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Interview: The Silk War discuss Sylvia Plath, New York City, and their debut album ‘Come Evening’



Featured image by Hector Perez

New York City post-wave goth band The Silk War have released four exciting singles in anticipation for the release of their debut studio album Come Evening—due out on May 14.

The dark but energetically punk band is led by lead singer/lyricist Alexandra Blair and producer/songwriter James Mullen. They met in 2017 and have been working on the music that would become Come Evening ever since. Other members of the band are Angelo Miliano on keyboards, Josh O’Guinn on bass, and Andrew Mega on drums.

We caught up with The Silk War to talk about the band’s origin, influences, and how they’re preparing for the release of their debut album.

The Silk War

Where does the name The Silk War come from?

We knew from the very beginning that we wanted to use the word “silk” because of how prevalent the word is in Sylvia Plath’s diaries. There was a need for something oxymoronic, so we landed on the word “war”. The Silk Wars were fought during the Roman Empire over the silk routes. We had found that these wars were said to have been fought for “the luxuries of women.” Wars fought for the luxuries of women do not live in fabric, they live in the fight for equality of body and mind; the modern Silk War that we wage.

What bands/musicians are the biggest influences on your music?

Our influences range from bands like The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Supergrass, Sunny Day Real Estate, PJ Harvey, Blondie, and Radiohead to composers like Bernard Hermann, Ennio Morricone, and Beethoven. Lyrically, we are inspired by Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, Elliott Smith, Frank O’Hara, Charles Bukowski, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Vladimir Nabokov.

 What’s the story behind your single “Barcelona”?

James was inspired to write a song about his love for the city of Barcelona while there on vacation. He heard children laughing outside of his hotel room and recorded it to later use in the beginning of the song. James explained to me that he wanted to write the melody and the lyrics for the song as well, so in response, I told him to give me 24 hours to write both the first verse melody and lyrics. Since I had never been to Barcelona, there was a certain amount of anger I felt about writing a song about something I didn’t understand. “Barcelona” thus represented someone’s past, something they always talked about, something you could never be a part of. There is such anger in never truly understanding the past of someone you care for which is why the first verse comes out with the backhanded insult, “You wear winter like you wear the skin of all your friends.”

Sylvia Plath is a recurring theme around your band. How has she influenced you?  

Sylvia Plath has influenced us tremendously whether it be with our actual band name or with songs of ours such as “Sylvia,” the final track on our debut album, Come Evening, out May 14th. This song was written as a letter to Sylvia Plath asking for help, a response. Having always been so taken with her, seemingly sharing a common language, we are pleading to be understood in this song. The loneliness, the constant loss of heart, the desire to vanish, hauntingly we say, “I understand if you have to go alone, just take me with you.” This wanting to disappear, this self-doubt, this curse of solitude is found in all of our songs, and we thank Sylvia for giving us the courage to write about it.

How important has New York City been in the development of your sound?

New York City is paramount to our sound because it not only inspires us with its inhabitants and their windows, but also by being a part of its music scene. One of the reasons why it took us so long to finish our album was because we tweaked certain songs based on how a New York audience would react to it. New York is alive but also can make you feel as though you are forever alone in a crowded room, a city throbbing with possibility and inspiration. Come Evening is meant to soundtrack one night in New York City.

It seems like Come Evening has been in the works for a long time. What do you want people to know about your debut album?

The name Come Evening was taken from a 4 line poem that Alexandra wrote:

These chains have thickened

With beast-like suppression

Come Evening

Of this flesh I take leave

The album soundtracks the night and propels you through multiple dark alleyways of despair, melancholy, and insecurity. We hope Come Evening helps the listener feel understood, as reading Sylvia Plath has done for us.

How are you all preparing for the release of Come Evening

We are hoping that venues will start to open up this summer, so we have been rehearsing in preparation. We have released four singles with four music videos that can be found on all of our social media pages. We truly cannot wait to release such a labor of love.  Thank you so much to Nu Sound for the opportunity to speak with you!

Check out the music video for their newest single “Slender Sender”

Stream the singles from Come Evening here.

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