Darkswoon Fill The Darkenin Heart Questionnaire

Darkenin Heart

What do you consider to be the darkest piece of music you’ve ever heard?
I took a class in Contemporary Techniques in Music Composition last year and studied a piece of music that is probably one of the darkest pieces of music I’ve heard. It’s hard to narrow it down, especially since I love dark music and have absorbed a lot of it over the years. This particular piece of music is Krzystof Penderecki’s “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” composed in 1961. It’s a cacophony of 52 strings using extended techniques to create an unsettling swarm that sounds like insects. The piece has been used in several dark movies (The Shining for example). It’s an incredible, dark testament to the horrors of war.

How would you characterize your own music?
When I started writing for this project, I wasn’t really sure what kind of music I was creating. I used to describe the music as ‘electrohaze’ because it is an electronic project but part shoegaze and, in its origin. The music has changed over time. Now, I feel like we are creating a mix of post punk, dream pop, dark synth pop or coldwave-we’re somewhere in a Venn diagram of several sub genres. But genre is so subjective that it is hard to authentically categorize and our songs jump around in style a little.

What are your musical aspirations?
Connecting to others through music. Isolating through music. I want to continue to grow and expand as a musician. It’s always taken me to interesting places and introduced me to many important people in my life. And music has deepened my relationship to myself. For me, it is a very introspective and grounding practice. I hope to play music until the day I die.

What are your main musical inspirations?
I grew up in the 90s and I still return to a lot of this music as I grow older. Tori Amos, Radiohead, Portishead, Aphex Twin, Björk (who is continuously inspiring). Learning a new piece of gear or stumbling across a new (to me) style of music can also channel fresh perspectives.

What are your main goals in life?
That’s a big question! I would love to be able to quit my “day job” (I actually work nights) and make music full time. I want to travel the world and tour more. I’d love to have more time for volunteering. I’ve very passionate about animal rights and wish I could do more to help humans in need as well. I don’t think I could ever be bored. There are so many things I want to do.

What motivates you to create?
It’s almost compulsive. I need to be creating. This is hard because I am not always motivated but I need to work through that. At times, it’s a bit like banging your head against a wall. When I am feeling stuck, I work through it creatively and suffer through the moments of bad writing until I break through to something that works. I get very frustrated when I don’t have time to create. For a long while now, it’s been an essential basic need in my life.

Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?
I used to be more of a night owl but now I really struggle to sleep in. I get up early and stay up late. So a bit of both, I suppose.

Besides music, what other art forms would you like to explore?
When I was younger, I was really into drawing. My medium was ink. I don’t make time for this kind of art anymore but I wish I did. I’ve always wanted to get into painting but I’m terrible with color. I don’t wear colors; I don’t know how to blend or how to use them. I’d love to explore this. More recently, I’ve been working on some film making-for music videos. This is a new creative pursuit that I’ve been enjoying, both from the filming perspective but also creative editing. Rachel and I made our video for ‘Eaten By Wolves’ together (the first single off ‘Bloom Decay’) and we also filmed our video for ‘Year of the Rat’ (second single) which was then edited by Ion Wray Media. It’s been a really interesting to use technology to explore art in this way. Something I definitely want to keep working on.

Which is the very first record that had a big impact on you?
As a kid, Nirvana really got under my skin in a way that made me want to play music-especially my guitar. But Nine Inch Nails’ ‘The Downward Spiral’ is up there for most influential albums. I remember I heard a NIN on MTV’s 120 Minutes and became obsessed with finding it. I didn’t know the name of the song just the band so I ordered ‘The Downward Spiral’, which had just come out, from Columbia House (yep-I’m dating myself). I loved it. I was only ten or eleven years old and my mom didn’t approve so she gave my cd away to a family friend. Fortunately, this person put the cd on tape for me so I could keep listening in secret! This album planted a seed for me that eventually grew into my desire to incorporate electronics and synths into my music, although my primary instrument is guitar. It was my segue into both electronic and dark music.

What is the best decade for music?
I don’t know-maybe right now? There is a creative bloom happening in the wake of the pandemic. We might be in a musical renaissance of sorts. There is more variety in music than ever and a solid platform that transcends the limitations of big labels. Bandcamp has really helped lift up the underground scene and given musicians a place to promote and profit from their music. There are many innovative sounds coming out of technology and deep emotions inspiring art in the midst of upheaval in many societal structures at large. A lot is happening and as musicians process it, I think some really great music is yet to be made this decade.

What do your future plans include?
I’m finishing a degree in Music Composition for Film Scoring. I really would like to compose for film more in the future-especially would love to score for a horror film (horror film makers-get in touch!). I’m hoping Darkswoon will be able tour in 2023. And I’m starting to write the next album.

Bloom Decay is out now via Icy Cold Records

All questions answered by Jana Cushman

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