Reigning out of one of the most creative melting pots in the world, New York City, this collective is no stranger to song writing in the ultimate alternative form. What can we say about Bark members Alessio Casalini and Alexey Artemov, they are the soundtrack to our dreams and what musicians aspire to be…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
Alessio: I’m from Italy, I moved to NYC to follow my passion for music more or less 9 years ago. I work in a big recording studio and I’m still here… so I guess it’s going well!
Alexey: I was born in the Ukraine and moved to the States right around a decade ago. Settled in NYC after moving between Ukraine, West and East coasts.
How did you both meet and what was the spark that started the project?
Alessio: A few years after I moved here, I was producing and playing guitar in an industrial/rock band based in Brooklyn. At that time we were looking for a drummer so we posted an ad on Craigslist and after auditioning a few people we met Alexey. We played together for a while with this band and then decided to start our own project. We became friends then found out Alexey and I liked the same kind of music so it was easy decide on artistic direction. That’s how BARK was born.
Alexey: Craigslist has proved to be a great networking tool. You have to weed through a lot of course but I’ve met quite a few people through music listings who became very close friends over the years.
Photos by Arseniy Grobovnikov
Your videos are an excellent artist accompaniment to the dark musical pieces. How much planning goes into a video production and what were some difficulties during shooting your latest one?
Visuals and good music videos always very important for us. Here in NYC you end up meeting a lot of amazing people. Through some ads and common friends we found a few extremely talented collaborators. For “Cold and Silent” we were referred to Solen Berichi by our long time director of photography Arseniy Grobovnikov. She loved our material and had a matching idea. Produced by Panita Chanrasmi-Jayapani and her team, who made all our videos happen. The location has also come together through our eclectic amazing friends. It’s a functioning furniture factory and a photo studio run by Kira Ross and his team – Mona Liza. We try to keep it minimal and easy every time we do a music video. And every time it ultimately becomes a full-blown production. This was our biggest setup so far with a big crew and more equipment we could have possibly expected. Editing and post production we ended up doing together with the filming crew. It was quite an effort but we’re very happy with the result.
What is your creative process in the studio?
We usually start with a simple idea, which can be a guitar riff, a synth line, a percussion pattern or even a crooked samples of us playing (Improvisation has always been a big part of what we do). We start developing the song from there, giving music a shape, recording drums, bass and guitar drafts. We love spending hours at our studio, creating new sounds, trying new instruments, effects etc… When the music is presentable we choose the kind of vocals that would fit the idea and start reaching out to singers, we have a few people we collaborate with often. We then re-record most of the music to fit new ideas we come up with the singer. After that comes the mixing process which has become an integral part of the workflow and already started in the production stages. We try to find new mixing techniques and new tricks to enhance and exaggerate the concept.
What inspires you day to day?
Alessio: Feelings, emotions, everything for me starts from the inside, a re-elaborated, romanticized and distorted vision of the environment and people that surround me.
Alexey: I come from improvised music, over the years I’ve learned to get inspired with pretty much anything – from an instrument I’m making in my workshop to a random conversation with phone customer support.
What was the strangest dream you had that you can remember?
Alessio: Mmm… This is not an easy question cause my dreams are always quite weird but there is one in particular I will always remember. When I was 20 something I used to have a recurring dream of a train station, a road, a wall, a park, a girl… Every time in the dream I would walk the same path from the station, down the road to the wall along the park and discover new details. Something was upsetting me… Something violent was going, someone attacked my girl, I couldn’t see her but I could hear her screams coming from the park. I was trying to look on the other side of the wall but all I could make out were the tips of the trees. That’s how the dream was always ending. After about a year my girlfriend at the time broke up with me so I decided to grab my guitar, jump on a train and play in the streets for a week or so somewhere in Europe. I ended up at the same train station of the dream, in the same town which happened to be Bratislava. I wrote a few songs about this…
Alexey: My strange dreams usually involve me gradually disappearing. Racing against the clock before I disappear completely. Rushing to become something else.
Are there some goals you wish to achieve in this lifetime?
Alessio: I would love to be able to support myself exclusively making my music, playing guitar, produce and having a family at some point. I work in a recording studio so it’s in the same kind of field but it’s not as fulfilling as working and developing your personal art.
Alexey: I’m a big proponent of doing a number of different projects at the same time. The direction I’m headed is somehow fairly clearly defined. I’d say getting as far as I possibly can with my music, jewelry and education is the biggest goal for me.
At the moment we are recording and putting together our new EP. We will be releasing a new single and accompanying music video within the next month. Also finishing up with mixing a mini EP of remixes of “Cold and Silent”. Very dark sounding tracks featuring a few of DJs from EU. We are also producing our new live set and get on the road later this year. Our live shows are accompanied by video installations with multiple projectors, theatrical screens, so getting everything compact enough for travel is a large effort in itself.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
We’ve always been very close to new wave, dark, industrial and goth music. Grew up listening to Joy Division, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Einsturzende Neubauten etc… Dark Beauty is building and maintaining a community around music and art in general that we grew up with and still love. Which is very inspiring. Keep up the great work!