Beat interview with Dan Watts!

June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here’s an interview we were lucky enough to have written up on us by the ridiculously talented wordsmith, Dan Watts from Beat mag….xoxo .. .. .. .. .. .. ….

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After becoming disillusioned with a lack of inspiration, five musicians from Melbourne’s Bayside have created a seeming unending spectrum of both dialogue and emotion and it’s called Alba Varden. Who or what is Alba Varden?

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“We created this paranoid schizophrenic called Alba, who is continually trying to hold back his other dark and destructive side that’s called Varden. We got the name from the contriban carrying ship in Lethal Weapon 2.”

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That’d be Alba Varden’s lead vocalist, Daniel explaining his band-names origin. He’s also more than happy to lay out exactly why he created the band alongside Skinny, (bass, keys, vox) Sumner, (drums, vox, samples) Caz, (guitar), Jules  (percussion, vox), with such a heavy narrative as the backdrop to their songwriting. The excitement of introducing Alba Varden to the world is tangible in Daniels voice as the band are launching their first single – Soul Digger, lifted from the upcoming Ep Down the Rabbit Hole – on Saturday night at Revolver. And why wouldn’t he be. It’s a song that is a paradoxical mix of droning shoe-gaze and energizing post punk rhythms.

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“As Alba Varden we’ve only been around for two years but we’ve been playing together since Year Eight, but that stuff was more generic…So we quit that and created Alba Varden,” Daniel explains. He’s also adamant as to how the five members writing as Alba Varden manage to resist the seduction of sounding like everyone else. A tough ask. “With Alba stuff we’re always pushing to sound original,” He counters.

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“I know that sounds a bit cliché’ but what I’m saying is that if we come up with something that sounds slightly like something else that has been done before, we’ll work really hard with my vocals, for example, to do something totally different over the top.”

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Daniel is also happy to illuminate exactly what it is that inspires his lyrics, offering a far broader insight into why the band would have created the idea of Alba Varden. “ I’m big into the way Nick Cave tells stories,” he insists. “The way he touches on the competing themes and contradictions of religion.”

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Just like Caves tendency to polarise the community with his heavy take on the true meaning behind religion or sex, Daniel admits he still gets nervous over the chosen theological battle ground. “I think,” he muses, “that’s why the Alba Varden songs are stories…because I get nervous telling people that my problems are bigger than anyone else’s; why should I tell anyone else about it – that’s why I create characters.”

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As it turns out, growing up in a religious family means Daniel was able to channel his feelings on the subject into his songwriting, and is happy to explain the exact moment when he first questioned religion. “I had an epiphany one day when I was actually at church,” he ruminates, “and realised religion wasn’t for me – I mean religion works for some people, but I’m not one of them…”

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The idea of heaven and hell is an obvious reference point through Alba Varden’s upcoming Down the Rabbit Hole EP. Daniel sets it up in context to the Alba Varden narrative, noting “Throughout the entire Ep the struggle of this character Alba to stay sane and not succumb to Varden’s destructiveness is expressed through each song. Varden often comes in through dreams offering Alba everything he wants if Alba lets Varden take over… so I guess a main theme for this is standing up for your rights and what can corrupt you.”

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Head to revolver this Saturday because Alba Varden want to test your soul.

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