The Sonic and Sentimental Dualities of Darkness Falls

Danish duo Darkness Falls not only seamlessly blend musical movements, but musical eras and genres.  They’re clearly influenced by ‘80s goth rock, new wave, and dream pop; ‘90s shoegaze;...

Danish duo Darkness Falls not only seamlessly blend musical movements, but musical eras and genres.  They’re clearly influenced by ‘80s goth rock, new wave, and dream pop; ‘90s shoegaze; and the most ethereal and spiritually profound avant-pop of this century.  The band, comprised of vocalist/keyboardist Josephine Philip and bassist/guitarist Ina Lindgreen, released their sophomore LP, Dance and Cry, this April, the follow-up to their 2011 debut full-length, Alive in Us.  It’s easily one of the year’s ten best albums and something that more than deserves to be a blip on the radar of any and all US fans of post-punk and alt rock.  Darkness Falls have two Denmark dates booked for July 31st and another handful in November, but they also have a large chunk of unscheduled time that apparently both they and I hope they might spend, at least a bit of, in the US. This Spring I had a great conversation with the girls about their latest album, cinema (My favorite thing in the world to talk about.), and the possibility of the band coming to the states later this year, something I’m crossing my fingers for…

Izzy Cihak: You recently released Dance and Cry, your sophomore LP. How do you feel the album compares to your debut, Alive in Us?

Darkness Falls: When we started out making the new album, we spent a lot of time in the studio figuring out how we wanted it to sound and what we wanted it to be about. It is not always something you can control because a part of the process is letting go and letting out what you have inside of you. One thing we knew was that we wanted it to look ahead and not back. Making the debut album was the first time any of us had been behind the buttons. We were not very technical, but we learned our own ways getting around stuff we didn’t know how to do; you could say our disadvantage became a strength. Being much better with all the technical stuff of course had an impact on the new album, because there were so many things we now knew how to do.

It’s difficult for us to compare our debut album to our new album, but we feel they are connected, of course. Not just because we did both of them, but also because we feel we have created our own sound and universe, and therefore there are some similar moods and atmosphere within the music.

Izzy Cihak: What do you consider to be the biggest difference between you as a band in 2011 and you as a band in 2015?

Darkness Falls: Our new album is very much about the duality of life. That is also why the album is called Dance And Cry. We don’t think that the band has changed that much, but we have developed and grown as people.

Izzy Cihak: What were the most significant influences behind Dance and Cry?

Darkness Falls: We have always been very inspired by films, art, and music. In our old studio where we recorded most of the album, we had a mood board with different frame grabs from movies we like and find inspiring, like Paris, Texas, In the Mood for Love, Mulholland Drive, etc. We actually came up with the title for the album when we had only written a few songs. It really states where we are in our lives right now. Nothing is either/or, but rather both, if that makes sense. We are not twenty but thirty and we have had a lot of experiences, lost people we loved, basically it’s all about the thrills and sorrows of living life fully until darkness takes us.

Izzy Cihak: Do you currently have a particular favorite song on the record? “Midsummer Wail” is one of my favorite songs of the year. It reminds me of early-mid-period-Cure, but with Siouxsie-ish vocals (So maybe like when Robert Smith was a Banshee, but if he were allowed to write songs for them…)

Darkness Falls: We are happy to hear that you like that song. Actually we can’t really point to only one song that is our favorite. All the songs have their own thing—some it’s the lyrics which really stand out, or maybe Ina’s guitar riff or Josephine’s vocals. But one song that both of us love playing live is “Night Games”. We made a special live version of it that we also will release at a later point, it just has a really nice feel and energy.

Izzy Cihak: What would you consider to be the highlights of Darkness Falls so far, a little more than halfway into your first decade as a band?

Darkness Falls: There have been many highlights, but what we are most excited about right now is the new album that we have worked on for a while, and touring.

Izzy Cihak: Okay, not to be totally cliché, but I have to ask every Danish band that I interview their thoughts on Lars von Trier. He’s kind of my favorite person in the world… behind Morrissey and Godard, but he’s sort of one of the few entities from your country that I’m familiar with (Although the first two records from The Asteroids Galaxy Tour are some of my favorite of the century…)

Darkness Falls: Being into films, we must say that we think Lars Von Trier is very amazing. You also mention The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, who are good friends of ours. In Copenhagen, where we live, we have a great community of creative people within art, music, and films. We all work together, help each other out, whether it’s making a music video or making music for a film and so on. We are very lucky to have a lot of amazing creative people in Copenhagen who make beautiful art, film, and music.

Izzy Cihak: For that matter, your music videos are incredibly cinematic. What is it that inspires the visual components of Darkness Falls?

Darkness Falls: Music videos are very important to us. It’s a different kind of expression, putting pictures to your music. Our music feels very cinematic, so for us it makes great sense that the videos are also very cinematic. We are both really into it and Ina also went to the The National Film School of Denmark. We both love filmmakers such as David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarantino, and Wim Wenders. They all manage to create an atmosphere in their movies which is both mysterious and drawing. We like to try to do the same in our music videos.

Izzy Cihak: You have a handful of upcoming dates in Europe. What can be expected of the live experience? Any chance we might get to see you in the states sometime in the near future?

Darkness Falls: When we play live we are only three people on stage, the two of us and our amazing drummer Tune Madsen. Our set varies from the recorded albums. We have tried to make it into a musical journey where you can get carried away with something for the heart, something for the feet and something for the mind. We are really hoping to come to the states; it’s one of the places we both wish to tour. So hopefully at some point in the fall.

Izzy Cihak: And, finally, what’s next for you? What do you currently have in the works?

Darkness Falls: We are going to tour a lot with the new album, and then we are planning on making some new music in the near future.

Band InterviewsMusic

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.