Darkplace is a mysterious new Swedish dark dream pop/post-punk group whose forthcoming debut album, ‘About The End Of The World’, is a conceptual work inspired by the bleak landscape of the Stockholm suburbs that birthed them.
Centred around an alternative reality – or is it just a grim present and future? – the album has been unveiled gradually via a series of videos based on animated digital paintings for several of its tracks.
Darkplace have already issued three singles, the first two being instrumentals. ‘Arken över Hesselby’ (The Ark Over Hesselby) presented the outskirts of a city haunted by an unknown aerial presence, with its follow-up ’Fearmonger’ offering an apocalyptic scenario with sirens wailing and a lone soldier fleeing the prying ‘eye in the sky’ of a mysterious airship. The third, ‘Cars’, was the first to feature a lead vocal and saw the story move on to a man travelling north following cryptic messages written on motorway signs.
The brand new ‘This Is Loud’ sees the plot thicken as well as bring the story full circle…back to the beginning and Hesselby…with another stunning visual to accompany it, the group simply commenting: “I couldn’t go out anymore. I didn’t feel safe. It was all connected. I don’t know how, but we all knew it was part of something bigger. In secret forums we discussed it. We knew what it meant, that the world was ending. Is it possible to survive this? Will we all go mad? Nowhere is safe.”
Although rooted in late 80s/early 90s indie styles, Darkplace incorporate a variety of other genres into their sound. However, for the members of this highly secretive group, it is not just about the music. They perceive themselves as more an art project that happens to be exploring and commenting on the state of the world through their chosen mediums of music and video.
The majority of the tracks on the album are short instrumentals that were written with specific storyboards in mind, with the group revealing that: “We started creating the art before we had the music in most cases, so the tracks were written as soundtracks to the animation.”
ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD
1 Prelude (Alarm)
2 Save Them All
3 Fearmonger (Skräckmakare)
5 Arken Över Hesselby
6 This Is Loud
9 No Escaping This
10 The End
11 Das Leben Hat Ein Ende
12 Call Your Neighbours – bonus track
The art itself is a multi-layered process that involves photography, sculpting, oil painting, digital editing and animation. Using apps like Nomad Sculpt to create it before exporting scene specific angles and imported into Procreate to be painted, they add: “we use oil paintbrushes and paint over the photo. It is layers upon layers and it gets messy. Exporting gets even messier since we want depth in the scenes and need to export them in layered depths. A few scenes in this project have been animated frame by frame and it has taken almost two years to complete.”