With Color and Vision, The Dø Step Forward
The Dø‘s Oliva Merilahti and Dan Levy continue in an increasingly experimental direction with their fourth LP, Shake Shook Shaken. The Franco-Finnish duo recorded in an 18th Century water tower, but the output is seldom antiquated. Moving away from acoustic traditions, The Dø foster pop ambience with a mixing of digital and analog aural patterns. “We had to visualize more than ever what we wanted to achieve,” says Merilahti, “electronic sounds require more vision.” Shake Shook Shaken has already hit #1 on iTunes France, but those stateside will have to wait patiently until January 27 for the U.S. album release. In the meantime, preview The Dø’s evolved sonic position as we discuss with Merilahti the pair’s recent artistic references, electronic atmospheres, and champagne wishes.
What’s behind the name?
“Doe, a deer, a female deer”…i.e. The Sound of Music.
What were your first musical discoveries?
Michael Jackson was the first cd/tape we bought with our own money. I also remember going to Switzerland on a night train when I was about six and I listened to my parents’ Walkman with a tape of the Beatles and Bee Gees songs. I felt invaded by the music, as if the songs had been written for me. It was powerful.
Growing up, when did you each begin playing instruments/making music?
Dan started playing the saxophone when he was nine; I started the cello at about the same age. We both started writing music as teenagers—Dan for theatre and jazz pieces, and I wrote songs on my guitar and would sing in bands.
Was there an artist or song in particular that changed the way you hear the world?
Dan: Bela Bártok with Mikrocosmos.
Olivia: Björk’s “Post.”
How did you come about electronic music?
I discovered Massive Attack, LFO, Howie B, and The Chemical Brothers in my teenage years. We don’t consider our music as electronic, this album is just more digital than the previous ones.
Do you prefer analog or digital?
Like salt and pepper, a bit of both.
Do you try to achieve particular sounds or simply experiment and see what comes out?
With this album, we had to visualize more than ever what we wanted to achieve. Electronic sounds require more vision, I think. Acoustic sounds give more improvisational possibilities, the process is more spontaneous.
You’ve described you lyrics as surreal poems, a search for oneself “in chaos and knowing how to live with it.” Have you learned unexpected things about yourself through the experience of writing?
Each song written shows a new side of oneself, like a new colour never used before, so I always learned something new about myself. On “Both Ways Open Jaws,” I learned to use violence in my lyrics, and on “Shake Shook Shaken,” I tried to accept repetition and simple but strong formulas, like mantras.
What’s been your latest artistic reference?
Rae Sremmurd, Kanye West, Las Aves for music; Iván Argote for contemporary art.
What is your WILD Wish?
We just spent a whole day visiting the Krug Champagne cellars and tasting many different bottles, in Reims, France—the city of Champagne—that was wild.
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