Darkness Is My Canvas's Pete and Panu Discuss Lots on Themselves and Music!


 Progressive pop rock band DARKNESS IS MY CANVAS goes into great discussion about themselves, history, insight, EP release, and in the process of working upon all new music! The two band members discuss this all plus much more below.


1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members

PETE: “Darkness Is My Canvas (DIMC) was founded back in 2017 on the ruins of our former band. Our original members (Panu, guitar&vox) and I (Pete, vox&guitar) had known since I think 2005 or 2006 when I (Pete) was hired gun (vocals) in one punk(ish) rock band and Panu was producing their album.”

PANU: “Yeah, we kind of clicked straight away, we liked the same bands, loved the same songs, we loved the same structure and melodic hooks in many of the songs, so we kind of briefly nodded that we want to work together in the future. I also liked Pete’s always positive and open attitude towards my suggestions - never anything negative or like “You can’t do this or that because that does not fit in my style”. I was given truly free hands to produce music.  Fast forward to 2011ish, when Pete contacted me telling, that he wants to do a “solo album”, but quite soon we realized we had founded a band. So we did go through that band between 2012-2016 and quite soon we decided not to go with that lineup and with that concept, so we decided to take a different approach and that way Darkness Is My Canvas did start”

PETE: “So fast forward to 2020 when the great plague shuts everything down. We rehearsed a lot during late 2019 and early 2020 and we already had booked several gigs for the band for 2020 and we did have our first gig on Valentine’s Day 2020 and then. Yes. The plague. So we ended up back in the studio writing new songs, polishing our skills, and pre-released some of our songs on Youtube. The feedback was quite nice and we decided to continue our path and wait until the Plague was over. In 2022 when all the restrictions were over, we started touring and releasing new songs on streaming services. “

PANU: “What a journey it has been so far. Spotify has been surprisingly nice for us - as you know, we don’t have support from a big label, so we are practically indie - although we are publishing our coming EP and still one single via our Indie-Label (Inverse Records) and seeing what happens after the coming EP. Our method is a bit different when compared to other emerging bands;  we are working in our own studio when building songs and we are using a session drummer, everything else in the songs is our handcraft”.

PETE: “...I think we are in a way two bands in the same package. Another band is gathering in our studio sessions (me, Panu, and session drummer Mikko Kaakkuriniemi or another session drummer Kai Jokiaho) and creating the artistic concept and the other band is for our live shows. At the moment our live lineup is:

Pete, vox & guitar
Panu, guitar & vox
Gabriel, bass & vox
Juza, drums
Linda, backing vox

We have gone through multiple lineup changes during the last 12 months or so, we have been seeking the best possible players and the best possible chemistry and we are very happy with the current lineup. And despite the fact that we have used session drummers and played practically all other notes on our songs, our present backbone is so good that we could use Juza & Gabriel in the future studio sessions.”

PANU: “...so. In a nutshell, our history is fairly extensive. We have played together in multiple bands (we also have other projects where we are doing some magical stuff), but all of our members have been playing in a multitude of bands and projects, so in our mind, this band is the band that we have had in mind in bands before this band.”

2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?

PETE: “I have this dark passenger, who has been with me since early teens - so I’m always writing very dark lyrics for the songs, and when I thought the name for the band we did have, I think, 3-4 different names - Darkness Is My Canvas was edgy enough ūüôā and dark enough..”

PANU: “...and long enough, although we didn’t realize how long the band’s name actually is. I think there is a beautiful video on Youtube something like “Darkness is my canvas and light is my brush….” where you got the idea partially. “

3. Where is the band based and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

PANU: “We are based in Helsinki, Finland. Yeah, there is a quite vivid musical scene in Finland, although we are not mainstream in Finland as we are a rock band. There are a lot of local rappers and local R&B - artists who are dominating all the streaming services. We have been touring with a few different really good and cool bands such as DOL, Daiba Cowboys, Miss Vain, and Burning Cities. Each of them is worth checking out. “

PETE: “...if you will about our music scene in Finland, the pandemic did end so many bands and so many venues, that the music scene - at least on the rock side of the scene is still struggling.. Metal has always been more or less, what we are known of (Finland that is) and that is doing quite well. Have to say as a side note, that I’m very very happy with K√§√§rij√§ and the Eurovision Song contest - he is an excellent character - so positive. But if you want to recommend something for your audience, that is a MUST look, I would say The Holy from Finland. I’ve seen them live and I love them.”

4. How would you describe your style?

PANU: “... hmmm…well…how about we don’t? Some people say we’re too poppy to be a progressive rock band, some people say we are too progressive to be a melodic rock band, some people say we are too melodic to be a metal band, and so on. We are a mixture of different soundscapes. We can be very progressive and use odd time signatures if that is what the song needs. At the same time, our songs are always melodic. On record, we play all instruments except drums and this gives us great flexibility to divide my musical ideas between guitars, bass, and keyboard parts. I like the “wall of sound” style but on the other hand, I’m not afraid to make “underproduced” songs.  So in a way, Darkness Is My Canvas does not restrict its expression in genre boxes because we want to experiment with different approaches with different songs and learn new styles all the time.

PETE: “...bro..well said..well said. Yeah, in a way we approach each of our songs in a way that it needs. If the song doesn’t need any guitars (like Monsters), then it doesn’t need any guitars. If the song needs a killer chorus, then we will create a killer chorus (Bleed, Fade Into The White Noise, Salvation, The Game). I would say that we are a melodic rock band with a hint of alternative and progressive sounds.”

PANU: “But we also have dance, folk music, funk, and brit rock songs  in the demo folder…”

PETE: “...so..it’s quite difficult to really put our music to a certain genre.”

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

PETE: “We have released so far one three-song EP (Monsters)  and three singles (The Game, Fade into the white noise, and Bring Me The Horizon cover of Drown). We are currently about to release our next EP “White Noise” and support it with the third single from the EP, a song called “Inverted”. At the moment we are in the middle of songwriting sessions for our next EP, which we estimate to be released late 2023. Touring is making it a bit difficult to focus on the songwriting, but we manage”

PANU: “We should aim to release an album…”

PETE: “... but no one dares to do that if you are not Taylor Swift”

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

PETE: “As said, we are in the middle of songwriting. I think we have at the moment something like 12-15 demos in different phases. And from those songs, we will craft the next EP and its singles. Luckily we have a little break from touring, a bit over three weeks before the next show, so we have time to finalize a few songs. “

PANU: “Yes, I think we could release it sooner than November, but as our songwriting and finalizing the songs are usually quite a long process we don’t want to put any more pressure than necessary. We are very happy with all of the material that we are now finalizing so it will be difficult to decide which 4 or 5 songs are in the third EP. Although Pete you have a couple of lines to be finalized in this second EP also..”

PETE: “...I know. I know.”

PANU: “..so most likely when this feature comes out, we have already published our second EP “White Noise”, which will be banned in iTunes, because they have this weird rule, that you shouldn’t use “White Noise” as a name of your song or something like that - so other streaming platforms it is then. “

PETE: “...anyway the second EP is a killer. We have already released those two singles “Fade into the white noise” and “DROWN” (BMTH cover) and the third single is “Inverted” which is kind of our Bohemian Rhapsody. In the present time, it’s not very clever to publish a 9-minute long song, with almost 3 minutes long guitar solo but in our opinion, it’s fairly important as an indie band to give the audience the possibility to hear all the sides of our style variations.”

7. How about playing shows and touring, have you planned out?

PANU: “We have been touring non-stop since last October, so yes, there are always 8-10 dates in the calendar. At the moment we are only touring in Finland and we have been discussing with a few bigger bands the opportunities to be in support roles on their tours in Europe, but nothing official yet. Most likely we will tour Europe in the summer of 2024.”

PETE: “Finland is part of Europe. Anyway, we have enjoyed playing with our friends from different bands (five other bands) and being able to limit the expenses of touring. Touring is expensive, especially when going abroad but we have streamlined our technical backline in such a way that touring has become quite effortless to us.”

PANU: “Our next confirmed dates are:

21st July, Kesäterassi, Hyvinkää, Finland
29th July, Kartano-Rock, Helsinki, Finland
12th August, Välibaari, Lempäälä, Finland
9th September, Bar15, Seinäjoki, Finland
16th September, Rautajärvi Rock-Fest, Pälkäne, Finland
23rd September, Vapaakaupunki, Helsinki, Finland

Additionally, there are several other gigs that have not yet been published.”

8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?

PETE: “We will see this through, meaning, that we want to see how high we will end up. We know that it’s very difficult to break through with our kind of music in the present musical climate, but at the same time, we know that hard work will be rewarded. What would be the reward for us? To be able to tour frequently in Europe, play for new audiences, and give them the show of a lifetime.”

PANU: “I still want to release a full-length album. I know that it’s not financially smart, but I need to do that. Also, it would be fun to find a bigger label in the future that can help us to reach even more people. I’d also like to tour in South America as we have a lot of fans there…

PETE: “I think we would love to tour a lot. We are very good in our studio releases, but we are first and foremost live-act. Hopefully, we are able to keep our current lineup motivated and create even more excellent songs and be able to deliver those live to a broader audience. We don’t have any unrealistic dreams, that we will rule the charts or be the biggest band in the world - that would be a bonus though - but being able to give joy to people who love excellent gigs and are willing to hear good more progressive songs should be the target realistically.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4KLsuw8MtGdxOw8Mx9hwYH?si=NbXqeHhfQIGT-fWgw9nMvA

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/@darknessismycanvas

Follow us also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darknessismycanvas 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darknessismycanvas/

PETE: “Our merchandise will be available on Spotify during August and a broader selection will be at our own shop also in August. There will be different lines, some hand-crafted items (very unique), that have been made by our friend, who is very talented and can create wonders from textile material. And broader selection has traditional merch also shirts, hoodies, and such”

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

PANU: “I think I would like them to listen to it again and again, that they would find new depths from our songs. We are using quite a lot of time and effort to do some Easter eggs also in our music. Some of our songs contain musical jokes, that other musicians have already found, and some of our songs are hinting at different bands, that we love, so that will be quite a good challenge for the people who listen to our songs..that “wait a bit, what was THAT” - kind of a feeling. “

PETE: “I’m pretty sure that people will listen to our songs again because of the massive melodies and killer choruses. As Panu says, there are also a lot of easter eggs, it’s always fun to mess with people. On a more serious side of our music are the lyrics. We are trying to state issues that are important; from mental health issues to our own behavior in relation to the state of the world. We are trying to raise awareness of minorities and that way support them. And also we want to say that even though you are experiencing dark times, there is always hope - but you shouldn’t stop believing in yourself. Sometimes we are slow to publish new songs, because of our lyrics writing process - we want our listeners to understand the meaning of our lyrics and we want our lyrics to be relevant, so it takes time to get things right.”

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