Set to play Playground Weekender next weekend, Dark Bells are marching relentlessly into the new year. Music Feeds favourites, the trio made up of Teniel Throsso (Diamondback Rattler) on guitar and vocals, Ash Moss (Mercy Arms) on bass and Simon Parker (Lost Valentinos) on drums, the group are hardly new to this whole musician thing. Still maintaining a fresh perspective on what they’re doing, they’re always eager to play around with their sound and never afraid of treading new ground. With the year ahead looking so bright for the band, we caught up with Teniel to discuss how they’ve been experimenting with their writing style and also what to expect in the future.
Music Feeds: So last time we spoke you were telling me how considered the band’s writing process is, what makes you want to take that approach rather than jam?
Teniel Throsso: We have many formulas that work for us when we’re writing. Often new ideas do come from jamming but it’s important to us that we give our songs the structure they deserve.
I really feel that Dark Bells sound is a lot about structure but allowing ourselves to move within that. This comes from working on parts in quite a regimented way. We certainly still “jam” ideas but this is more to play with effects and dynamic.
Ash and I tend to have quite strong ideas structurally when we work on new songs together, but that’s not to say we rule it out completely… Jamming is something that helps bands to grow and really allows you to explore ideas and completely indulge in what you’re creating… Ride the wave.
MF: You also mentioned that the drum parts were taking on more significance in the songs, can you tell us more about that?
TT: We are writing as a unit now more than we ever have. Simon is a really creative drummer and his ideas really shape our songs. We don’t have many instruments in the band so it’s important we maintain a real balance with each other but also so that the drum parts give the songs their direction. I guess he’s taken a lot of control with that in the new songs, which is great.
MF: With the band being so balanced, how has this new trend towards the drums taking a more central role impacted the bass, guitar and vocal parts?
TT: All the parts are moulded around each other and we aim to compliment each other as much as possible. Ash’s bass lines tend to be quite melodic so drums naturally work best coming from the centre to give the songs a little more charge.
MF: Would you say you guys are still playing around with your style, is the band still evolving? If so where do you see it going?
TT: Absolutely! I always really enjoy how our sound changes from song to song.The band will always evolve as we don’t follow the exact formula from one song to another. We’re always exploring new ideas and challenging ourselves to play with different structures and timings. It’s really important to us that we try all different ideas when writing, sometimes it will be the most subtle changes that can make the song.
We have been focusing a lot on melody both vocally and instrumentally which I would say is a natural progression from our previous recordings.
MF: Anyway you’re playing Playground Weekender in a couple of weeks, last year’s festival was once of your first gigs if I’m not wrong, how do you think things have come along since then?
TT: We played a lot in the last twelve months so our live shows are feeling much stronger now. We like for our shows to feel a little different every time we play, both musically and visually. I’m obsessed with the visual aspect of our shows and I have big plans for PLAYGROUND WEEKENDER . We were very fortunate to be given a great set time this year… for that reason we are going to push the visual element as much as possible and make it one to remember!
MF: Any more news on the recording front?
TT: We have been writing a lot over the last few months and are really excited to have some time polish off the new songs before we record again in March.
MF: What else do you have coming up in the next few weeks?
TT: We will be supporting our friend’s Sister Jane for their album launch this Saturday at the Annandale and then will keep the next month free to finish writing and prepare ourselves for recording.
Dark Bells at Playground Weekender at Wiseman’s Ferry February 17th – 20th