“I feel connected to the spirit and the life force of nature,” says Jayn H Wissenberg, the West Yorkshire-based singer-songwriter behind the project Darkher. “It is very much a part of the music that I create and I feel a sense of something else writing the music, rather than it being planned – it’s like a meditative process.”
One listen to Darkher’s debut EP The Kingdom Field and you’ll understand why Wissenberg feels that creating her music is such a spiritual experience. Haunting and yet eerily beautiful, it has a richness that’s rooted in nature: gothic-tinged, evocative dark folk brought to life by Wissenberg’s hypnotic, almost magical voice.
“The Kingdom Field is an actual place that I visit on the edge of a wood,” she explains, clarifying the music’s sylvan sensations. “It’s where a lot of the ideas for the EP came to me. I spend a lot of time in nature.”
On Darkher’s Facebook page, the band home town is jokingly listed as ‘Middle Earth’. When asked if she’s a Tolkien fan girl, Wissenberg smiles and tells us: “That was more of a comical reference to numerous visual comparisons I’ve had to Lord Of The Rings. I should probably change it to Westeros!”
The Kingdom Field could certainly soundtrack an episode of Game Of Thrones, with the otherworldly power the music possesses. Prog imagines that the writing and recording experience must have been an intense one.
“The songs all have different meanings, but there was a feeling of both emotional loss and empowerment while creating them,” Wissenberg confirms. “Even though, in particular, Hung has a very vulnerable sound, I feel the whole EP beckoned me to look at things I previously found too uncomfortable, so it was a pretty intense experience.”
As for influences on her music, Wissenberg identifies herself as a prog fan, namechecking Kate Bush, as well as declaring her love for post-rock and experimental music. But overall, Darkher’s influence comes from somewhere beyond musical realms and restrictions: “I’m not really sure what direct influences are in my music as I tend to write and produce from mood, in a very subconscious and instinctive manner.”
2015 looks set to be busy for Darkher. Wissenberg’s touring schedule is active, with plans to play alongside touring musicians at various European festivals, including The Netherlands’ Roadburn Festival in April. It’s also the year that Darkher’s debut album will be released. Wissenberg doesn’t reveal too many details on the full-length, only coyly stating the one thing we’d hoped for the most: “The forthcoming album is proving to be equally soul-baring.” HMK
Jayn H Wissenberg (vocals, guitars, production)
Enchanting pastoral folk cast out during a chilling woodland ritual
The Kingdom Field is out now on Prophecy