A Fistful Of Questions With Ann And Brian From Darsombra

     Violinist.  Pianist.  Projectionist.  Rap enthusiast.  Guitarist.  Egomaniac!?  KISS enthusiast.  This edition of Fistful of Questions goes out to intergalactic space duo Ann and Brian or Brian and Ann of Darsombra.     


What is your full name?


Ann Fraser Everton


Brian Matthew Daniloski


Do you have any aliases?


Ann: The Orangutan of Rock


Brian: Not really, but somebody at the show in Saskatoon the other night called me “Spaceman.” Ann says it’s “Brain Dammitwolfski”


What bands are you actively involved with?


Brian: Currently we are only active in the band Darsombra.


What was the first instrument that you played?


Ann: Violin (lessons) and piano (no lessons)


Brian: Fisher Price xylophone probably, then guitar.


Tell me about one of your first musical memories?


Ann: Seeing a violinist come to my preschool and being utterly awed/listening to "Anthem of the Sun" by the Grateful Dead around 3 years of age and going nuts.


Brian: As a child, I remember my parents playing records in the living room. They had this huge wooden console record player as big as a refrigerator on its side. It included two built-in speakers on each side and a tube driven, multi-album record changer turntable in the middle that, besides playing albums at 33 1/3 and 45 speeds, could also play them at 16 and 78 (which could be a lot of fun—try your doomy 33 album or 45 single on 16!). It had a section to store a small record collection, or books, or whatever you pleased, plus you could adorn the top of this enormous thing with vases or pictures. It was a huge piece of furniture that people would showcase in their living rooms at that time.

 (interviewers note..  I remember these vividly and I couldn't have described them better…they were enormous and heavy as hell) 


Also, many years later, I remember bringing home my first rock and roll record (Kiss’ “Rock And Roll Over”) and listening to it on the family stereo, which by that point had been upgraded to a then-contemporary, and very hip, component system in my father’s study. It was wired to two gigantic mounted speakers in the basement rumpus room, and two smaller in-wall speakers on another level of the house. “Rock and Roll Over” the whole house!


What was the name of the first band you were in?


Ann: Darsombra


Brian: I was in a band in high school that played covers of stuff like Billy Idol, Dead Kennedys, and The Ramones. We were called E-Fuse, short for Europa Fuse.


Tell me about the genesis of Darsombra.


Brian: Originally called SUCKPiG, I started Darsombra in the early 2000’s as a solo side-project from my main band at the time, Meatjack. It was something to do during the downtime while looking for the next drummer (we had a hard time keeping a steady drummer), and a place for some of my weirder, more soundtrack-type ideas. In 2005, when Meatjack disbanded, I changed the name to Darsombra and it became more of a full time thing.


Ann: I joined as a projectionist in 2010, and as a musician as well in 2013.


What inspired the name Darsombra?


Ann: Brian's brilliant friend (and girlfriend at the time) Sarah came up with it.


Brian: I can’t remember what the exact inspiration was, other than that she knew I was looking for a new band name (the project was originally called SUCKPiG, but I was looking for a name that I liked better), and suggested Dar Sombra (Spanish for “to give shade”), which I then compounded into one word to take on its own meaning. It might have been influenced by me telling her that I had taken umbrage to something or other, and I think the word umbrage provided a sort of phonetic jumping off point for her.

How long did it take you to write and record Dumesday Book?


Ann: Three years of backbreaking, mind-numbing, nonstop labor! But it was fun, and worth it.


If you could insert yourself into any one band what band would it be and why?


Ann: Might be fun to whack a gong for the Butthole Surfers back in the '80s...


Brian: I can’t think of much other than when I was really young I wanted to be Ace Frehley.


Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it?  If so… What was the song and artist?


Ann: I usually don't wish I had written other folks' songs, but I often dream up queer rewrites to Doors songs and feminist rewrites to Zeppelin songs (and yes, I love both artists) (but a bisexual Jim Morrison is just that much more entertaining...and nuanced).


Brian: “Henry The Eighth” by Herman’s Hermits.


Do you have any non-rock musical inspirations?


Ann: Tons. Especially rap from the late seventies to the mid to late nineties. The more obscure, the better. Sequence, Spoonie Gee, CMW, Whodini, Super Rhymes/Jimmy Spicer. I really love Ice-T--though I guess Body Count is rock, so... also funk and soul, like Roger Troutman, Isaac Hayes/Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye. Magma is a huge inspiration. Brian will say Ligeti--I will too. Grace Jones--would she be pop? She's an enormous inspiration--without her music I wouldn't have gotten through 2020! I owe everything to Grace!


Brian: For sure! I like all kinds of music, not just rock. I usually find something to like in pretty much any music, although I may not be a huge fan of certain genres. I really dig a lot of modern classical stuff like Bartók, Stravinsky, Penderecki. György Ligeti is definitely a huge inspiration for me—possibly my favorite composer of any genre.


What’s a pop song that you'd like to do a cover of?


Ann: In League With Satan by Venom or maybe anything from side 2 of My War by Black Flag.


Brian: Maybe something from early Pink Floyd would be fun. We don’t do enough covers these days, but early Darsombra used to always include one reimagined cover in the set.


What band have you played with that has really impressed you with their live show?


Ann: Recently, Jeanne Terror Vomit! In my memory, Queen Elephantine. And I will never forget a recent show in Winnipeg with Mahogany Frog and Cantor Dust.

Brian: Mahogany Frog in Winnipeg was pretty jaw dropping the other night. Stinking Lizaveta always!


Do you have a favorite venue to play at?


Ann: The Badlands of South Dakota! We even made a documentary about one of our performances there. Darsombra TV, Episode 2: Snively and the Badlands:  https://youtu.be/MxIznF30MBs?si=PLuGPdZN7X_QdbIq


Brian: I have to concur. We’ve been lucky enough to have played guerrilla shows in the Badlands three times now, and it’s always been magical.


Do you have a pre-show ritual?


Ann: Yoga/physical therapy in a municipal park while listening to Black Flag.


Brian: Stretching and warming up on guitar.


What is your favorite thing about touring?


Ann: Municipal parks everywhere, seeing flora/fauna I don't usually see in Maryland, learning a new constellation or two, hot springs, swimming holes, splash pads, YMCAs, PLAYING SHOWS, observing humans both at our shows and in the wild, connecting with new friends and old, cultural exchange, and talking to Diane, our secretary.

 (wait….  You have a secretary?)


Brian: Playing shows is the best part of touring. After that, I would say traveling and meeting people. It’s nice to find cool souls to connect with far from home. It makes the world seem like a better place. Seeing landscapes that look nothing like the area we live in is pretty cool too.


What is your least favorite thing about touring?


Ann: Hard to say. If I look for things about touring that bum me out/annoy me, I'll spend too much of my precious time on the road hyperfixating on what I don't like--a mindstate I try and avoid. The next tour is guaranteed for no band--health problems, home obligations, pandemics, financial woes: these can all derail a tour pretty easily. So it's best if I focus on my joy when I'm out on the road and remember that life is change. If you're the type of person that bums out because you haven't had a shower in days, or the club is a hellhole, or you're sick of public restrooms…perhaps touring may not be your bag, baby.


Brian: The parade of unfamiliar toilets can be not so fun. Will the toilet at the venue or gas station be something I actually want to sit on, or a complete horrorshow? But overall I agree with Ann. Touring beats pretty much any job I can think of. Would I rather be sitting behind a desk five days a week from 9 to 5 working for some asshole who I can’t stand telling me what to do? I don’t think so!  


(I love that attitude..  And it almost makes the thought of those horrifying toilets worth it.. lol) 


Is there a city that you love to hit while on tour?

Ann: So many! Buffalo, Detroit, Antwerp, Inverness, Bandung, Kuala Lumpur, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Tijuana, Twin Cities, Quad Cities, Lincoln, NE…I'm leaving out too many spots! All of them.


Brian: There are so many. Darsombra is closing in on 1000 shows played. We usually have good shows in Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, too, for that matter. Prague usually turns out to be a good time, and of course our hometown Baltimore! So many. Too many to list.


What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had on the road?


Ann: It's hard to remember! We've done over 700 shows together...so there are huge piles of weird experiences behind us. Seeing UFOs, border crossing adventures, touring places where we don't speak the native tongue...here's a good one, unusual and wonderful:


So we were riding in a hired car (known as a "travel") in East Java in Indonesia, with another band who were Indonesian and American, to our next gig in a city called Ponorogo. As we drove through a small town on the way ("small" being a relative adjective here as there were still hundreds of people in the street, piles of burning trash by the side of the road, and an elephant--such is Java), our band friends got the driver to pull over and led us across traffic to a crowded town square with amplified music. As we approached the square and wound our way through the gathered crowd, we saw dancers with enormous, colorful, 60-pound masks they were holding up with their teeth, practicing an ancient traditional dance called Reog Ponorogo. All on the drive to the next gig...


Brian: My whole life I have been repeatedly approached by people I’ve never met who think I’m somebody they know, no matter where I go in the world. Sometimes they’re incredulous or insistent about it. It’s beyond weird. On the few occasions where I’m able to see the person that I’m being mistaken for, I never think I look anything like that person. However, in the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the way home from Darsombra’s southeast Asia tour in 2018, I looked over at the row of seats across from me and it was like staring into a mirror. This guy looked just like me. Since it was like 5 in the morning or something, and I was feeling pretty groggy and scatterbrained from staying up all night to take this flight, I didn’t go over to talk to him (he probably would have said that he didn’t think we looked anything like each other anyway! Haha!). Instead, I pretended to take a selfie across from him, but I was actually taking a picture of him, just so I could have the evidence.


The year is 1999.  Where are you at and what are you listening to? 


Ann: I'm in high school, graduating junior year/entering my senior year, probably listening to Nas' "Illmatic" or "Things Fall Apart" by The Roots as I do some elaborate graffiti mural in the company of my then-crew under a bridge in Baltimore City.


Brian: I’m touring in Meatjack (we just released our debut album “Trust”) and probably listening to a lot of metal and Frank Zappa.


What advice would you give young musicians that are just starting out in the music business?


Ann: Never try to fit in.


Brian: Forget about the business part of it at first, and just play music because you love to or have to. if you are doing it to get popular or make money it will show in your music. If you wish to get involved with the business end of music let it evolve naturally. Let people come to you. Consider going the DIY route. The music business is not set up for the benefit of the artist.


What is an absolute band killer?


Ann: Capitalism!


Brian: Ego.


Have you ever recorded a song that you really didn’t like, but somebody else in the band really did?


Brian: No. I would never be in a band like that. My ego is too big!

Ann: I usually come around to appreciate passages I didn't initially connect with when it comes to recording. Composing, though...that's another matter! We try to keep open minds, but from time to time we lock horns.


If you were to start your own music festival what would be the name of that festival and who would be the three headlining bands?


Brian: I’d call it Too Many Festivals and the three headlining bands would be Magma, King Crimson, and Darsombra.


Ann: Voivod or Magma (whoever's available) or Grace Jone, if we could accommodate her elaborate rider

Mahogany Frog (of Winnipeg)

And Darsombra, of course!

I'd call it the Don't-Forget-Your-Mushrooms Fest.

We'd probably try and get Dimitri Reeves on there too--he's a neighbor of ours from Baltimore, infamous for guerrilla shows in busy intersections all over the southeast US. Look him up on Instagram--he is a force of nature.


What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?


Ann: A week or two…?


Brian: Probably a week or more, while on tour.


What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?


Ann: I studied six languages.


Brian: I am a huge fan and collector of Alfred Hitchcock films.


Is the Fistful of DOOM show in the top 10 of your favorite music podcasts?


Ann: Sure!


Brian: Of course!


Do unicorns sleep standing up?


Ann: Horn down, buried in an anthill.


Brian: If they’re really looking for a good time, unicorns sleep with Darsombra! ;)


Give me three albums that I should listen to immediately, if not sooner.

Ann: “Nightclubbing" Grace Jones, “Musica Ricercata" György Ligeti, “Köhntarkösz" Magma


Brian: “Rembrandt Pussyhorse” Butthole Surfers, “My War” Black Flag, “Ready For The House” Jandek


You’re driving cross-country and you can only listen to one album the whole time.  What album will it be?


Ann: I’m gonna cheat here and say if I had the entire Butthole Surfers discography on shuffle, I could drive across the entire galaxy!


Brian: “Ready For The House” by Jandek


You are writing a book about your life thus far.  What is the title of that book?


Brian: “How To Succeed Without Trying”


Ann: "It's a Municipal Thing"


What is your favorite song by Taylor Swift?


Ann: “Ballroom Blitz"


Brian: “Gulliver’s Travels”


Slipknot or Rammstein (if you had to choose)?


Ann: Ministry


Brian: Doubleknot and Frankenstein


Doobies or Boobies (if you had to pick one)?


Ann: I'm more of a gummies or tummies type, but...strong hands on older women.


Brian: Why can’t I have both? One in each hand!


Waffles or Pancakes (if you had to pick one)?


Ann: Oatmeal!


Brian: French Toast!


Star Wars or Star Trek (if you had to choose)?


Ann: Trek forever. IDIC. I've written two Trek fanfiction novels. Just visited the future birthplace of James Kirk on this tour!


Brian: Trek


Favorite band t-shirt you own?

Ann: Rush, "Caress of Steel"


Brian: Floor, “Dark Side of the Moon”


Favorite meal?


Ann: Kimchi kitchari on the road, stew stew stew at home


Brian: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich


Favorite book?


Ann: “The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester


Brian: “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll


Favorite movie?


Ann: Alien


Brian: 2001, A Space Odyssey


Favorite album?


Ann: No one favorite, but I really enjoy "Let It Bleed" by the Rolling Stones.


Brian: I honestly can’t answer this question. I have sooo many albums that I listen to for different things, but my favorite band is probably Pink Floyd.

Favorite video game?


Ann: Oregon Trail!


Brian: Centipede


Favorite Professional Wrestler?


Ann: Rowdy Roddy Piper


Brian: Roto Rooter Pooper, who incidentally was banned from professional wrestling for his namesake wrestling maneuver.



     Massive thank you to Brian and Ann or Ann and Brian for taking the time to answer these questions whilst also out on the road plying their trade.  I am forever grateful.  The rest of you should click on the link so generously provided below and immerse yourselves in the sounds of Darsombra’s latest album Dumesday Book.  And while you’re at it, support them by buying an album or some merch! 


~El Pedo Caliente (aka Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)