Chalk and Numbers mesmerized us with Parade earlier this year, and this week they shed some earnest light for the low-lit places in the Painless Surgery video for "In the Dark". In the quiet and still of the ensuing night, the duo takes you through the endless beginnings where the day has ceased and a music box world of bells opens up with glistening guitars, tambourines that lead the way, and vocals that shine a light on their traveled paths. The song cycle standard is a staple of the banner that Sable Yong and Andrew Pierce raise high up toward the moonlit skies and loverly stars, as their evening adventures bring new promises and boundless potential in a sleepless world of their own creation.
Chalk & Numbers play Brooklyn's Glasslands this Saturday, August 10 with Brazos and a record release party with North Highlands. Andrew and Sable talked with us earlier about catching the enchantment of night in their sound, and their affections for classic Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks musical canon.
The video features lots of shadows, silhouettes, drainage tunnel shots, and lots of scenes shot at night beneath street lamps, or all around low key lighting; what is it about the dark that fascinates you all in the song and video for "In the Dark"?
I've always been fascinated by very, very late at night, pre-dawn, the feeling at that time of night. We wanted to capture some of that atmosphere in the song and combine it with the idea of people spending that time together, aimlessly through the night, not wanting a particular night to ever end. That was the idea behind the song and we wanted the video to evoke some of that feeling.
I have always really enjoyed Chalk and Numbers classic escapist minstrel like approach to minimal, evocative and beautiful singer-songwriter pop. What does a normal Chalk and Numbers song crafting session consist of?
Well, writing one song for us almost always equals multiple sessions to complete the idea. The songs will sit for a bit to see where they go and how they evolve. They are almost always written on piano. Once it gets to a point where it stands out as something to move forward on, we'll get together and work out how to approach it.
Your name reminds me of some kind of school yard, or sidewalk game of dice, shooting craps or hopscotch. What is the personal significance of both the Chalk and Numbers for you all and your music?
It serves a dual purpose. The imagery and associations about childhood that it makes is important to us as far as what the name brings to mind. It is also a tribute to Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks.