Black Doldrums are a band I’ve followed for a while now, there’s something about them that really seems to connect with me. Not sure what, but after seeing them live a few times and chatting at gigs it’s not something that can easily be explained. Why do we music fans seem to have a natural affinity to one band more than another? Most people I know like loads of bands of many varied and differing sounds, as do I. The music is obviously the point of first connection, and most likely the only one for most fans & the bands they listen to. Other than the occasional social media interaction here and there. So what creates the ‘chemistry’ between an artist and the people who listen to their music? That’s the million dollar question I suppose. If anyone reading this can tell me I’d be much obliged!
Anyway, seeking answers to this I asked the Black Doldrums a few things about themselves to see if I could work it out any further. But only ended up asking myself more questions. The usual things were asked, ‘whats your influences…’How did you get together…etc……’ but that’s what made me think a bit differently. Most of the bands I love all quote the same influences, The Beatles, The Stones, The Clash, BJM, Spacemen 3 etc. So if they are all influenced by listening to the same records as kids, and it inspired them to want to start a band to create music, why do they all sound so different? interpretation, imagination, background, resources? Obviously some bands wear their influences firmly attached to their sleeves as badges of honour. The bands that take their influences and take them to new places and expand them, take you to another place, these are the bands that excite me as a music lover. Writing this post has made me think a lot about things the last few weeks, possibly due to lack of sleep working night shift! But that’s the other thing music should do, it should make you ask questions don’t you think?
The new single off the eagerly anticipated second album is a step further down the sonic trail with a more topical feel than the earlier releases off the debut ‘Peoples Temple’ album. I asked Sophie & Kev that between them are ‘Black Doldrums’ if this was an intentional thing or just my own take on it.
S: It wasn’t intentional, I suppose it’s more that all the songs have meaning and similar subject matter but maybe with Rope it’s easier to interpret that way, particularly because the video accompanying it may have supported the lyrics. Each song is open to everyone’s individual interpretation and I suppose, yes some songs on the new material could be, as could, maybe Sidewinder.
K. It’s funny really, someone else said that our new single was very much of the time recently which is interesting because I’m not sure what is of the time. I suppose I write about what’s going on around me and like to keep it accessible and open. If it’s considered current then that’s cool.
Not just me then! Anyone who has seen Black Doldrums play live knows how together and tight they are, creating a far wider and greater sound than would sometimes seem possible from just a guitar & a drum kit. Is it down to practice or some hidden chemistry?
S: I honestly don’t know, we get told a lot that our sound defies our “number” ie there’s two of us, our aim is to surprise people I suppose in that respect.
K: Yeah we like to play in a way that gives people the full experience of a full band. It’s difficult at times but challenging and worth it when people are surprised.
As a band that play lots of shows I wondered what keeps them going through all the endless hours sitting in a van that must entail
S: I can get very tired, but it’s the same with anything. The point is you’re choosing to do it and you’re doing what you love. It’s not the same as making ends meet in an 8 hr a day office job that bores the shit out of you. Anyone that moans about touring should probably shut up!
K: Totally agree with this! no names mentioned but you come across a lot of self entitled musicians that moan about touring. We’re just grateful for playing and getting a chance to see all these places and always humbled by people who make the effort to come to shows.
So to conclude, why do we like a particular band over another for no apparent reason? I suggest you get yourselves down to see Black Doldrums play a show and find out for yourselves! Much appreciation to Kev & Sophie for taking the time to chat to me at their gigs and answering a few emails. Just waiting on the new album release date now guys!