Dark/Light (pronounced DARK SLASH LIGHT) consists of vocalist Candy Schramer, guitarist/vocalist Justin Schramer, drummer Mary Esquivel, and bassist Tarika Hanawalt. The band was formed in Portland Oregon, sometime back in 2013, yet the roots are much deeper. All four members grew up in the PNW, have known each other and played together in punk bands for years.
Singer Candy and Justin have been together and playing music together since the late 90’s. They met in Oakland, California at a party and it was love at first sight. They each bonded over, and lived for music - and knew early on they would be forever slaves to the beautiful noise they loved. They spent endless nights in the late 90’s at their house partying and dancing to old 60’s 70’s and 80’s punk and hardcore records, new wave oddities, and just plain old mutant rock n roll. Everything from the Sonics, 13th Floor Elevators, The Rats, The Wipers, Devo, Black Sabbath, Big Boys, Zero Boys, Pagans, The Avengers, Wire, Plasmatics, Butthole Surfers, Minutemen, Rezillos, 60's girl groups, 50's rockers, on and on and on. They started a couple punk projects who played a bunch of shows but never ended up putting out any records - the focus was purely just reckless fun and ripping shit up.
In 2000, the couple moved to Portland and started the Triggers with Tarika, and the infamous Jonny “Jonnycat” Harbin, then later Sleepwalkers RIP, with “Machine Gun” Mary. The Triggers broke up in 2005, while Sleepwalkers RIP split in 2008. Both bands put out records, played a ton of shows, toured, had a shit load of fun, and remained good friends after breaking up.
After a few years and more individual musical projects (Salted City with Mary, Loose Values with Justin to name a couple), Candy and Justin decided to start a new band and quickly got together with old band mates Mary and Tarika.
This time around, the group of friends were older (maybe wiser?) and the songs were reflective of the pains, joys, and adventures of the years they had experienced. Weirder, darker, sadder, angrier. Dealing with loss, stress, trauma, insecurity, anxiety, depression, grief and feelings of isolation. Growing older as a misfit in an insane world. Dark themes maybe. Sometimes hopeful, sometimes bleak. That’s how it goes living in Doom town USA. How do you turn all that bad shit back into something good again? How do you carve out a humble existence as a creative person in a country dominated by money, greed, and corruption? Turns out that just continuing to create and perform these songs really helps.
Anyway, Dark/Light was born. Many of the songs evolved from dreams- sometimes wholey formed by the subconscious. It always seems the best performances from an artist come when they are laying it all out on the table, stripping their soul bare, and giving everything they have - the good, the bad, the strange…
This is what D/L hopes to achieve with each performance - recording or live - to transform all the negative energy into something hopefully just a little more useful, and release it out into the universe where it will hopefully connect with at least one more lost mutant.
Dark/Light put out their debut recording, a 4 song EP on Jonnycat records in March 2016, and began recording a full length that Summer. Unfortunately, after it was recorded, bassist and old friend/partner in crime Tarika decided to hang up the axe and quit the band. The band continued on, adding newest member and Portland punk celebrity Collin Sanders (Speds, Observers, Defect Defect, Steel Chains, and about 1,000 other rad ragers). Collin fit seamlessly into the group, and added a whole new dimension with his bass style and energy. They are already working on new material, and are preparing to record songs for a new EP with Collin sometime later this year.
I like gothic post punk bands with female vocals & loud guitars that could be traced back to Siouxsie and this group has been one of the longest lasting with the most releases. For fans of Crimson Scarlet, Dead Cult, Infinite Void, Ostavka, Otzi, Pleasure Leftists, Vanna Inget, etc. Arctic Flowers outlasted most of those and also experiments outside the genre. Art Fin