The new musical duo, Dead Light, formed after Anna Rose Carter and Ed Hamilton found a mutual love of theatre and music. Their similar sensibilities led them to relocate from London city to the countryside to start writing songs of their own. Released earlier this year, their self-titled record is a promising atmospheric collection of songs shaped by a sense of curiosity and care in which its eleven songs feature piano, strings, loop effects and abstract vocals. Andrew Darley spoke to Anna and Ed in how they found perfection in the imperfections while making the record.

Let's go right back to the beginning - how did Dead Light come to be?

Ed: The first thing we ever saw together was 'Crow', a brilliant, but intense imagining of Ted Hughes's book of poems by Handspring Puppet Company with music by Leafcutter John. Not that it was unapproachable, but the fact that we both loved it was a pretty good indicator that we shared a similar aesthetic sensibility!

Anna: After that we ended up becoming 'gig buddies' and it was pretty rare that one of us wanted to go to something that the other didn't. Ed also helped me with a gig I did supporting Stars Of The Lid and after that we started making music together regularly. Out of these early sessions it became clear that we wanted to work on a project together.

Why did you shift from city surroundings of London to the countryside to write the album?

Ed: It wasn't an aesthetic choice, we both liked living in London and the opportunities it gave us to experience different music and theatre but we couldn't afford to live there without having full-time jobs and we wanted to dedicate more time to making the record.

Did it feel liberating when you moved to the countryside?

Anna: Initially no. We both felt a little lost and it took us a while to get used to the different pace of life and the adherence to routines that being here necessitated.

Ed: Once we settled in the extra time was very liberating though, and having the recording equipment in the house we live in is great; we can make and record whenever we want to now, which is a situation neither of us has been in before.

Did you want to draw different tensions across the album?

Ed: Not consciously no. There's a tension that comes from living in this beautiful place but not being totally suited to or comfortable in it. Having written the record whilst living here, this tension inevitably manifests itself in the songs.

What was the first song that felt like where you wanted to go with the rest of the record?

Ed: 'Falling In' was one of the first things we created after moving here and was definitely a marker for where we wanted the record to go; treated piano, texture, loose but present rhythmical structures. 'Falling In', 'Slow Slowly' and 'Pale Fire' are the tracks that the rest of the record grew from.

Using piano preparations and treated tape, did you want to create sounds that listeners would have no clue how they were made?

Ed: We never set out to disguise the sounds or fool people in any way. It's more the case that we both wanted there to be a recognizable handmade aesthetic on the record. When you're using predominantly acoustic instruments, there's something nice about taking the imperfections inherent within the recordings of these instruments and embracing them - enhancing them even. The piano preparations, for example, were a way to embrace the already noisy sound of Anna's old piano and the other textural elements were used to underscore and embed these noises into the compositions.

Would I be right in thinking that song ideas come very quickly between you but the labour is in refining and fine-tuning them?

Anna: Exactly right. The songs are made very quickly and then Ed takes two years deciding he's happy with the mixes!

Ed: There are many layers in most of the songs; the main ones were recorded very quickly and were mostly improvised but then we added, removed, refined and it took us a long time to get the balance of these main parts and their supporting layers just right. Honestly I'm still not convinced the balance is perfect but you have to let go at some point.

Anna: I think because it is our first record together this made the whole process longer than it might otherwise have been. The next one will be much quicker.

In the two years you were writing, were there any unexpected moments that had a big impact on the record?

Ed: My favourite moments were when we had guest musicians staying. We'd written the parts but the inventiveness of the people we asked to play on the record meant lots of unexpected things came to bear. Having their parts in place really finished off the tracks where those details were missing and gave us a renewed drive to finish the record, and it's always nice having people staying.

Anna: When Lasma Anspoka came and we made 'Sleeper', that was amazing. It was right at the end of making this record but I think it will have a big impact on the next record.

Some like 'Sleeper' feature abstract vocal loops. Can you see your work developing with more voice in the future?

Anna: Definitely. We're planning to have voice as a central focus on the next record. Hopefully Lasma can come and stay again and mine and Ed's squawks will be in there somewhere too!

Can creating as a duo be intense or is that intimacy something you thrive on?

Ed: Being a duo forces your hand sometimes, as there isn't a third member to cast a deciding vote. This can create fractures, but mostly we found these helpful musically as it forced us into compromises that we might not have thought of otherwise.

Have you considered how you are going to translate these songs live?

Anna: We're working on it. We've got some live dates in the spring next year so we'll have to have it figured out by then. Hopefully Ed can finish off the instruments he has in his head for the shows by then, probably not though and we'll have to come up with something on the night!

Ed: That's what makes playing live interesting, close proximity to total failure! I don't enjoy performances that are too polished and rehearsed; it's nice to have a little room for the unexpected!

Dead Light's debut record is out now. For more information, check out their official website.