D//E Interviews: Secret Shame

As far as debut albums go, Secret Shame's Dark Synthetics couldn't be any more pristine than what its conciseness, denseness and dark ferocity cook up. In essence the album calls to mind the very best of post punk, darkwave and deathrock. Moreover the Asheville quintet's first also sounds brutally honest, with every of its words, sounds and ideas deriving right from the gut.

The band's members talk about what they do and create in an interview with D//E, followed by their excellent video for the fantastic Calm, conceived by the band and realized by Brody Flowers.

How different is Dark Synthetics compared to the band's self-titled 2017 EP?

The biggest difference is that Nathan and Billie weren’t in the band. In the self-titled EP, we were still figuring ourselves and our sound out. Dark Synthetics leans more in the direction of a cohesive whole.

How would you describe Secret Shame's sound?

Dark post-punk may be the easiest, but there are also elements of deathrock and gothic rock in there. We tend to just play off of each other in the moment when writing, rather than trying to stick to one specific sound, which I think is why our sound bridges a lot of gaps.

The album's themes seem to be drawing from profoundly dark spaces. What took your writing to such a bleak direction?


Do you consider yourselves a heavily political band? How do you feel about the current state of affairs?

We play dark music because we live in dark times.

How did you end up releasing the new album on Portrayal of Guilt Records?

Nathan: POG are friends of ours from playing in Asheville over the past few years. The last time I booked them I showed Matt a track at like 3am and he immediately wanted to put out the tape. It seemed like a perfect fit since POG also have such a unique sound and elements of their music tend to touch on industrial and post-punk.

The cover artworks on all the singles and the album are so distinguishing and equivalent to one another. Are they a crucial part in fully realizing the creative vision of Secret Shame? How did they come to life?

Lena: Maybe so. I’m a visual artist and being already so in touch with the emotions of the songs, I felt it would be easier to create the landscapes for them myself than describe the feeling to another visual artist. I have a hard time putting any of my ideas into words. Expression through creation is much easier and more fulfilling.

Although you're a band with a good eye for style and visuals, there's only one music video thus far. Will there be more?

Lena: Definitely. I wish we could make a music video for every song we’ve written. But unfortunately, they take a lot of planning and work, especially on a low budget. We’re currently planning another one right now. Hopefully it will be beautiful.

Are the comparisons to the post punk greats of the past something you enjoy being mentioned about the band? Does it get old? 

Lena: I don’t think it gets old. Anymore. I used to think it got old when people told me, often, that I sound like Siouxsie Sioux. But now I don’t see it that way. People really love her. People really love the Cure, and people love being reminded of things that they love. I think it’s flattering, because we all obviously care about the giant post-punk names as well. And to be compared to very talented artists- artists that people feel connected to- feels really nice, especially when that’s never been our intention.

What are you currently listening to mostly?

Matthew: Viken Arman, Nolah, Choir Boy

Nathan: Cerebral Rot, TR/ST, Hide

Ryynikki: Top 40 pop, Mozart, Secret Shame radio on Spotify

Billie: Shwefelgelb, Kontravoid, Trashlight

Lena: Daughters, Grouper, Radiohead slowed down by 80%

What comes next for Secret Shame?

We enter the studio again this November with engineer Ricky Olson to record two new singles. Plans to tour the south this winter and then expand on that in 2020, along with recording a potential follow up LP to Dark Synthetics.

Band photo by Audrey Pierce

Secret Shame Bandcamp | Spotify | Facebook | Instagram

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