A Chat With: darkDARK
Duo Genevieve Vincent and Chris James make up the new electro-pop act darkDARK. The Los Angeles and Austin based pair have a debut EP on the way next month, and they've already been gaining traction with their single "Restless," featuring Haley Bonar. Before their EP release, we chatted to Genevieve and Chris about their start in music, their favorite spots in LA and Austin, their 2017 goals, and their idea of a perfect date night. They're currently working on a Valentine's Day themed playlist for us too, so keep your eyes out for that, but in the meantime, get to know more about darkDARK:
ANCHR Magazine: Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into making music, and how the two of you started this project?
darkDARK: Hey! Definitely. The two of us have been pretty immersed in music most of our lives as producers, composers, and songwriters. We met through a mutual friend and started working together in the commercial composing/music licensing industry, crossing paths many times through work before jumping into darkDARK. Our first artistic project together was a remix for Universal. In working on that track, we realized that our tastes and writing styles mesh in a pretty unique way and we had this short hand and a lot of fun working on stuff. So we jumped into writing what would later become the Heathered EP.
AM: What’s the story behind your name?
darkDARK: Our name came to Genevieve in a dream. We both liked it and responded well to the symmetry, so that was that!
AM: Who are some of your influences?
darkDARK: It’s a bit all over the place. We both love film scoring, especially horror, thriller, and sci-fi, so John Carpenter is someone we both admire greatly - especially now that he’s touring, and has made that crossover. Other favorites are the classic Bernard Herrmann scores, they’re just brilliant. Also, we love bands with strong and haunting front-women -Beach House, Phantogram, Cocteau Twins, The Pretenders, Sinéad O'Connor, Sade, we could go on… Textures and detail are an important part of our sound – so we love producers like Amon Tobin, Com Truise, Flume, DJ Snake, STRFKR, to name a few.
AM: What can you tell us about the debut EP that’s dropping next month?
darkDARK: We’re super excited about our EP, Heathered. It took the better part of the year to write, record, and mix it (which we did ourselves). We wanted it to take you in different directions emotionally. We spend a lot of time picking out each sound and using production to try to make each song an environment for you to step into. The record revolves around relationships - everything from the first moments with someone, which are so magical and fleeting, to the times where you've forgotten who you both are. The name Heathered ...memories and moments between two people are like specs and shades.
AM: How collaborative is the writing process between the both of you?
darkDARK: We live in different cities - so our process works around that. Since we’re rarely in the same room, we pass files back and forth on Dropbox constantly. One of us will start something, and the other will take over. When writing lyrics we try to collaborate as much as possible, but we tweak and shift things as needed when we are together. Our aesthetic is pretty detailed, so we take our time dialing things in. Our writing process has definitely streamlined after working out all the details on this EP. One thing we’ve found that absolutely helps our overall songwriting process - we imagine each track as a place, or setting… then we talk about that setting together, imagining what it looks like in our heads. That way, we have a collective vision/inspiration that we can always refer back to when honing in on the track.
AM: I read that you’re based between LA and Austin, so what are some of your favorite things to do in both cities, like your favorite venues or places to eat?
darkDARK: Chris’ studio in Austin is on the eastside, so we tend to hang over there. It's just blocks from Switched On, one of the best vintage/analog synth stores in the country - so that’s an obvious playground for us when we’re not writing. The food over there is also great - tacos everywhere (Las Trancas, Vera Cruz, any stand) and good coffee spots and bars (Figure 8, Quickie-Pickie, Flat Track, Stay Gold). Genevieve’s studio is in the valley, so when we’re there we focus on eating as much sushi as we can (Sugarfish, Brothers, Little Brothers) between songs. Favorite venues in LA are No Name, Complex, Hollywood Forever, The Ace, Hotel Café...there are so many good ones!
AM: What are some of your goals as a band for 2017? Can we expect tour news soon?
darkDARK: You can expect more new music and collaborations with some great guest vocalists. We’d love to tackle a film score together, which is something we’ve only done as individuals so far. We’re also working on setting up some showcases - no tour news as of yet, but we’ll keep you posted!
AM: What other bands/artists are you listening to at the moment?
darkDARK: Carpenter Brut, Empress Of, Sampha, Childish Gambino, the new DIANA record, H.E.R., the new Tribe Called Quest.
AM: Since you’re making us a Valentine’s Day themed playlist, what’s your idea of a good date night?
darkDARK: Sushi and sake. If all else fails, refer to the date scene from Better Off Dead where John Cusack plays the saxophone.
AM: On the same subject of Valentine’s Day, if your music was a conversation heart message, what would it say?
darkDARK: Feel something.