Discover up and coming artists in 10 questions…
2 October 2019
London‘s psychedelic shoegaze duo BLACK DOLDRUMS is singer-guitarist Kevin Gibbard and drummer Sophia Lacroix. Early last month they released their second, spellbinding EP titled ‘SHE DIVINE’. A haunting record that has a magnetic and puzzling impact on your inner stereo system. Its multi-layered reverberation is capable of messing up your mind and soundtrack your nightmares. Enough reasons to have a chat with this pretty awesome duo about poet Allen Ginsberg, ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly‘, Ancient Egyptian symbolism and much more cool stuff. But let’s start the acquaintance with some hypnotizing music. Here’s one of the new EP’s highlights ‘Mae’s Desire’…
Hello Kevin and Sophia, thanks
for making time for this interview…
1. When did BLACK DOLDRUMS hit the scene and
what’s the story behind the band’s name?
KG: “We got the name Doldrums from a poem Allen Ginsberg wrote to Jack Kerouac
called ‘The Denver Doldrums‘. It was referred to in the book ‘On The Road‘. I identified
with the book and the relationship of two people and liked the phrase ‘In the Doldrums‘.”
SL: It’s a double meaning for me as it’s also an area of the Atlantic where weather conditions are eerily calm or really stormy, which I think fits our music and the way
it’s structured well.”
2. Which track would you play as an introduction to
your music to people who never heard of you ?
KG: “I’d say ‘Mae’s Desire‘ covers a lot of what we do in terms writing and sound.”
SL: “I still like ‘There Is No Eye‘, we’ve had it as the opening song to our live show for about a year now and I think we placed it there because it’s a good intro to us but also escalates as the song goes on.”
3. Your 2018 debut EP called ‘SAD PARADISE’ has that pitch-black spellbinding
wall-of-sound that makes the hairs in the back of my neck stand up. What sort of vibe/feeling is it that you want to express/communicate with that sound?
KG: “I do believe the best songs kind of write themselves so it’s hard to say what we want to express specifically as the song kind of has a life of its own. When writing we like to explore and experiment so I suppose we like to escape with music but then control it enough to say something relevant. I suppose we want it to transport you a bit but not so far that it doesn’t mean anything. It has to mean something. We want our music to be layered and have a certain depth to it but also instantly grabs you.”
SL: “For me, I feel that it’s important to communicate something to your audience through music and that can be completely interpreted any way the listener wants to. All of our songs have meaning and are pulled from different stories, experiences and events, but we write them in a way that leaves it completely open to the person listening because then they can make their personal connection.”
4. Now the excellent new 5-track EP ‘SHE DIVINE’ is out. Are the songs
connected in any way or rather individual compositions?
KG: “They are essentially individual compositions but as most of them are written
around the same time they do have the odd reference to similar themes and inspirations that were around us at the time. It can be a particular theme or something we’re reading at the time. I also remixed ‘Those with a Rope Around Their Neck‘ for the last track on the EP, so they are definitely connected.”
SL: “There’s some occult and religious references in there”.
5. The artwork for the EP puzzles me. Who designed it
and what’s the idea/story behind the image?
SL: “I design all of the artwork for our material, videos, posters, merch, etc. This one was taken from a photo of Batty May Golding, who inspired ‘Mae’s Desire’. We focused in on the defensive position of the arms around the shoulders and it represented more intense emotion than her face, which is equally as interesting. I used the colours in reference to the ones used on ‘Sad Paradise‘, although slightly different, I wanted to keep a theme there as the EP’s are supposed to almost act as a part 1 and 2.”
6. One of the EP’s track – last year’s single – is brilliantly titled ‘ THOSE WITH A ROPE AROUND THEIR NECK (DON’T ALWAYS HANG). Impulsively I thought about Nigel Farage and his lying gang who mislead the British people regarding the Brexit referendum. Are those the sort of people you wrote that song about?
KG: “Yeah pretty much. It’s about the accountability of people’s actions and how these people always seem to get away with it. It came from watching ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly‘ whilst playing guitar. The film covers rough justice pretty well which I liked and at the time in the news there was a lot going on about Tony Blair’s Iraq trial plus I was obsessed with Dylan’s ‘Masters Of War’ so there you have it.”
7. The video clip for title track ‘SHE DIVINE’ brings characteristic retro psychedelic footage to mind. It could have been one of Pink Floyd’s early 60s clips. Why did you opt for this kind of visualization?
KG: “I think we’re pretty much influenced by a lot of the 60’s counter culture and it just seems to fit. We aim for a multi-layered sound which adds a bit of colour to our music so the video is a way of heightening this aesthetic.”
SL: “When I was making the video for ‘She Divine’ I wanted to focus on the idea of divine and the divine feminine. The visuals in the video tell the story of Ra, the Egyptian Sun God and brings in elements of the goddess Isis, of ma-gick, healing and protection, also the phoenix which features a lot on Ancient Egyptian symbolism. I wanted to mix that in with imagery of us and have a mirror effect to illustrate what you put out there is reflected back at you.”
8. Suppose you were asked to play a movie, that expresses your music visually,
on a big screen behind you while playing a show which one would it be?
KG: “Any one of the films from the ‘Man With No Name‘ trilogy.”
SL: “Maybe ‘Lucifer Rising‘ by Kenneth Anger.”
9. What song and/or album did you hear so far that
will end up in your best-of-the-year-list?
SL: “Something new that was released this year? L’Epée‘s album Diabolique is really good, although I recently discovered Erykah Badu, who’s been around for a long time, but I’ve never really gone out of my way to learn who’s big in hip hop and r & b, but she’s really cool, she does a lot of jazz/rap/hip hop. She’s a witch as well.”
10. Next step for BLACK DOLDRUMS?
KG: “We’re currently writing more material and putting plans in place for
recording an album. We’ll also be touring UK and EU next year.”
Thanks, Kevin and Sophia for the cool chat.
May the road rise with BLACK DOLDRUMS!
New EP ‘SHE DIVINE‘ here in full…
BLACK DOLDRUMS: Facebook
(promo photos band via Black Doldrums)