CHEEKY T’S AND BUCKETS OF BOOKS
Story by Laura Cappe
If you spot someone on the street wearing a shirt that says “Stop Thinking Like A Millionaire” emblazoned on the front, think about taking a second to introduce yourself. You should do so, because we’re telling you that this stranger listens to some pretty rad music. Maybe they’ll be your soul mate, but if not, you’ll find love in The Darcys, the musicians behind the tee.
If you don’t already know this group, – Jason Couse (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Wes Marskell (drums), Dave Hurlow (bass), and Michael le Riche (guitar, vocals)– they’re Toronto boys who are dashingly au courant, practice quick wit, and share a love of reading. It is no wonder that they churned out a clever band shirt that delivers a message that is both applicable to their music (a focal line from their single ‘Shaking Down The Old Bones’) and the socioeconomic mood of the day.
I sat down with The Darcys drummer, Marskell, for some light banter and a much-needed coffee following his previous night’s show in Guelph, ON. Being so intrigued by these shirts, I asked him what that specific line meant to him.
“I like its cheekiness,” he said. “Where it came from, I’ll leave up to interpretation, but it seemed current with the economic landscape. It made sense at the time. I heard this story about a friend that bought the record online [pre-order came with the t-shirt] and walked down to Occupy Toronto. He didn’t even realize that he was wearing it, but everyone seemed to embrace him.”
Band shirts aside, these guys have maintained a refreshing attitude after four years together. Recently signed to Canadian indie label Arts & Crafts, they have just released a solid self-titled record (available for free to download) and have a Canadian tour underway. The Darcys seem to have finally paved a path for themselves, but it certainly hasn’t been a smooth ride. With the departure of their lead singer in January of 2010 the band was forced to regroup and rediscover their sound. Luckily, their prior guitarist, Jason Couse, took over the role and The Darcys’ new voice emerged.
“I think that when you get to a certain place you have to work even harder to stay alive,” Marskell explained. “It seems like we’ve worked really hard up until this point, but I feel like we have to work even harder to stay where we are now and to keep moving forward… We’re constantly writing. We’re actually almost done demoing a new record. It can be a bit stressful at times, but the shows have been getting bigger and people have the record now, so it’s exciting stuff.”
The Darcys have created a sound that leaves a wide footprint – rich in texture, peppered with introspective lyrics, with faint vocal echoes of Jim Morrison. Having been compared to the likes of Radiohead and Steely Dan, I asked what influences their sound.
“A lot of our influences are from growing up, more so than what we’ve been listening to over the past few years, but I do think that there is this weird nineties-rock-influence that sort of sneaks its way into our music. I think we’re mostly influenced by places and going on tour, though – just distance.” Marskell continues, “We try to recreate sounds from moments. For example ‘The Mountains Make Way’ is about driving trans-Can from coast to coast. Such a long and heavy ride.”
Jason Couse joins us later in the interview toting a copy of White Noise by Don DeLillo, while Marskell had brought Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark – one of his all time favourite authors.
“We don’t really watch TV or anything when we’re on tour… All we do is read,” Marskell admits. “We have this bucket where we just discard books we’ve read and other people in the band read them. It’s a long, long trip across Canada.”
They read, have “cheeky” band T-Shirts, and deliver alt-rock music that comes across with an electricity that makes your arm hairs stand on end.
The Darcys play Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern on Friday, November 18th