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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Dark, Dark Designs”

    Dark Dark Dark
    Dark Dark Dark

    If you visit Dark Dark Dark’s website,, you will first be greeted with the three naked asses that panel the cover of the Minneapolis sextet’s newest album, “”Wild Go.”” Don’t worry — these aren’t anonymous asses; they belong to band members. Scroll down, though, and click the play button on their media streamer to hear “”Daydreaming,”” and let the beautiful melancholy transport you, as vocalist Nona Marie Invie sings, to “”anywhere but here.””

    With six members on eight instruments — piano, accordion, drums, bass, trumpet, clarinet, electric banjo and voices — Dark Dark Dark’s style is hard to define. But according to Marshall LaCount, the band’s co-author and self-proclaimed “”banjo and clarinet and singer guy,”” their music is simple. It is music so infused with emotion that you can’t help but cry. I spoke with LaCount in preparation for the sextet’s concert at Solar Culture this Saturday about crying, banjoing and BYOB-ing.

    Daily Wildcat: I read in a recent interview that you choose to play a style of music that makes you cry. Why is crying important to you?

    LaCount: I think that we all find an extreme level of joy in it. It’s maybe the sort of crying you can do that’s happy or sad crying, and we show an extreme range of emotions playing our music that our audience can find as well. Finding that full range of emotion is what art’s about — having a genuine emotional experience that sort of informs everyday life.

    Are there any other forms of art that make you cry, or is it just music?

    Mostly music, but also movies, especially with good soundtracks. A painting has to be pretty damn good, or a sculpture that just sits there has to be pretty profound to have that effect. But that’s what I love — what all of us love.

    Which film soundtracks give you that feeling?

    Oh, the “”Dead Man”” Neil Young soundtrack, the “”Waking Life”” soundtrack is really amazing, and “”The Fog of War”” Philip Glass soundtrack is pretty intense.

    Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

    I think, right now, I really do. If Walter (McClements), the accordionist, is coming from a background of jazz and Eastern European music, if he is sort of a maximalist — if I may use that fake word — then I am a minimalist interested in texture more than others. I use more simple phrasing, and I think (celloist) Jonathan (Kaiser) does too. Nona uses often a very repetitive and washy piano as well, and I think that minimalism is what’s really there — definitely not primary, but it’s there. I wouldn’t pick a primary genre anyway, because it changes from time to time and maybe even song to song.

    You probably won’t like my next question then. If you had to be really minimalist and describe your band’s style in one or two words, what would they be?

    I would say chamber folk. We may have made it up, but it alludes to our acoustic traditional or classical instruments and the intimacy of our music….The “”chamber”” I feel alludes to the atmosphere in the room and the intimacy. I’m not playing strictly acoustic. I am using effects and making textures, so it’s not fair to say Eastern European or folk or jazz, but I think “”chamber folk”” leaves it open-ended enough that all of our influences can leak in there. So there, I answered your question … in about a hundred words to describe two words.

    When did you start playing banjo?

    Maybe six years ago. It appealed to me originally because it’s percussive … now I use it texturally and percussively, and rhythmically. The textural stuff I have a lot of fun with. I never could play guitar well, it didn’t feel natural. But for some reason when I got my first banjo from a friend, it felt natural…I kind of disregarded it for a while. But I picked it up again because now I’m known as the bandleader, and I’m arranging layers and textures with everyone else.  

    And the banjo helps you articulate that arrangement?

    Yes, absolutely. I have my own language with it.

    Solar Culture has a BYOB policy. Will you “”B”” any “”B,”” and, if so, what will that “”B”” be?

    We’re probably going to be bringing bomb-ass jams, or booty dancing, or butter cream pie.

    See Dark Dark Dark on Saturday, 9 p.m., $8.

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