The Darcys’ quick transformation

Another five-piece indie band?

Not a chance. This is one you’re going to want to take a second look at.

Immediately, they will seem different, but how does that old saying go? “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix It.” The Darcy’s are certainly far from being broken.

Success in the world of music is a reality for a select few and a seemingly intangible concept to the vast majority of those seeking it. The Darcys linger on the edge of success, having some experience but looking for more.

On the verge of releasing their sophomore album, the band will soon be launched into the next phase in their musical career. If the past is any indication of what’s to come, the new album and year ahead are set to be brilliant.

Few bands on the road to success can do what the Darcys have done. Having developed a cult following and continually attracting positive media attention, all the while remaining true to the unique nature of their post indie rock sound, these five men have managed to embrace their budding success with grace.

Dubbing them “musical geniuses” might be a bit over the top, but surely not far from the truth. After listening to the Darcys’ debut album Endless Water, it is hard not to want to hear more.
Sadly the Darcys will have no new sonic masterpieces available until sometime in early 2010.

But luckily, there is one thing that has been put out there to help ease the pain which has caused quite a bit of buzz for the Darcys.

Last spring, the talented team released a free track and made it for download on their website.
What amounted to a highly aggressive and creative cover of the Final Fantasy hit, “The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead,” resulted in air-time on both Toronto’s 102.1 the Edge and CBC’s Radio 3 – quite the accomplishment for any band.

The boys in the three-piece suits (yes, they perform dressed to the nines) boast uniqueness, like so many indie bands. Unlike so many indie bands however, the Darcys have the sound, story and the attitude to back it up.

For example, the Toronto-based band, accompanied by producer Matt Durante, recorded their first album – Endless Water – at the Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum. Strange, no?

Only recently finishing a viciously successful 10-month tour that included memorable performances at both the North by Northeast and Sled Island Music Festivals, these men in three-piece suits are in the process of finishing their sophomore album at Mountain City Studio in Montreal with the Dears genius, Murray Lightburn.

Anyone keeping track of the Darcys these past four years would be quick to comment on how far they have come as a band.

Change inevitably has its way with all things, and the Darcys are no exception to this rule. Having attended a number of the band’s shows over the years, I am the first to admit the Darcys of today are a strange reflection of the men who performed one of their earliest shows at The Office (now The Longest Yard) on Bloor in 2005.

Now the Darcys are regularly invited to play at popular venues like Sneaky Dees, the Supermarket and the infamous Horseshoe Tavern. The band even returned to Waterloo last year to put on a show at Starlight Lounge.

Confidence, energy and love for what they do define the band’s live performances. There is no doubt the Darcys love performing, love creating music and truly appreciate their fans.

Over the years, the quality of sound has improved to the point where experiencing the Darcy’s live today would rival anything a CD could offer. I highly recommend a visit to the bands myspace page and a solid listen to the four tracks available there, especially “The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead.”

This is one of those bands you are going to want to be able to say you saw live even before they made it big. If you’re lucky you might even be able to catch a show in Toronto for about $10 bucks, and you really should.

Q & A with Kirby Best of The Darcys

Looking back on the last 10 months, would you say your tour was a success? Any one moment/show stand out for you?

It’s hard to keep perspective on everything that has happened over the last little while. It happens in such little increments; the Darcys exist on a day-to-day kind of scale. So ‘success’ happens on that kind of time-scale as well, it can be hard to see.
More and more people coming out to better and better shows has definitely been an exciting and rewarding progress. More than anything, the band has found it’s sound and structure doing as much touring as we have this year, so in that sense it has definitely been successful
Our show at Sled Island was one of the standouts of the last little while.
We’ve played a bunch of shows in Calgary but we’re not househould names by any means. We were going up against the Breeders so I was a little bit worried that it would be a quiet night.
In the end people did show and were energetic and responsive.
A group of people wanted to hear one of our older songs so badly they dragged us into the men’s washroom to play a little impromptu acappella set. That was pretty amazing.

Was it a NXNE tour or did you just play NXNE shows in addition to other gigs and festivals?

The stuff we did at NXNE this year was another stop along the way. It was great to get back and play a solid Toronto show, as it had been a little while.

Do you feel your sound has evolved since the release of Endless Water? Are there areas you still want to explore?

Again our sonic progress has happened in such small bits and pieces that I forget sometimes how different we sound from when we started.
There was once a real folk rock element to us at one point. The sound of the Darcys at the moment is a lot more interconnected if that makes any sense. Rhythmically and melodically, it’s all part of the same structure, so if you moved one piece of the puzzle, everything else would fall apart. It’s an organism.
Making this record I also rediscovered the strength of our rhythm section. I guess I gotten a little caught up in all the tangled guitar work Jason and Mike had been spitting out that I forgot just how funky and forceful Wes and Dave can be.
As we were building the tracks in the studio, it kept kind of sounding like an R&B band after they had finished laying down their tracks but before we’d begun to lay down the other sounds. I’d love to keep moving in that direction, exploring what kind of emotion and feeling we can create just using rhythms.

Do you think your fans are going to be surprised by the music on your new record?

We’re a live band at the core, so we’ve been feeling out these songs in the live show for a while now.
So if you’ve been out to our live shows then you’re not going to be taken totally by surprise, but there’s plenty new in there that’s not as obvious in the live show, subtleties and dynamics. I think the thing people will be most surprised by is the jump forward in the albumness of the whole thing. It’s really a record. Everything moves together.

You have developed a fairly serious following. Why do you think you’re sound has been so well received by such a diverse audience?

I’m not really sure, but I know we’ve always made an effort to make sure that the songs work on a really simple level, like voice and guitar or voice and piano.
If you strip away everything it still feels like the same song, and I think that comes through to people. We make the transfer of energy, emotion and experience as clear as possible. The song comes first and I think that can help the music resonate on a pretty universal level, but then again I’m pretty sure my grandma doesn’t like delay pedals.

Would you say your music is more accessible than what’s being produced by similar indie bands?

Again I have a hard time gauging where were at musically because I’m involved in it. It feels like the kind of music we need to be making at the moment and I think that’s sort of every current indie band’s goal.
It’s not like there is an obvious way to make huge accessible records any more. You just do what you love and hope for the best.

Do you feel you’re filling a niche that has yet to be taken advantage of in terms of your sound and image?

No one else is rocking the suits and beards as hard as we are at the moment.

I’m curious about the Darcys writing process, is it a group effort? or spearheaded by one or two members?

It’s a mystery. The songs kind of build themselves. Everyone throws their ideas at the basic structure of the song and then they kind of figure themselves out.
Even stuff that comes to the table as a fully realized song leaves in a very different format, all the songs come out sounding like The Darcys. I still don’t really understand it, but I’m okay with that.

Your stage presence has really improved over the last couple of years. Is it something the band has actively worked on, or has the evolution of your performances been more of an organic process?

There’ve been times when we’ve talked about changing stuff (doing more rock kicks and knee drops!), but when you get out there you forget all that planning. I think what we’ve learned is how to forget better.
We’ve learned how to forget that we’re playing music for people and just to play music. We’re better at losing ourselves in the songs because we know them inside and out. It’s a like a new shirt, at first you’re all conscious of how you’re wearing a new shirt and wondering if other people are noticing how new it is.
Then after a while you’re out and it’s just part of the wardrobe and you’re doing somersaults and spraying beer on yourself and just having a good ol’ time in your old reliable shirt.

How was recording with the producer of the dears? How do you feel about the Dears? How did it compare to recording Endless Water at the waterloo children’s museum?

Murray was a huge addition to this record. Just having him on board as we were writing made a big difference. Knowing that someone we all respected and admired was listening to our process helped us up our game quite a bit. He’s got great ears. He’s got a sense of how an album gets made that blows my mind. He could hear how each individual part related to the song and how each song related to the whole and hold that together as we worked.
Making this record was great. I loved the children’s museum, but we were learning so much, about the songs, about the band, about how to make a record as we went that I feel like we lost the plot at times. We should have made Endless Water and then gone right back and made it again. With this new one, it feels completed. Really done. So much so that I’ve felt this real void in my life since we wrapped. We’ve been working on these songs for so long it feels like they’re a part of us.

How was recording with the producer of the dears? How do you feel about the Dears? How did it compare to recording Endless Water at the waterloo children’s museum?

Murray was a huge addition to this record. Just having him on board as we were writing made a big difference. Knowing that someone we all respected and admired was listening to our process helped us up our game quite a bit. He’s got great ears. He’s got a sense of how an album gets made that blows my mind. He could hear how each individual part related to the song and how each song related to the whole and hold that together as we worked.
Making this record was great. I loved the children’s museum, but we were learning so much, about the songs, about the band, about how to make a record as we went that I feel like we lost the plot at times. We should have made Endless Water and then gone right back and made it again. With this new one, it feels completed. Really done. So much so that I’ve felt this real void in my life since we wrapped. We’ve been working on these songs for so long it feels like they’re a part of us.

Did you ever envision the band being as successful as it has been and with such a bright future ahead?

Nope, not really, when I first started writing songs, it was a way for me to get out of the world. So I never really moved my goals beyond that bedroom mindset but as things have started to progress for us it has been really life changing to connect with people who hear something of their own in the songs. We’ve been blessed by a lot of people getting interested at the ground level and making the effort to come out to shows and support us. It really takes a village to get a band off the ground these days.
This article is for an indie magazine I am producing with the help of MOCtalk’s creator, the premise is an information source on indie music so i would like to get your recomendations for less-known musical talents to finish up the piece with. A sort of “who the darcy’s are currently listening to”. This could even just be a few bands you’ve played with over the years who you respect and enjoy.

Does the new album have a name?

Yes. I think it does, I’m not sure that’s it’s quite ready to come out into the world yet. We haven’t had a chance to sit with it for long enough yet. But soon. Soon as we’re ready.

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