Dark Stares are a new rock band out of the UK consisting of Miles Howell, Taylor Howell, Brett Howell, and Harry Collins. The band recently released their fantastic debut EP Tell Your Friends, which has been generating quite a bit of notoriety. Tyler Quiring had a chance to catch up with Dark Stares to discuss their origins, the new EP, and more.
What are the origins of Dark Stares? How long have you guys been around and what kind of journey has led to the release of Tell Your Friends?
We started practicing songs and “jamming” around December 2009 and played our first show later that month at a local gig venue under the name “Kalazar.” It’s funny because, through a friend, we were being allowed to rehearse in Enter Shikari’s practice space (known as the “Low”) for the gig and finding that strange enough in itself, the band The Joy Formidable popped their heads in the door of one of our earliest sessions to be shown about and say “hello.” Not sure we knew much about them at the time but these are the kinds of things you remember. We only played four songs at the gig, none of which got anywhere near this record, but it was a real baptism of fire for a band with two 16 year olds. So I suppose we’ve been around a while longer than our debut release and name change suggests, though I think that’s inevitable with family. We did our fair share of gigging at a local level and got ourselves out there, but recording and releasing our first EP in 2011 has felt like the official launch of Dark Stares. Not to mention the fact we can now legally plays gigs!
A lot of our readers may have not heard of you before. What sets you guys apart as a band?
Don’t know really. We could go on about musicality, or ability to perform, or high standards of song-writing etc. but if you listen to our songs and they’re not your cup of tea it all means nothing really. So we’re just in the business of writing songs that gives us a buzz and in our opinion have an edge or darker side without losing all sense of melody or “hook.” We’re not going to be the kind of band that set our guitars on fire or climb the truss live, but we will always deliver, no matter the scale of the occasion. All our heroes tend to deliver their songs first and foremost and let the rest take care of itself.
What have you found is the best source of inspiration for your music?
Fiction, mythological beasts, imagining a shadow is following you around whispering dangerous melodies in your ear and that crows and ravens sitting on disused phone-boxes and television antennas teach telepathic blues-riffs. Also, just great pieces of music and bands that are successful and manage to alter the consciousness of the mainstream whilst remaining experimental and alternative.
Tell Your Friends is short (which is totally OK), and it’s quite focused as well. It covered a few ideas and didn’t stray off topic. What would you say is the overall theme of the EP?
I guess there’s more of a musical continuity and journey there than a specific lyrical theme. Topically it can be blasé, random, arrogant, critical, political to hopefully some rather uplifting and tender moments that in no way need to necessarily rely on each other. If you guys say it didn’t stray off topic, then we’ve done our job because hopefully the instrumental undercurrent and “voice” of the narrator was consistent and believable throughout.
What are your plans for the future, both immediate and somewhat distant?
Immediately, we just want to work ourselves into a situation where enough people have been affected by our music that we can plot tours where lots of like-minded people can gather into small dark rooms around the country, amps are pointed at their faces and everyone has a life-long memorable experience. I think they call this a critical mass. It would be a dream and is the ideal that keeps you going. The long-term distant foggy future, who knows? We’ll just keep climbing the levels and see how high this thing called the music industry goes with a band like Dark Stares. It’s going to be fun.
Interview by Tyler Quiring