Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Darcys

The Darcys
Photo by Erika Altosaar

Toronto’s The Darcys are an indie art rock band comprised of Jason Couse, Wes Marskell, David Hurlow, and Michael le Riche. Releasing their latest album Warring back in September, A Music Blog, Yea? caught up with the quartet to discuss the story behind the title Warring, songwriting inspiration, and an upcoming cover.

AMBY: Hello The Darcys, how are you and what’s the band been up to lately?

The Darcys: We’re good. Tired. We’ve been playing a series of shows in high schools in an effort to save instrumental music programs. Our performances are a form of protest. Music education was very important to us and I think back on it as one of the only things that got me through school. I believe it offers a lot to future musicians and accountants alike and that all kids should have access to playing music in school. We have had some really early mornings, but the kids have been fantastic. It gives me a lot of hope for the future.

AMBY: How would you describe each member of The Darcys in one word?

The Darcys: Proactive. Exhausted. Withdrawn. Egotistical. I’ll let you connect the dots.

AMBY: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration?

The Darcys: Most of our inspiration comes from hearing something, be it a song or just a musical idea, and thinking that we can do it better. We’ve been working on some new material and it’s a synthesis of very fast hip hop beats and aggressive synth sounds. I want to get rid of our atmosphere and start to focus on a few core elements and very strong melodies. We’re always trying to pull from different directions to make something that feels fresh. Sometimes jamming obtuse ideas together makes for something wonderful and different. I’d love to make a record that only has five or six tracks per song.

AMBY: Your latest LP Warring came out back in September. What’s the significance behind the title?

The Darcys: It’s a reference to the line “war was always here” from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Where it goes from there, I leave to the listener. Over time I have found a number of ways to relate both myself and the outside world to the title. I often think about the internal struggles that exist for our band and our collective desire to persevere. It was an early motto for the project and seemed like a very fitting title for our second original release.

AMBY: We’re enjoying 747s off the album. What’s the story behind the song?

The Darcys: I was reading a lot of Bukowski when I wrote the lyrics for 747s. I had really grown to love the way he romanticised objects like he did in “A Radio With Guts.” But the more I read of him, the more I realised just how toxic he was. The chorus, “747s lift me up so I don’t pull you under” was my attempt to mirror those feelings and to understand myself in the relationship I was in at the time.

AMBY: Which The Darcys lyric is your favourite?

The Darcys: “You belong where you belong.”

AMBY: Does hailing from Toronto have an influence on your sound? And if so, how?

The Darcys: I think the days of city defined genres are over. That, or maybe I just don’t know what Toronto sounds like. As a band, we are very insular. We don’t take a lot of advice and usually aren’t very collaborative. It’s something we are working on, but the shift is coming very slowly. We tend to write and record in the winter and I think it’s fair to say that the cold darkness of Toronto in January may have permeated the lyrics and atmosphere of Warring. Our music definitely has that big city mood.

AMBY: Which other artists from Toronto would you recommend our readers check out?

The Darcys: I’m not feeling that much of it right now.

AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?

The Darcys: I’m in love with the new Jon Hopkins record and the new Darkside is fantastic.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about The Darcys that nobody knows yet?

The Darcys: We’re trying to cook up a cover of Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor.

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Thank you The Darcys, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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