Watching Dark Moon play live is, in many ways, like being transported to a different era. The four-piece could've easily grabbed a slot on the original Woodstock bill with their hypnotic psychedelia, smothered in droning guitars and tribal drumming. Imagine Jefferson Airplane taking on the passion and social awareness of the punk era, and you're halfway to Dark Moon. Indeed, lead singer, songwriter and co-founder of the band, Lola Ulalume, has touches of both Grace Slick and Siouxsie Sioux in her voice, but with a tone that sometimes borders on the sound of a woman possessed – even turning her vocals into a wailing animal at the end of their song Blackbird.
Yes, Ulalume, who adopted her surname from an Edgar Allan Poe poem, takes her musical influences from acts that were around long before she was born. Her lyrics, though, draws heavily on events that happened centuries ago, with titles like High Priestess, White Witch and Samsara. "I did a past-life regression a while ago and it turns out I was a witch in one life, this really evil man in another, and in the third one I was a warrior," explains Ulalume.
Samsara is about the wheel of life: death, rebirth and reincarnation. "I've always been fascinated by death – probably because of the death of my dad when I was 16 years old," Ulalume continues. "He feels more present now than when he was alive, and when you feel such a strong presence it's hard not to believe in reincarnation. Death is such a natural part of life and I wish people could celebrate it more."
Ulalume had been writing lyrics for years before she finally picked up a guitar to put music to them. Her father had been a professional musician and she resisted following in his footsteps, instead opting to promote club nights, sell vintage clothing – anything that did not involve putting a band together. By 2010 she had finally decided to follow her musical roots and was headed for the States but, as fate would have it, a week before she was due to leave she met co-founder and guitarist, Callum Sadler, who would find the musicians she had been looking for and bring her music to life - and so Dark Moon was formed.
What makes Dark Moon's sound so unique is the wide range of influences that the newly acquired members added to the mix: Callum Sadler, the guitarist, has a diverse background of angular blues and other worldly roots bands while Tone Harewood, the bassist, prefers pop and "shoe-gaze indie" – Chris Stone, the drummer, got his Fleetwood Mac tom-tom drumming down to a T.
Despite their brief history Dark Moon is already creating a big buzz on the live scene in both London and LA.