How dark can Dark get? Deirdre Flannery speaks to Dark Room Notes’ newest recruit Darragh Shanahan to find out
Hailing from both the east and west of the country, Dark Room Notes’ formation can be said to have been as organic as their music. The electro-indie sound of the Irish group – or “social music” as drummer Darragh prefers to call it – has evolved over the past six years, from the band’s origins as a grunge outfit, to the more techno-inclined quartet they are today. “Playing around at gigs, meeting people at parties, it just kind of evolved – it’s like a gang mentality. Whoever we collaborate with we just meet along the way, and if the vibe is good, we follow it. We just gather momentum and people!”
Clearly the vibe has been more than good, as debut album We Love You Dark Matter is currently shortlisted for the Choice Music Award. To be in a shortlist of ten – narrowed down from over 180 entrants – came as some surprise to the unassuming act. “We just heard it on the radio when the announcements were coming out, and we thought, ‘Ah, that’s weird.’ It’s great, though!”
DRN certainly stick out from the troubadour tradition that has haunted the national music scene for manys a year, and Darragh notes that their music is not typical of what you might hear on Irish radio. However, DRN’s unique fusion of rock and electronic music was not entirely by design and in fact came about after laptops and keyboard effects were utilised in the temporary absence of musicians. “Because of line-up changes, the technology replaced the people that were there before, but then it actually became the sound. Necessity is the mother of invention with this band,” Shanahan explains.
Having played a string of New York shows, DRN are about to jet back to the States again to play the venerable SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. The annual showcase is the place to get seen in the US, and is guaranteed to be packed with press eager to get their claws into the “next big thing.” The band intends to continue touring America throughout March and September.
Darragh reveals that the internet was a key factor in their stateside success. “We just started gaining momentum on MySpace over there, so we thought we ’d go over and see if that audience liked us and they did.”
With their SXSW show scheduled for Paddy’s Day, otwo wonders if the Irish foursome will be wearing the shamrock on stage. “We have to be sober for when we’re playing, so we can’t be doing anything crazy,” says Darragh, “but after that, who knows?”
Who knows, indeed, what is next for Dark Room Notes. Making waves at home and abroad, this band clearly has no trouble tempting us over to the dark side.
Dark Room Notes play the Choice Music Awards at Vicar St on March 3rd. Tickets €27 from Ticketmaster.