Interview, Article, and Photography by Jenna Williams ‘The Scream Queen’
Darsombra is a two-piece Psychedelic Rock band from Baltimore, Maryland made up of keyboardist & vocalist, Ann Everton, and guitarist & vocalist, Daniloski. The two have been traveling around the world together for over 13 years and first connected because of the band Rush, a band that happens to be one of Brian’s major influences, aside from Angus Young of AC/DC, “Alex played some really interesting stuff and off beat. He did weird stuff that was a little more interesting than the average guy playing bar chords. He’d do all these weird Jazz chords, his phrasing for leads were interesting. I really got into Rush for a hot minute there. I’m still into them. And then Metallica came out with Master of Puppets and that was another game changer for me, and I kind of learned all the songs off that album. I would sit in my little teenage bedroom playing those songs. Those were my formative guitar heroes.”
As a child, Brian bought a little acoustic guitar at a yard sale when he was around ten-years-old. “I didn’t know how to do anything; I just knew I wanted to be a Rockstar because I was really into KISS. I learned by ear to put my fingers here and it was Smoke on the Water.” As he mimics the guitar sound, and continued, “Then eventually I said, “ I should take some guitar lessons.”
Around three-years-old, Ann remembered seeing a violinist come to her pre-school and being very inspired, begging her Mom to take violin lessons, something she did from age 5 to 10, eventually deciding she wasn’t into it anymore. Her grandparents on both sides had pianos growing up, she’d sit there and jam out all day whenever she’d go visit them, testing out the different pedals and sounds she could make with them, “I always enjoyed the keyboard, that was really a lot of fun. It held my imagination. Years and years later, I established myself as a video Artist and that was my creative medium. I met Brian, we began collaborating first with me making videos for his work and protecting it. Then later, he said, “I think you should play an instrument and be on stage.” I said, “yeah, that sounds like fun. What could I play? How about a keyboard! I can play anything on a keyboard!””
On the 25th of August in 2023, Darsombra released their new album titled, Dumesday Book through Pnictogen Records. Ann created the album cover, that features a photograph she took of the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico. The sky is black with stars, something they changed from the original picture. Emblazoned in the picture is also a chunk of bismuth crystal laying in the midst of sand. During the pandemic, Ann began making bismuth crystals, which would form into unusual geometric shapes. It is also something she sells at the Darsombra merch booth at their shows of all different sizes!
“There was a striking landscape, completely welded by wind. We took tons of pictures and thought “ok, this is going to come in handy at some point.” To look at it, it’s sort of this post-apocalyptic landscape with the idea that a terrestrial object has landed in it. It’s either giving us a message of Hope or giving us a message of imminent destruction. Who knows! It’s up to the viewer to decide what that means. The album is kind of a study of emotional states from lockdown to vaccination. Conceptually, there’s a science fiction, other planet, other energetic landscape to some of the album, particularly the song, Call The Doctor, which we’re going to play tonight.”
Opening up the vinyl album, it shows a design of both of Ann & Brian’s faces in a wooded area. It is something they describe as the counter point to the Bitsi Badlands, which sees very little water and is a harsh, inhospitable terrain. The landscape that’s shown in the album gatefold is from Leakin Park in the Baltimore area, somewhere they hike about one-hundred times per year. The park itself has a dark history of being a dumping ground for dead bodies. The photo featured is a place they both pass by a lot and Ann takes photos of throughout different times of the year. You see that the images of their faces are all amalgamated together throughout all four seasons. The Music video for their song Gibbet Lore was also filmed there on Earth Day.
There is also a photo in the album booklet where the Call The Doctor lyrics are, and it’s a scene from the Music video. It’s a photo of Ann with her face painted, infused with David Bowie elements, and revealed that the video is inspired by earlier, hokier episodes of Star Trek. “It’s this loose narrative of this frog man versus this space cadet, which is the bald person with the face paint. It’s this image of this space cadet that’s kind of copying off of Stanley Kubrick 2001’s Space Odyssey in the scene when Dave Bowman is going through the stargate and freaking out as he goes to some other dimension via the big obelisk that he found.”
As Darsombra creates their Music, Brian works in layers when he’s writing songs, ”It’s beyond purely audio and purely visual. It’s like the feelings and emotions you have inside that you can’t put into words all the time. I always hear things in layers too. If I have a riff that I’m working on, I always hear counterpoints and contrasting melodies, and parts I can stack on top of it, so a lot of our songs are loop-based. We’ll add a piece of Music and then we’ll keep stacking it up and then bring it all down again.”
Ann has a background in film & Art, which embraces the theatrical element of their live shows, as well as Music videos, “Typically, the songs happen before the vision. It’s like a soundtrack in reverse a little bit. In traditional filmmaking, you make your film and then you score it to heighten emotion, sensations, or feelings or whatever the audience is perceiving in the film, like Bernard Herrmann and the Hitchcock movies being a great example. In our case, these songs get built up from the ether and then I give it a real close listen, like, “this really makes me think about wandering around our garden at night during the pandemic. Let’s film some people waltzing in the yard with weird lights and project that!” Nightgarden is one of the three songs from the album that has a conceptual Music video.”
Darsombra is starting to see their next album slowly coming together with themes for a title, the overall energy, and ideas for songs, “It’s all in the fermentation process. That’s why it’s so nice to put out this last album like, ‘ok, here’s our huge batch of kimchi! Enjoy! PICKLES FROM HELL!!!! Keep it in the fridge!'”
You can catch Darsombra on tour throughout Canada and the United States until October 21st at the following dates and venues below!