After a somewhat unremarkable debut EP, produced by Spoon's Britt Daniels, the five men of Austin's I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness returned to the clubs and basements that spawned them, searching for their secret selves. Along the way, they stumbled upon longtime Ministry collaborator and fan of all things dark, Paul Barker, who produced the band's debut long-player, Fear Is on Our Side.
Evoking the most atmospheric work of the Church or Echo and the Bunnymen, with a touch of My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3 thrown in, guitarist/vocalist Christian Goyer, guitarists Ernest Salaz and Daniel Del Favero, bassist Edward Robert and drummer Tim White dropped a genre-defining slab for the psychedelic rebirth. Eleven tracks of unhurriedly evolving Goth swirls -- rising slowly and menacingly like the creature out of the Black Lagoon -- Fear balances artifice and art, desire and disdain, drone and melody with the dramatic and graceful air of a Northern Renaissance painter. Rather than curse the darkness, Goyer recently lit a candle to illuminate the band.
Westword: What's the darkest thing about the band?
I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness
With the Rogers Sisters and Oakley Hall, 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, $10, 720-570-4500
Christian Goyer: Honestly, probably just our music. I mean, some people in the band have bad habits, I guess, but we're pretty mellow. We don't even have a lot of tattoos.
So then where did the name come from?
It's just a phrase somebody came up with. I'm surprised at how much it appeals to people, but it's just a band name. We've even been asked if we're satanic.
Speaking of satanic, how did you end up working with Paul Barker?
He's just a friend. He was living in Austin at the time, and a really good friend of mine who's an engineer for Nine Inch Nails introduced us. We all have motorcycles, so I got to know Paul through that friendship.
Going into the studio, did you have a specific sound in mind?
It wasn't too calculated, but I did want the record to be dark and somber. We wanted it to be very atmospheric and very precise, a little cold. At first I was afraid that everything was gonna be distorted. Paul loves distortion. There was one song he mixed with distortion on every track, but we said no.
The album is called Fear Is on Our Side. What's your greatest fear?
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Probably being in a car accident, dying or having somebody close to me die or be hurt really badly. Of course, I have two children, and anything happening to them is huge.
Is it difficult to be away from your kids now that you're touring so much?
It's kinda hard for me because I miss them so much, but we don't tour as much as we probably could or even should. I try to take them with me or have them visit. I hate being away from them, but I also really enjoy playing and traveling, as well. I don't think it's scarring them too badly, but time will tell.