Darbie Nowatka of Bishop Allen Talks New LP and Leaving New York City

Categories: Interviews

What was most challenging for you with Lights Out?

Justin really writes the songs, and I'm more of a sounding board. I helped vet ideas, helped dispense with bad ones and helped edit and refine a lot of the lyrics. Because he was writing a book, Christian didn't have as much time to work on this record as he has in the past, so some of what he did fell on me. Also, we recorded everything in our attic studio, and since our house has a pretty open floor plan, there was no escaping the noise. So definitely one of the hardest things about recording was living with it constantly. It's always that eleventh guitar take.

The final track of the LP is haunting in the best of ways. For me, it very much so feels like a song about love, about being alive. Its placement really serves as the perfect closer for the LP. What about the narrative of "Shadow" is most quintessential, most evocative for you?

Originally, Justin tried to sing "Shadow." It became clear, though, that it was probably better suited to my voice than his, and while we were concerned that having a woman sing it might come across as anti-feminist -- "I want to be your shadow" -- we tried it with me singing, and it just made sense. I like that it's a song about unattainable closeness with someone you love, and about the frustration that impossibility entails, but that it's also beautiful. It's got a lovely melancholy at its core. 

You and your husband have done a few side-projects in the past. Are there any future side-projects in the making? Are there any specific projects you'd like to explore after tour wraps up?

We've been working on Bishop Allen monomaniacally for a while now. It takes a big push to get ready for tour, especially after five years off. There's a lot of rehearsing to do, and a million little details to attend to. So we haven't had much time for anything else. When things wind down, we'll probably get to work on another Last Names record. And I'll get back to designing and making jewelry, paper goods and other curiosities for my shop, Field Guide Design. That's what I spend most of my time doing when we're not on tour or recording. Oh, and collecting vintage clothes for my shop Lovefield Vintage! I just started selling at some handmade and vintage markets and I'm loving it. Justin is a huge help! He helps me carry all the racks and pick out the guys clothes. We're a good team.


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