Testify – Marshall LaCount of Dark Dark Dark
The new album by Dark Dark Dark, Wild Go, continues with the band’s organic approach to melody, composition, and instrumentation. Songs like “Daydreaming” or “Something for Myself ” float and drift gently, emphasizing a restrained and subtle approach to their arrangements and a respect for the aural space between the sounds. The songs pluck ideas from sources as diverse as gypsy, folk,classical, and jazz yet never dip into being contrived or manipulative. It’s the kind of band that brings a lot to the table but never feel a need to overplay their hand. We were enjoying the album on this rainy weekend, so we contacted Marshall LaCount (banjo, clarinet, vocals) as the band made its way down for tonight’s performancewe and had a very brief Q&A with him over e-mail .
FPH – Your describe yourselves as “Chamber Folk”. Can you elucidate as to what that means to you. Also, how did the sound of the band develop into what it is now?
LaCount – Chamber Folk alludes to our instrumentation and the kind of intimacy we create. Its sometimes more classically influenced than, say, Appalachian folk, and less “singer-songwriter with a guitar” than other folk can be. We just try to be a little more descriptive without being inaccurate. We’ve been on tour for five years, writing and playing together, and following our hearts through the creative process, and it feels organic and intuitive to be playing this way and growing this way.
FPH – You tend to blend a broad range of elements from New Orleans Jazz to European folk into your music. Who in the band brings those influences and what is their personal relationship to those genres.
LaCount – We’ve collected our line-up because at one point maybe we had a “sound” in mind, or even, what we didn’t want to sound like, (and also because we get along really well, are friends, and work well together). At this point the iPods in the van are such a melting pot of all kinds of music that it’s hard to keep track of, except that we are REALLY into music, luckily.
FPH – In incorporating such diverse elements, there is a danger that those elements could come across as calculated and mere decoration. How do you keep those elements sounding organic in your music?
LaCount – We let things happen naturally, we try to edit-out the things that aren’t honest or seem contrived, our writing and arranging process is organic and intuitive, we don’t use things for mere decoration.
We don’t “add diverse elements” or make many conscious decisions about this. We just write.
FPH – You guys also do a lot of other projects outside of the band. Todd Chandler made a movie, you built rafts made of junk and floated down the Hudson. Can you share with us some of these extracurricular activities and how if at all they come back to inform the music?
LaCount – Music and performance are just one way to share with people, and when you add a bunch of crazy people, and crazy sculptural installation, the potential for more fun is there, or the possibility of reaching different people. We’ve been involved in a number of the art raft projects, museum projects, and yes, the floodtidefilm.com project. If anything, contact with more and different kinds of people and their lives informs our music.
FPH – OK one last question. With my tongue in my cheek, I gotta ask about the cover. Featuring some guys ass on a album cover doesn’t exactly put it on my top list of favorite album covers, so I have to ask….What the flip, man?
LaCount – Well, if it makes you feel any better, you can only see half of the guys’ asses (the other half being interrupted by the spine or the edge of the sleeve), while looking at the whole woman’s ass. I wanted to keep it accessible to all the communities and interests in Houston, while remaining mostly non-sexual, modest and classical-painting-inspired.
Dark Dark Dark perform with A Hawk and a Hacksaw Monday October 10, 2011 @ Warehouse Live 7pm $10 – $13 All Ages