Darkpines shares a playlist of tracks that inspired his new single ‘I AM A HUMAN (BEING)’

Darkpines lists Bon Iver, Radiohead and more as key inspirational forces behind his resplendent latest single, I AM A HUMAN (BEING)   

There’s no denying that Darkpines’ new single I AM A HUMAN (BEING) is wholly unique.

A clashing blend of EDM, indie and synth pop, the track is clearly the work of a singular (and downright playful) voice. And yet, like any great artist, the Pittsburgh-based Darkpines is aware that he stands on the shoulders of giants. 

darkpines new release

Below, Darkpines swings by Happy Mag to share a playlist chock-full of tracks that inspired his sound, from household names like Bon Iver to the very artist who appears on his latest single, Brother’s Crickets.

Check out Darkpines’ full playlist of influences below, and scroll down to listen to his new single I AM A HUMAN (BEING).  

The songs you’ll hear on this playlist have influenced my approach to making music, and many may directly influence this song. I’ve always been drawn to making certain songs very powerful sonically. I AM A HUMAN (BEING) is one example. 

O Superman by Laurie Anderson might be my favourite song of all time. It stands in a category of its own and gets included in any respectable playlist (in my opinion). If you’ve never heard it before, do yourself a favour and listen to it now.

The next two songs ignited my mind with possibilities. I grew up listening to Rage Against The Machine and being awed at their abilities and amazed at the way it made me feel.

At times it is necessary to make music that is bombastic; Calm Like a Bomb and Bulls On Parade taught me a lot about how to make that happen. Read the lyrics while listening to these two.

Bon Iver have reinvented themselves so many times you’d hardly know it was the same band. I mean that in a good way.

The specific reason I picked these songs is because they are a) emotionally evocative and b) Justin Vernon‘s vocal delivery and use of sampling on these songs changed my entire perspective on how a song can be constructed, and how to use my voice in a powerful way (not my natural tendency). 

My best friend forever, Brother’s Crickets. We’ve been making music together for over 25 years and grew up in the same town. Brother’s Crickets is a great songwriter, arranger, producer, and more.

These days we collaborate on almost everything but in various forms. Each of us has a solo album and Sometimes (Over and over, Pt. 1) is a great example of his capabilities.

If you need more convincing, check out our most recently released collaboration Came to Play (A Different Game) and Make It Happen

Radiohead are in general one of my favourite bands. Hail To the Thief is one of my favourite albums. Myxomatosis has a unique but heavy sound that I’ve often admired and tried to achieve without ripping them off.

It sounds like they’re ripping the fabric of spacetime. I wanted to do that. The National Anthem broadened my perspective. To earn my Music Education degree, studying brass and woodwinds was part of my course requirements.

I was obsessed with Kid A at the time and there’s no way I’d ever have written I AM A HUMAN (BEING) without hearing The National Anthem, even if I can’t draw a straight line from one to the other.

Be on the lookout for brass (synthesised and real) and saxophone in upcoming releases.

Buckle up. The next two songs are so in alignment with my soul that I had to include them here. They describe sadness in the closest way I’ve ever felt to having my own emotions be named.

I’ve always struggled to maintain my mental health and went through a particularly difficult period for the last few years that ended in me having to leave my teaching position and seek intensive outpatient therapy.

Songs like this helped me to feel less isolated during those times.

Bombast from the Past, from my first release. In no world do I make I AM A HUMAN (BEING) without all the things I learned from making this instrumental.

I remember reading that Paul McCartney wrote Helter Skelter in response to being disappointed about a song that claimed to be the heaviest thing around.

Supposedly when he heard it he didn’t think it lived up to the hype. Then he made this song. I always remember wanting to sing like Paul sings on songs like this. 

Sufjan Stevens helped me understand more about how to use synthesisers and MIDI in song form. Age of Adz basically explodes into existence.

This is something I find very effective in certain kinds of songs, especially I AM A HUMAN (BEING). I layered my voice in this song with multiple takes, something I admire about the way Sufjan recorded his vocals in All for Myself