Photo credit: Tim Piotrowski
Dark Dark Dark, with Here We Go Magic, Pillars & Tongues and Skye Carrasco
Mission Creek Music Festival, Friday, April 1, 8:00, The Mill
Mission Creek is the festival for everyone, and Dark Dark Dark’s addition to this year’s roster gives those of us in love with orchestral melodies touched by the eerie (“chamber folk”) a chance to work out our sway. On their second full-length album Wild Go, the controlled, symphonic keening of Nona Marie Invie’s voice lifts through a whirl of piano, banjo, clarinet, accordion and creates one enchanted sound. It’s lush and lovely music, and this show is one I’d suggest putting a checkmark next to – you won’t want to miss it.
I had the chance to chat with Marshall LaCount (banjo, clarinet, vocals) via email from France, where he
offered early-morning insights into what’s happening in the world of Dark Dark Dark:
Have you guys been through Iowa City before? What are you most looking forward to
about your visit?
We’ve been through before, but on an off night, so it’s our first proper time in IA
City. The people organizing Mission Creek are doing a great job, so we’re excited to see events at the
festival, and to check out the local food co-op and move in there.
You’re currently on the first European leg of your tour – how does your experience with an overseas
audience differ from the crowds you draw stateside?
Tonight we were in a sold-out show in Bayonne, FR, in an old world bar, but the first two rows
were all young children. So there?
The newest album, Wild Go, touches on themes of self-abandon, letting go, dancing the way that
you dance, loving the way that you love … it feels to me very accepting of self and all of its idiosyncrasies.
Does this theme reflect a progression for Dark Dark Dark as a band?
Yes, that observation seems appropriate and like a compliment. In our growing we are learning
more about our responsibility to people (the audience), and to ourselves and our friends.
Wild Go lives in a world between lightness and darkness, reaching for both, drawing them together
and wrapping the listener in a blanket of dusk. How has your development as artists and songwriters
been influenced by this melding of the dark and the bright?
I don’t know. It isn’t necessarily intentional…I guess it is…we need balance. We have a lot of
needs. Everyone learns they have a lot of needs.
Have particular events or occasions inspired your songwriting?
Yes, each song is probably originally influenced by something specific, which is then forgotten
about and given over to the audience to decide.
There’s a sinister circus quality to your music … from where does this influence stem?
Don’t know, we try not to perpetuate ‘circus’ and ‘cabaret’ ideas too much right now, because
they are such buzz words, popular influences for bands right now, easy and not always the most
accurate … but anytime you have an accordion, a banjo, or any eastern or jazz influences, you will get
Reviewers have described your music as having a distinctly “European” sound. Where do you find
your Midwestern roots manifesting themselves in your songs?
There is a huge presence of folk and Midwestern in the writing and sound. The reason we’ve
arrived at saying our genre is ‘chamber folk’ or ‘chamber pop’ is to deal with this problem of not
honoring any one influence too much, and becoming easy to describe…inaccurately. There is as much
Americana in the music as there is Eastern or European ‘ness.’ Again, add accordion, get crazy ideas.
Why is your performance at The Mill with Here We Go Magic, Pillars & Tongues, and local favorite
Skye Carrasco not-to-be-missed?
Are you kidding? You answered your own question with a bunch of names!
Are you able to stick around and catch any other Mission Creek acts? If so who are you looking
forward to, or should we be looking forward to?
We will have to run, but I am excited to try and catch some events that day. I can’t remember who
right now, because its 4 am and I’m in France. Sorry.