity”, “Stand Off” and your current album “Darkness Calls”. How do you get the inspiration for your songs? Is it personal experience? Or do you sometimes feel the urge to leave this world for alien regions?abzudriften?
I like to explore alien regions... I feel a lot more at home there! The song writing usually stems from a combination of my own experiences and those around me as well as observations and letting my imagination run wild... we work up the songs in the studio and rehearsal room and let the chaos develop and follow it wherever it needs to go...
Your fans also didn’t have to wait too long for a special gift from you – a bilious green limited Single Vinyl. Will there be more surprises for your fans in the future?
After so many people requesting our music on vinyl on our first tour in Europe, we were so excited to be able to release our first real record 7“ vinyl single Denial/Sleeping with a Vampyre... on green vinyl. We will be releasing our new EP ‚Invisible’ on limited 10“ vinyl with digital download codes included. We love vinyl, I’ve always thought there’s something magic about the whole ritual of pulling the record carefully out of it’s sleeve, placing it on the player, watching it spin around and studying the artwork whilst the absorbing the mood and sounds of the music.
In September your new EP “Invisible“ will be released. Your fans will have the chance to hear the new songs live on the 23rd of September (The Batcave – Club 77, Sydney). When will you introduce the new material to your German fans? Are there any plans for touring?
We will be heading to Deutschland for a short promo tour to launch our new EP, Invisible in time for Halloween. We will be playing a few exclusive shows in Germany, Belgium and Japan. We’ve also just been invited to the UK by online music site, Woho music UK to New Model Army’s 30th Anniversary show in Nottingham UK. We really dig their music and Carly who is a huge fan has been asked to interview the band as a special surprise by Wohomusic who learnt of her love of the band when they interviewed us after one of our shows in the UK earlier this year. We’re very excited to be heading back to Europe again and look forward to playing our new material to our fans in Germany.
We are interested to learn something about you personally. How would you describe yourselves? Do you have any characteristics that surprise yourself from time to time?
Long, lanky with big feet and a loud voice! Dedicated, serious, hardworking, passionate and loyal. I awaken at night and sleep during the day.... I enjoy hanging out in cool cafes, drinking tea and pondering the universe... intrigued by strange and different characters dressed in crazy clothes. There are not enough hours in the day, the night or life to do everything I want to do... I am surprised by my warped sense of humour.
Just imagine you could turn into someone else for one day. Who would you choose? And what would you do?
It would be fun to change my last name to‚ Helm go back in time and be a part of the making of the film Metropolis. It would be so interesting to be behind the scenes, see how they developed those amazing costumes and sets and the whole concept from start to finish. That film is as relevant today as it was then... we are the zombie nation...
Now we like to give you the chance to talk to our readers directly. Whatever you would like to say, go for it.
“The difference makes you strong...” you can be what you want to be - just stay strong and true to what you believe in and don’t be scared to follow your dreams
Thank you so much for this great interview and I am looking forward to see you again soon.
Thank you you so much for your support and having us in Static Magazine. Bis Bald!