Described as ‘indie noir meets dark folk’, Simonne and The Dark Stars is a Brighton-based collective, fronted by classically trained pianist Simonne Weeks.
Formed in 2012, the band swiftly grew to become a firm fixture on the London and Sussex gig circuit, gaining notoriety not just for their dramatic songs and distinctive ‘fairy-tale-like’ stage presence, but also for the ‘poignant and flawless’ vocals of front woman Simonne.
Upon its release in 2013, debut EP ‘Love Like You Never’ was critically acclaimed as ‘haunting [and] elegant, with Sound and Motion magazine hailing Simonne as ‘one of the greatest female voices we've come across’. Extensive radio play for the EP, along with a number of NME-published videos, contributed to the band’s Brighton Music Awards nomination for Band of the Year.
In late 2013, having supported the likes of Polly Scattergood and Gallon Drunk, the band took a brief hiatus to focus on personal projects. As well as accepting a part-time lecturing post in the world of Biomedical Science for Brighton University, Simonne volunteered as communications director for the youbloom festival, providing a platform for promising unsigned artists.
It was through youbloom that Simonne teamed up with composer and producer Alex von Soos, co-writing and recording a number of new tracks. The collaboration has resulted in a sound that, whilst more electronic in nature, still retains the dark poetic atmosphere of the band’s earlier work. Simonne herself explains this evolution:
"Previously my work was more indefinable because of a cross pollination of influences that makes for an interesting outcome. One of my literary heroes, William S. Burroughs, popularised the’ cut-up’ technique, whereby a literary work is cut and rearranged to create a new text.
“My songwriting heroes David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke all used cut-ups to write lyrics. I adopt a similar practice by taking lines from my writings, influenced by film noir, the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anais Nin and Edgar Allen Poe, plus the poetry of Lorca.
“Working with Alex has taken this process of composing and song-writing to a new level, where I feel my new works now fit neatly next to the likes of my heroines in music, Florence and The Machine, Björk, Bat For Lashes, Amanda Palmer, Robyn, La Roux, Sia, Banks and St. Vincent.”
The result of this change in approach is a raw and confessional narrative, expressed through dreamlike ‘dark pop’ melodies, and brought to life by Simonne’s blisteringly powerful vocals.
The band itself has also evolved: as Simonne explains, “Simonne and The Dark Stars is no longer a finite group of musicians, but a community of creative minds.” Whilst the term ‘Dark Stars’ still naturally refers to the collective of musicians featuring on recorded tracks and at live performances, it has also expanded to include the ever-growing constellation of friends, fans and collaborators who orbit the band, offering creative and practical support.
Simonne andthe Dark Stars’s tracks