QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Brandon Ashley (THE DARK)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Brandon. The most important question right at the beginning. Are you well and are you healthy?

Brandon: Hello, thanks for having me. Yeah I’m safe ’n’ sound, which makes me a very lucky one in current times.

Pix666: On May 1st your new single ‘Where’s Your God’ will be released. What is the story behind the song? Will there be a video clip about it and if so, how did you shoot it in the current situation?

Brandon: ‘Where’s Your God’ is the first song I wrote for the upcoming record ‘Hostile Gospel’. I remember it was my birthday and I was still living in Berlin. I made myself a drink and started off writing the main guitar riff. It came all together pretty quickly, I was able to write down the general song structure in half an hour or so.

The song was then refined with my co-producer and the rest of the band later on when I moved to Brighton, UK. We added a very cinematic drop / bridge with powerful drums and synth layers, processed guitars in order to climax towards the last chorus. I wanted to write a song with a straighforward message against bigotry, which I consider one of biggest scams in our society.

My criticism moves against those self righteous ones who judge the rest of us and tell us how to live our life. They want their insecurities to affect the way we live our life, they want us to bend to their truth, they made society in order to leave us out of the picture unless we conform. That’s why I do what I do, I can’t be put in line and say yes.

I’d rather choose to say no. I’ve been let down, broken apart and left for dead many times in my life, yet I always climbed my way out of the grave. So can you if you believe enough in yourself. We started filming the music video right before they put us in lockdown here in the UK, we were able to collect amazing footage but unfortunately we had to reschedule in order to finish shooting the band scene.

Pix666: Is there already a date for the release of your upcoming album ‘Hostile Gospel’?

Brandon: We don’t have a release date yet as we would like to tease you with a few singles before giving away the entire work. It will be released within the end of 2020, that I can confirm you.

Pix666: When will your next concerts with an audience take place, and do you think that these dates can be kept?

Brandon: We have an upcoming show at Nambucca in London on September 30th. We hope by then it will be possible to perform without any risk for us and our fans. Other than that we are carefully considering booking a few shows for the end of the year but nothing is official yet. Before the pandemic started we were talking about a US tour followed by some UK / Europe shows as well to promote the album. Now we wait and see when we can all go back to normality hoping things will get better soon.

Pix666: Are you in the US or England right now? What is the general mood in the country?

Brandon: I’m spending the quarantine in my home in Brighton, UK. There’s lots of uncertainty like in most of other countries at the moment. I don’t go out much, except a few walks by the beach across the street where I live. I think a big sacrifice has been asked to us all at this time, more help should be provided to those ones who need it the most.

Pix666: How are the other guys of the band, how are your friends and families? How do you stay in touch with them, what kind of technics do you use?

Brandon: Rob, Sam and Oscar are doing fine. We video chat once a week on Zoom. We are holding up well and making plans trying to stay positive. Being in a band gives you meaning, in moment of difficulty you see music keeps you in motion. My family lives in Turin, Italy. As we all know it got very ugly over there, lockdown has given the authorities a power of enforcement beyond common sense. People are suffering very much, but everyone is holding up fiercely and I’m very proud of them.

Pix666: Do you believe that this crisis will change the behaviour of humanity in the future?

Brandon: Absolutely. Social distancing will not go away easily. It will become part of our society even aVer this whole thing is in the past. We are talking about social trauma. It’s gonna be hard to get rid of fear. On the other hand this pandemic could be a great opportunity to rethink our society. We need to be more pro active towards what could benefit us all and not only the same few ones, investing in education and art as a long term plan in order to create a better humanity. Our society could collapse because we are too dependable on our global economy. We should create a new model tailored to human needs and balance on earth. We must be open to change and get rid of what keeps us enslaved.

Pix666: What do you think will be the long-term consequences of this crisis for the economy and especially for the music business? How much is a band like The Dark itself financially affected by this crisis?

Brandon: This pandemic proved that our system failed big time. It’s gonna take years to recover from this. Meanwhile much will be lost on the way. The music business isn’t getting any sufficient help and lots of venues and festivals will have to shut down, sadly. It would be nice if digital streaming platforms stood up and started paying artists a fair amount per stream as our touring income is gone and everyone knows you can’t make a living on mere music sales anymore.

Pix666: What kind of things are you doing now, for which you usually don’t have so much time? Are there specific things like video games or going for walks?

Brandon: I work from home, I run my own music production company “DTuned Brighton Productions”. I turn my place into a boutique studio, my board is placed in the living room which is also acoustically treated. I keep producing music everyday, I sometimes go out for walks by the beach or to the park across the street. I just got two new kides, Jezebel and Akasha. They keep me busy. I’ve recently started playing again GTA St Andreas on my PS2, I work out at home.

Pix666: What things, apart from being live on stage, do you miss the most at the moment?

Brandon: I miss being able to make plans, I always need a plan in order to make sense to what’s coming next. Also I miss not being able to travel whenever I want, see family and friends abroad.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about The Dark that you would like to share with the fans?

Brandon: Yes. Please pre-save our new single ‘Where’s Your God’: https://ingroov.es/where-s-your-god-w7
It’s crucial for us to be able to get as many pre-saves as possible in order to get included to Spotify playlists. Many big announcements and music releases will follow up in the next few months, stay tuned, be safe, stay healthy.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting insights into your present life – Stay healthy!


all photos © by The Dark