Friday, August 8, 2008

The Clockwork Dolls

I usually post blog entries on Saturday but I could not contain my excitement over this week's feature so here it is one day early!

It is my pleasure to introduce a spectacular new band who use their tunes to invite listeners into a whole new world beyond the clouds...


Their origins and adventures on their airship can be read at I found the Clockwork Dolls on Myspace after looking high and low for a tune which could convey the dark themes of my novella Katana Duet: Samurai's Forbidden Love in a short book trailer.

After canvassing the net for tunes, I was still empty handed, frustrated, and very concerned about how to explain my historical fiction to musicians. I had heard of the growing Steampunk culture and eventually found The Clockwork Dolls, a crew consisting of Allison Curval and Helene De Fer. The group is constantly evolving and soaring to new heights so it is certainly difficult to confine their music to merely one genre.
I'd like to ask Allison Curval about how she would describe her music and where she plans on taking her crew in the future.
"The Clockwork Dolls really started as a simple idea: combine elements from traditional chamber music and merge it with modern electronic elements to create a mixture of classical tones with modern dance.
I later pitched the idea to Helene De Fer during rehearsal (both of us were in the same theater group) and we soon established a wonderful working relationship; thus The Clockwork Dolls was born.

First came the music: I wrote the Sweetest Poison not really knowing where the song was going but after one evening full of wine and dance, I wrote an intricate storyline in my mind which became a Myspace blurb. That has since exploded into a complex plot loaded with characters in their own colorful universe."
My attraction to their work came after listening to "The Maiden Voyage" performed and written by Helene De Fer with music by Allison Curval.

"You really thought I'd be content
A housewife in a gilded cage?
The sea, the sky, it's all the same;
Adventure being what I crave.
I'll never stop, I won't come down!
My passions here in whirring gears.
This triumph of my female soulI will not
spoil with useless tears."
Allison, can you tell me more about narrator of this song? She seems to be a restless soul who won't settle down.

"We realized at this point that our joint efforts would lead to a multimedia extravaganza involving visual and audio elements and thus the story of the Dame De Fer was born.

The song "The Maiden Voyage" (which is to be our title track) is the tale of a noble lady born into a society she despises and forced into a political marriage. She abandons her past and family and takes to the skies in search of adventure.
Our upcoming full length album (which will be entitled "Dame De Fer") will be the soundtrack to a graphic novel (or potentially an animation) surrounding this story. The tale will take our listeners into an epic world full of action, adventure, espionage, politics, and technology with the Dame De Fer stuck in the middle (did I mention time travel?)."

So what are your future plans for The Clockwork Dolls?

"We are currently working on a short EP consisting of 8 tracks to be released later this year which will be available for download on iTunes as well as for purchase on CD Baby for a reasonable price, and a full length two-CD set to be released at a later date. Accompanying these releases will be a web-based graphic novel (currently in the works), which will be available free of charge, along with streaming audio on our website (also . . .currently in the works).

Please visit our Myspace page at
for a free demo of our music and do not hesitate to contact us should you have any feedback. We love hearing from you."
The song is exquisite on so many levels and I was struck by how it not only induced a vision of first flight by the Dame De Fer ship but that it captured the social condition of women in the 19th century. The Dame De Fer is an imaginary ship of course, but it can transport listeners to a different stratosphere within their imaginations.
"The Maiden Voyage" took me to a time where some women entered what were then considered to be masculine fields such as medicine, while many found their future in the world of education and nursing. Unfortunately, most young females became part of the machinery of the Industrial Revolution or remained confined to farms and vast fields with their children. Women today will no doubt empathize with their sisters from a bygone era during which the value of a female was based on her ability to care for a home and produce children.
Aside from my own social and historical interpretation of the song, the tune is a declaration of a woman' a s aboard.

Katana Duet: Samurai's Forbidden Love, takes place during the late 1860’s and 1870’s in feudal and modern Japan and then the small town of Madison, Wisconsin. It is a story of great racial and cultural contrasts.

The video, which can be viewed at or features "The Sweetest Poison" by Allison Curval. It has two different themes and was used to show the dramatic change within the lives of the Matsumoto twins, former Samurai, who are now foreigners in a strange land. I am very fond of the title for the song because the forbidden love in the novel is also "The Sweetest Poison" which affects the four young characters.

"In Vino Veritas--Enter the Calliope", also by Ms. Curval, gave the atmosphere of secrecy within the household and ends on a more hopeful note. After all, both pairs of siblings, the American Lennartsson brother and sister and the Japanese gentlemen, are engaged in a fight not only with one another but for their very survival. The Clockwork Dolls’ music was truly the soul for my book trailer but I assure you than these tunes on their own can give any fertile imagination new stories.

Images and designs pertaining to The Clockwork Dolls are all property of the band and used for this article with their consent.

See you all next Saturday!
Silapa Jarun

1 comment:

Savanna Kougar said...

Tiffany, absolutely fascinating. Great to see so much creativity!