Portrait by Chris Moore
Something slightly menacing lurks in the spaces between Still Corners’ opaque, shimmering sounds. The dream-pop five-piece’s recent single, “Endless Summer”, sounds like what might happen if Slowdive called in a honey-toned sylph on vocal duties and David Lynch favourite Angelo Badalamenti on production. It’s unsurprising, then, that Badalamenti’s dark, emotive soundscapes are a band touchstone. “That Lynchian vibe is definitely a connection we have as a group,” Leon Dufficy, the one behind the band’s dizzying Wurlitzer swells and hallucinatory live visuals, says. “It’s his ideology, the way he works – everything seems normal on the surface but underneath, it’s all a little bit blurred.”
“It’s like that moment in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me where the band is playing in the Pink Room,” chief songwriter Greg Hughes adds. “It’s so heavy – the vibe is so intense. It would be nice to think that listening to this kind of music makes you transcend normal things and really takes you out of the moment for a second.”
It’s clear from the band’s shared interests in all things leftfield that Hughes and Dufficy were always going to explore the darker side of their wanly sun-drenched sound. But it wasn’t until the spine-chilling vocal gymnastics of Tessa Murray were added to the equation that their ideas took wing. “I think everyone has that desire to hear something a bit different,” Murray, a one- time classical chorister from Tunbridge Wells, says. She clicked with Hughes one “dark and foggy night” when they were both stranded on a lonely train platform in Kidbrook. “We all have the same vision and ideals. I fell into this. I thought I could help them out and be in the background, because I love singing, but then I just felt I knew what they needed.”
“We were making demos with Tessa because we were looking for a singer like Tessa,” Dufficy explains. “Then it dawned on us that we already had Tessa.” “I think if something touches a chord within you and you’re lucky enough to get a group of people where that chord rings the same, it’s beautiful,” Hughes adds.
It’s no surprise to find that they also share a penchant for the more extreme end of the supernatural spectrum. “I’ve been making a ghost box recently,” Dufficy confides. “It’s a transmitter that you rig up to lock into the frequencies that spirits are on – you turn it on, wait and then ask who’s there. All these voices come through.” The band members all have out-of-body experiences in the video for “Endless Summer”, but surely they don’t actually believe in ghosts?
“It’s an aesthetic thing really. We just like the idea of them,” Hughes says with a mischievous smile. “We’ve been talking about incorporating the ghost box into our sound, though — having a brief moment when we can get the audience to be very quiet and see what ghosts we can tune into. Hook it up to a bit of delay, and who knows what you might find?” §