The two members of Darling have been around the Irish music scene in various forms for the past decade or so, but having fine-tuned their sound they are now about to release their debut album as a duo.
Ahead of the release of their self-titled album on March 31st, we asked Gaz Harding to answer entertainment.ie's Big Questions.
What’s the music that you listened to growing up, that you still listen to today?
I started off on Greatest Hits. That’s all I used to own or buy, for ages. So greatest hits from The Who, Bowie, Neil Young, Springsteen, Dylan, The Bee Gees. Every single one of those artists would’ve been referenced at least once during the writing or recording of the album. Like actually referenced, where we’d blast a song on repeat from one of the above because there was some aspect of the arrangement or the structure or vibe, or whatever in a specific song by one of those artists that we wanted to…borrow. I’m a massive consumer of music though and my days are soundtracked by tunes.
When did you first realise you wanted a career in music?
2001/2002 was when I discovered The Beatles and The Strokes. That was a big 12 months for me. It was my awakening. That’s when I really started to toy with the idea of learning the guitar (I knew I could sing at that stage) and maybe starting a band when I was older. I didn’t realise there was no age limit on it. I think I thought you had to be 22/23 or something before you could actually play gigs and be a proper band, haha.
In three words, describe the minute before you walk on stage.
Intense, surreal, exciting.
How do you wind down after a gig?
It’s usually an hour or so at least before all the gear/load out and the logistics stuff is taken care of. After that, if it’s being a good gig, lots of wandering around the venue, chatting to people who have come, maybe a few drinks! It basically turns into a night out, and listen - if some fast food happens to land in front of you at some stage, then all the better!
What’s the one song you wish you’d written or recorded first?
You Really Got Me by The Kinks, cos it sort of started all this and I still get a rush of exhilaration when I put it on.
What song of yours are you most proud of?
Theres a tune on the album called Slow that I really love. I’d had it knocking around for a while - the verses, anyway - and I started playing it in a rehearsal for a run of shows we were doing about 2 years ago. I started writing the chorus as we were playing it cos the rest of the band had joined in when I’d started it up and I was getting a buzz off of playing it. When I went into the chorus and everyone followed for the first time, the lyric and the melody came out straight away I straight up got goosebumps. It was a brilliant moment and the sort of moment you dream about as a songwriter and hold on for.
What’s your favourite venue to perform in?
The Olympia. Gorgeous venue, sounds amazing, so much heritage. It ticks all the boxes.
Your best and worst gig so far?
We did a show in 2015 supporting Echo and The Bunnymen. We were so excited to play it. About 2 hours before doors, the Tour Manager for the Bunnymen came into our dressing room and said he was sorry but we couldn’t perform. The band thought we were gonna be playing as a two piece with acoustic guitars and when they found out we had brought full backline and a band with us, they had pulled the plug. Cue lots of running around by our management and crew to assure everyone that we wouldn’t mess up their backline, front of house setup etc. It was so stressful. Eventually the TM said that Ian and the guys had left for the hotel and wouldn’t be back till just before their stage time. He made a deal that if we could go on, play our set and get us and the backline off stage and out of the venue before Ian was back in the building, then we could go on. If he found out, it was on our heads. We agreed and ended up playing a blinder. I think it was a mixture of relief and adrenaline. And the load out was done with military percision, Ian never found out!
Whose career do you envy, and why?
I love how someone like Ryan Adams operates. Releases well received, critically acclaimed albums consistently. Works with savage producers. He has a great backing band, brilliant players, respectful interested fans and audiences. He seems to do it right. He’s really prolific as well, has his own gorgeous studio in LA filled with vintage gear. Yes please.
Vinyl or digital downloads?
Vinyl and streaming. I lost the run of myself buying vinyl for a while. Love em.
Give your thoughts on Spotify in three words.
Give artists more.
You can only have three albums on your phone/in your house at any one time - what three would you pick for today?
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface
Planet Parade – Mercury
Name one piece of music memorabilia that you wish you owned.
Macca’s Hofner bass.
Name one record, one book and one film that everyone should hear / read / see.
Deadly question. The answer to this would honestly change on a weekly basis. Darling by Darling (obvs), Anthony Kiedis’s Scar Tissue and OJ: Made In America (although it’s actually a documentary but I’m watching it now and it’s stunning.)
Pick the director and lead actor(s) for a biopic about your life.
John Carney, Joey Essex.
You’re ordering take-away, what do you get?
Indian from Namaste, Smithfield. The greatest Indian take away in the city. They do a mystery special on Sundays. A mystery curry (it’s usually Bhuna though), rice and naan bread for a tenner. Come on, like! And it’s so tasty!
You’ve been given €100,000 to spend, but only 1 hour to spend it. What do you buy?
Flights, lots of first class flight tickets with Emirates to exotic far-flung locations. Spread out over the next few years. You can take showers on those flights. Tickets cost like 13/14k a go, though. So you know, maybe shower before you leave the gaff.
Describe your perfect day off.
A morning of coffee and music and hanging with Amy. An afternoon of shopping (clothes) and lunch in Two Boys Brew. An evening of dinner in Pitt Bros/Bunsen/Neon and a nice little night out with the boys. Yes!
Tell us why we should listen to your album.
It’s unlike any other record that’s gonna come out this year. It doesn’t sound like any thing else that’s coming out right now. We’re not Ed Sheeran, we’re not One Republic or The 1975, we’re not Mumford and Sons or Lorde. We’re definitily not the Chainsmokers or Kygo. We’re this weird guitar band that write alternative catchy songs like its 1989, or 1995 or 2001.
What else do you have planned for 2017?
We’ll sell this record out of the back of our cars if we have to. We want this album to get to people and we’re going to do whatever it takes to do that. Jim may even start vlogging. I just have to explain to him what YouTube is first. That may take a while. He’s from a different time, is Jim.