Meet: Dark Moon interview

London’s latest out-pouring of psychedelia comes in the form of Dark Moon, a band who mix ethereal vocals, with vintage guitars and blend them with instruments and sounds more akin to meditation and sound therapy sessions. “The focus was always on creating an experience, with the songs drifting into one other allowing you to get lost in the journey.”

On first listen, their debut album, ‘Lost in Love & Fear’, (recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios – Queen, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Iggy Pop, Stone Roses & New Order, etc, etc.) appears to gives us an easy to digest slice of progressive rock. Nothing wrong with that, but further listens provide us with a multitude of levels, as the album begins to unravel itself to the full. Heady stuff.

We sat down with Dark Moon to dig a little deeper into the bands psyche…

BM: Please introduce us to the band…

DM: Lola Ulalume – Vox & Gong, Dusty Sadler – Guitar, Chris Egglestone – Drums, Justin Gartry – Bass

BM: Where do you come from? And how did you meet?

DM: We are from London, Tasmania & Winchester. We came together by chance – Lola had been writing music for a long time but was yet to realise her full vision, when a friend suggested she play with a stranger called Dusty, who had recently disbanded himself. Having fairly contrasting musical influences, they were united in their love of the 60-70s era and atmospheric soundscapes of a darker feel, and were quickly joined by Dusty’s longtime friend Chris who completed the trifecta. The bass player role remained elusive for some time until musician Justin Gartry stepped up.

BM: You employ some pretty interesting touches to your music, that have got people using all kinds of metaphor’s to describe what you do. How would you describe it?

DM: Our music has been described as Transcendental and Psychotropic with a heavy backbone of hypnotic beats and blues heavy guitars. Whilst the vocals are spirit led and chant infused, screaming to be heard. There is a strong mix of old and new, calling ancient yet futuristic sounds all at the same time. We make music that sounds like a Psychedelic Motown record played at half speed through a festival PA.

BM: Dark Moon. I think it’s a very fitting name for the band, how did it come about?

DM: The name Dark Moon came out of a love for the shadow side of life, a time that the dark moon sheds light on. The dark of the Moon is a powerful time for trance and turning inwards, which goes hand in hand with our song writing and creativity, so it felt right to embody this practice in the name and tune into this cycle of the moon for shows and recordings.

BM: How about your influences? What kind of stuff drives you and is there anything in particular that bond you together as a band?

DM:  We bonded over a collective love of the 60-70’s era and atmospheric soundscapes of a darker feel and vibe. Hendrix, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Dr John spring to mind.

BM: How about growing up? Do you come from musical families?

DM: Lola was born into a musical household in the tail end of the punk era, but was more heavily influenced by the World Music that her parents would play in later years.
Dusty’s parents had a heavy soul and blues record collection. Growing up it was James brown, Sam & Dave, Otis Reading, Georgie Fame, Sunny Boy Williamson, Howlin Wolf and Ray Charles, still music he loves now. Chris grew up listening to old jazz records, Fats Domino ‘ Blueberry Hill’ and Oscar Petersen. Remembering Seven Seas of Rye of vinyl by Queen, Stevie Wonder albums, Rolling Stones and Max Roach vinyls.

BM: You had your album launch show recently. How do you rate the live experience? Do you prefer it to been in the studio?

DM: Both are important, and they are extremely different! “Making a record is like building a ship in a bottle. Playing live music is like being in a rowboat in the ocean.” – Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead). Making a record is often like creating a artifice of sound that you hear in the room or your head. You need to play tricks with sounds to make them translate through the speakers. It’s a strange backwards thinking in the studio. Oftener the quietest recorded elements can sound huge and the louder instruments can sound underwhelming. Almost all of our record was recorded live, with all instruments simultaneously to get the most honest take, however the approach to the playing is different to a gig. A live show favors much more overblown gestures in sound to translate over to an audience. Our live shows are very sonic focused with many gongs, synths, effects, leslie… We like the free flowing element and getting caught up in the moment. Our live sound is never set in stone, and the Gong can take you anywhere.

BM: What’s been you’re best and worst gigs to date?

DM: Get loaded in the Park may be one of our collective favourites. It started to rain just as we came on, so there was a huge surge of people rushing into the tent! The sound, the vibe and the atmos was just right.

Our worst gig is likely what could have been one of our favourite gigs! We played at the Eden Project following our gig at Glastonbury a few years back, however Lola got sick and could barely sing a note! We persevered nonetheless and at least we had a good time tripping out to The Flaming Lips afterwards!

BM: How would you describe your live show?

DM: A fully immersive and sensory experience for our listeners. We like to take people on a journey through sound and light!

BM: Do you have any hot tips for our readers of bands we should be looking out for?

DM: Strummerville often host shows with great acts, like ‘BLESS’ who Dusty is currently recording. Trestle Records are also a great label who put out instrumental music, one of their artists TOUT, joined us for our album launch.

‘Lost in Love & Fear’ is out now. You can order the album here: iTunes .

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