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Boduf Songs Keeps It Dark

The songwriter returns with How Shadows Chase The Balance.

This autumn, Southampton singer songwriter Boduf Songs returned with his third album of brooding folk. I sent him some questions by email.

Dazed Digital: Has your music always been so dark in tone?

Mat Sweet: I guess so. I've always been drawn to the dark side. The whys and wherefores get complicated... why does anyone like anything? I grew up on a steady diet of heavy metal and prog rock, and elements of that are no doubt present in Boduf Songs in some distilled form. Perhaps I never stopped being an angsty teen - ooh, life is hard and rubbishy. This is mostly true. Also, I'm as consumed with hatred and bile as the next good citizen, so there's some straightforward self expression in there. I'm just mostly too tired to shout and scream about it. So disenchantment + lack of energy = "dark"?  Uh, not very convincing. I'm confused by this.

DD: Why did you choose those particular images on the album sleeve?
MS: I wanted a discreet cover image that was black black black, but hopefully in a subtle sort of way. That doesn't make a lot of sense on paper... There's a fine line between things which are dark and beautiful and hint at an interesting and intelligent way of looking at all the horrifying crap that is intrinsic to life, and cheesy gothy nonsense, you know? I appreciate this is subjective and entirely personal. One man's Reign in Blood is another man's Songs From a Room. I was really pleased to get the Beksinski image on the back cover - I had to write to the current owners of his estate, the Belvedere Gallery based in Poland and Canada. They were splendid fellows, and their permission made my day. That particular painting is a fine, fine example of something that's terrifying and foreboding and dreadful, but completely straight faced, not camp, not silly, not ironic. These things are rare and magical.

DD: What's the most precious CDR release you own?
MS: Probably the Lazslo Panchgrüben Wetmare CDR, but I would also have to mention the LC release "Little Creature Keeps It Chopped Out, Yeah?", which is literally mind altering. If we are to include limited-run cassettes, all prizes go automatically to Ghost Moustache.

DD: What are your current plans for Bluebaby Recordings?
MS: Bluebaby kept me busy for a number of years and was a highly enjoyable and formative experience, but most of my co-conspirators have moved away now, so it's pretty much dead. No, it's totally dead. Bits are still hidden on the internet. Not dead but dreaming.

DD: What inspired you to use an uncharacteristic bit of tinny drumming on "Quiet When Group"?
MS: Things fall together, I forget exactly what happened. When I'm working I hide myself away and set about things in a fairly rabid way, usually through the night. By the time I break away from it my brains are frazzled and it's time for bed. Sometimes nauseous. The morning will yield "What was I thinking?" or possibly "Hey, that sounds ok."

DD: Is there anyone else good coming out of Southampton who we should know about?
MS: There's a great death-doom band called Beekeeper, who I, incidentally, play drums for. That's about it, apart from the sporadic, vaguely jazzish improv sessions that happen in my lounge. Oh, and Little Creature. He keeps it chopped out.

How Shadows Chase the Balance is out now on Kranky.