To get you as pumped as we are for our CMJ 2013 showcases, we’re introducing each band to you by asking them five unique questions. Dark North is playing Spike Hill, 186 Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg, BK on Thursday, October 17th at 1PM. You can RSVP on facebook or DoNYC.
Full disclosure: Emily and Glenn Forsythe are friends of mine from back in the day when we all used to live in Ohio. But it wasn’t until the siblings moved to Boston that I got an invite to the then fledgling band’s MySpace page (this pre-dated facebook, of course). I remember clicking the link, listening, and practically tearing up, partly because what I was hearing was so beautiful, and partly because I had no clue that Emily could sing like that. The band has gone through some major growth since that time – morphing from “Forsythe” to “St. Claire” before finally settling on Dark North just a few months ago; taking on new members and saying goodbye to old ones; moving from Boston to Brooklyn and traveling the world in between. Their sound has grown too, from winsome, heartfelt folk into wise, intricate story-telling.
AF: You’ve performed for years as St. Claire but recently changed your name to Dark North. What was the impetus behind the name change? Was it scary to shed your old identity?
DN: Dark North just felt right. I love the name for hardly any reason. I wrote a song called “Dark North” and it just felt like how I feel right now. There’s a lot in there that I think fits the band the way it is at this time and I’m really excited about it. That said, yes it’s hard to change. But soon I have faith that people who liked St. Claire will know it’s still us– but better– and embrace it.
AF: What was the first song you remember hearing that made you want to start a band?
DN: Wow. Hard one. I have to say listening to Neil Young when I was really young just made me feel like I could and should sing. He had so much to give and I wanted to do the same. I guess I always really knew that’s what I wanted to do!
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AF: You’re from Ohio, have traveled all over the world, and finally settled in Brooklyn after living in Boston for a while. How has exposure to such varied music scenes influenced you?
DN: I have seen a lot of how where you are influences you– and doesn’t. A lot of people value where they are and think that defines them. And it does have a big effect… but you can’t rely on that making you who you are. There are amazing, talented, brilliant, and kind people everywhere. I love knowing that that’s true no matter where you go– be it New York, Paris, or small towns in Ohio. I think what you have to give is more important that what scene you’re a part of.
AF: Being siblings, is it ever difficult for the two of you to work together?
DN: Ha. That’s easy. No, it’s not hard. It’s a blessing. Glenn got the heart and the brains and I got the heart and the wanderlust. We are a great team and it’s only ever fun to discover new ways to connect and make things happen.
AF: You’ve been booking bands for a series of house shows in Crown Heights called Prospect Parlor. How did that get started? Can you talk about that process and about some of the bands you’ve hosted?
DN: We love putting on shows there. It’s our home and sharing it with tons of strangers is the best. We grew up going to shows in Columbus that were really raw– in basements and squats and warehouses… There’s just nothing like the way that felt. The goal is to bring that kind of spirit to a space where people can feel that they are really a part of the music. I think that’s the way music should really be experienced. Come to our CMJ show on Saturday! There will be 6 bands all day long!