Dark Dark Dark: hot fun in the summertime.

Dark Dark Dark: hot fun in the summertime. (Artist Photo)

Early morning interviews can be a drag.

Just ask Marshall LaCount, who plays banjo and clarinet and sings for Minneapolis band Dark Dark Dark. LaCount was kind enough to speak with the Advocate on Thursday at 10 a.m. by phone from Columbus, Ohio, where the band had just played a show the night before at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts.

I offered to reschedule, and we kicked around the idea a bit. But eventually we just decided to carry on, and LaCount got rolling about halfway in, and we ended up talking about chamber pop, couch-surfing and the Beatles. Dark Dark Dark will appear at The Space in Hamden on Sept. 27.

How long have you been on tour?

This phase is just starting. We are a few days into this tour. But we have been very busy since March between Europe and U.S. touring. We took a month off in August to work on a commission for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. It’s a one-time outdoor silent film score project. There’s actually a video on-line. We had 40 additional participants in a percussive orchestra for the finale of the season for movies and music in the park. It was fun to be in Minneapolis for a month and it was a fun project.

What was the movie?

The movie was Fritz Lang’s “Spies.” It’s a lesser-known film from ‘31 or ‘32 or something. [Note: actually 1928, according to IDMB.] The score was primarily instrumental and really based around a few themes, musical themes and also this Step Orchestra. if you want to see an example, Dark Dark Dark has a video online at northshoresessions.com.

So when will this tour end?

It ends in the middle of October. That will be our final month of touring before we spend a few months writing and recording. We’ve got a new tour CD and it’s the final tour supporting the Wild Go record from this year.

Have you played in Connecticut before?

We’ve played in Milford. Surprisingly it was October of 2009, I believe, two years ago. I don’t know that we’ve ever played in Hamden.

Where do you stay on the road?

We do hotels in Europe but in the U.S. we have friends almost everywhere we go or we ask friends of friends. We end up staying... right now we are in a big house in Akron. It’s extremely nice.

Does it ever feel strange?

In the past it has started to feel strange and be a burden and asking people favors has started to get old. But we have a working relationship with most of these people... with most of our network. So a lot of the time it’s like showing up at our friends house. So it hasn’t felt strange. And if it does, we find a hotel room. We do live out of backpacks and suitcases and we’ve gotten really good at it.

Where do you play when you tour in Europe?

We did both October and March in France alone. Then we had an official European launch on March 5, when Wild Go and Bright Bright Bright came out together on a Manchester label. So we had distribution in most of Western Europe. We did Portugal a couple of times, the Netherlands, England... So we are starting to get around a bit more, especially in Germany. A lot of stuff happens for us in France because we’ve been going there the longest. The first France tour was in 2008 and that was completely do it yourself. Now we have help. So we did a couple of pretty cool national radio things in France this year. We did a Live at Abbey Road session for television. I’m not sure that it’s come out yet. It was supposed to be September.

Wow. How was that?

It was great. It was a lot more.. the crew was so nice and made it fun and easy. I was afraid it would be sterile, playing for just microphones and cameras. But that room felt really warm and the band was communicating well. When you’re done, they have you go walk across the road just like in the picture. But we made a mockery of it. Accidentally.

The term “chamber pop” seems to come up a lot lately, not just referring to Dark Dark Dark but with a bunch of other bands as well. Have you ever been called that, and what do you think of that term?

We invented it. Because we were so frustrated with telling people what kind of music we played. We had to list too many adjectives and genres so this was the two words that most honored what we were doing, or at least was the least offensive.

What do you think it means? Instrumentation?

Instrumentation is important. The chamber part alludes to the instrumentation, and also the intimacy. Even if we are playing larger clubs we are still playing this emotionally intimate and personal music, so I think it’s still a good sort of genre.

How many of you are out on the road right now?

We are just five right now. We've been six in the past but for where we are right now [LaCount pauses to help someone who’s struggling to boil water] ... We’ve been six in the past and it’s a lot more practical to tour with five. Occasionally we do special show with six to ten. The Walker thing was 55, I think... But touring with five is the best for us right now. We don’t have a bus right now, only a 15-person van. By the time we fill it with gear, it’s not a 15-person van anymore.

What’s next?

Keep your ears peeled. We contributed a song to the Minnesota Beatle Project, a version of “Long, Long, Long.”

Great song. How did you choose it?

[Singer] Nona [Marie Invie] was doing it with a choir. She has a side project called Nona Marie and the Choir where she can do Joni Mitchell and the Beatles and whatever she wants... It’s around 10-11 girls singing three-part harmonies, I think... So they already did “Long, Long, Long,” and we got asked to contribute to the Minnesota Beatle Project [here’s a link to Vol. 1 at CDBaby], which is a benefit for Minneapolis kids, to help them get instruments and lessons and so on. So I added some additional vocals and banjo.

You’ve been in the band since the beginning. Who handles the songwriting?

Nona and I are the founders. We have shared the writing in the past, a bit more than now. Nona right now is primarily writing. She wrote “Daydreaming” and “Celebrate” and some of the new songs we haven’t recorded yet. “Wild Go” the song is an example of me ghostwriting. But often she writes it and brings it to us and we arrange. I do enjoy ghostwriting and editing also. But most of the stuff is done when it comes to us.