Music Interviews

Scary Meets Catchy In Darkside's 'Psychic'

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An electronic music prodigy joins a jazz bass prodigy in the band Darkside. Their first album, Psychic, is out now. Band members Nicholas Jaar and Dave Harrington join host Rachel Martin.


The band Darkside is made up of two men - two halves really. Dark, scary electronics and a funk, rhythmic guitar line. The electronic half is Nicholas Jaar. He got noticed as a laptop music prodigy when he was a student at Brown University. And up until a year or two ago, he mostly worked alone. Then, the other part of Darkside entered the picture - Dave Harrington, a composer and jazz bassist. Now, they've got this first album out together. It's called "Psychic." Nicholas Jaar explains why he chose a bass player as his guitarist.

NICHOLAS JAAR: I asked one of my oldest friends - his name is Will - who the best musician he knew was. And he said, well, there's this guy called Dave Harrington but he plays bass.

DAVE HARRINGTON: When I called by Will, I was like sure. I mean, I didn't really have a lot of experience with electronic music - basically none - and I hadn't ever played guitar in a band before in my life.


JAAR: So, we ended up having up a jam audition-type of thing. And I just put a very simple kind of beat underneath. And me and Dave had this conversation about, you know, him being in a way a bass player and owning the entire groove of a song through a guitar.


JAAR: And when you hear this track actually that's playing, you can hear Dave owning the entire groove.


JAAR: You know what's funny is that I always air guitar to Dave, you know, because I really - just like my father actually - I just wish I had been a guitar player instead of everything else. 'Cause there's nothing better than just, like, playing these, like, tasty riffs.

HARRINGTON: Nothing beats a good riff.

JAAR: Nothing beats a good riff or, like, you know, this thing right now.


JAAR: I just love that.


JAAR: And one way we've been talking about the album, we've been thinking about it as a house. We want this to be a nice-looking house. We want it to be like a friendly looking house with a nice door. And then once you come inside, you realize that there are some strange things happening inside the house.


JAAR: There might be, like, an art piece that is turned around, upside down and maybe the bathroom is filled with, you know, water. There are some strange things happening. But at least you came inside. You came to the house.


MARTIN: That was Nicholas Jaar and Dave Harrington from the group Darkside. They've just released their first album together called "Psychic"


MARTIN: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

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