Timothy Dark's long-awaited EP is a shock to the senses and preconceived notions about what I was expecting. In fact, I'm not even sure what I was expecting until I set those expectations with repeated listens of Dark's new single, 'She Put A Spell On Me'.
If you have an account with Amazon, be sure to get his latest single from them to help support our blog.
Last year, Timothy Dark threw himself into the ring with his, 'Last Days of Dark' EP which had plenty to say about the end of days via the White House. The statement needs to be made and if you're willing to throw down as well, have a look at another section on the Zoe Dune Network, a digital war cry against right wing and extremism.
Check out this intensive video for his 'Unpatriotic' single from last year's EP.
His video for 'The Future' is a little harder to watch but it's Timothy Dark at his best.
Lock-in to this post for more updates on Timothy Dark as we accumulate more details!
How the hell did we get wrapped up in all of this greatness!? It all started with Levinsky a.k.a.Petteri Leiviskä, when his 'Fenris' track dragged us into the darkness and we went willingly. What followed were a few months of released singles that just kept us waiting for more. Maybe the villagers are looking for us, we're not sure but we're pretty sure we don't care that they are.
We just had to know the story behind the creator.
let us know if you want to target certain audiences or want to provide us with exclusive insight into the creation of your music?
As a child of the 80's, I grew up with the music and entertainment of that era (be it what you have, the Commodore 64, Atari 2600 even, all the flicks and the hit list tunes, not to mention the hugely influential movies) and I think that all is in the heart of me, though I have played music ever since I was 13 and have gone through many different cycles and genres, which is only a natural progression.
For the past few years I have not been involved in a band but more or less occasionally writing some pieces by myself. After really getting into the synthwave movement/scene during the recent years through seeing acts such as Carpenter Brut, Perturbator and even John Carpenter and Claudio Simonetti live, I thought it's time to give it a more serious go and the infamous "ketchup bottle" effect took place as the mental cumulation burst out - currently, I have about 14-15 tracks under my belt.
My songwriting process is based on a kind of a traditional approach - I believe that you cannot necessarily write a good tune if you don't think about the fitting layout and structure: also a synth tune needs to have intro, verses, choruses, bridges and all that, just piling up layers of sounds and samples does not cut it for me.
Once I've been at it (mostly until I drop, to be honest!), I tend to take a step back and listen to it carefully a couple of days later. Then the necessary changes are usually pretty evident and straightforward. I also am a fan of not polishing things out of their power - I want a certain rawness in my style, I want my music to rub itself in the listeners face a bit, if you like!
Here's a Giallo thriller for you!
Get this one from Amazon!
In addition, I enjoy experimenting with things - take some stuff out of the sandbox and have a play e.g. on atonality. To me, there has always to be a right mix between a visual/mental image stimulation and the actual aural delivery. I am a big fan of the famous Italian Giallo thrillers plus classic sci-fi and horror movies. I can get to my best speed once I, for example, have a certain word or phrase come to my mind, then I build up the imagery around it and rather sooner than later I find myself writing that right bass line and putting together that right melody to fit the vision.
For example, with "Fenris", the roars that you hear at around 2:30 into the song are animating the wolf you are facing in the song. Regarding gear, my setup is pretty commonplace for any synthwave musician nowadays: a solid and trusty laptop (MacBook Pro), a good selection of solid VSTs and plug-ins, keyboards, a sampler/controller and some hardware analog synths too. Among these things, I, of course, have hoarded some guitars, amps and even a melodica over the years!
We're not the only ones who got a film composer like feel for your work. Do you have anything to do with that perception, such as do you approach your tracks as if they were soundtracks or is that because we're just obsessed with movies?
You're right there. I often do think or depict an undirected film in my mind, a scene, a feeling, a single shot and that's a natural inspiration for my work very often.
What are your influences or the story behind your 'Nymphomaniac' track?
Most probably sexuality manifesting itself as an uncontrollable force, combined with that Giallo type of tension built into the song. I was told I could sell some parts of the track to a trap rap group, personally, I think there's a mild Slayer undertone in one of the riffs. With the melodies, I think I got it right the first time really.
What can you tell us about the track Fenris?
"Fenris" is, in essence, a homage to pulp horror stories I used to read quite a bit as a kid. Of course, the name "Fenris" or "Fenrir" comes from the Norse mythology and popular culture being so eclectic and all nowadays, you can catch that figure also on the latest Marvel movies if you like. Basically, I just really dig the name and came up with the idea of having a prowling, intense and atonally groovy track in place! Personally am very proud of the outcome, would not really change a thing about the song itself. In particular, the lead melodies verging on the atonal and the how the beat really is on spot are the sweetest things to me on this one.
Tell us a bit about another one of our favorites, your "Violent Appetites" single. Much like "Fenris", those arrangements came at us out of nowhere! The structure doesn't seem to build off of anything familiar as it seems to rely on its own rhythm and melodic tones. Does that track reveal a bit more of your approach to creating these tracks and what kind of subject matter is the track about?
Whoa, thanks - I'm glad to hear that! This one started out actually by myself playing around with some bass sounds that were pretty Daft Punkish. Then, over a few weeks, I took a very critical look at the basic riffs and decided to give it hell - that paid off. Last weekend I just had a ride trying out different things on it (note the intro repeated by outro, pretty 80's in a way if you like), having a danceable, hooky bassline in the first riff to get your groove on, then gradually making things more sinister and moody... I want the whole songwriting process to be creative and the key to creativity is just to experiment a lot, for example, running the riffs you wrote for one instrument through a wholly different one and see what that leads to. I think I also managed to channel a few very sweet very 80's type of things into this tune - take the female choirs, the soundtrack-ish build-up to the chorus and the "Moogy" synth lead sound as examples. The track subject is basically about man's primal instincts, the things that we suppress in our daily lives but that can reveal themselves in weird and strange ways.
What can you tell us about the synthwave scene in Finland?
A good question. To start out with, let's mention two entities. Here in the South we have a few guys called Flashback Future, who run a series of events for DJ-nights and live gigs, check them out here:
As you can see, they've got a good history and have brought over here many of the biggest names like Carpenter Brut, Perturbator, and Dallas' own GosT as well. The second thing is Finland's Blood Music record company (currently based in Porvoo, less than 50 kilometers from Helsinki). This company hosts e.g. GosT, Perturbator and many other interesting artists - not only synthwave but also black metal and other underground stuff.
Then, for the artists/producers: you can say we are a scattered lot with maybe the biggest concentration around the South, but of course, we have folks in the central and Northern part of the country too. There's a small, more or less loosely bound community of these guys, so some communication exists, also this year there has been a bit of a talk of arranging own events and such, but still, things are on the level of talk. There are a really only a couple of people who have a recording contract so to say, but most of the fellows are underground actors.
[UPDATED: March 28] - Great news from Victoria, British Columbia this month, with the return of earnest indie rockers Towers and Trees! They've released the first single this year for, 'Head Down / Heart Up' as they've returned from their less than one-year hiatus.
As you can see, Towers and Trees aren't slouches! We generally snub lyric videos that don't engage with the viewer. But when even the band shows up for it, it's certainly worth sticking around for and even great for repeated viewings!
Indie88 got the drop on this one when they premiered the new video and in their post, they point out that there were two more tracks as a result of their sessions with producer Ryan Worsley.
Get their single from Amazon!
We featured the single on Episode 33 of our weekly podcast right before putting it in rotation on Z. OE. DUNE, which you can stream on the main page.
We had questions for the boys about their return to crafting new sounds
After a year or so hiatus, there was clearly no doubt that you would be together in the studio again but, could your hiatus have easily have gone longer?
I'm not sure we were certain Towers and Trees would ever come off hiatus until we were all loaded in the van at 5:30 am, driving for the first ferry to Vancouver to start recording. We had been sharing and working on demos for months prior, while I (Adrian) was in Europe, our drummer Jesse in Toronto and our two Daves (Dave Arter and Dave "Shred" Zellinsky) back in Victoria, but it was still quite a leap to actually commit to another Towers and Trees record. Things landing with producer Ryan Worsley was a huge step towards making that happen. Ryan is a powerhouse and we all knew he'd be the perfect fit for a new chapter in Towers and Trees.
I'm sure it takes some adjustment to move from living life outside of the studio and as a band to coming together once again? You guys have been preparing for this new release since last September?
Well, truthfully that's an adjustment we'll continue making for quite some time. We're still spread geographically between Toronto and Victoria BC (on Canada's West Coast), and would be naive to think that doesn't present its fair share of challenges to the band dynamic. But if recording these first three songs together was an experiment, the results feel pretty conclusive that it can work and we're willing to make it work. It's 2018, why not try something crazy you know?
Download their last full-length album on Bandcamp!
You said that 'Head Down / Heart Up' could pretty much be your new mantra for how you're resetting your focus in this new venture. Would you say that Towers and Trees have renewed confidence as opposed to where you were before?
Yup, I can confidently say that until the next time our confidence gets shaken haha. Before we went on hiatus, I'd say T&T had lost our sense of vision, and without vision, it's tough to find a path forward. So we made the decision to put it down. Part of picking it up again was making sure there was vision, which is a wonderful feeling because it gives vital context to the madness and the hard work.
How rapid-fire were the sessions with Ryan Worsley and what's the end game on the three tracks from these sessions for 2018?
Ryan has incredible clarity and focus so even though we got a lot done in our one week together, it didn't feel 'rapid fire'. We went in with what we felt were the three strongest 'single' type songs and watched them grow and blossom under his guidance. As unromantic as this sounds, our next step for making an album is funding it, so the end game with these three songs is to generate enough industry interest to hopefully secure funding to finish the record with Ryan later this year. Instead of sitting on all three of them though, we decided to release "Head Down / Heart Up" to give our fans a sense of the direction we're going and hopefully turn some heads. It also gives us a reason to tour and play shows which is our favorite thing to do.
Way to go boys! Can't wait for what's to come!
Stay tuned to this article for more updates!!!
[Featured image credit: Towers and Trees / Facebook]
Very few people have it. Luis Vasquez of (the Soft Moon) has it. Anthony Gonzalez (M83) had it. One would think Springfield, Missouri, to be an unlikely place to find it. But rest assured that Seth Goodwin and Mark Gillenwaters of Kudzu fucking got it!