Contributor’s Note: Out of New Orleans and Germany come a synthwave/darkwave duo that also combines influences of dance, theater, opera, circus, and butoh. Vocalist Leah Darkling and multi-instrumentalist Erick R Scheid formed The Palace of Tears and created their debut album “Of Ruination”. This album explores the debauchery behind Mardi Gras while taking that sudden twist to deep isolation, despair, and loneliness. In terms of their music, The Palace of Tears fuses hypnotic electronics, heavily layered processed guitars, and sultry vocals that captivate. Fans can pick up “Of Ruination” through all digital platforms. In this mental health conversation with Madness To Creation, L.V. Darkling of The Palace of Tears discusses mental health awareness, their music and coping with the Covid-19 pandemic. Fans can find The Palace of Tears at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: What gets you through the difficult times?
L.V. Darkling: A glass of whisky perhaps or Lots of sleep, and subconscious processing of everything that’s going on, through dreams. While a drink can help take the edge off, I am utilizing mental health resources as much as possible, and in fact am able to see someone currently in person who helps with energy work, and clearing things out of the body. It’s been incredibly and profoundly helpful, and I have used group meetings, too. My friends have been there when I reached out, so I’m very grateful for the friendships I can hold onto, especially now. Erick is hugely supportive and I couldn’t imagine a better co-hort for end times!
Madness To Creation: What got you into music?
L.V. Darkling: I’d say I’ve always been intrinsically connected to music. It’s definitely in the blood! With a background in classical dance, I began learning classical music early on, and in fact my teachers were still using LP’s at the time!! I also have a musical family: 2 brothers who are guitarists, mother/grandmother who played piano, and I began piano around age 12. But simply because I have always been a dancer/mover, it has been in my body throughout my life, as both an artist and performer/choreographer.
Madness To Creation: Tell us about “Of Ruination:, what were some challenging and rewarding aspects?
L.V. Darkling: The Palace of Tears is my first project so I’ve been a bit of an uncarved block in some ways. The name was originally inspired by the film remake of Suspiria, which we later discovered actually referenced a real place in Berlin, which is also where we first met, so it’s incredibly uncanny and perfect! We create vibes, incantations, aural experiences, and transmutational frequencies. I keep humble working with Erick who has vast amounts of experience and offers so much support, encouragement, and patience! The most OBVIOUS challenge is being a new and emerging project during a time in which the performing arts are severely restricted, and though we have taken full advantage of the internet for streaming and creating performances, it’s incredibly difficult when I don’t even get to see my friend’s faces, and hug them. And thinking “what the hell are we doing?! We’re supposed to be touring and playing out in front of people on stages! Not messing with the computer and the internet streams… GAHHH!” – understanding the ins and outs of streaming has been no small task.
On the flip side of that, it has at the same time been incredibly rewarding to have these opportunities at all!! I don’t know how I would carry on if we didn’t have such supportive folks all over the world to network with and gain exposure in ways that you might not be able to otherwise, so at the same time these streams have been incredibly helpful tools and we are still able to share our work with others, which is the whole point! We don’t exist without our audience. Also, the fact that we are able to record and produce an album right in our own home, AND put on shows by converting the studio into a theater is something to be especially grateful for and take pride in. A whole new way of expression and creativity.
Madness To Creation: The soundtrack to your life is from this artist/band and why?
L.V. Darkling: No way to pin it down to just one artist, so we’ll pass on this one, but likely some sort of moody piano, like Chopin or Satie. Definitely have a serious soft spot for classical piano probably because of my love of ballet.
Madness To Creation: What has been the biggest blessing and curse about going through the pandemic? How has it affected you mentally?
L.V. Darkling: The biggest blessing… I’d say the time that we’ve had to create music, and just give it everything, without much distraction, right from our home studio. And the time together became enriching. It really allowed me to go deep and do inner work, so I’ve felt this became my full time job, faced with myself and my issues, and anything unresolved that floated to the surface demanded to be dealt with. So there’s been a lot of purging and releasing, and awakening and realizations, some easier than others, but overall incredibly fortifying. And plenty of time to read!
The biggest curse – I am deeply saddened by the restrictions on the arts, as it’s been my whole life. The effect on me socially has been hard, the confusion and feeling that you have no control. The fear that I might be losing friendships. But on the darkest days, I have contemplated what I’m living for, and why. There have been hard times for sure, and that’s why I’m continuing counseling and energy clearing work, like AIT and EMDR, both of which work with trauma. At first I began to fear other people, but I eventually began to consider that fear itself is a tool being used for manipulation, and I am deeply concerned about this effect on others. It impacts my family and my friends and I feel the collective impact.
Madness To Creation: Are there any songs of yours, published or unpublished that perhaps mentally served as a vehicle of therapy? Are there perhaps any that dealt with a subject too painful, that you didn’t want to release them?
L.V. Darkling: Our track, Shadows of Whispering Phantoms… It’s a not so subtle reference to someone who I’ve been estranged from for about 3 years now. They are still living, but it’s as if they are a ghost now, and I don’t know how to touch them or reach them, and that brings a lot of pain sometimes and sadness. It is someone who I’ve always been very close to. They were my best friend, my family, my confidante. It’s hard to talk about. So when I perform this song, it’s very visceral, and it’s emotional, and there’s just no other way to perform it without that melancholic feeling and anguish. And I hope that it can reach into others in that way and provide a place to work through the pain of loss and separation, or just feeling disconnected from those we love.
Madness To Creation: What do you hope for in 2021?
L.V. Darkling: In 2021 I hope for there to be a return to travelling unrestricted, and to the performing arts, but I suppose that’s probably overly optimistic. If we could at LEAST get some small touring possibly set up, that would be incredible, and stay tuned!
And there you have it! Check out “Of Ruination” below: