May 22, 2023

Darkplace is a mysterious new Swedish dark dream pop/post-punk group who created a conceptual debut album inspired by the bleak landscape of the Stockholm suburbs that birthed them.

Centred around an alternative reality – or just the grim present and future? – and entitled About The End Of The World, the album is being unveiled gradually over the coming months via a series of imaginative visuals based on animated digital paintings for each of its eleven tracks.

Having recently released Arken över Hesselby (The Ark Over Hesselby), the video for which presented the outskirts of a city haunted by an unknown aerial presence, the clip for brand new single Fearmonger takes us into the heart of that city, presenting an apocalyptic scenario as ominous sirens wail and a lone soldier flees the prying ‘eye in the sky’ of an airship.

The Swedish national alarm system is still tested on a quarterly basis by the army. A familiar sound to all Swedes, the sound of the siren has the nickname ‘Hesa Fredrik’. Darkplace state: “After trying to improve Hesa Fredrik, the government learned that the new horns scared the shit out of people.”

Although rooted in late 80s/early 90s indie styles, Darkplace incorporate 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 an art project that happens to be exploring and commenting on the state of the world through their chosen mediums of music and video.

Most of the short instrumental pieces on the forthcoming album were written with specific storyboards in mind, with the band revealing that “we started creating the art before we had the music for both singles to date, 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.”