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The Darkness of Night

The Darkness of Night

Darkness of Night CoverWe released The Darkness of Night in 2012 as the first in a pair of “twin” EP’s. The Darkness contains 7 tracks and The Light of Day having another 7 tracks. This record has a bit more tumultuous and emotional quality, which you can hear in both music and words. Popular tracks include “City of Angels”, “Last Night’s Lights” and “Chinatown” which features guest vocals by our lovely friend Mariqueen Maandig Reznor (How To Destroy Angels, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack). We continue to work on videos for this record and we plan to release both twin EP’s in a beautiful limited-edition package in 2013.

 
 
 

Music

The music for Darkness of Night is especially personal and emotional for us. We wrote the songs over two years since we moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Music was very inspired by challenges in the relationship between us brothers as well as with our producer and closest friend, Bao Vo. We wrote a few demos for the album but we did not complete the songs for two years. The demos had some temporary words and mumblings, as we often like to do it. After such a long time as our lives in Los Angeles changed, we began to mend our problems and return to these songs, adding new lyrics and making them reflect our recent experiences. We also created new tracks to tie everything together and release the 7-song EP. We hadn’t planned to release such a short record. We usually like to write a whole full-length album with a single concept and theme. However for this record, it was a difficult time for us and we chose to release the seven songs so that we can continue to a lighter project.

 
Electronic Drum KitFor most of the songs, we had produced them once, then returned and changed them to fit our new vision for the record, including changing most of the drum samples to very old and cheap, gritty drum samples. One of the first tracks we made was “Dream Within a Dream” which was called “Untitled Inception” for quite a long time, because we had been influenced by Chris Nolan’s movie Inception – its idea that you create your own world in dreams. We believe this is done in the waking world as well. We also added a bit to reference one of our heroes Roy Orbison in the second verse, using the words “In dreams, I walk with you.”

 
“City of Angels” was also a track we had written, then returned to after a long break to change it significantly. It’s quite perfect for the way we feel about Los Angeles – a sort of difficult love story. “Chinatown” is another song about Los Angeles. From the beginning of writing “Chinatown,” we knew that we would want to have vocals from our favorite Mariqueen to complete our LA concept. We invited her and recorded her parts in just one evening at the Bao Vo Creative studio in Downtown Los Angeles.

 
brooke-and-mariqueenWe wrote “White Lights” based on a loop from a demo song by our friend Bao Vo. You can hear a sample of it in the final version of the song – it’s the pitched up voice singing oohs and ahhs. After we finished writing the song, we decided to add a full line from the demo song into our song – this is the tiny Bao Vo voice that says “I will fall, I will run, I will count my blessings.” This song was called “White Lies” for quite a long time, as that was the initial idea for the track. After we recorded, we can hear some influence from When In Rome’s “The Promise” in our chorus.

 
Only “Last Night’s Lights” did not change much from its original version, although the original verses had a different rhythm. For this track, we needed some very significant atmospheric sounds, so we asked our our friend, sound designer Taylor Shechet to create a sound bed for us that sounded like “the empty space where a massive robot has stepped.” We used Taylor’s sound sculpture all over the track, but you can hear it most in the break at the middle of the song. To match the atmosphere of the music, we added a preverb effect on both our vocals at some parts.

 
The final song we wrote was “Someone Else.” Some of the song was written in the cold air and warm sun of New York’s Central Park in the Spring of 2012. It was started as only a piano, one synth and voice. We released this demo version on Youtube. In the final version we added more stuff and made it a bit faster with the help of Bao Vo. It’s a good song to mark the change to The Light of Day.

 

Artwork

The artwork for The Darkness was done very quickly and cheaply with the help of some very talented people. But the results are so perfectly fitting our songs. We had collected a few fashion photos from magazines and internet to show to our creative director, Bao Vo and he said “little people, large spaces.” So that became the creative direction for the record’s look and feel. After a few days, Bao showed us a sketch and told us that we needed to have the record and packaging completed in 5 days in order to meet a promotional deadline.
 
darkness_sketch1
 
We began to work on some outfits for the promotional artwork. We had fashion clippings by some of our favorite designers including Helmut Lang, Skingraft, Boris Bidjan Saberi, and Alexander McQueen but we didn’t have time or money to have these labels for our shoot. Instead we called our long-time collaborators, architect Donna Pungprechawat and jewelry designer Ryan Vasquez. Together in one day, we sketched some designs and quickly created the outfits for us to wear on the Darkness album cover. Some parts were cut from other garments while our friends sewed other parts.
 
Darkness Sketch
 
We asked photographer Marianne Williams to photograph this image for us, as we are fans of her brilliant use of color, her creative perspectives of people and her talent for improvising during a shoot. She and Bao spent the next two days talking about the style of the image. It would be influenced by Jan Saudek’s hand-colored photographs – something wrong must be hiding in the image. They drove through central Los Angeles to find a location to take the photos without permits, as it would be a drive-by shooting. Three days after we started preproduction, we shot at a public parking lot, lighting the photo with only the electricity from the back of Bao’s car. The photograph is a reference to our first album cover, but with the darkness of a Jan Saudek image and the distressed, minimal fashion of our favorite designers. In the final image, Bao made a last minute decision to remove the greenish coloring inspired by Saudek and use the brilliant blues from Marianne’s original photos which were caused by the fluorescent lighting we used to light the set. You can see Ping’s hand is dripping some blood. You can ask him if it’s real blood, or something much tastier.
 
darkness_cover_preview

 

Promotion & Video

For this record, we had a very small budget and limited time to promote, so we chose very small order of press kits. Some friends come to help us assemble these press kits and we mailed only about 200 to independent radio stations in the US and a few blogs and publications. We plan to have a fuller release of both EP’s once “The Light of Day” is completed.

 
The Darkness of Night press kitsWe first released a teaser video for the song “The Darkness of Night” on Youtube. We then continued to work on a video for City of Angels, which took quite a long time to complete. The video is a collage of many images from the city, mainly showing people passing anonymously through grand spaces. There are several time lapse videos which Bao had filmed as well as some aerial shots. We then shot a few scenes of ourselves being little, letting the focus be on the cityscape. The resulting footage was edited together by Bao for the City of Angels music video.

 
You can see the City of Angels video on our website in the next few weeks. Please sign up for our mailing list to get announcements.

 

Lyrics

[toggle title_open=”1. The Darkness of Night” title_closed=”1. The Darkness of Night” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

The Darkness of Night

Night, fading through your eyes
Light fades from your smile

 
It’s in the darkness of night
It’s in the darkness of night

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[toggle title_open=”2. Last Night’s Lights” title_closed=”2. Last Night’s Lights” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

Last Night’s Lights

You say you’d like to change your mind but you’re not sure about it
You’d like to live your life or at least forget about it
Say you just need a bit of time as my mind fills with darkness
You say we’ll still see eye to eye but somehow I tend to doubt it

 
Don’t you cry, ‘cause we’ll never die
Last night’s lights, still in your eyes

 
I tend to watch the seasons change but I don’t ask about the weather
I tend to think about the pain but I forget about the pleasure
I understand the things you want but i’ll never know what they are
I keep my head above the clouds but rain pours down below
But you’ll never know

 
Don’t you cry, ‘cause we’ll never die
Last night’s lights, still in your eyes
I twist and turn inside my mind to lick the wounds that won’t heal
I know i’ve said a thousand times the crooked lines that i feel
But you’ll never know

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[toggle title_open=”3. City of Angels” title_closed=”3. City of Angels” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

City of Angels

Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
Don’t say goodbye, ’cause we’re not through
You may be over me but I can’t get over you
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you

 
You don’t sleep at night
All the while your mind is spinning bright
Lips are sealed and jaw clenched tight
How i miss you tonight
How i miss you tonight

 
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
Don’t say goodbye, ’cause we’re not through
You may be over me but I can’t get over you
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
City of Angels

 
Quiet ocean drive, you lose yourself in her a little while
Wash your scars in the rising tide
You watch the subway tiles reflect your life,
It moves a million miles
But she’s still the same innocent child
A wash of neon light paints the shadows leaving you behind
Feathers fall upon angels flight
God knows how I’ve tried
Just to leave you behind

 
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
Don’t say goodbye, ’cause we’re not through
You may be over me but I can’t get over you
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
Don’t say goodbye, ’cause we’re not through
You may be over me but I can’t get over you
Don’t say goodbye, LA, ‘cause I’m in love with you
City of Angels

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[toggle title_open=”4. Dream Within a Dream” title_closed=”4. Dream Within a Dream” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

Dream Within a Dream

We were lost and found
We were upside down
We were walking over water
As the sun went down
We could drown or we could fly
We could die a million times
Sunset came and went away
We’re asleep but wide awake
We were breathing under water
Taste the snow across your face
You are me and I am you
But who replaces what we knew

 
I can’t wait to be without you I can’t wait to be awake
I can’t wait to be without you I can’t wait to be awake

 
Maybe I will save the day Leave these contradictions
Casting light across your face A ghost among the walking
But in dreams I walk with you
Through the traffic on the highway
Drown our worries in the bay
And I wake up to nothing

 
I can’t wait to be without you I can’t wait to be awake
I can’t wait to be without you I can’t wait to be awake

 
We have everything we want
We make anything we need
We walk miles in a second
We take days to count a heartbeat
We have everything we want
We make anything we need
We walk miles in a second
We take years to fall asleep

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[toggle title_open=”5. White Lights (ft. Bao Vo)” title_closed=”5. White Lights (ft. Bao Vo)” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

White Lights (ft. Bao Vo)

White lies escape through your mouth to uncover you
A quiet night breaks through the silence
And smothers your cries tonight
Too doo doo, too doo doo

 
I saw you walk the lines you drew inside your mind
Ooh, I saw you walk alone awhile

 
Lying, awake in a dream
You’ve broken the promises
Spoken to cover your indecision
White light escapes through your eyes
White light escapes through your eyes
White light escapes through your eyes
White light escapes through your eyes

 
I saw you walk the lines you drew inside your mind
Ooh, I saw you walk alone awhile

 
In a dream I watch us fall forever,
Fly through never ending light
I’m blinded, see so clearly everything at night
We were wearing white,
Like spirits wading through the ocean sky
I was talking slowly, walking through the lines inside my mind
I was talking slowly, walking through the lines inside my mind
I was talking slowly, walking through the lines inside my mind
(I will fall, I will run, I will count my blessings)

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[toggle title_open=”6. Someone Else” title_closed=”6. Someone Else” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

Someone Else

Cars pass by on a winter’s day
I hear them taking you away
The shapes that occupy this space
All feel different in a way

 
And I’ll return as someone else
Just like you never knew me at all
The words that hurt the feelings felt
Will all dissolve as winter melts
And I’ll return as someone else
Just like you never knew me at all

 
You leave your key outside my door
Like you won’t need it anymore
The pictures locked inside my mind
The colors fading over time

 
And I’ll return as someone else
Just like you never knew me at all
The words that hurt the feelings felt
Will all dissolve as winter melts
And I’ll return as someone else
Just like you never knew me at all
Just like you never knew me

 
I count the nights and days apart
I paint your picture in the dark
And all these moments will be lost
Like tears in rain

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[toggle title_open=”7. Chinatown (ft. Mariqueen Maandig Reznor)” title_closed=”7. Chinatown (ft. Mariqueen Maandig Reznor)” hide=”yes” include_excerpt_html=”yes”]

Chinatown (ft. Mariqueen Maandig Reznor)

Homesick
Unfamiliar street
But you’ve walked this beat
A thousand times in your mind
Sad
But it’s bittersweet
All the ghosts you meet
Say you look one of their kind

 
Most of the time
You’re looking down
Most of the time
You’re blinded
(and I’ll sing a love song, and I’ll stay in love so)

 
I’ll meet you down in Chinatown
(Forget about, forget about)
I’ll meet you down in Chinatown
(Forget about the things that bring you down)

 
Blue light
But it flickers bright
Television fights
Breaking through a lonely window
Feels like
Just another night
When the neon signs
Are the only ones who call

 
Most of the time
When you look around
Most of the time
You’ll find it
(and I’ll sing a love song, and I’ll stay in love so)

 
I’ll meet you down in Chinatown
(Forget about, forget about)
I’ll meet you down in Chinatown
(Forget about the things that bring you down)

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Album Credits

Ming & Ping: Songwriting, production, vocals, instruments, programming, arrangement.

 
Bao Vo: Production, additional vocals, creative direction, package design, engineering, mastering.

 
Mariqueen Maandig Reznor: Additional vocals on “Chinatown.”

 
Taylor Shechet: Additional production on “Last Night’s Lights.”

 
Marianne Williams: Cover photography.

 
Costume Design & Production:
Ryan Vasquez, Donna Pungprechawat, Bao Vo.

 
Special Thanks:
Pete Bunke, Simon Bassaly, Taylor Shechet.