Having released two striking singles in the form of ‘Silly Games’ and ‘The Joy In Sarah’s Eyes’, Douglas Dare’s upcoming album sees the dextrous multi-instrumentalist at his most elegantly and poignantly minimalist. Ahead of Milkteeth coming out later this month, Douglas Dare talks us through five tracks that have influenced him.
For Milkteeth, Dare took up playing the autoharp which lends itself sublimely to the stripped-back sonic fragility of his new material, alongside the emotive piano melodies he’s more known for on previous releases. A record that sees him process his childhood and the sense of isolation he experienced growing up, there’s a powerful, confident vulnerability to Dare’s songwriting. Exuding a comfort in his identity, Dare is able to reflect on and address the difficulties of experiencing outsiderism as a child; speaking on the cover photo for the album he expresses, “Only now do I feel free to express my inner child again, and am giving myself permission to play dress up”. And it is with this kind of radical softness and vulnerability that Dare crafts a space of solace and sanctuary within his music for those who share in experiences of difference and otherness.
Ahead of Milkteeth‘s release on February 21st, get to know five tracks that have influenced Douglas Dare’s distinctive sound.
Radiohead – Videotape
I heard this song for the first time when I was 17. I played piano all the time but I hadn’t really written a song. This was one of the first new songs I had heard where the music the melody and the lyric seemed to be one in the same. I mean, the meditative piano loop and growing/decaying drums perfectly resemble the story. This song inspired me to become a songwriter. I wrote my first song shortly after.
Joni Mitchell – For Free
What a beautiful story this song tells, in three perfect verses, it’s like a film. I love songs that paint a picture and reveal not only what the artist sees but who the artist is. There’s also something special and cyclical about being a musician, hearing a musician singing about a musician. I used to busk covers when I was young and play clarinet so there’s another personal connection for me there too.
Again, this song tells a story in an almost cinematic way; with each verse more is revealed. The music drives with an almost cold monotony as Andy gently reveals each scene. I love the juxtaposition of such a sweet sounding song and dark subject matter.
EERA – Reflection of Youth
EERA is my best friend but I can safely say if I heard this song without knowing her it would still be one of my favourites. I was lucky enough to hear this before anyone else and I remember so vividly how it took me with the first listen. Not only do I love how the same low-strung chords lazily roll around on a loop but the lyric includes such vivid and candid lines, those are always my favourite. Stunning.
PJ Harvey – Catherine
Anyone who knows me knows that I love anything PJ does but this song is a current favourite. I think this was recorded to tape and slowed down, I love how the pitch of the instruments are warped and PJ’s voice (which may or may not be effected) almost sounds as if she’s making it more “masculine”. There’s a mystery with this song, I don’t know who Catherine is but I enjoy making up my own stories. A real hidden gem I’d say.
Douglas Dare plays Omeara on 16th March, get tickets here.