Ahead of them streaming their debut single “Dali”, exclusively with us here at Counterfeit, we met up with DUSK. The chat with singer Holly Matthews, drummer Dominic Reed, keyboard player Sarah Hayes and bassist Nathan Francey touched on a wide range of subjects including their impressive early career, future plans, veganism and a lack of trust of those unfortunate enough to have very small eyes.
The interview began with Holly telling us the story of the formation of DUSK. “We met at university, we kind of found each other through a mutual love of the same kinds of music and just thought we would kind of give it a whirl, and see how it went together. I think it’s gone quite well? so far so good.” Nathan then went on to explain the origin of the band’s name, as he is the only one who remembers where it came from. “It was when we were writing some of the earlier stuff, we were writing a song called ‘Dawn’ and it just kinda came about through writing that song. We just fell onto the word and liked it so we just stuck with it.”
As DUSK are a very talented bunch, who have all studied music at university, I wanted to know more about their creative process and how they combine such a broad spectrum of influences, Holly began to describe how it all works for them. “It’s fairly collaborative, me and Nathan tend to come up with most of the lyrics then everyone else just adds their own thing.” Sarah added “I think it works better like that, then you don’t just get one person saying ‘we are doing this’ and it gets really difficult.” Dom said he usually get a rhythm section down “then they base stuff around it. We start of fairly simple and build from there” Nathan chipped in with “then we let Sarah freak out over the top of it.” With regards to the lyrics Holly went into detail about how her writing partnership with Nathan normally works. “Nathan will give me like a 5000 word essay, then I just pick the best bits and elaborate on them, so I am like the lyric editor. And sometimes I put some in there of my own, if I feel like it.”
With the band having such variation within their music they don’t easily fall into any pre-set genre. I wondered how they classified themselves in that regard and, as no genre exists that could easily house, them I wanted to know what exactly they would call their style if they had to invent a name for it. Titles like “Noir-Pop” and “Dark Synthetic Pop” were banded around before Dom explained how their individual backgrounds influence their unique sound. “I have always been in hardcore bands, Nathan has been in a lot of indie bands, Sarah did classical piano and Holly is a pop star.” Nathan has no trouble with this variety and he told us how he thinks it all works so well together. “It’s quite fresh in a way because we all want the same end product, and because everyone is coming at it from such a different angle, I think it gives a lot more to what we are actually doing. It gives it another dimension.” Holly added “It also means that we all actually enjoy what we do, because we have all go like a little bit of something that we liked from the start.”
DUSK recently entered a Future Sound competition which resulted in them playing the BBC Introducing Stage at both Reading and Leeds Festival this summer, Dom talked us through just what a big moment that was for them. “I think it was a really good confidence boost for us. We got a lot of good feedback, met a lot of new people, so I think if anything as well it has inspired us to really work hard this year.” Sarah concurred “now we have done it we have to work really hard now, we can’t just let it drop, we have to work even harder.”
Their debut single “Dali” is out now so I asked them for their description of the track, in Holly’s words it is a “disjointed, weird mix of just stuff.” Sarah told us “it has weird time signatures and stuff, but I don’t think that’s too noticeable.” Dom also had a very interesting take on it, “There is no safe point in it, it feels safe and then the chorus comes in and it’s like ‘oh no’. It’s a very on edge kind of thing.”
Over the course of our conversation it became clear just what a tight knit group they are, despite Nathan, Sarah and Dom all living together, and it was pleasing to see that even arguments about the washing up and leaving mouldy bananas in cupboard can’t disrupt the harmony of the group. Towards the end of our time together they all gleefully divulged embarrassing stories about their fellow members and ribbed each other in the way that only truly close friends can get away. Nathan took digs at Dom for his veganism, while Dom had plenty to say about Nathan’s diet. “I once witnessed Nathan eat a Pot Noodle for breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed. Then another one, but a different flavour, for breakfast the next day.” Nathan was keen to get his own back by telling me about the photo shoot for this interview. “We were doing the photos on a street, and obviously loads of people were going past, some of his mates walked past and shouted ‘Dom what are you doing?’. Dom just looked at me and said ‘Nathan what are we doing?’……a photo shoot Dom, we have been doing it for hours.” It also transpired that Sarah doesn’t trust those of us with abnormally small eyes and that Holly regularly, confidently, introduces herself to people she is sure she recognises only for it to turn out that they have never met before.
As a band they have achieved a great deal in their first year of existence, and there is much more to come from them. “Dali” is released on the 17th of September, you can stream it here, and DUSK will be headlining the Games Room at Brudenell Social Club on the same day to celebrate the release. We also expect their first EP to be arriving at the end of October, followed by plenty of touring and more EP’s.
For all things DUSK head over the bands Facebook Page.
You can read our live review of the “Dali” single launch here.