RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MANCHESTER’S DANIEL DARLEY
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Talk us through how you started in music?
Well, I work as a solo artist primarily, as in I write the songs and do most of the musical arrangements. But I work closely with my producer, Jamie Wilson. I used to teach Jamie guitar at school, which is how we met. He then came up to study music production in Manchester at BIMM and after he graduated, we decided to work on this album together. It’s been really amazing to work on something together.
Introduce us to you and your musical history?
Well, I was originally in a band SYLVIA. We were signed to Regent Street Records and released two albums with them, as well as touring the UK and Europe. After a while I felt like we were pulling in different directions, so I went solo. I spent about two years making an electro-synthpop album from which I released one single. It did well but then over lockdown I lost a bit of momentum and I had time to have a bit of rethink and decided stylistically it wasn’t the best direction for me. That’s when I started to record this new album. It’s more striped back production wise, with just piano, guitar, strings and vocals. I think as a singer-songwriter is where I feel most comfortable and plays to my strengths as an artist.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Probably the previous one as it’s quite a time-consuming answer.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with America and the UK, good idea?
Yeah, sure. If you’re giving upcoming, independent artists a platform then it’s great to share the music far and wide.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I’m quite a big fan of the one about Shakespeare’s plays being written by Christopher Marlowe. Who allegedly faked his own death and moved to Italy. I also looked into the one about Kurt Cobain being murdered but decided there was nothing in it. Other than that no. I actually think they’re quite problematic. People take half-pieces of misleading information and without knowing how to scrutinise it properly end up with silly and often extreme ideas and opinions. There are many instances of this at the moment. I mean look at Covid. When covid deniers are dying of the disease they’re saying is a hoax, you can see why it’s an issue.
Did you buy anything you didn’t need in the pandemic?
Can’t think of anything to be honest. I bought a new guitar, but that turned out to be quite useful.
What useless party trick do you have?
I’m so useless I don’t even have one.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Playing live is mostly always fun. I once played a gig on my Birthday and everyone in the crowd sang happy birthday, that was lovely. I think recently as well playing songs from my new album live for the first time after lockdown has been pretty amazing.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Anytime the sound engineer does a bad job, and you can’t hear anything on stage. Which happens more frequently than it should. It’s so shit. Or there was the time someone from the audience managed to get onstage and put an ironing board in front of me. I was so annoyed I kicked it off the stage and it hit a photographer in the front row. I apologised after the gig and he was fine.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
After one gig someone came up to me and said that they thought my songs all sounded like classic songs that they hadn’t heard yet. I suppose that’s what I’m going for. A classic singer-songwriter album like early Neil Young or The Plastic Ono band. Songs with timeless melodies, where there’s something interesting going on in the music, arrangements and lyrics.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
It must be the general inability or lack of will from governments to stop massive corporations from making eyewatering profits when most people are feeling the pinch. I can’t understand how we’re in a situation where trillions are stashed in offshore bank accounts, doing nothing, and can’t be taxed. It’s all done legally, so it’s a systemic failure. Doesn’t say much for the political class.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I think my new single ‘Faking’ is always fun to play live. It’s just a song I’m proud of and really signalled a change in my life’s direction. It’s great seeing people react to it in a positive way.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it?
Yes, I’m releasing a single on 19th August called ‘Faking’. It’s a song I wrote about finding love again after a difficult time, and how it feels to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you. It’s quite striped back but I just love the melody and I think it’s one of the best lyrics I’ve come up with. I also love the string arrangement. In the chorus where the strings soar over my vocal melody I think really captures the sense of yearning I was going for.
What was the recording process like?
Fairly straight forward to be honest. As it’s just guitar, strings and vocals I suppose the most difficult thing was making sure the mix had space but also didn’t lose impact.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
There are always unexpected obstacles when you start a new album. For this album about half the songs are on the piano. I’m okay on the piano (I’m mainly a guitarist) but wasn’t happy with the first recording session we did. So, we then had the difficult job of finding someone who could not only play the parts well but could also add something to them. Certain musicians can be great players but might not really understand the vibe of the song, or don’t have the creative feel to see what you’re trying to do with a part and develop it. In the end we found someone who did an amazing job but for a while it was really holding up the project.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Nothing to be honest, I’m pretty happy with it.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
To release two or three more singles, make some videos and tour.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Just I hope everyone listens to and enjoy the single and the album. It’s been a real labour of love and I’m really proud of it, so I want as many people as possible to hear it.