With strong commanding vocals and dreamy instrumentals, Suzanne May and Chad Philipps of DARK FURS are a duo to watch out for. Their sound is unique and powerful – flick the emotional switch, it will take you to a deep place whether you want it or not. After seeing them perform live at our event last Friday, everyone was shocked to find out that they are still unsigned, though we doubt that will be much longer – they just recorded a first EP and it’s really damn good. We had a chance to sat down with the band to get the low down on their mesmerizing tunes and inspirations. Photos by Chris Swainston.
LF: Three words to describe the band?
DF: Dark. f@#%&*#. Furs.
LF: How did you guys get together and start making music?
DF: We were both at a point in our lives where we needed some kind of new creative outlet. Some other endeavors we were separately involved with weren’t really panning out like we expected and we each wanted to create something that was ours. We searched around for other musician and then finally met eachother in the Summer of 2010. We talked about music and what we both wanted to accomplish and soon after that we started the early workings of the song now known as “Sarah.”
The chemistry felt right and from there we continued writing and really trying to find our sound. Although we like listening to similar music we come from completely different musical backgrounds (Suzanne trained in musical theatre and Chad has been involved with harder rock groups in the past) and we felt because of this it sort of naturally created something that we really wouldn’t be able to do on our own. It was pretty refreshing!
LF: Describe your creative process. What gets you going?
DF: We live quite far from each other so we collaborate mostly online through email. This gives us both some time to really sit and think about the initial idea on our own time, whether it be a basic guitar riff, structure or vocal melody. We’ll keep bouncing ideas until we get the first draft of a song structure so we can then meet in person to work it out in a live setting. A vocal melody sounding fresh and interesting is really important to us and lyrical concepts can come from anything from current life experiences to just words at random while experimenting with melodies.
LF: The name DARK FURS is great. Who came up with it? What’s in a band name?
DF: We had HUNDREDS of name ideas and concepts that we came up with, and went back and forth for months. Like every band or artist we wanted a name that we felt really represented our music and us as a band, the problem was a lot of the names we liked were already taken! Dark Furs is a name we felt just fit us and our overall vibe.
LF: Suzanne – do you feel like being an actress has helped you so far in your music career?
DF: Umm, not much so far! What I love about music is that I can be exactly myself and that’s ok. The more idiosyncrasies the better! That never seems to work for me as an actress – I have been told to be sexier / younger / change my hair / You’re not right for MTV! My experience in the music world is far different than acting. But, I do love them both, so hopefully my pessimistic answer will change in the future!
LF: You just finished recording your first ep. What was your biggest challenge, and how do you feel about it?
DF: The biggest challenge was preparing for it, feeling good about all the elements in the songs and feeling ready to give out the final product. Now it’s done, we both feel really good about and are very excited to share it with others!
LF: Would you say Los Angeles is a big inspiration for your tunes?
DF: This is a tough question. We definitely experience things on a daily basis in L.A. Other bands around here really inspire us as well as the people who surround us. Suzanne has definitely grabbed a lot of inspiration being from the UK and away from home so we don’t really think that we can pinpoint L.A. solely as our main inspiration – it’s definitely a contributing factor though since this is where we began. The West Coast is really an amazing scene to be a part of right now and there’s some really great art and music coming out of it.
LF: Have you decided which song you’re going to put out as a single first?
DF: Yes – it’s called “Won’t See me” and we plan on doing a video for it within the next few weeks.
LF: Let’s talk concert etiquette: what’s your #1 rule?
DF: No text messaging in the front row!
LF: What are some other artists you’d like to tour with right now?
DF: It would be fun to tour with friend bands we’ve met playing in L.A. - Touring with friends is always a good time!
LF: You name Joy Division as a major influence. What’s your favorite JD song?
DF: Tough one. Shadow play or Transmission, can’t decide! RIP Ian Curtis!
LF: What are you currently listening to?
DF: Zoo Kid and the new Beach House album is great!
LF: What gets you off, literally or figuratively?
DF: Everything about this literally and figuratively gets us off
LF: How fast do you live?
DF: Nowhere near fast enough!