Come to the dark side


Kevin Mulligan catches up with the latest shady characters on the Irish music scene, Dark Room Notes.

UP-AND COMERS on the Irish music scene, Dark Room Notes have capped a long year of production with the release of their debut album We Love You Dark Matter scheduled for April. When asked why they chose the album’s name, the band’s songwriter, Ruairi Ferrie answered “it came to me in a dream about two years ago and I just felt it had to be called that.” The album was also reviewed in this memorable dream, getting “four out of five”. So there were good signs even then.


The group went to London to produce the album, and drew influence from numerous sources. Drummer, Darragh Shanahan, cites “walking around London and hearing all the music that they were listening to and meeting fresh people all the time” as having a reviving influence on the band after spending the last number of years in Dublin. “Every day there was a moment that you just went ‘Jeez, this is wild. This is brilliant’”.

In this vibrant environment, Shanahan speaks of how they “reached a kind of plateau of being in the room together, being able to gel sonically.” This allowed the creative tendencies of the band to find expression, with Shanahan explaining that “there’s some [songs] that have been just written in the room that have been made almost fresh for the album.”

The band’s songs evolve as Ferrie writes his none-too-obvious lyrics, and then as they work together, the music forms itself. This evolution can be seen in a song like ‘Let’s Light Fires’ which “started out with the idea of a sleazy drunk guy trying to pick up in a club” says Ferrie, adding “then I kind of went ‘what the hell am I writing about this for?’. And then I saw all that what was happening at the time in Burma, and kind of started thinking of rioting, and ‘Let’s Light Fires’ just sort of came together that way.”

The band isn’t simply settling for this though. Ferrie explains that “We kind of want to get onto the next thing quickly”, something with is echoed by Shanahan. “We’ve got momentum now, so we’ve just got to keep going where we’re going”.

So what’s next? Well, after the release of their album the band have plenty of Irish gigs lined up. Then “[the album has] already got interest in America and England… just on the strength of promos we’ve sent out,” says Shanahan, adding the possibility of “getting on syndicates like college radio in America”.

Their music still being viewed as too heavy for day-time radio in Ireland, Ferrie reckons that they will have to become more well-known before it hits the Irish airwaves. “I think you need to be bigger, a bigger band in order to be picked up fully [in Ireland]”.

With five new songs already lined up for a second album, the group is clearly not going to be idle for very long. So as they face into 2009 afresh, don’t be surprised if you hear a lot more from Dark Room Notes.