Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Alex Darling

Ralph's been a long time fan of the alternatively poppy stylings of Manchester band Duke And The Darlings these last few moons, so when news of a solo venture by Alex Darling filtered in over the ether it was time to have a word.

Shooed Away is the first of two solo releases for Alex Darling and features vocals from soul singer Alice Gasson, and guitar from both Iwan Jones from Clockwork Radio and Luke Wilkinson from DATD. The song is a departure from the energetic alternative pop of DATD, as it delves tenderly into the evocative subjects of familial estrangement and existential bewilderment.

With thanks to Nicola Jaye - MCR Photographer

Although Duke and the Darlings are set to release a new single, recorded at Abbey Road Studios on Sweet Sweet Records, Alex was keen to emphasise that these separate releases are - "a necessary step in progressing musically. Thinking outside of the usual box and working with talented artists from other genres has ushered my songwriting forward."

Ralph pressed on: How easy/difficult do you find it to steer a seemingly more introverted course with your music as opposed to DATD's bouncier style?

Alex: "It is the side of my writing that has always existed, but never really surfaced. The DATD track House of Cards and a song you won't have heard, The Click (currently being mastered at Abbey Road Studios) were more introverted songs played through the means of the band, but naturally that gave them more dynamic and a latent energy; there was a decision by us all not to force that energy that comes so naturally for a band onto Shooed Away because it was that bit more tender."

Ralph: Is there a cathartic element to the solo writing?

With thanks to Nicola Jaye - MCR Photographer
Alex: "All of my songs come from the same place. Some of the loudest songs we play in DATD are some of the most personal. The most cathartic aspect of performing a song is making sure the energy of the music matches the sentiment behind the song. But there was a different type of catharsis in having gone through the process of releasing a solo song." 

With thanks to - MCR Photographer
"For someone who has been in bands his whole life, it was uncharted territory. Some songs take over your headspace until they are completed and this is definitely one of those: there was a real sense of release once we had committed all of the ideas in my mind to tape."

Ralph: Corrie or Emmerdale?

Alex: "I'm not a telly kind of a guy, but my mate is currently in Emmerdale as a detective so I should probably so that. That said he has been in Corrie too, so I'm torn! I grew up with mum watching all of the soaps but never fell in love. Fuck it, Corrie." 

Ralph: What do you feel Alice's soul-fused vocal brings to your musical table?

Alex: "Rhythm and groove. Her voice is phenomenal and effortless, but the way she plays around the beat is what made me think of her when I needed that female vocal. Although it is pretty much a swooning lullaby, there is a lot of syncopation in the guitars that Alice plays off. Her range, too, opens up the sonisphere of the track as my vocal on the song is more narrative and contained." 

Ralph: Plans for more solo releases and maybe even an album?

Alex: "There is another song already under way, I Won't Change. It was performed live with DATD when we played SoFar Sounds Manchester and it was brilliant for that intimate setting. But that was a one-off, a unique show. The song definitely has a second life, but in my head it sounds very different to the night." 

Ralph: Any solo gigs/single launch planned?

Alex: "DATD have too much going on with the Abbey Road singles, UK dates soon to be announced and new songs being worked on for EP number four. I want nothing to get in the way of DATD. The two solo releases planned were not about doing what the band does but on my own, it was about challenging my songwriting and orchestration."

‘Shooed Away’ by Alex Darling feat. Alice Gasson is released on Saturday 3rd October on Sweet Sweet Records

Ralph: Hot Pot or Scouse?

Alex: "Lancy with brown sauce." 

Ralph: Considering collabs with any other artists with different stylings? 

Alex: "Just you watch this space..."

So there you have it, a little insight into the musical world of Alex Darling and the eagerly awaited release of Shooed Away on October 3rd...having had a sneak preview I can tell you it's extremely pleasing on the ears with the vocal counterpoint between Alex and Alice a delight...shades of The Beautiful South...watch this space indeed!

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