RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW SOUTHAMPTON BAND DARLING DARLING
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I don’t think we ever actually truly got the choice – it’s definitely something more intrinsic for all of us.
Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.
Matthew Bisgrove – Vocals, guitar, writer, entertainer Bradley Dorey – Guitar, Bass, Drums and production Will Mansfield – Keys
Well, Darling Darling was started by Matt a long time ago and has evolved into this beautiful cataclysmic happenstance full of expression, wonder and pretentiousness. Matt eventually let others in and realised he couldn’t do it alone – not in the most earnest way anyway – so there are three of us now.
Matt has been involved in music for the best part of ten years working as a manager, promoter, A&R, etc. you name it. Once he decided he was good enough to make it as a writer of his own music he set sail for the help of those he trusted. Enter Brad.
Brad has been playing, fronting, and producing bands and music for a long time. He’s played locally and further afar in a plethora of bands but has settled more into the producer role over the past few years. He also has some killer solo stuff due sooner rather than later so keep an eye out for that.
Will is a professional keys player and hails from London. Coming from a musical family, Will began playing music at the age of six. Originally entering into the world of brass through tenor horn and later trumpet, Mansfield found his true passion once he turned his attention to piano. After moving to Southampton to study music at Solent University, Mansfield has since played in numerous musical projects; including: The Phoenix Project, Matt Layson, Olli Eldrick, Heart & Sol and now Darling Darling.
What was life like for you before music?
I think boring probably just about covers it. Left wandering the day’s night wondering how to make poetry and mystique cool.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
The first album I (Matt) ever bought was Justified by Justin Timberlake, but my music taste was definitely shaped by my parents’ love for anything and everything. For now though my main influences include Scott Walker, David Bowie, Dr. Dre, Blur, Mitski and Childish Gambino. This is then extended to the rest of the band whose tastes are equally as broad with artists such as Radiohead, Tame Impala, Lou Reed, The Blue Nile, Caroline Polacheck and many more influencing us.
Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?
Well, after taking a long break to re-assess where we’re at emotionally and personally I think we’re at a position where we’re almost starting again. It’s something that is equally liberating and terrifying as we don’t want people to have forgotten us, but it’s given us the strength to really give this the best of us. What we did realise in that time is that we’re going to be as organic as possible in terms of building a fan-base first locally and then beyond. Because if the people at home don’t care about you then nobody else will. It’s a very tight line.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
I think something that has stuck with us is that you’re only as relevant as the last thing you did and people may not remember you, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. That’s why we present ourselves in the most earnest way possible, but the lingering pretense we create around the project also serves as drama and mystique. We want to be earnestly organic in the way we create and consume. The pzazz of the live show and all the creative endeavors we create online and in person are just extensions of our dreams and stories we have within these characters and emotions we have in our songs.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
A massive following of organic fans who live, breathe, and support our band and music. Real fans are what literally make the difference both literally and figuratively.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?
Oh man. People love to call it a conspiracy, but I do find it funny how arrogant we are in this day and age in the sense that we believe we are the most developed and heightened beings to have ever inhabited this planet.
I think it’s dumb to believe that we are the best when in fact we have just murdered, pillaged and stolen pretty much everything to ensure we are the best race. There is so much evidence to the contrary and even further evidence still that there was a race a millennium plus ago that was so advanced that they created things we couldn’t fathom – uh, hello the pyramids?! and more. Anyway, TL;DR that’s what I subscribe to anyway. So, I try not to take knowledge and history for granted.
What was the worst experience on stage?
Well, some people may have taken it to heart but I once heard someone take one look at us as we were about to begin a set and say “Cor, this is going to be shite”. It didn’t put us off and his partner spent the entire set dancing to all of our songs. So, erm, 1-0.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about. We have a solid 100+ songs sitting about in various forms from finished to demo scratches. We’re so excited to finally get on with getting them out.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think a lot of things we’ve already mentioned about being as earnest as possible with our craft, output and ourselves. Plus the fact that we’re not afraid to push ourselves into genres, spaces we’re not familiar with just to serve the art. One day I’d love us to look back at our discography and be proud of what we’ve done.
We live in a playlist era where if it all sounds the same from one artist people tend to switch off. Darling Darling is a name that transcends genres so don’t be surprised if we have a full deep electro album and a post-hardcore one someday. It’s a carnal necessity for us realistically to serve the art and push it as far as it needs to go.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yeah, our new single ‘Conversation Pit’. It’s something that we’re very proud of and took a million different turns before we truly understood what we were aiming for, but in the end we found that very beautiful. It’s almost like we were writing a song for our future selves to understand and once we did, it was all that matters.
It’s a song that focuses on the notion of observing life through the lens of self-acceptance and is a big nod to the grandiose sounds of late 60s / early 70s psych, intertwined with sweet-tooth pop melodies. The response so far has been so positive which is great, but the fact that people are truly on board with a song that “deep” adds to it definitely.
What was the recording process like?
It was easy in some ways and tough in others. In terms of getting into the studio and nailing it – that was the easy part, it was coming to grips with the contextual aspect of what we were writing about that was tough. Brad is an insanely talented producer and knows how to get the best out of us and the song itself no matter what.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Trust your instincts, even if you don’t know what they’re trying to tell you. In your gut and in your heart you’ll know what the truth is.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Personally, I’d like a 8-minute version where it’s just extended, but that’s just me being greedy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
2024 will be a very busy year for us. More music, more shows, and more pretentiousness online and in person. We’re so excited for what’s to come. Catch us in a city near you soon.