Lovely Dark is the perfect description of the Minneapolis band's sound. Their brand of folk-flavored indie rock mixes the beauty of their voices with untamed intensity. On their third album Into the Roil, the sextet returns with their most accomplished batch of songs yet.
Before their album release show at Cause on Saturday night, Travis and Sonia Even along with Ben Johnston sat down with Gimme Noise to shed some light on their album and the hidden symbolism behind the record.
Don't let these musicians fool you. The group [Travis Even - guitar, vocals; Sonia Even - vocals, keys, percussion; Kent Thomson - bass, keys, vocals; Ben Johnston - drums, percussion; Max Becker - drums, percussion; Joe Clark- guitar] are a bunch of nerds. Ben Johnston shares, "We play Magic the Gathering, so we named all the song titles after card names from the game. To pick our setlist for the last show, Kent [Thomson] brought in the cards and shuffled them up. We will practice, then we play Magic."
On their latest album Into the Roil
, the group explores tougher subjects than with their last album Territories
. Husband and wife Travis and Sonia Even are the main songwriters, adding in their creative influences and life experiences into the music. Prior to starting Lovely Dark, Travis played in a punk band before getting burnt out and trying his hand at writing folk music.
"Folk is different from punk in that no one's really dancing," he says. "It's more people staring at you." "Yeah, but we have a lot of percussive songs, too," Sonia counters. "There were a couple of people dancing at our last show." With two percussionists, it's easy to see how their songs could easily be taken over by the rhythm.
Travis and Sonia went to school for English and art, bringing another layer in the form of storytelling to the songs. Sonia shares, "I like to set the scene when I write, and even though we talk a lot about nature, we try to include stories about people and relationships rather than birds and trees."
When prodded about the many natural elements on the album, Sonia continues, "I'm inspired by nature; I think most people are. I like using nature as a metaphor for life and things that are passed between people. Every album has been a reinvention; you're starting the whole process over again. You write the record, release it into the world, and start another cycle. It's a cycle that's parallel to the cycles of the earth -- of nature and the seasons -- how we're at the mercy of it."
As he elaborates, Travis pulls out the album and points out the symbolism they included in the artwork. He says, "We tried delving deeper and having a bigger scope on this album. What we wrote about seems to have a grander aspect. There's a mythological emblem called the Ouroboros, which is a snake eating itself. It represents the cyclical order to go onto the next phase in life." The singer leads into the many changes in the band members' lives -- many of them getting married, including his own recent marriage to Sonia, "That goes with getting older, getting married -- you're at the end of one step, progressing into the next."
He flips the album over and points to the dark-eyed boy on the cover with a bruise on his forehead and a snake around his neck, "That is actually Ben. We saw the picture at Ben's wedding." Ben comments, "That snake was my aunt's boyfriend's. I was in Florida, and I had flown off the merry-go-round that same day. He put that snake around my neck, and he took a pretty badass picture. It's weird seeing me on the cover."
Travis laughingly admits, "I sit and stare at your picture every day."
Lovely Dark will release Into the Roil at Cause on Saturday, March 1, 2014 with Speed's the Name, Fury Things, and Chris Weiland (Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo).
21+, $5, 9 pm