Dark Bells

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Dark Bells

“Basically we’ve been playing around Sydney, been down to Melbourne a couple of times, and we’ve all been in other bands. So we’ve all gone through the process of establishing ourselves in the Australian music world, and it’s maybe personal reasons as well – I’ve really wanted to move to England since last time I went there,” he reveals.

“So it’s those two things combined, telling us to move over there and give that a shot. We’ve come as far as we wanted to here, which is good, and we figured we may as well do the same thing over there and take it a little further.”

Adding to the psuedo-mysterio characteristic of the group is the fact that they’re yet to produce any recorded work in a physical format, with only a handful of tracks streaming online. “We’ve had a couple of offers through small singles labels, which wasn’t quite what we wanted to do at the time,” Ashley divulges. “We have recorded a single for a seven-inch release for a new label, Low Records, which will be put out at the end of the year.

“We didn’t really have enough lead-in time to do promo and all that stuff before we go away, so it looks like we’ll be back to tour that later in the year, possibly. So that will be our first actual physical release.”

Rather than presenting a tapestry-like weaving of sound, the trio intensify the sparse sonic qualities of the drums-guitar-bass aesthetic – something more akin to a triptych. “That actually exactly how it’s been, how we’ve based ourselves. Not so much on somebody writing a song with guitar chords, then verse-chorus-change-chorus, like when it’s a singer-songwriter with a guitar. It’s very different to that. In a lot of the songs the bass holds a lot more melody than in a normal band setup, certainly in this band as compared to all the other instruments.

“So it’s certainly very bass-driven, based around the guitar playing off the bass, then the guitar playing off the bass, then the drums fitting in between those two. The guitar is more atmospheric, the bass does carry some rhythm, but it does get higher and do a lot more melodic stuff,” he details.

The term shoegaze has been indelibly attributed to the Dark Bells sound, yet there are many underlying elements to the sound which may be reactionary to the genres recent resurgence.

“It’s something we try not to make come out in our music too much, mainly because it’s something people noticed early on. It’s funny, some of the songs which people say are late-‘80s, early-‘90s, I feel are a little more ‘60s and psychedelic. So maybe I’m just thinking in an opposite way to everyone,” he laughs.

“There’s also that great ‘70s, drum-bass groove that I think comes from listening to my parents’ music.”

With such a following in Melbourne, why not just relocate down ‘ere rather than ship off to the British Isle? “It’s funny, every time we’ve come to Melbourne do a headline show we’ve had to organize it, because nobody really knew us that well,” Moss muses. “I dunno if we have a lot of friends or not, but we had a really good turnout considering it was our first show out of Sydney,” he laughs.

“Our following is probably even a little better down there. I mean, it took us a little while in Sydney to get noticed, but once we’d done a few shows up here and it was time to go to Melbourne, everybody there already knew us.

“I think we like Melbourne the best, because they seem to like us the best. So far,” he smiles.

“We actually toyed with the idea of focusing on Melbourne for a couple of months before we left, which would have been really good,” he reveals. “Probably three quarters of the way through last year, we got in touch with booking agents in England, and a management company even got in contact with us. And they said they really wanted to help out, but the thing is that there wasn’t really anything they could do with us being all the way over here. We hadn’t met physically, it was all through email and that.

“But,” he explains, “they came over here, which really gave us confidence at that point. We’ve got the single recorded for when we go over there, it just needs to be mastered, and it’s sounding really, really good.

“So we’ll just take it from there – start playing, start recording and really push it once we’re there,” he divulges.