New Wave, electronica and the theme of loneliness are key concepts when talking about D.A.R.K. Formed by Dolores O’Riordan, Andy Rourke, (The Smiths) and the DJ and producer Olé Koretsky, they are publishing their debut album, “Science Agrees”, on August 19th. Unconcerned by the mainstream norms imposed by the music industry, they rely on their own criteria and experience as musicians, although Depeche Mode, Joy Division and New Order remain a probable influence.
Christopher Friedmann has talked to Andy Rourke for ARTISTdirect about D.A.R.K. and its origins as Jetlag, their plans to *hopefully* tour United States in the winter and his expectations about “Science Agrees” and the band’s near future. This is a summary with the most relevant points in the interview, which you can find at ArtistDirect: http://www.artistdirectinterviews.com/indie/dark-andy-rourke-science-matters-interview
Christopher Friedmann: You and Ole have been collaborating as DJs for awhile now, but you decided to include Dolores in D.A.R.K. due to a chance meeting. Could you describe how you two stumbled upon one another and why you thought she was the right fit for this project?
Andy Rourke: I’ll correct you on the me and Ole thing. We started off as DJs called Jetleg and then we started doing remixes for a couple of bands. All the way through that we were making our own music, we just didn’t know really what to do with it. We probably had 40 or 50 songs that were piling up. Then through my manager, Melissa, and Dolores’ then manager, we found out that she was looking for something new to get her teeth into. We sent her along the Jetlag tapes, so to speak, initially with no vocals, just instrumental, and she said, “No, no, I wanna hear the full song.” Then we sent them again and she really liked it, so then we got together, did a few recordings, it went really well – we did them all over the place, but mainly in Canada, New York, a couple in L.A., but the actual music was mainly recorded in Ole’s basement, his home studio.
CF: When you started collaborating with Dolores, you did so over email. How does it feel to submit your creations to someone else with no control over what they will do with them after they leave your finger tips?
AR: You get a bit nervous about how it’s gonna be received, but luckily there wasn’t an issue. She likes it, but it was a bit strange sending stuff via email before we even met the person. Now we’ve gone on to become very close friends, we see each other a lot, speak a lot.
CF: New Wave and electronica have a clear influence on the album and there are some similarities to Depeche Mode and New Order. Do you have a sense of tradition, in that you can now concentrate on emotional content of music, rather than meet demands to represent the genre itself?
AR: I think we’ve always gone with our gut and definitely our influences and never felt obliged to conform with what’s going on currently in the music business. We are kind of selfish in that respect. We just pull things from our influences and our growing up and just stuff we listen to every day. We soak it up like a sponge and, of course, it’s gonna influence the music we create.
CF: Aside from the musical elements of the album, the lyrical content is pretty shrewd. Themes of isolation and loneliness are touched on. Were those strong, existential elements decided on at the start of the process – or are the themes a product of the chemistry of process?
AR: I would say 75 percent of the lyrics Ole had already recorded for the Jetlag project and that’s always been the nature of his writing. He’s not such a happy-go-lucky guy, you know. He’s one of my best friends, but he’s not happy unless he’s complaining. He’s obviously inspired by bands like Joy Division and New Order. He sings about what is pertinent to him and his life, and yeah, it’s not so happy go lucky. I would say you have to speak to Ole about this. I’m a lowly bass player/songwriter.
CF: When we consider the caliber of the contributors to this collaborative project there is a lot of gravity behind everyone’s ‘traditional’ roles. During process did anyone surprise the group, or themselves, by bringing a new talent that had previously been unexplored?
AR: When Dolores came on board she brought a whole other dimension. It was like the missing link we’d been looking for. I would say that was special, the first time we heard Dolores singing over the songs. I would say Dolores was one of the lights of the recording process because you say “Woah,” and everything starts coming together.
CF: Can you describe, in terms of this project, what ‘success’ would look like?
AR: I don’t know, just for it to be well-received I think. All we’re asking is that people enjoy the record. We’re doing some gigs in Europe in September. The album comes out August the 19th, so we’re doing some gigs to promote that in September and then hopefully we’ll do some U.S. gigs as well. Dolores is busy with the Cranberries at the moment. She’s doing the whole festival thing all summer, so who knows maybe come winter we’ll do some gigs over here.
CF: Given the longevity of your career, and the spectrum of ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ experiences you must have had – can you share something of the most grounding moment you’ve had in your career, a moment that was somewhat humbling?
AR: Every time, going back to the Smiths, it was always a humbling experience just to see the appreciation of our music, the love and adoration in the room. That’s always very humbling. Hopefully we’ll get that, and I think we will because Dolores’ fans are very passionate. I know that much, so I think there are more humbling experiences to come. I’m excited about that. I like grounding.
We would like to remark the fact that Rourke himself insists on the date of publication of “Science Agrees” in August 19th, despite the rumours of a delay until September 9th. You can still get a signed copy of the album and download “Curvy”, “Loosen The Noose” and the recently added “Gunfight” on Pledge Music: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/dark-science-agrees