Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Darker My Love Interview with Will Canzoneri and Tim Presley

I first discovered Darker My Love back in 2006 when they toured with Asobi Sesku. Darker My Love recently released 2 which has been in heavy rotation for quite awhile. "Two Ways Out" is one of the strongest tunes I have heard this year and expect the album to make my shorlist of best releases in 2008.

AC: Congratulations on the your release of "2", I recognized some of the songs from the album your prior live shows. How many songs did you have completed before you entered the studio?

Will: All of em, for the most part. We spent a small eternity in pre-production with Dave Cooley de- and re-constructing the songs we had. Although the one song that really came together in the studio was "Pale Sun." We hit a point where we were ahead of schedule, and we had this 70%-written drum and bass groove (not drum 'n' bass) that had a killer melody on top, but no chorus. So we hammered out a rough chorus while everything was getting set up, and Andy and Rob recorded the skeleton of it. Then when I finally overdubbed my part on it months later, this beautiful chorus had blossomed on top of it. It was kinda like puberty, or something.

AC: If you could tour with any three bands, Who would you choose?

Will: The practical answer is Strange Boys, Nodzzz, and Drug Rug. The fantastical answer is more like Mothers of Invention '69 (featuring Lowell George and not Flo & Eddie), Beach Boys '73, and Flaming Lips '95, just to see Ronald Jones go off every night. But definitely not the Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, because their tour manager creeps me out, and Leon Russell and his gray skin can't keep his eyes open.

AC: What are some of the different clavinet, keyboards and organs used by Will on the album?

Will: Not many. We used a Hohner Clavinet C that Rob "borrowed"/salvaged from the recording studio he used to work at. All the hammer tips had turned to this muddy alien secretion goop and the thing amplified every pin drop in a 5-mile radius, which made it really difficult to use live. It's what's on the record, though it's since been retired in favor of a much healthier D6. The organ is an Ace Tone Top-5, probably from the late 60's. It's a pretty simple no-bullshit combo organ, but y'know, it's just one of those things that feels so right. The only other keyboard on the record is an RMI Electra-piano/Harpsichord - the thing from Dr. John's " Right Place Wrong Time" - that Dave Cooley kept trying to force me to use. I finally caved, just to make him happy, on "Immediate Undertaking," which was the last song we recorded, and we got some really otherworldly shit out of it. Oh, and there's a mellotron on "Waves," but Rob played it cause I was moving that day. And because he really wanted to play mellotron on the record.

AC: With both Tim and Rob sharing vocal duties, How do you delineate who sings on the particular songs?

Tim: I guess it depends on the song. Either one or the other brings a melody/lyric and the other sings a harmony. But most times we flip a coin like Two-Face.

AC: I was really impressed with the different guitar/bass tones and textures throughout the album. What types of bass and guitars did you use on the album?

Tim: We used most of our own instruments on this one. Though for guitar, some rhythm tracks were manipulated through a special little box that Dave Cooley had. I can't really tell you what it is.
Will: Right, trade secret. Rob uses a Gibson EB-2 on everything. Although I know he played some other hollow-body on "White Composition" and "Even In Your Lightest Day." Made it all, y'know, pluckier.

AC: Dave Cooley's production on the album is masterful. Tell me a little about working with Dave in terms of producing the album.

Will: Dave's mastered the art of inducing the generation of his own ideas in your brain. It sounds sinister, but it's not; it's what we needed. Nobody wants some producer telling them what to do, but if said producer can use the power of suggestion (and/or voodoo) to get you to come up with that sick guitar part that he knows the songs needs, then, well, you're in the right hands. Because we're pretty strong-willed, and we really braced at working with him, or anybody else. We didn't want some hotshot cramping our style. But somehow, he managed to shape this record into exactly what it needed to be, while allowing us to retain our sense of creative ownership. And dignity.

AC: Any other touring plans after you finish touring with Dandy Warhols?

Will: Hopefully they'll let us go to England . "They" being England .

AC: I loved the Spaceland recordings series of your live shows from Spaceland. Any plans for some more live albums?

Will: No. But thank you.

AC: What were some of your first concerts you attended as a fan?

Will: Well, I went to the New Orleans Jazz Fest every year from age 3 on with my Dad. It just became so deeply ingrained that, hell, by the time I was like 8, yeah, I was going as a fan. Ashford & Simpson was the first show there I remember fucking me up good. I got to see Sun Ra too before he left our planet, firmly under the belief that he was totally from Saturn.

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