June 2020

Sunshine Folds

Dark BellsDark BellsDark BellsDark BellsDark BellsText: Gabriel Knowles Images: Miles Martignoni

“We always wanted to be a big sounding small band,” explains Teneil Throssell, founding partner and guitarist/front-woman of Dark Bells on a particularly wet and wild Sydney afternoon that seems at such odds with their sound.

“We get referenced as shoe-gaze pretty often, but we skirt around a lot of different genres and never really fall into one particular spot. There’s a bit of a psych feel, and a bit of shoe-gaze or a dreamy sound but it never falls in one pocket. We use a lot of chorus and reverb which is a really shoe-gazey sound, but then some people give us The Cure references but I think that’s to do with effects on the bass.”

Throssell, along with co-founder and bassist Ash Moss are in the middle of mixing a 7″ at the BJB Studio in Surry Hills with a helping hand from The Scare’s Wade Keighran. They’re readying it for pressing in the Czech Republic but aren’t sure when or where they’ll launch it with an impending move to London. The upside of that uncertainty is offset by the anticipation of leaving their comfort zone and the need to find a new drummer to replace Simon Parker (Damn Arms, Lost Valentinos), something not all bands would be overly enthused by needing to do. But Throssell is relatively upbeat about it.

“We’ve had three different drummers through the years and Simon’s not coming with us so we have to find another drummer. We’re heartbroken but I sort of like the idea of that being a little bit of a revolving door and the two of us having a real partnership. Technically Simon is our perfect drummer but unfortunately he didn’t have the same plans as us right now, hopefully he’ll be back with us sooner rather than later though. It’s exciting to play with someone new though, it’s like a new chapter.”

Straying from the beaten, and safe, path seems to be a recurring theme for Throssell and Moss who have both had relatively successful stints in the past with Diamondback Rattler and Mercy Arms respectively. Perhaps veering off into less chartered territory is made easier due to the fact they’d met well before the band was formed, giving them both a chance to organically realise they were on the same page creatively?

“We’ve known each for years, we were just buddies through mutual friends and playing in bands so we were very aware each other was both quite musical. We used to talk about music heaps but it was a bit of a coincidence that we both had a lot more free time on our hands at the same time so we went in for a bit of a jam and that was kind of it.”

“The thing we do try to avoid is doing anything too obvious when we’re writing music or joining parts in too much of a predictable way or a predictable effect,” continues Throssell. “We try and push ourselves to do something that will make the song sound a bit different, I feel like we’ve succeeded in doing that. The more that you play together the more you grow a concise way of how you want something to sound and it just happens naturally I guess.”

“Our friendship and songwriting has become a lot more tight and comes easier these days. We have to push each other to try new things as we don’t have many instruments so with the few we do have, we need to focus on making it sound as big as it can.”

Dark Bells

Dark Bells play Yah Yah’s, 99 Smith Street, Fitzroy Melbourne on Thursday June 2, 2011

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