Dark Ocean Colors is made up of Scott Hunt and Mark Mikel from Toledo, Ohio – two longtime friends and collaborators who have worked on many projects (including The Pillbugs and The Sprags) finally come together as a writing/recording duo for an official release on Rainbow Quartz.
The self-titled CD offers 10 new songs that focus on pop songwriting as well as psychedelic sonic textures in a rock and roll landscape featuring rich production and unusual blend of vocals and various instruments (guitars, piano, drums, Mellotron, violins, brass, tape loops, sitar, Moog, electric harpsichord, flute, backward sounds and feedback).
"It was not an easy album to make by any stretch," says Mikel. "We were working with old analog gear and a tape machine held together by rubber bands. We made it a lot harder on ourselves by constantly looking for the wrong way to begin a track. For example, maybe we'd begin with a backing vocal part, which is usually one of the last things you'd add to a song. We'd take these odd avenues to get to the end destination. If we didn't break rules or take our methods into bizarre territory, we felt we couldn't achieve that moment of surprise. We're always trying to surprise ourselves."
Studio experimentation is only part of the magic of Dark Ocean Colors. Anyone listening with even only half an ear will notice infectious hook after infectious hook. "Songwriting is how we came together. We were always fans of each other's songs," says Mikel.
Hunt elaborates, "Songwriting was usually the starting point for our tracks. Mark bought me a dictaphone-style recorder (just like his) so that we could preserve our musical ideas. As we were inventing tracks for Dark Ocean Colors often those seeds or feels would come from those personal recorders. We would work together to complete many of the ideas into finished records. All of the songs were written together. Both of us had collaborators before, but I don't believe we've ever had ones that could work on every aspect of the track in concert. Every song had a different style and starting point. I think we both knew our music would be experimental and fun."
"Together we tried to mix up song topics. We didn't want every song to be about a girl. We sing about art, religion, science, friendship, loss, and of course love. There was a conscious effort to work on lyrics so that words could be open to interpretation. I think we did this because we wanted the songs to remain fresh for us. It's exciting, too, knowing that there is a good possibility that if you had a handful of listeners each may have a different take on the song."
See our band page on the Rainbow Quartz label website.