AK has written down the story of how Dark Times started out for the Swedish blog Grrrl Collection - here’s the English translation:
Photo: Marius Eriksen
We started out with no experience, no plans and no ambitions. Only one goal – to have fun. It might sound like a cliché, but that’s basically the seed that started Dark Times.
We were three girls, Anne, Rikke and me, working together as volunteers at the student radio station in Oslo, Radio Nova. Anne was the cultural editor, while Rikke and I were in a music show called Bra Trommis (“good drummer”).
One day, Anne sent the rest of us a link to an article with information about instrument courses at this place called AKKS - a non-profit music organization that works to recruit, motivate and make women visible in all aspects of the music industry. Individually I think we all made up our minds rather quick that we wanted to join. Then one night we were all hanging out together after a concert at Revolver in Oslo, Anne blurted out: “I’m signing up for the bass class at AKKS!”, and Rikke was like: “Hey, I want to learn the drums”, and I: “And I want to learn how to play guitar”. Then in a synchronized, ecstatic cry: “We’re starting a band!” And that was the beginning of Dark Times. From there, it all went pretty easy.
We went to our separate instrument courses at AKKS for two months and then joined a band course together. The band course was basically rehearsals with occasional visits from a teacher that helped us with stuff like guitar picking technique, sound equipment and tips on how to play together. At the end of the course, all the bands performed at a concert at the venue Blå. We played The Stooges – “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, Sonic Youth – “My Friend Goo” and Black Flag – “Nervous Breakdown”. I remember not being able to hear my guitar for the first two songs. We probably sounded really bad, but it didn’t matter. We’d only been playing our instruments for a few months – still we went up to this (to us) huge stage in front of a lot of people and gave what we had. It was totally okay for us to suck.
Photo: Marius Eriksen
Well actually, this was our second concert. A few days earlier, we played at Radio Novas summer party, adding one more song to our set list – “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey (a hit among the radio volunteers). I specifically recall that Anne ruled the bass solo. It was really weird, but so much fun. After the gig we probably got some good feedback, but I only remember the guy who said we needed to practice more.
I don’t really know how it came to her, but when we tried to figure out what to call the band, Rikke came up with the first suggestion – which was Dark Times. It wasn’t really discussed back and forth whether to choose it. It all just made sense. We’ve always been Dark Times.
Another thing that was never discussed in the Dark Times sphere, was our sound. We only had this common agreement that we should play something “harder” than pop and that it should be a bit noisy. We didn’t know anything about amplifiers, so we just turned the gain and the volume up and hoped for the best. At one point, we were supposed to write down what kind of music we played for a gig. Neither of us had any idea what to write, so we concluded that we had to ask someone else. Our sound was never based on a genre choice. What came out, came out. We never decided on anything like that.
Photo: Lars Preus
After our first two gigs, we thought it was kind of lame to only play cover songs, so for our third gig we made three songs of our own. It was a relief to find out that we could actually do that. We had no idea if we had any skills in that department, and we just hoped that we were able write something that didn’t truly suck. We were pretty happy with the result, especially since we didn’t try that hard at first. We just used the first chord structures we could come up with (we didn’t have a lot of time before our gig).
Anne eventually moved to San Francisco to study, so our friend Sebastian joined the band – the best replacement we could ever get. After that, things just happened. Our friends in Ormeyngel released our cassette tape and Sheep Chase Records released our first 7-inch. And we continued getting show requests.
Photo: Malin Ringsby / Grrrl Collection
The most surprising thing about starting Dark Times, was how easy it was. Growing up, I never thought it was possible for someone like me to play in a band, or even learn the guitar (a guy at my high school told me there was no point in learning the guitar when you were as old as 16 – and I believed him). And I never would have joined a band if we hadn’t been three girls who were at the same level (no experience) and only did it for the fun of it. I’ve got one thing to say to girls, boys, women and men who still carry an unfulfilled dream of being in a band: just do it – you’re never too old, really. And we need to expose kids to great music and great role models, so that those who want to can start exploring their dreams, instead of being too scared of pursuing it because they think they don’t have the skills or attitude. Girls to the front.
You can pretty much set your watch by the arrival of a new DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO podcast, every two or three weeks or so, give or take a few days on either end. Our newest edition is our fortieth (four-zero; #40) and was recorded on the 4th of July in a place where said day is utterly meaningless and uncelebrated. I’ve been enjoying larding these shows up with new stuff rather than mp3s from my outrageously bountiful mp3 collection (you should see it!), primarily because every two weeks I keep hearing new stuff I think is totally rad. Case in point: THE COOLIES, PIECE WAR, THE YAKKS, DARK TIMES, MEN OH PAUSE, POW!, WOLF GIRL and COLD BEAT - all brand new. All great - or else we wouldn’t play it, right?
There’s also the new reissue of The Flesh Eaters' "A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die" to contend with, as well as important material that its essential you listen to from Tales of Terror, The Milky Ways, Naked Spots Dance and others. It’s one hour and a few minutes, and it’s available for download on iTunes and Soundcloud and in other spots as well - like right here.
Download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #40.
Stream or download Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio #40 on Soundcloud.
Subscribe to the show on iTunes.
YAKKS - Sonja is a Racist
PIECE WAR - Call on Me
COLD BEAT - Falling Skylines
POW! - One Eyed Scorpion
WOLF GIRL - Freudian Slips
USELESS EATERS - Desperate Living
MEN OH PAUSE - Concrete Woman
NAKED SPOTS DANCE - Crescendo/Circle Moon
MEAT PUPPETS - Unpleasant
WORKDOGS - Funny $
THE COOLIES - God Take Me
MILKY WAYS - Guillotine
THE JONESES - Pillbox
TALES OF TERROR - Romance
GANG GREEN - Kill a Commie
DARK TIMES - Be Cool
THE FLESH EATERS - Divine Horseman
Some past shows:
Dynamite Hemorrhage #39 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #38 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #37 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #36 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #35 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #34 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #33 (playlist)
Dynamite Hemorrhage #32 (playlist)
«Be Cool» on the latest Dynamite Hemmorrhage podcast.
The #darktimes tapes have arrived! (ved SCR HQ)
Our cassette! Redesigned, including mp3s and our new two-track digital single «Be Cool».
The Dark Times tapes are on their way, and it’s officially digitalized and available on Spotify, WiMP, iTunes and Bandcamp etc NOW! Check out the new design as well! darktimesoslo
Our demo release is now out digitally on Spotify etc. with the new cover art made by Sebastian. And the cassette is on its way!
Photos by Kelly Chambers from a gig at Occi in Amsterdam July 22th 2013, in an interview with Knik magazine.
Dark Times Are Better Times. Photo by Fredrik Bjerknes.
Remember this bugger released by #ormeyngel in 2011? It’s been sold out since. We’ll have the honour of releasing a reissue of it including a BRAND NEW DIGITAL SINGLE from the upcoming album in a couple of weeks! #darktimes #sheepchase
Our demo tape is being reissued through Sheep Chase Records / sheepcone in a few weeks!
Sebastian has designed a new cover and it will include a new digital track from our upcoming album. The tape was originally released by Ormeyngel in 2011.