Autumn Tears is a name from the 90s, synonymous with gothic music inspired by classical/traditional styles and they have married a split album, Widowing/Possessing, with the newer dark folk project, Zeresh. Ted Tringo is the man who has continuously been at the helm of the US band, Autumn Tears since 1995, which has picked up steam in the creation of new music in the last few years. Zeresh is Israeli musician, Tamar Singer, who also sings for Autumn Tears, so it seems quite natural for these two projects to share a split album. Windowing is the Autumn Tears half and it has pulled together musicians who play traditional instruments and vocalists of such a high caliber, so the tracks are rich, ethereal and romantically dark. Possessing is of course Zeresh, and it weighs more in your heart, an overwhelming sadness and torment. The instruments are often far more modern in this production but just as eerie and beautiful as Widowing. You can hear the Singer’s homeland influencing the undercurrent of the songs and the sound of the music.

So, we bring to you an interview in two acts. We we very luck to interview Ted and Tamar about their respective bands, their influences and above all the split album. If you love Dead Can Dance or remember the 90s, when Arcana, Lycia and Autumn Tears were the medieval babes of the scene, you should indulge in this offering of Widowing/Possessing and read on!

ACT 1 – AUTUMN TEARS

Greetings to Onyx’s dark side of life and the winter garden, Ted Tringo of Autumn Tears.

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the opportunity 🙂

Autumn Tears has been around in different forms since 1995, with you as the permanent founding member. Did you think Autumn Tears would still be around, creating music and the and still this popular, more than quarter of a century later?

Honestly I had always planned on it as once I began Autumn Tears in 1995, I envisioned it being around for decades. What I had not anticipated was the long 11 year hiatus that I took from 2007 until 2018. Thankfully that is in the past and I don’t plan on ever stopping again.

You released the albums “Colors Hidden Within The Gray” (2019), “The Air Below The Water” (2020) and “The Glow of Desperation” (2021) in very quick succession. Each of these were very highly involved albums as far as people contributing their talents and orchestration. What prompted this surge of creativity?

I think most of it stems from the bottled up creativity I had stored from the 11 years which I was not active. I had a lot of time to reflect and to study music, that in the event of a comeback, I would be more than prepared with ideas and the musical knowledge to give Autumn Tears all that I could.

It was the 2020 album, “The Air Below The Water”, that first saw you collaborating with Tamar Singer. How did you first come into contact Singer?

I first discovered Tamar and Zeresh when I was asked to take part in the ‘At Sea Compilations’ – “Snowflakes”. We both shared songs on the comp and as soon as I heard Zeresh, I knew Tamar had a very unique and special sound which I felt would be a wonderful addition to the Autumn Tears ever evolving sound.

Singer also performs under the name of Zeresh and this year, Autumn Tears and Zeresh released a split album together. What was the thinking behind this and who first suggested this joint operation?

I actually suggested this to Tamar a few years back. I was completely taken with Zeresh upon my first listen and have become a fan ever since. I felt a split release would be a great way to share our collective works with our respective fans and let them experience music from both of our projects. I’v always enjoyed split releases so this was a great experience to be able to be a part of one together with another music project that I love.

Autumn Tears is on the first half and it is called “Widowing” which is also the seventh track on the split, that features Singer. Why did you choose this as the title track and does it have any particular significance for you?

The significance of the title ‘Widowing” is about loss and acceptance, and I felt that having Tamar sing on the title track was important as It not only bridges the gap between the two releases, being the last song on the Autumn Tears EP, but also it flows right into the first Zeresh track having Tamar be the lead singer on both songs back to back.

You have access to all these gorgeous female and male vocals. How do you ever choose who sings what and how lucky do you feel having access to such talent?

Some of them I sought out and some I was already familiar with. Caroline and Darren Clarke from the acoustic opera duo Trovatori I discovered on Fiverr and they have been permanent members ever since, of which I am very grateful for. I also discovered Ffion Elisa on Fiverr as well. Dawn I have known for over 20 years having been the lead singer for Rain Fell Within who were signed to my label back then so my appreciation for her is a given. Of course Agnete from Madder Mortem and Ann-Mari from ex The Third and the Mortal were both long time favorites of mine so I am very thankful for their appearances.

Again, there has been many musicians you have collaborated with to create “Widowing”. I was wondering about how you ended up recording this album, as I can imagine Covid would have played havoc with your plans?

Well like many musicians nowadays, thankfully Autumn Tears has also benefited from the power of the internet and of remote recording. It of course makes everything possible with all of the different members living all over the world.

There are very heavy accents of middle eastern influence, like in “Of Sun, Sky and Rain”. Is this a style of music you particularly enjoy or find enhances the exotic flavour of your music?

It’’s actually both. I have always enjoyed Middle Eastern music, and having Soroush Abedi as a member of Autumn Tears, he is very skilled in many musical styles and able to authentically incorporate the Middle Eastern and instruments into the Autumn Tears style to create a very unique fusion which I think only helps to enhance our overall sound and diversity.

For me, “Bringer Of Balance” is just spine tingling with the entwined male and female vocals in an almost baroque style. Do you have a favourite track off this album?

Thank you so much! I am sure lead singer Darren will be very happy to read this. It is hard for me to pick a favorite as I enjoy them all very much, but I think I may still have a soft spot for the title track ‘Widowing’ as it encompasses the feel of the album as a whole. Of course if you ask me tomorrow, I may have a different favorite ;).

Even though bands like Dead Can Dance had started in the 80s, it was really in the 90s that medieval/classical gothic styled music really took off. You are still producing that style today, however to my ears, it is much more refined and cohesive. Do you feel this way about your music now as compared to the original albums?

That was always my goal with Autumn Tears. I will always appreciate the early sound we developed back in the 90s, however it was always my goal to mature Autumn Tears with real classical instruments and musical style to hopefully one day try and carve out our own sound. Hopefully we are aa little closer to doing so now 27 years later. 🙂

I am curious as to who were your inspirations in music when you first started and if there are any newer loves you have now?

Back in the 90s when I began, my influences ranged from DCD, to Stoa, Anchorage and Arcana, (Arcana’s – ‘The Song of Mourning’ actually helped to kick start my desire to write Autumn Tears music) and now I think I am more influenced by modern and traditional classical music as well as cinematic score and soundtracks. I think I will keep evolving the styles while still retaining our core sound.

If you could choose any musician to record with (alive or expired) for the next album, whom would you desire and why?

There are so many I admire that I would love to work with but if I had to choose one, I would have loved to collaborate with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. I actually dedicated the 2019 album ‘Colors Hidden Within the Gray’ to him.

What is next for yourself and Autumn Tears?

We are currently working on our next full length album which hopefully will be ready by the end of the year.

Thank you for the enchanting and haunting music, as well as your time Ted.

My absolute pleasure, thank you!

ACT 2 – ZERESH

Zeresh is your project and I believe it came into being around 2017/18? Also what prompted you to create Zeresh?

The name “Zeresh” came to be around 2017 but the idea and many of the songs existed long before that and were waiting for me to be able to give them some kind of an output.

In June 2017 I did my first solo concert and that’s when the need for a name became obvious.

My debut EP ‘Sigh For Sigh’ was already recorded at the time yet I struggled hard with mixing it since I had zero knowledge or experience of how to do it.. but once it was completed I embraced the name Zeresh for this project.

The name Zeresh seems highly symbolic. In Persian it means gold, in the old Testament Zeresh is a wife, as well as being linked to meaning strange or misery. Why did you choose this name?

First of all I liked how it sounds – yet it seemed a bit too “black metal” for my project.. It didn’t feel right for this purpose but I loved the name so much that I’ve decided to name my beautiful black cat ‘Zeresh’. After doing this, I got “jealous” and stole the name for my project too.

I also liked the fact that in the biblical story, even though she was a side character (Hamann’s wife) she was the smartest and most evil figure.

If you don’t mind me asking, what is the dark/gothic/metal scene like in Israel?

I’m glad you asked because I love the Israeli scene – we have a lot of wonderful bands and musicians over here. Some of them are very very special.

The local Gothic scene is tiny, almost nonexistent but the general dark scene here has some wonderful projects. 

Also, our metal scene is pretty rich and ever changing. Israel has some bigger mainstream-ish metal bands and some very ‘strange fruits’ (which are usually my favorites);.

I’m probably forgetting many other great projects but here are some of the ones (which are still active) that I love the most from the local scene:

Kadaver, Choshech, Kchörtoo, Ketoret, Zimmer Witch Night, Winterhorde, Rain Dirty Valleys, Kluvim, Prey For Nothing, Sleep’s Sister, Agnivolok, Kip, Kashaiof, Subterranean Masquerade, Seven Morgues, Obsidian Tide, Svpremacist, Bormavet, Dukatalon and more.

There is also the doom project Cruel Wonders. What drew you into the realms of neo-classical/neo-dark folk?

I’m into dark music of all different genres and kinds, both as a listener as well as a musician.

You have not only collaborated with Autumn Tears but also you did the split album with them. What was this like for you as an artist?

Amazing! Working on the split album has been an honor and also very special to me because I tried to take my songs to be’ more romantic’ while Ted took his songs to a darker place this time, so they would fit well together.

Also, Ted is really wonderful to work with, both artistically and personally.

Your half of the album is called Possessing. Could I please ask about the concept behind Possessing and how you feel it couples up with Widowing?

My half of the album is about obsession; holding on to a relationship that’s not there, not being able to get another person out of your head or to let go.

The way I see it ‘Widowing’ (the part by Autumn Tears) is about loss; but from a “healthier” perspective – sort of the other side of the same coin.

Which do you feel is your favourite track off this album and why?

I can’t really say too much about Possessing but even though it’s hard to choose – my favorite song from Widowing is “Unmaker of worlds”, simply because it’s absolutely perfect!

It’s dark, heavy and intense musically and lyrically. Plus, I just love Caroline Joy Clarke’s vocals there. 

I actually admire all the other Autumn Tears singers and musicians and I still can’t believe I’m sharing music with those extremely talented professional musicians.

If given the opportunity to do another split album, would you do it again and are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with?

I’m actually working on a short split collaboration for a local label as we speak and I would love to do more in the future.

I would gladly collaborate again with everyone I’ve worked with before so far.

The list of musicians I’d be thrilled to work with for the first time is endless but I’ll try to sum it up somehow: 

Rïcïnn, Kim Larsen (Of The Wand And The Moon), King Dude, Darkher, Darkwood, None, Les Days, Liturgy, Leya, Natural snow buildings, Ungfel, The Drows, The Devil’s Trade, A. A. Wiliams…

It really is a Never-ending list so I’ll randomly stop here.

What musicians/bands or type of music first dragged you into the scene and what ignites your soul now?

I’m not sure which scene I should refer to, but if we’re talking about ‘non-standard’ folk, the first ones I listened to as a teenager were: Current 93, Death In June and some other similar and related projects.

Nowadays I still listen to a lot of different types of neofolk, dark folk, industrial and also just plain beautiful folk.

I love it when folk music manages to somehow fit in nicely with industrial.

Anyhow, here are some examples of things I love in particular:

Of The Wand And The Moon, Sangre De Muerdago, Laura Marling, Rome, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Darkher, Aggaloch, Hasta LA Victoria, Nebelung, Darkwood and many more.

I also listen to other genres – from black metal to classical music, experimental, drone and lots of other things.

Taking possession completely off the tracks here but if you could be possessed by one deceased musician for a day, to let them record one more track, who would you let use your body?

The obvious answer would be Kurt Cobain or Elliott Smith, so I’ll go with that.

What is in the future for Zeresh?

The next Zeresh album is almost 100% written but I have to produce it. It is going to be darker than anything I’ve done so far.

Nowadays I’m actually working as Zeresh on a short split collaboration for a local label. It’s a project I’m doing with one of my favorite Israeli bands – ‘Ketoret’.

Besides that, I’ve already recorded a song for the next ‘Autumn Tears’ album and we shall start writing the third ‘Cruel Wonders’ album pretty soon.

I’m also involved in a new project with my husband who is the other half of ‘Necromishka’ (and mostly known as ‘Kadaver’) plus another of my favorite local musicians – Shay Mizrahi, of ‘Choshech’. I’m not sure if it’ll be a 3-way collaboration or whether it’ll have its own name.

And lastly – we’ve been producing a split album between ‘Necromishka & Agnivolok’.

I’m planning to remain busy..

Autumn Tears (bandcamp.com)

Widowing / Possessing | Autumn Tears / Zeresh | Zeresh (bandcamp.com)

Autumn Tears | Facebook

Zeresh | Facebook

We here at Onyx, decided that since Brisbane band, Daylight Ghosts, have released their first length album, Urban Umbra, that if might be prudent to talk to Karl O’Shea and Adam Dawe about the album and things that have brought them to this moment. No vorpal bunnies were hurt in the asking of any questions.

Welcome to the dark side of Onyx, which may or may not be as dark as my soul.

Karl O’Shea: Not my first dalliance with the dark side, I can assure you of that.

Adam Dawe:  Hello darkness my old friend…

The new album, Urban Umbra, is your debut full release and before that, you had brought out 5 singles, two remixes by the talented Matt Dodds and a live recording. Was it a natural progression to bring out the album? What impact has COVID had on all this?

Karl O’Shea: I annoyingly kept changing my mind on how we were going to do this. The original idea was to release all the songs as singles and compile them as a playlist but then decided that was probably not super smart for a very small band so we decided to make this group of songs an album instead. COVID has definitely slowed things down but it did afford me a lot of time to work on the rough demo arrangements. The main impact for us was we didn’t end up doing a live “in person” gig until the tail end of 2020 and a few postponements and cancellations in 2021. That being said, that lovely folk at Live On Mars helped facilitate our first performance as a livestream. To help with the nerves, we had a few friends (COVID-distanced of course) in my living room to help it feel a little bit more “normal”. And it was pretty nerve-wracking for me as that was the first time I had played guitar live! I think I did okay.

What is the meaning behind calling the album Urban Umbra, as an umbra is a shadow or darkness?

Karl O’Shea: Put simply – moody, melancholic music made from the perspective of people who live in cities and have experienced the darker side of city living (as well as the good). Where you live definitely has an influence on the art you create, whether that’s overt or subtle. The acoustic elements mixed with the synthetic and electronic in our music are a vague reflection of the cultural melting pot that is city living.

Adam Dawe: And we also thought it would be really hard for people to say the phrase “album Urban Umbra” quickly without falling over their words.  

I particularly like Before The Fall. What is the significance of this song as I am intrigued by the last line about going back into the sea where you left her buried?

Adam Dawe: Thank you. That song is a personal favourite of mine and seems to be one that a lot of people are taking a liking to, which is great. I don’t really want to go into the lyrics too much due to the personal nature of them, but I will say the “buried” part is more metaphorical than literal. I haven’t buried any women at any beaches yet. It’s really about how certain places can invoke certain memories of certain people, and I chose the sea because of its metaphorical relation to emotions and wild, untamed spirit. A powerful force of nature under the right circumstances, or also a quiet, contemplative place of tranquility and peace.  

Both of you are in or have been in a number of bands in the Brisbane scene. Adam in Lunar Seasons & Novus Wild and Karl in Balloons Kill Babies, inovo, Sarah Stockholm & Ghostwoods. How did you both end up playing together?

Karl O’Shea: Nothing too exciting to be honest. I posted an ad on a Facebook music group looking for a vocalist/collaborator for a little dark-folk project I was working on and Adam was the only person that I felt projected fragility and melancholy with his voice and actually got the brief. The dude’s got a great work ethic and is up for anything which are excellent qualities in a collaborator. Plus, he’s a really lovely guy and that’s an especially important quality in a human being, creative or not.

Adam Dawe: After the initial contact on Facebook, Karl sent me 4 or 5 of his song ideas. Once I heard the caliber of the music Karl was coming up with, I was hooked. I’d been wanting to create music in this style for a very long time and felt like I had something I could add to these songs. When we met up in real life, we bonded over shared musical tastes and a love of all things that take a turn off the beaten path.  It also doesn’t hurt that Karl is an absolute champion of a person too.

The other bands you are involved in are a lot heavier or noisier for want of a better word, whilst Daylight Ghosts is far more organic and folky in feel. Was this the sound you were striving for or is this how the project has evolved naturally?

Karl O’Shea: My original vision for Daylight Ghosts was to create more intimate dark-folk in the vein of artists like Death In June, Chelsea Wolfe, King Dude among others. It was only when we started work on After The Flood with Matt and introduced drum loops and more synthetic sounds that I was inspired to push the music in a more “dark-folktronica” direction and incorporate other styles like indie music, post-punk, goth, hip-hop and electronica. We’ve basically been working this out as we go along and honestly, it’s much more exciting to me to try and blend a lot of these styles together than just ape the artists that originally inspired the project.

Adam Dawe:  As Karl said, the original idea was simply an acoustic duo. But once we started introducing other instruments in our recordings the project evolved into what it is now. Which I think is something even more interesting.   

Both of you are involved in the writing of songs, so who comes up with what?

Karl O’Shea: I generally compose and arrange the musical side of things. The process normally is: I write a really basic structure on acoustic guitar, send a demo to Adam, then slowly come up with an arrangement, go back and forth with Adam to refine the structure and arrangement and then work with Matt to record and get the right sounds.

Adam Dawe: I’m the lyrics guy and it’s my job to translate the mood of the music into stories. The only standard I set for myself is that the lyrics and vocal parts need to complement and potentially elevate the music.  

A lot of the imagery for Daylight Ghost has to do with nature, even the original images you sent with your singles In The Glow and Golden Hour could be you but all filmy and light distorted outside. What influences your artwork for the band?

Karl O’Shea: This isn’t a very artistic answer. I have, over the course of the last 5 or so years, taken various “artistic” (or pretentious) photos on my iPhone and messed around with them with never much of a plan for using them. I’ve always wanted Daylight Ghosts to be as DIY as possible and when we started to require imagery for releases, I decided to go through these images and there was a decent handful that I felt matched the vibe of the music. Even though a lot of these images are from nature, the images are distorted and doctored which kinda works with our whole “acoustic-mixed-with-electronic” style.

Do you sometimes feel like ghosts that walk in the daylight hours?

Karl O’Shea: Not really a proper answer to your question but the inspiration for the band name comes from the book “Junky” by William S. Burroughs. The line is talking about drug addicts who had metaphorically withdrawn from the world but still walked around in daylight as a former shadow of themselves. Without going into my history too much, I do have a past with substance abuse, bad relationships and have generally struggled to feel like I fit in with most groups of people. Something about that line resonated with me and I felt it fit the band.

Adam Dawe: I’m a night person by nature, so any time I’m awake during the day I feel a bit ghost-like.  Or maybe more zombie-like? Daylight Zombies doesn’t quite have the same ring to it though.  

There seems to be a certain amount of darkness in the lyrics and music. Which one of you is this coming from?

Karl O’Shea: I think we’re both responsible for the darkness. I bring it to the music and Adam brings it to the lyrics. I’m not especially interested in writing happy music and if I did, it wouldn’t be genuine.

Adam Dawe: The lyrics are 9 times out of 10 a reflection of what I’m getting from the music.  So we’re definitely both responsible for it.  

Will there be live shows to support the album, especially with venues being allowed to open to full capacity again?

Karl O’Shea: We are planning a launch at It’s Still A Secret on the 6th of May with Reverb Springs (more details to be announced). This will also be the first show where we FINALLY incorporate the rest of the sounds that you hear on the recordings. Outside of that, we’re just going to see what happens. I’m a big believer in doing a handful of decent shows instead of plenty of middling ones and I’m personally not too interested in wasting thousands of dollars on touring. If something decent comes along in another city, I’ll definitely make the time and effort to travel. But touring up and down the coast off our own backs with such a small fanbase to possibly play to 5-10 people a night? There are much easier ways to waste money and a lot of them are more fun too.

Adam Dawe:  There certainly will, and it will be our first show in nearly six months and with our new instrumentation set up. Previously we’ve played only as an acoustic duo so it will be great to play the songs in a manner much closer to their recorded counterparts.  

What bands and music did you grow up with that influenced your tastes?

Karl O’Shea: There’s quite a lot of music I love but I would say that bands that most influenced my current tastes whilst growing up were Something For Kate, The Cure, Joy Division, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, Porcupine Tree, David Bowie, Radiohead, Helmet….the list keeps going.

Adam Dawe:  Definitely David Bowie, The Cure, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails for me as well.  Then also singer/songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Nick Cave.  

Who or what do you listen to now?

Karl O’Shea: I’m always all over the place but the artists I’m currently listening to the most are GGGOLDDD, Nilüfer Yanya, The Body, Ethel Cain, Bring Me The Horizon, Enter Shikari, Julia Jacklin, Soccer Mommy, Einstürzende Neubauten and probably dozens more. I’m also currently obsessed with a couple of podcasts which are Not Another D&D Podcast and Tanis.

Adam Dawe: I’ve been getting into Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders and Beth Hart of late. And a lot of the Rolling Stones. On the heavier end of the spectrum, Zeal and Ardor and The Ocean Collective are getting a pretty solid spin too.  

As the reincarnation of Wizard Tim, I will ask what is your quest, favourite colour and what will be happening in the future with Daylight Ghosts?

Karl O’Shea: I’ll go for the basic goth answer and say black is my favourite colour though I’m quite partial to grey, red and blue. As for the future of Daylight Ghosts? Simple – keep creating and releasing music. We’ll figure out the rest as we go along.

Adam Dawe: I seek the holy grail. My favourite colour is blue. And I hope Daylight Ghosts continues to soar with the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow!

Thanks heaps for playing and congratulations on the album Urban Umbra!

Karl O’Shea: Why, thank you very much!

Adam Dawe: Thank you!

Music | Daylight Ghosts (bandcamp.com)

Daylight Ghosts | Facebook

September the 24th saw the release of Brisbane band, Daylight Ghosts, latest single, “In The Glow“. This neo-folk group is made up of two members, Adam Dawe (vocals/lyrics) and Karl O’Shea (acoustic guitar/keyboards/arrangement) and was given life in 2019. Since then, they have brought forth two previous singles and are looking towards the release of the EP, also named In The Glow.

DAYLIGHT GHOSTS

The drum machine hold the constant beat, the acoustic guitar winds it’s way around Dawe’s vocals. A melancholy about that they cannot live with nor without. ‘Lyrically In The Glow is a song about addiction disguised as the creative process disguised as addiction. Erase. Start over. Erase‘, wrote Dawe. There is an insistent piano line in the chorus and synths that gently aid in the heightened emotions.

There is a lot passion and heart in this piece. O’Shea plays the guitar beautifully and Dawe never lets the lament break the smooth and clean vocals. Gothic tinged electro/neo-folk is probably my best description of Daylight Ghosts. They literally are like a blue flame in the dusk hours, illuminating the shadows into stories to be sung. Discover Daylight Ghosts and their eerily alluring “Into The Glow“.

https://daylightghosts.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-glow

https://www.facebook.com/daylightghostsmusic