Dark Fair have followed their knack for simplicity since their beginnings in 2012. Featuring just two members – front woman Ramona Moore and drummer Ellie Dunn – the duo have released one EP thus far, toured extensively with Australian rock’n’roll great Adalita, and now return with ‘Listen Up’; a frantic demand for respect oozing with rhythm and and of course a healthy dose of fuzz. We spoke to the duo following the release of their latest single – figuring out along the way why they can’t dye their hair and what exactly led them to where they are.
When you were writing the song ‘Listen Up’, who were you listening to?
Ramona: Last year I was listening a lot to The Horrors, Broken Bells and Arcade Fire.
How did you meet up with Lindsay Gravina?
Ellie: We emailed him a demo of the track and fortunately he was into it and wanted to work with us. He’d also worked with Adalita so she was able to recommend him and thought we’d be a good fit.
Your EP got rave reviews and ‘Listen Up’ already has hype behind it. Is an album in the works?
Ramona: We would ideally like to do an album. That’s the goal.
What has led you two to the world of garage rock?
Ramona: I think both Ellie and I just found ourselves playing garage rock/grunge stuff naturally. It wasn’t intentional. We wanted to play music again and just have fun.
Say you’ve got your dream tour around the world and you can take any band, no matter how old/broken up with you. Which two bands would you tour with? Would you headline or would you want to get your set out of the way first so you can stare at them in awe?
Ellie: Well I can’t talk for Ramona here, but I’d want to take Sleater-Kinney and The Divinyls. We’d play first support so we could spend the rest of the gig watching and drinking their rider. And every night, the two headliners would flip a coin to see who plays first. We’re very diplomatic see!
Compared to your older works, ‘Listen Up’ was a lot more upbeat and less melancholic. Was it a conscious decision to go in this direction? Or do you just feel that you’ve naturally evolved?
Ramona: We don’t consciously make decisions about what we write. Things are pretty organic. Ellie knew ‘Listen Up’ would be the single once we had it down. We both really liked the energy in the song.
What do you think has influenced you the most as a group (duo? That feels wrong for some reason)?
Ellie: We’re both mainly influenced by late 80s/early 90s music.
What do you think is your favourite thing you’ve seen at a show?
Ellie: At our shows? We had a guy doing handstands during a set once. And another time a woman started crying because our music made her so emotional. That was pretty impressive.
What do y’all think the band would be like now if you hadn’t toured alongside Adalita?
Ellie: I’m a bit of a dreamer and a believer in fate, so I think our paths would have crossed eventually.
What do you think is in the future for Dark Fair?
Ellie: Hopefully an album or another single this year at least. And we’d love to do more touring too.
Is ‘Listen Up’ based on personal experience? If so, I am so sorry.
Ramona: I think lyrically the song isn’t necessarily based off an argument or an exact struggle. It’s about relationships generally, power struggles, losing yourself in someone else… It’s a message about having equality in a relationship and respecting each other.
I’ve heard you say the name Dark Fair is based on your hair tones. Was it just coincidental that it matched with the gothic theme the band has kind of cultivated?
Ellie: I think originally the name came from a shirt Ramona had. But now it’s more reflective of our hair colour yeah. A beautiful coincidence except now I can never have anything but fair hair.
Do you ever worry people will get you confused with Insane Clown Posse’s Dark Carnival?
Ellie: Ha, I sincerely hope not.
Do you ever have a suspicious amount of attendants at your shows in clown make-up?
Ramona: Well we believe in diversity so we don’t mind who comes along. I liked the 1971 TV film, Clowns of Freedom and I like the song, ‘Send in The Clowns’. I can talk clowns all night.