The Dark Lights: a worthy musical experiment full of energy

By on 2011/11/14

The Dark Lights (Photo by Boberika ©)

The Dark Lights fickered to life as a home studio experiment by technically minded Aussies Matt Ho, Rach Ho and Alan Grillo. A 2010 relocation to London found them their perfect foil in East End boys Paul Andrews and Paul Hayward, who bought soul, energy and cockney cheek to the mix. Starting out at a brooding place inhabited by the likes of Interpol, The Dark Lights pick up some beats and pop hooks akin to New Order, before weaving their way through the dancefloor with the energy of The Presets, taking in the best bits of the 80’s, 90’s & now along the way. The result is a fusion that is innovative, danceable and far from comparison. Their electric live performances wrap Rach’s layered soundscapes around Paul A’s heartfelt vocals with the experimental melodies of guitarists Matt and Alan, and Paul H’s tight drums driving  the pace.

The Dark Lights are doing a UK tour in late 2011 in support of their debut 7” single release “X-ray Spectacle 1”. Rachel Ho (bass) kindly used one of their band breaks to answer my questions on the following interview.

The Creative Post: What are your main musical influences: people/bands/artists you look at?
The Dark Lights (Rachel): Friendly Fires, Arcade Fire, Bloc Party, Interpol, Broken Social Scene, Hot Chip, Clock Opera.

T.C.P.: What is your biggest achievement as a band and why? 
T.D.L. (Rachel): I would say our single launch in London last week. It all came together. It’s the first vinyl any of us has done before. We sold out the show in pre sales the morning of the gig. It felt like we were hitting our straps in the live show. All in all, the night felt like all our hard work in the past 12 months had paid off. Plus it was a very fun night indeed!

T.C.P.: Tell us a funny story around any of your gigs? 
T.D.L. (Rachel)When we played in Scotland one of the guys that saw us play took us to see his friend at a ‘Show Girls’ bar after the gig. It was a strip club. It was a pretty funny experience.

T.C.P.: What can we expect when we see you playing live?
T.D.L. (Rachel)Moody. Soulful. Crazy. Fun. Paul A, our singer, lets it rip out the front, backed by Matt & Alan doing crazy things on guitars and synths. Hopefully all held together by Paul H on drums and myself on bass. And now we have gone a little overboard with percussion. You can never have too much.

T.C.P.: What is next in your tour and what other future projects you have?
T.D.L. (Rachel)Manchester this weekend, then Coventry & Leicester in a few weeks, then back in London just before Christmas and Brighton in the new year. We plan to release another single sometime next year too and hopefully get on some festivals.

T.C.P.: Do you feel nervous before playing? What relaxing techniques you use to prepare yourself?
T.D.L. (Rachel Ho)Generally not. Practice is the best technique!

T.C.P.: Who would you dream to play with (dead or alive!)? 
T.D.L. (Rachel)For me personally it would be Bloc Party. Everyone in the band would have a different dream artist to play with. I think as a band we would all agree on Arcade Fire.

T.C.P.: What sort of things/events/people inspire you?
T.D.L. (Rachel):  As a collective we like beer, bicycles, tattoos, rustling paper sounds, bush jumping, conspiracy theories and cheap musical toys. Inspirational.


The Dark Lights

The Dark Lights (Photo by Boberika ©)

Paul Andrews – Vox, Mini organ, Hitting things randomly
Matt Ho – Guitars, Synth, Vox, Weird effects
Alan Grillo – Guitar, Synth, Noise control
Rachel Ho – Bass, Magic show
Paul Hayward – Drums, Yells

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