ABOVE: DARKNESS FALLS. PHOTO COURTESY OF JETTE JØRS.
Copenhagen-based duo Darkness Falls first created buzz with the release of their eponymous debut EP and full-length album, Alive In Us, both in 2011. Since then, they’ve toured throughout Europe and focused on their sophomore LP, Dance and Cry, which will be released April 14 via hfn. On the titular track, which is premiering below, Josephine Philip (vocals, organ) and Ina Lindgreen (bass, guitar) create a cinematic soundscape filled with drawn out vocals and underlying, pulsating percussion. Citing artists such as David Lynch as inspiration, it’s only fitting that the song has a certain hint of darkness.
Although the two first met while playing in a ska band in the early 2000s, expect nothing similar to the genre that brought them together.
EMILY MCDERMOTT: Was the process different for this album than the first?
JOSEPHINE PHILIP: It was quite different. When we did the first album we spent a lot of time figuring out the sound of our music—making a lot of tracks, killing a lot of bad things. When you start doing something new, you don’t want to look back, you want to look ahead. So this time, it was not the same. We tried to reinvent ourselves, keeping it in the same sound—the sound of us—but make it sound more like 2015.
MCDERMOTT: And you have known each other for 15 years now?
PHILIP: We met each other when we used to play together in an all girl ska band, which started in 2001, and we played with that until it disbanded in 2005. We were six girls and it was very different from what we’re doing now. Then we parted for a couple of years when Ina went to film school and I was doing other music projects. We were still friends and one night we were sitting, talking about music and our lives, and we figured out that we were into the same thing. Then we just started making music together again.
MCDERMOTT: What were some of the things you had in common? That you still have in common?
PHILIP: When you work together as close as we do, it becomes almost like a marriage, because you get to know each other so well. I think one thing that we’re always agreeing on is the music, because we have the same taste, the same approach on how to make music and what it should sound like. We have our own individual roles [for] making music—there are some things that I’m good at and some things that Ina’s good at. It all adds up to something good.
MCDERMOTT: What is the approach you both agree on?
PHILIP: It’s hard to describe. It’s more like a feeling. When we’re sitting and we start trying something out, it always ends up making sense in some way. I’m not saying that it’s not hard work because sometimes you also disagree…
MCDERMOTT: Where do you find the most inspiration?
PHILIP: Of course we listen to a lot of music, but it’s not really what we use when we make music. We use art and poetry and film. We just moved studios, but in our old studio, we had this mood board across from where we sat with our computers and all our instruments, with screenshots from different film clips, like David Lynch [films]. Also paintings and people who use words in their work, like, for instance, Wes Lang. We use the environment that we’re in. It’s important for us to have a workspace where you feel comfortable and where it’s nice to be.
MCDERMOTT: Going back to growing up, when did you first become interested in music?
PHILIP: I think it was when I was about 14. I started playing the guitar and I had a guitar teacher who really wanted me to sing when I was playing. He was like, “Oh, you have a really good voice!” I’ve always enjoyed singing, but I didn’t grow up in a very musical environment. But then I started singing and I found out that I really, really liked it.
For Ina, her dad was a bass player and they used to play together when she was a kid. She would play the drums and he would play the bass, and then she started playing the bass. That’s what she did in our first band, and then she switched from bassist to guitarist when we started making music together.
MCDERMOTT: Growing up, what did you listen to? And then recently, what have you been listening to? How do you think it’s influenced your music?
PHILIP: I grew up in a home where my dad used to listen a lot to classical music and opera. We listened a lot to the radio, but I didn’t grow up with someone feeding me with all these cool bands from the ’60s and ’70s. When I was younger, when I was 13, in my teens, I think listened to hits and a lot of pop music, like Madonna. I guess that’s changed quite a lot. [laughs] We are influenced by a lot of different music. We don’t just go into one channel.
MCDERMOTT: Do you go to shows often?
MCDERMOTT: Who are some of the bands you have recently seen?
PHILIP: Someone who I really like right now is Nick Cave. I especially loved the album, I was really into that, the whole sound and the way that it was produced. I got to see him on several occasions here in Denmark. Recently we played at a festival in Denmark where Iceage played, and I really liked that too. The energy that they have is super cool. They’re just a really good band.
MCDERMOTT: From your mood board I know that visual art and film influences you, and I also know the name of the band comes from manuscripts of plays. Growing up, were you really into theater? Where did that come from?
PHILIP: I think we were really in doubt about what our band name should be. Because our music is very cinematic, a very poetic way to describe it is: when you go a theater and watch a play, it always says “darkness falls” right before it begins or ends, and that’s the space where you get to contemplate what you’ve just experienced or what is about to happen.
MCDERMOTT: How would you describe that feeling or space you want to express through music?
PHILIP: It’s all about the atmosphere. The music and lyrics make sense for where we are. The new album is called Dance and Cry and the whole album is about life’s duality—there’s nothing good without bad. When living life, you learn that even though something bad happens, something good will come. So it has the dark side, but it also has the hopefulness. It’s not either or; it’s both good and bad. When you’re younger and you experience something that’s really hard, you feel like you’re never going to be happy again, but when you’ve tried different things you know you get over it.
MCDERMOTT: We’re premiering “Dance and Cry,” the song. Do you want to talk about the inspiration behind it?
PHILIP: The song is pretty much about embracing life and love, the good things, the bad things, and everything that comes along. In the video, we have two older characters and then we have a lot of young people, because when you’re young and when you’re old, you can have the same feeling towards life. You can fall in love and be happy and you can break up and be sad. Even though you’re 13 or your 65, it will be the same feeling. It’s about life, love, and everything that comes with that.
FOR MORE ON DARKNESS FALLS, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.