In December of 2010, we suggested to you that there was a band that deserved your attention: Dark Horses. In the two years since, the band has been hidden away, working on their first full-length album. The result is Black Music, one of the best albums of 2012. Black Music is the sound of blissful suffocation. Simultaneously majestic and distorted, leaving you feeling like your trapped in a small room that you never want to escape from. The band revels in their ability to remain enigmatic and challenging. Todd talked to vocalist Lisa Elle in an effort to remove the shroud of secrecy surrounding the band.
TDOA: When we last spoke to you, Richard Fearless (Death in Vegas producer) was producing the new album. Did he end up
completing the record with you?
DH: Indeed, at Michigan’s Keyclub. Fearless sealed the final entries into ‘Dark Horses, Black Music’.
TDOA: I always wonder, when listening to a record that I think is brilliant, if the band has any self-awareness of how great their music is. Obviously, you wouldn’t be putting this out if you weren’t satisfied with the music. But was there a song or a moment while you were recording that led you to a moment of thinking you’d created something very special?
DH: It’s hard to be truly objective, and there’s always improvements to be made. Our aim, amongst other things, was to create an identifiable ‘Horse music sound’ for the first record. There’s only ever one debut and we needed to be heroic and with the help of Lord Fearless we feel we’ve done this.
I don’t think till we have made the next will we know how to feel about this one.
TDOA: You were kind enough to indulge everyone with fourteen songs (!) on this record. When it got around to sequencing the record, what led you to come up with the order that you chose? Did you intend to create a mood or tell a story by putting songs in this order?
DH: As with our live sets, the album was sequenced with precision and abandon. You follow your instincts and react accordingly. Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
TDOA: I must say that I am in love with the sound of the record. Can you indulge the tech geeks among us and talk a bit about it? I’d love to know everything from what you used to get that great, distorted bass sound on Rose to whether you were playing directly into the board or mic’ing the amps. And what amps….? See, we have a lot of geeky questions.
DH: Electricity comes from other planets…
TDOA: Radio was the first song I ever heard from Dark Horses. Was it the first song that was written? It feels as if it has a slightly different approach than some of the other songs on the album. Truth or insanity on our part?
DH: We wrote ‘Radio’ to keep us warm. As much as we adore the hibernation months we were dreaming of August and imaging the sound of the summer, whether that be riverbanks or robbing banks.
Have you heard the version with Robert from BRMC?
TDOA: Some might say that the lyrical mood of the record is a little….dark (sorry, too easy). Is that a reflection of the mood while writing or is it merely the creation of the character that is singing the songs?
DH: I don’t see it as dark… I see it as defiant and an attempt to explore the internal world… If this is dark then so be it. But out of darkness comes light.
TDOA: Your ability to create some mystique surrounding the band, through use of videos and social media was fascinating to watch. Who was responsible for the concept and how will you continue to utilize this approach?
DH: The camera is as important to a Dark Horse as is her distortion pedal.
TDOA: Tell us about your experience at Festival Number 6! Get to rub elbows or have a drink with anyone fun?
DH: No 6 was in my mind how festivals should be: intimate and anarchic. Its’ location, Portmerion is where the 60′s TV show ‘The Prisoner’ was made and despite this heritage there was little paranoia. We had a right psychedelic knees up with our pals TOY and The Early Years.
TDOA: What’s next for Dark Horses? Will you do another video for one of the songs on the album? U.S. tour? Please?
DH: Yes, we are currently finishing a new music film for ‘Alone’ directed by Pierre Angelique and also we’ve made a fiction short ‘Strait Street’ from our recent writing sessions in Malta, where we found ourselves recording -and channeling- in an ancient brothel.
It is inevitable that we will set sail to the America’s!