Darkplace is a mysterious new Swedish dark dream pop/post-punk group whose forthcoming debut album, ‘About The End Of The World’, is a conceptual work inspired by the bleak landscape of the Stockholm suburbs that birthed them.
Centred around an alternative reality – or is it just a grim present and future? – the album is being unveiled gradually via a series of videos based on animated digital paintings for each of its tracks.
Darkplace have previously issued ‘Arken över Hesselby’ (The Ark Over Hesselby), its video showing the outskirts of a city haunted by an unknown aerial presence, followed by ‘Fearmonger’, represented by an apocalyptic scenario with sirens wailing and a lone soldier fleeing the prying ‘eye in the sky’ of a mysterious airship.
Their new single, ‘Cars’, is the first with vocals, and it sees the story move on to a man who travels north following cryptic messages written on highway signs that only show up in the blast of his headlights. Is he the only person who can see them and follow the trail? Darkplace cryptically state that “trying to escape this psychotic, slow-burning apocalypse is not easy. Nowhere is safe. These weird structures and phenomena seem to occur everywhere, all over the world. Nowhere is safe!”
Although rooted in late 80s/early 90s indie styles, Darkplace incorporates a variety of other genres into their sound. However, for the members of this highly secretive group, it is not just about the music. They perceive themselves as more of an art project that happens to be exploring and commenting on the state of the world through their chosen mediums of music and video.
The majority of the other tracks on the album are short instrumentals that were written with specific storyboards in mind, with the group revealing that: “We started creating the art before we had the music in most cases, so the tracks were written as soundtracks to the animation.”
The art itself is a multi-layered process that involves photography, sculpting, oil painting, digital editing and animation. Using apps like Nomad Sculpt to create it before exporting scene-specific angles and imported into Procreate to be painted, they add: “we use oil paintbrushes and paint over the photo. It is layers upon layers and it gets messy. Exporting gets even messier since we want depth in the scenes and need to export them in layered depths. A few scenes in this project have been animated frame by frame and it has taken almost two years to complete.”
DARKPLACE | 2023