The Joy In Your Eyes: Douglas Dare Interviewed

The Joy In Your Eyes: Douglas Dare Interviewed

"Memories aren’t always pure and simple..."

With an ethereal languid seductive flare, Douglas Dare sings in a manner that captivates the listener in a trance of romance blended with purpose. His third album, ‘Milkteeth’, is out now. The title evokes a feeling of childhood and a subtle quality of mystery.

“I grew up on a dairy farm where my dad’s entire business was milk. I suppose if I really think about it, the idea of putting those two words together, they juxtapose quite nicely. Milk is such a simple, pure and innocent thing and teeth actually has quite a gnarly sound to it. Memories aren’t always pure and simple, they also have their dark side so I really liked putting these two words together.”

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This contemplative notion of the duality within our hearts of memory is radically impactful. Dare offers a bold and brave lens into the scope of not only his childhood, but the evolution of his identity. This album stands as a shift in his creative practice, opening up different avenues of himself, shifting out of the somber and seeing how it integrates with his light and his feminie. It is beautiful to witness and the results are enamoring.

“Day to day I wear makeup, I wear jewellery, I wear girl’s clothes and to me that’s more about being fluid. I’m so fortunate I can be that way. And now with this album, I feel like I’ve reached a stage where people will accept me.” Dare’s drag hasn’t touched his music, but it incepts it in this specific way that has given him clarity and a means to move with more vigor. To see himself truly and offer that back to the world. 

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The two singles that were released first, ‘Silly Games’ and ‘The Joy In Sarah’s Eyes’ set a poetic tone for the rest of the album. It is an ode to simplicity, to truth, to innocence and what returning to that mode looks and feels like.

Dare sings:

Sarah, I see you every day
And though I age, you stay the same
How I remember the joy in your eyes
That joy still in me, and keeps me alive

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The imagery, in the music video accompanying the track ‘The Joy In Sarah’s Eyes’, is so impactful. Simple, yet vivid. It strikes in this inconspicuous way that permeates to the ripened core of feeling. He stands covered in see through fabrics that play in the wind, with his finger pointing up towards the sky. Being blinded but definitive, decisive, vulnerable, but with power. Wrapped and unwrapped, held with the wind.

The simple landscape allows his voice and his words to merge into a seismic prayer. It was shot with such an air of love and nostalgia, I felt I knew his entirety, his edges, his pain and his light, all in an absolute painterly quality. The shapes are very intentional and beautiful. A sense of free, a sense of lost, a sense of wistfulness and a sense of home.

Directed and produced independently with his friends, Dare is inspired to continue to cultivate a free range of moving with his work. In all processes, there is a tremendous level of care and intentionality, you can feel his heart and voice within the music, the words, the artistry of the album artwork etc. Additionally, he revealed that he also plays every instrument on the record himself and is thrilled to execute this on his upcoming tour with the hopes of producing a live video of the process to accompany it.

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The album artwork was shot by Furmann, a queer collaborative artist partnership that specializes in set design and photography. With an air of modern renaissance and an homage to archetypes, this exploration with dress up, performance and layers was a beautiful way to highlight the themes of the album.

“The idea behind the cover, you can see all the backdrops, you can see how the fabric is hung up, you can see behind the curtain, the flooring looks like black and white tiles but they're just pieces of paper. It’s kind of a drag as well, everything is a set. As a child we play dress up, I am being a powerful character on a throne, but I am very obviously in a studio,” Dare recalls.

Let the lullaby of longing and truth in Dare’s voice guide to a landscape of care. In the sounds of tambourine, the sky and the silhouettes of opaque pink, you may find a corner of love adorned for you.

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'Milkteeth' is out now.

Words: Rae Niwa
Photography: Eleonora Collini

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