INTERVIEW: Blind Before Dawn
Solo Synth-Pop, Interview with Davi Lovatt
By: Sonya Brown
Out of England steps Blind Before Dawn, the mutating solo synth-pop child of Davi Lovatt (formerly of SorrowS of Isis).
With the upcoming release of the "Angel EP", and a full length to soon follow; Davi takes a moment to speak to In Music We Trust.
Sonya: Blind Before Dawn is a rather unusual name for a band... what is the story behind the name?
Davi: Blind Before Dawn was originally called Annex Chamber (October 1998)- and back then I wasn't really serious about creating music as I am now. I'd only begun writing music at that point in time. And there was one song I was working on called "Drown" and one line of the lyrics mentioned "the blind before the dawn" which to me means that moment of remaining blissfully ignorant of some great turning point until it happened- pretty much the way I was feeling about my position in SorrowS of Isis- so it had quite some deep meaning in realizing that I could take the music much further without SorrowS of Isis which had become stale and we ended up really hating each other. So a month later I quit SorrowS of Isis and Annex Chamber was renamed as Blind Before Dawn.
Sonya: Please give us the current Blind Before Dawn lineup (and the contributions of each artist)....
Davi: Right now Blind Before Dawn is solely my own solo project. I had to let Shane Bostock (guitars) go at the beginning of the year- he suffers a lot with mental health problems, and he realized that he was no longer able to dedicate enough time to Blind Before Dawn and was holding the band back- so we kinda agreed that he had to go. I am responsible for vocals, programming all sequencer parts, guitars and any other instrumentation that is required by the band. Like many solo projects I tend to rely on session musicians for live appearances. Some of these include James Perry (ex Dreams of The Fall and Spitkiss) and Nikol Nipper (ex Soy Futura) and I'm likely to carry on having friends fill in on live appearances until I can find a totally committed lineup to work with Blind Before Dawn. Although I recently played a totally live solo performance down in London supporting Leisure Hive and Seventh Harmonic which was a fine line between artistic suicide and being downright brave according to the people watching the show. But thankfully I pulled that off well enough. But I'd really like a full live lineup of 4 or 5 musicians, it's a matter of finding people you "click" with.
Sonya: How would you best describe your music?
Davi: up until now I'd have said that the majority of my music is new wave music with some fairly heavy guitars, but right now I'm working on some stuff that happens to lean heavier on the guitar in the songs and loses a little of the poppy reputation I seem to have acquired. It's always best to keep your music mutating though- that way you don't get so bored when writing music.
Sonya: I caught part of your performance at the Paris Theatre (Portland, Oregon) in August of 2000, where Nikol Nipper of Soy Futura filled in on Synths... how did you come to work with Nikol?
Davi: Nikol and her then boyfriend Paul (both of Soy Futura back then) pretty much hassled me into playing at The New Paris Theatre which was very good of them because I didn't think I could pull it off at all. Paul was originally going to play guitar for that show- but James Perry ended up stepping in for that show- so that's how Dreams Of The Fall ended up on the same bill. Nikol is a very talented musician and I wish her all the best for the future but I don't see another appearance with BBD from her. It was a one off appearance and I think we all realized that- I don't have too much musically in common with her, but it was fun to have her in the ranks for one night only.
Sonya: What other artists do you collaborate with?
Davi: Right now Attrition are working on a remix of the song "Angel With Broken Wings" as are another act from Canada (Host Device), I'd like to work with Seventh Harmonic more in the future as they really have the ability to take their music places and deserve more than playing shitty little pubs in London. I've also got James Perry waiting to remix "Cry Back The Dying" once I've recorded that at HQ Studios in Manchester. I always like to hear remixes by other bands because it gives you a fresh insight to your music to hear how somebody else would like to have approached that song.
Sonya: Where do you plan to tour next?
Davi: I really want to say Europe - but America always seems to be easier for me to get things going with. I think I'd like to get some sort of tour going with Leisure Hive and Seventh Harmonic in Europe- people have suggested the Netherlands and Belgium. Although I think ideally any European bands in an dark alternative or synthpop band would have to say Germany is THE place to play for the sheer enthusiasm and professionalism that country excels at.
Sonya: How would you compare playing live in the United States as opposed to playing live in England? What sort of responses do you get from American audiences?
Davi: It's a bit like home from home in some ways- small venues in the states is as painstaking as playing a small pub in London in regards to the PA not being too hot in a lot of venues. But people's attitudes seem to be more open minded in the states. The audience don't sit around thinking they are too important to watch you play if you aren't the headline act. It depends on the actual city you're playing in too. Some cities seem to be very similar in attitude to London which I find is the coolest place to play in the UK, but the north of England seems to be pretty degrading to play - nobody bothers turning up to shows anymore - so I only really see shows can really happen in London where even on a tuesday night 100 people turned up to watch the show with Seventh Harmonic and BBD recently. I do like the crowd from the Bay Area though- they seem to be rather open minded towards music like London, I've yet to play southern california- but that day should come very soon.
Sonya: According to your website (www.geocities.com/chunkygoth), you mention negotiating to appear in a festival of electronic bands in Hollywood in 2001... please tell us a bit about this festival... what is the status?
Davi: Good question! I'd like to know why the hell the promoter won't respond to my e-mails. He seemed really up for having BBD play, and then he just didn't bother to reply. As far as I could see he's not been too forthcoming in promoting this event if it ever works out anyway. I can't say I've heard of any of the bands on the lineup- but Beborn Beton were supposed to be headlining. I wish him the best of luck with organizing everything though- America is certainly lacking in underground music festivals when you compare it to Europe that has many huge events like Liepzig. But I think it's getting more popular in the states to arrange festivals- and there's a lot of good music out there that needs such publicity.
Sonya: I received an advance mix of your upcoming EP"Angel's Wings"... when will this EP be available to the general public; and what are your plans towards releasing a full length?
Davi: The "Angel EP" will be out in several months time if all goes well on the financing front and I'm looking to sell this both through a European distributor as well as probably through an American distributor and on the internet via MP3.com.
I have already wrote 6 songs that should appear on the full length CD release. Which as yet has no name. But you can expect more synthpop style music along with several heavier songs and a remix or two- wether this will be a self released album remains to be seen.
Sonya: Where else does your music appear? (compilations, discography, etc).
Davi: So far BBD has yet to appear on any compilations - although somebody in New York recently sent me the contract for BBD featuring a song on a small run sampler of up and coming bands. And I was also approached by Epic Films in the US to have a song appear on the soundtrack to the film "Losing Hope" that will be out this year. I've actually only been in the media eye for 6 months or so, but things are picking up gradually. I also released 3 demos on CD with Shane- although 2 of them are no longer available- the 3rd "Disintegrity" is available exclusively from me- look to the discography section on the BBD website. http://www.geocities.com/chunkygoth
Sonya: Where might readers gain access to your music?
Davi: http://www.mp3.com/BlindBeforeDawn. There is also a few bits and pieces on Napster but I am slowly beginning to realize that Napster is only an easy way to promote piracy in the music business and I believe that they should work out some system that you get paid royalties for people downloading from Napster and getting your music for free in the same way that MP3.com pays for playback. People should help keep the music industry alive and kill fucking Napster.
Sonya: Please tell our readers a bit about the equipment used by Blind Before Dawn...
Davi: I have quite the basic setup really- most of the cool blippy sounds are actually used from samples when BBD records at HQ Recording Studios in Manchester. The basic setup for Blind Before Dawn is a Korg X5D synthesizer (mainly) and Yamaha CS1X synth (occasionally) run on Evolution Audio Lite then straight into a Tascam 424 MKIII portastudio. I'm considering actually buying some kind of DAT machine for live shows, plus maybe upgrading to Cubase VST on the PC and a hard disk recorder to give the best quality of mixed down recordings at home. As for guitar? A Peavey Raptor 3 coil pickup guitar that is played through a Zoom GFX707 effect processor- which I really like to use for it's synthy style of sounds - something of a bargain box of tricks I think.
Sonya: Please tell us a bit about Dance Flaw Records... and your recording label, Sister Violet Records.
Davi: Sister Violet Records is now actually DanceFlaw Recordings. I think that DanceFlaw had far less of a cliched goth type name. DanceFlaw is run by myself and is financed also by Laurence Byrne who is the editor of Grave Generation Magazine in England. Right now I'm only interested in releasing products by Blind Before Dawn- but if all goes well I'd like to possibly sign a few other bands to DanceFlaw.
Sonya: What do you feel the future holds for Blind Before Dawn?
Davi: Paying a lot of dues! heh heh. I'd like to see a very long career in BBD - 20 years if possible. Life's very short and I think it's important to give your greatest love in life one great chance to blossom - wether that is music, writing, painting etc. And working with more established names on the live scene.