What I like about Dark Shadows is that they have something for every mode. The up-tempo party mode, the gloomy, sit-in-your-room mode and everything in-between. Anders Ekdahl ©2011
You seem to attract fans from a vast variety of genres, punks, goths, metalheads etc. What is your secret to attracting all these people?
-No secrets, we just do what we do and are happy that people from all different backgrounds can appreciate it.
Had I not by chance come upon you in an English metal magazine I had not been aware of you. Is that a problem, not being seen in the right places when you have to do most of the things on your own?
-Well they say “you’ve got to be seen to be heard…” but it’s kinda hard to be everywhere at once… I guess, unless you have a huge label or money fuelled publicity campaign behind you or you’re willing to do crazy stunts or whatever to become an ‘overnight success’. For us, we’re happy working away in our own time, in our own way and things have been growing steadily for us on a grass roots and ‘word of mouth’ level, giving us the chance to evolve and develop naturally both creatively and as a band. It’s all about the journey for us and we’re enjoying every minute of it.
On that note, how do you manage to put together a European tour without any real financial backing?
-Yeah, a lot of time, energy and co-ordination goes into it and you have to think way ahead when you’re coming from the ‘other side of the world’ so we are constantly plotting and preparing our ‘master plans’ in our little black bunker over here. We are lucky to have lots of friends in bands and other people that have helped us out along the way with tips on touring in different countries, lending us backline, bringing us food, places to crash etc. It’s actually quite overwhelming how cool and generous people are and how they appreciate you travelling all that way to play a show in their hometown. The first time we went to Europe, we had no idea of what to expect, if anyone would even know or like our music and the whole logistics of how to get from one place to the next and the distances, language and cultural differences… we really did feel like explorers setting out on some crazy expedition into the unknown… it really was the most amazing and inspiring experience though and even the mishaps, we can look back on how much we learnt through it all. Now, at least we have a bit more of an idea after doing it a couple of times but you never stop learning…
To me being from Australia seems to only have disadvantages. What are the positive aspects of being surrounded by water in all directions?
-Well, you have to learn how to swim! Yes, it’s the other side of the world but really, we’re only 24hrs on a plane away!! Australia has been pretty good to us, there’s a healthy underground scene here and it’s a good base to be creative and launching pad for the rest of the world. You get used to travelling long distances over here and audiences can be tough if you’re a bit ‘different’ but that is such a great training ground and it definitely ‘toughens you up for the road’. I always say, if you can play a show in Sydney, you can play anywhere in the world… things are not served to you on silver platters here, you have to work hard for it, especially if you’re in an artistic field but that makes you really appreciate the good things when they do come along. But really, I’m a strong believer that ‘a place is what you make it’… there’s good and bad things about every place and it’s a matter of perspective and interpretation and what you do with the tools and opportunities placed in your path.
Now with internet the World (trends) is just a click away but still, Australia is a far way apart from where it all is happening. Does the distance in any way affect the way you do things as a band?
-Distance is a state of mind. You can do most anything you set your mind to and work hard at. We’ve always considered this band to be global and I’d like to think I’m a ‘citizen of the world’. If you start dwelling on being ‘so far away’ or whatever, you only hold yourself back. Sometimes being an ‘outsider’ gives you a good perspective and the peace and quiet to be creative and the freedom to think differently and push the limits. In saying that, I might add that I’m lucky to be partners in crime with like minded, free thinking spirits and together, we really enjoy traveling and embarking on new adventures in far off lands. We are not afraid to attempt the impossible and love taking on a new challenge so distance has never really been an issue for us.
Looking at your band photos I can’t help notice that you have a certain style. What is it that makes you choose to dress a certain way?
-I think we all have a very strong sense of our own identities and style and I guess that is reflected in the way we dress and carry ourselves. I’ve always had a passion for theatrical costumes, make-up and all things unusual, present and past and I like to mix it up, keeping things interesting and having fun with it.
When does style over substance become an issue?
-We prefer substance with style… if you have no talent to back it up, ain’t no amount of big hair and eyeliner gonna disguise that.
I can only imagine what it is like to be a part of a band, what micro cosmos you belong to. Is there a fulfillment to being part of a band dynamic that we on the outside never will understand?
-Playing music, traveling the world, creative freedom and crazy adventures…. Life can’t get much better. We have taken chances, followed our hearts and are living our dreams. We have also worked very hard, made many sacrifices and stayed committed to each other and the band through thick and thin. We are far from perfect, like all relationships, have our ups and downs and strange and interesting habits but there is a common musical thread that binds us together and somehow it works. I feel so lucky to be given this chance to be in this band and I love all aspects of it. I have grown so much and discovered a lot about myself through this journey and no doubt we still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn.
Australia has produced more than just AC/DC when it comes to music. Seeing other bands making it, does that bring on an incitement to make it yourself too?
-It’s always inspiring to see other artists having success and I think there’s always something to be learnt from watching, meeting and talking with other artists and musicians from all parts of the planet. Of course, it’s really interesting when you get the chance to meet other Australian’s who have had success with their careers both in oz and abroad…. how did they do it, how did they end up where they are now etc… we’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with Aussie bands like The Hard-Ons, The Fireballs, BugGirl, Screaming Tribesmen and it’s always cool to hear their stories and crazy adventures touring in different countries.
What bright, sun glasses demanding future to you see for Dark Shadows?
-We have just released a new EP, ’11:11’ which will be launched officially in Europe at 11:11 on 11:11:11 through Halb-7 Records, Germany. We will be touring in support of ’11:11’ throughout Tokyo, Europe and the UK in October and November. We’ll in Köln for Halloween at the Hellnights with Der Fluch and The Other and will also appearing at the Whitby Gothic Weekender in the UK November 5th and will be playing our first show in Spain in Madrid at The Semana Gotica Festival with Skeletal Family and supporting Gitane Demone in Paris… so lots of great things up ahead real soon… as for the distant future…. well… I’m sure it will be an interesting one with many twists and turns in the path… not exactly sure where it will lead but we enjoy the mystery and the element of surprise!