Blackpool britrock trio Darlia bookended a year of single releases at the end of last month with debut mini album Petals. Here they talk Spotify, Spice Girls and those tiresome Nirvana comparisons…
1. So, the mini album is out. Which of the tracks are you most proud of?
I love the acoustic version of Pandemonium. How it sounds on Petals is exactly how I wrote it. And every single Darlia song is written in this way. I have it out with the guitar in bedroom format and the boys and myself go spinal tap on it. So the difference between that acoustic version and the electric one, that entity exists inside every single Darlia song. That Darlia sound is essentially armour.
2. What kind of influence on your songwriting did growing up in Blackpool have?
Well Blackpool has a real decayed theatrical essence. I seem to remember being told before my lifetime there was a full-on animal circus and things like that. But when I was growing up everything was closing down and becoming derelict. But I was fascinated by the idea of abandoned an abandoned circus and it did have an impact on one of my favourite aesthetics.
3. What kind of musical landmarks does Blackpool have, if any?
It has a place called Winter Gardens which is a big theatre. Some big bands play there occasionally. It’s quite elegant.
4. What drove you to start a band?
I’m not going to dress it up, I know I always say ‘I just always knew I was going to since I was about 9’ but the thing is, it was escapism. Starting a band was my way out and planning it all was my way in. A lot of kids want to start a band and I think they grow out of it. But I was too busy planning and executing one step at a time to ever grow out of it. That’s what it is. Also, I grew up and got out of a religious experience where Rock & Roll was the most evil thing on the planet, and all of these religious allegories and religious metaphors made me feel like Rock & Roll was the ‘forbidden fruit’ itself. You know, the whole thing about succumbing to temptation and it taking over the soul. So I was infatuated at a young age t the idea of day succumbing to Rock & Roll and it just inhabiting my soul.
5. At what point did you realise you were actually pretty good?
I’ve been writing songs from head to toe since a child. What genuinely upset me was that no one was hearing them, because how could they? When I was about 14 I bought a 4 track recorder because I thought that’s what you do when you want to record your songs, then I quickly realised it’s not the 70s anymore. What the f*ck do I do with a cassette with my songs on it? So I downloaded some software free online and starting recording loads of my songs. I put some on YouTube and this guy I never ever spoke to approached me saying he loves it, that was Dave.
6. ..And at what point did being in Darlia start appealing to the opposite sex?!
Since about 1942.
7. Are you sick of the Nirvana comparisons yet and when did those comparisons begin?
I don’t understand what you mean, nobody has ever compared us to Nirvana. Yeah it started when people saw I had bleached hair. I had black hair on the first tour we did. People said we sounded like Nirvana and I looked like Kurt Cobain if he had black hair. I only dyed it black because I’ve always had blonde hair and people have always said it. Oh well, whatever. Nevermind. I don’t want it to happen but fuck anybody who tells me to change to avoid it. So it’s my own fault. I think I’m gonna grow a long beard and wear a ponytail and talk about how I love to travel and I’m a spiritual person, which probably equates to some fucking gap year in Burma and 1 dose of magic mushrooms once in Amsterdam – just to distract people from the Nirvana comparisons.
8. Everyone seems to be looking to the 90s for inspiration now. If you could compare yourself to any 90s band, who would you choose (hint: you don’t have to say Nirvana).
Ah that’s so boring. I honestly can’t be arsed with that. Why would anybody look to the 90s / any other era for inspiration? I hate people thinking we’re a revival band. That’s like saying we’re a tribute band. If that’s what people think then I must be doing some reply really fucking wrong. Spice Girls.
9. Do you always write songs with catchy choruses/radio play in mind?
I’ll just have a melody stuck in my head for years and if I don’t make it an official Darlia song it just won’t leave my mind.
10. You’re touring the UK through April and May. Which dates are you most looking forward to?
Going on tour with The Wombats will be fun. It’s always fun playing to somebody else’s audience, although please note I will be scared of you. I understand as soon as we walk on stage to somebody else’s sold out show, you look us up and down and think ‘Right then, who do you think you are?’ I’m also looking forward to our headline tour. The atmosphere during our last tour was amazing.
11. What’s the most rock and roll thing you’ve done since the band started?
Sang along to Craig David with Davey.
12. Spotify: Do you support it, or do you feel it’s destroying musicians’ incomes?
I think as a band we were born into this new realm of the internet overpowering every single thing, so we never saw the affects it had, we just went with it. A viral video can get millions and millions of views, and a healthy online person can achieve millions of engaged fans. That’s like a successful TV show 10 years go!
13. When can we expect a full album from Darlia?
Late this year.
14. Can you describe any new songs (for that forthcoming full-length album) that you’re most excited for everyone to hear?
The whole thing really.
15. Finally: What do you think northern bands have that southern bands lack?
A natural aversion to the Tube.
The new single “Queen of Hearts” is out April 20th.
The mini-album “Petals” is out now and available to buy on iTunes.