Matthew Benyayer, Thomas Edwards and Carlo Anderson together make up the London based trio Dark Sky. Having met at college, Dark Sky formed in 2009 out of a mutual love for the ever evolving London electronic music scene. A love that the trio has always reflected through their productions and intense DJ sets. After five years touring around the globe, producing a bunch of EPs for labels like Black Acre, Blunted Robots, Mister Saturday Night Records, Tectonic and 50Weapons and remixing artists like The xx and Maya Jane Coles, Dark Sky finally relased in August 2014 their long awaited debut album on Modeselektor's label Monkeytown Records. It is called Imagin and features percussion driven, soul laced tracks that move deeply. During the Monkeytown Fest in Berlin they will perform their album and deejay like crazy. To accompany their Berlin show we asked the kind Londoners to produce for us a Carhartt WIP Radio show that strictly features Dark Sky material. The result is a propelling almost one hour long mix that underpins their skills as producers who can do it all: from Grime reductionism, Garage rhythms, moody electronics melodies, broken 4/4 steppers to dubtech, murky trip hop, Afro-centric cosmic techno, future funk, modern soul ballads and electronic emo pop for the lonely hearts. To escort their show we asked them a bunch of questions. Below all the answers that tell a lot about the musical DNA of one of Great Britain's most forward thinking contemporary bands.
Hey Carlo, Matthew and Thomas, can you introduce yourself a bit to our readers? How do you guys all know each other and how did you first get into music and performing?
Tom: Matt and I went to school together, I then met Carlo later on when we both studied at audio engineering college and it was roughly four or five years ago that we started writing and performing as Dark Sky.
What is your creative process like and how do you keep your work fresh and continue to evolve?
Tom: We like to begin work on a track individually and if it has legs we’ll then work together on finishing it. Our aim at the moment is to work on building up libraries of samples, synth compositions, drums and anything else possible from which we can cherry pick from to create new tracks together.
Are you cautious about being put into a box?
Matt: To a certain extent - I think it is healthy to keep people guessing but not to the point where you are second guessing yourself.
Carlo: Definitely it's always been important to me to have the freedom to write music that I enjoy instead of writing to a genre or having a perceived style that limits the sound of the music we can put out.
Tom: Yes. Artist’s influences, musical knowledge and taste are constantly changing or developing and it’s unfair for people to always expect the same sort of material on every release. It is however inevitable that you’ll be ‘put into a box’.
What kind of music would you make in a world without electricity?
Carlo: Classical composition/conductor.
Matt: Cave drum orientated music.
You released your album on Monkeytown where you released before also some EPs as well as on the label’s sub label 50Weapons. What makes Monkeytown special for you?
Tom: Monkeytown felt like the perfect platform for us to release our album which contains club oriented as well as more song/vocal based tracks. With previous releases like Moderat’s II it felt like our LP would translate well to the Monkeytown audience. Plus we were keen to work with Modeselektor and the team running the labels once again. Good peoples.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?
Tom: When our music is pressed on to vinyl, when at a gig performing all our own tracks live and the audience asking for an encore at the end.
Matt: Hearing Herbie Hancock's Chameleon when I was 12 and when Gilles Peterson played Reflex on his Radio 1 show back in 2010.
Carlo: When we got the dub plates for our first release on Black Acre, there's something special about being able to hold a physical reproduction of your music.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
Matt: Trying to make sounds that challenge listeners but also moves their feet at the same time.
Carlo: Trying to dodge obvious or cheesey composition but still have a hook there that people can relate too.
What’s something you’ve learned through music that has helped you in life (and vice versa)?
Carlo: Just be yourself, don't get bogged down trying to be or sound like something you're not. It's unfulfilling and won't help you in the long run.
How do you think your generation is going to leave its mark on music in general?
What advice would you give to producers who are just starting out?
Matt: Be patient... put in the hours... people will be able to hear your graft. Try to express who you are and where you're from and be different.
Carlo: Be yourself, don’t be afraid to experiment and take your time. It's better to wait until you have a few tunes to release and you're confident in what you're doing then to put out your first tune with a load of filler tracks and nothing to follow it with.
Tom: Know your equipment and patience is the key, not every session will result in a complete track that you’re 100% happy with.
What do you want to accomplish with music and what can music do which all other art forms can not?
Matt: To try and take the listener on a journey that can hopefully inspire them to be creative or do something positive. I think music is very objective in comparison to other artforms that are more visual. With audio there is a lot more space for the listener to fill in the blanks. I feel that sound can also be applied as a filter in many different scenarios especially when listening outdoors on headphones. The space combined with the music creates a third narrative that is always changing.
Can you name us three records to start a party?
Tom: St Germain: Rose Rouge (Blue Note), Mr Scruff: Hairy Bumpercress (Ninja Tune), Thundercat: Oh Sheit It’s X (Brainfeeder).
Carlo: Randomer: Ruffa (Turbo), Theo Parrish: Took Me All The Way Back (KDJ), Joe: Slope (Hessle Audio).
Matt: DJ Nori: Happy Sunday (Maurice Fulton Remix) (Running Back), Mr Scruff: Get A Move On (Ninja Tune), Wax: No. 20002 (WAX).
And three to finish one?
Matt: Roy Davis Jr. feat. Peven Everett: Gabriel (XL Recordings), Rick Wilhite: Blame It On The Boogie (Still Music), Theo Parrish: Solitary Flight (Sound Signature).
Carlo: Goldie: Inner City Life (Metalheadz), Mount Kimbie: Made To Stray (Warp).
Tom: Rocketnumbernine: Matthew & Toby (Four Tet Remix) (Text Records), Peven Everett: Feelin’ You In and Out (Symple Soul), Legowelt: Gina Fly To Space (Goldcoast).
What was the last record you bought?
Carlo: Calibre: The Water Carrier / Hypnotise (Soul:r).
Matt: Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma (Warp).
Tom: Caribou: Our Love (Merge Records).
Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
Tom: Matt Karmil and Imre Kiss.
Matt: Dr Zygote aka The Maghreban and Mculo.
Carlo: Desert Sound Colony and FYI Chris.
What is your favorite music video of all time?
Tom: Jon Hopkins: Open Eye Signal
Carlo: Red Hot Chili Peppers: Give It Away
Matt: Justice: Stress
What old albums you rediscovered lately and what makes them special?
Tom: Cortex: Troupeau Bleu (Disques Espérance).
Matt: Cortex: Troupeau Bleu (Disques Espérance) - raw French psych disco album from the 70s... so simple but executed so well. Vladislav Delay: Multila (Chain Reaction) - really beautiful ambient music that is different on every listen. Fela Fela Fela (Knitting Factory Records) - by you guessed it... Fela Kuti. Never heard drum patterns like these before, very refreshing on the ears...
Carlo: Photek: Modus Operandi (Science) - It’s a timeless classic that’s execute perfectly. I still play some of the tracks out. I just love the raw musicality and timing it has throughout.
Who are you listening to these days and what was the last track that sent shivers up your spine?
Tom: I listen a lot to Thom Yorke’s new album, Taylor McFerrin, Phil France and BBNG. The last track that sent shivers down my spine was one I heard very recently; Melanie De Biasio’s I’m Gonna Leave You remixed by The Cinematic Orchestra.
Carlo: Caribou: Our Love (Merge Records).
Matt: Thom Yorke: Guess Again (Landgrab).
If you could spend a night partying with any of your icons, who would it be?
Matt: Jimi Hendrix.
What was your dream job as a child?
When do you feel most at peace?
Tom: At a Bohren & der Club of Gore gig.
Carlo: When I get home from a gig.
Matt: Probably after a gig.
Can you name us people that should collaborate for a better world?
Carlo: The current UK government, Nigel Farage and a land mine
Matt: Dalai Lama, Obama and Burial.
Tom: Naomi Klein, Stephen Fry and Reza Aslan.
What are some of your favorite places to hang out in London?
Tom: Borough Market, record shops in Soho, Corsica Studios and Daily Goods.
Carlo: Rye Wax, it’s the only record shop I know of that you can eat Vietnamese food and drink coffee while you listen to records. Corsica Studios and Dance Tunnel are my two favourite clubs in London or for a more restrained night out The Paperworks is the one.
Matt: After Quasar in Bromley probably Corsica Studios, Southbank skatepark and Phonica.
Dark Sky discography