The music born from the icy northern lands is generally perceived for often evoking vaguely blurry and enigmatic atmospheres, on the ridge between seemingly cold yet inward tormented feelings and stirring emotions.
From the big North comes as well, with a heavy dose of desperation, D4RKSTAR, the indie/electronic one-man band of Gothenburg denizen musician, singer and composer Andreas Lindh, whose hearty and glacial sonic dynamics find an organic balance through ringing distorted guitar layers drowned in reverb combined with enveloping bright synth washes and steady, hypnotic electro rhythmical fuel, to merge into harmonious alchemy of never dormant punk spirit, icy swelling synth-pop angst, indie rock vibrancy, droning shoegaze warmth, at times haunted by sombre dark shades. An evocative, invigorating, intense, yet extremely gripping sound, laced with an emotive dreamlike melodic quality, that wanders through an introspective whirlwind of emotional turmoil, longing melancholy and heartfelt lyrical intensity, rife with devotion, anger and sorrow, amid harsh and searing bursts and cuts of tragedy and pain, yet still lit by feeble glares of hope.
I had a brief chat with the Swedish to get acquainted with D4RKSTAR.
Thanks so much for the interview. Please, tell us all what we need to know about DARKSTAR.
I think the first song I fell in love with was Alphaville’s “Forever Young”, and when I think about it now, it’s almost as if that is still a sound, or vibe, that I am still trying to emulate. A song like that has a lot in common with, say, “Plainsong” by The Cure for example, which definitely also is a big influence.
‘Desperation and reverb from the great north’. Shoegaze, Darkwave and electronics. Seems that a wide range of influences has informed your sound, how is it born and developed over time?
I’ve both listened to and played a wide range of genres over the years, from skate punk to grunge to goth to Britpop to emo, and so on, and of course, that has influenced the way I think about music. With D4RKSTAR I have gone back to the influences I had in my late teens, such as Jesus and Mary Chain, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, etc., but I have also incorporated current more electronic music such as I Break Horses and The Radio Dept. Also, in the last like 5 years or something, I have discovered post-rock, which has also been a huge influence, especially when it comes to guitar arrangements.
How much Gothenburg did, and still do, influence your creativity? What’s your take on its underground music scene, surely the biggest of your country, are you part of some band/artist community or are you more a lone wolf type?
I mainly hang out in the hardcore/anarcho-punk scene in Gothenburg, as this is where I feel most at home with the people. This is also where I’ve gotten my DIY ethics and it’s why I do almost everything regarding D4RKSTAR, from recording to cover design to videos, myself. There is definitely a great scene here but it’s mostly in the heavier genres such as metal and hardcore where you find the really good stuff.
How is your approach to the song composition? What is your working process like?
Usually, I get some part stuck in my head, like a riff or a melody, and then I mull over that for some time until other parts start to appear. Once I have something somewhat clear structurally, I sit down and start recording it. After that there is a lot of back and forth, moving parts around until I have something that resembles a song. I think this way of working comes from the fact that everything is digital, I would not be able to have the same process in an analogue studio, as it would be way too time-consuming.
As the political aspect seems an important part of your life, your lyrics seem more introspective, than openly political, like for example the late Radio Dept., even if musically not so distant from your sound… Tells us about your process and approach to lyrics writing
I do think I am a political artist, but I don’t like writing overtly political lyrics as they tend to get really cheesy and finger-pointy unless you are really good at it. So yes, my lyrics are usually quite personal and probably not always that easy to fully comprehend. I tend to use a lot of symbolism. It’s mostly about different kinds of love when you break it down, I guess. We love making music, playing music, and connecting with our fans. It’s really just that simple. I believe people can hear that honesty in our songs and see it in us as people. We’re just out here swinging for the fences like everyone else.
It’s often usual to talk about the distinctive Swedish melodic quality, which is certainly not lacking in your music as well
I grew up in Eskilstuna just as Kent – Sweden’s biggest rock band ever – came up, and they were really masters of those melancholic melodies. This is definitely something that has affected me a lot.
Do you feel comfortable performing live? What are your experiences so far? Any future ones?
I actually do, but I really did not at the beginning. Previously, I was always part of a band, and stepping on stage by myself, to perform alone, with only a laptop as a backup, was quite frightening. I’ve gotten over that now though, and I really enjoy playing live these days. I have only done one show this year, unfortunately, and I’m not sure what will happen now that restrictions are starting to come back, but I have high hopes for 2022.
What and who are you personally listening to at the moment?
I have been listening to Azure Ray, Lightning Dust, and Holy Fawn a lot this autumn.
Here are some words by Andreas that guides us through each song:
Based on a sample from a Black Panthers Party demonstration in the 1960s. This is a rather different song than usual, as it doesn’t follow the usual song structures but is more of a long repetitive intro.
– Lead me astray
Written and recorded in about 5 hours on a rainy Saturday. This song is about letting yourself be drawn into something that you know isn’t going to end well, but you do it anyway because your heart tells you it’s the right thing to do.
Probably the hardest song to finish, and also the most minimalistic. This song is about making yourself invisible in order to leave without anyone noticing, mandatory reference to drowning included.
– Something Wicked
The covid song! Originally not meant to be on the EP, but since the mixing took so long I started working on some new songs and this one sort of just came together. Inspired by one (or several) old songs by Yvonne, an old indie band from my home town.
Another one that was quite hard to finish, but for different reasons. Basically about desperately wanting something – anything – to break the monotonous cycle of life, and then to grab and run with it. Inspired by a newly rejuvenated friendship, and also actually not really an unhappy song overall.
– Easy hearts
A cover by an old Whiskeytown song. One of those songs that (in its original version at least) manages to convey an almost overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness while still not really making a fuzz about it. I would like to think that I managed to add something to it.
D4RKSTAR ‘s new EP “Revol” is out now Digital and 12″ Vinyl on the band’s Bandcamp.
Keep up with D4RKSTAR :