Darlings of Chelsea – NXNE 2012 Emerging Artist Spotlight

Darlings Of Chelsea photo by Mikey Riot Photography
Check out our complete NXNE Coverage here

May 30 2012 – For the 18th straight year, North By Northeast (NXNE) is happening in Toronto from June 11th to the 17th 2012. NXNE is a music festival, conference, and even a film festival all rolled into one. NXNE is the most anticipated summer music event in Canada and aims to bring exposure to Canadian music of all genres and in general to support the Canadian music industry.  Over 650 bands and 40 films converge for 7 days in Toronto and put us on the map in terms of large artistic and creative gatherings. Modeled after the fabled South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, we are very pleased that Toronto is hosting NXNE and we are certain that NXNE will grow in both number of attendees and stature in the music industry (much like Toronto’s International Film Festival has). SXSW is plagued by over-commercialization and unless you’re deeply embedded in the industry you can forget about watching the big names. NXNE will also feature large free performances at Yonge-Dundas Square for four nights with the Flaming Lips being the main attraction on June 16.

After we weeded through all the bands bios found here and listened to their music, we were still left with a long list of bands that we were interested in finding out more about. We approached some of our favourite bands to request interviews for our Emerging Artist Spotlight series. Today we set our focus on a band from Toronto named Darlings of Chelsea. All bands we talked to are asked similar questions to each other so we can get to know them better. The description on Darlings of Chelsea’s NXNE bio description reads:

With the stone cool arrogance of New York Dolls, the stubbornness of Strummer and ferocity of the MC5, Darlings of Chelsea are probably the band most suited to playing a Bovine Sex Club gig imaginable.

Here is what they had to say to us:
  • Hey Darlings of Chelsea thanks for taking the time out to talk to us. Let’s start off with the obligatory introductions. Who’s in the band and what instrument does everyone rock?
Darlings Of Chelsea: Thanks. We are –
Paul Thomspon – Lead Vox, Guitar 
Jay Millette – Guitar 
Robby Ruckus – Bass, Vox 
Chris Mateer – Drums, Vox

  • How about the history of the band, when did you get started and how did it happen?
Darlings Of Chelsea: We formed in the summer of 2008. Jay had just moved to Toronto from Vancouver after leaving the Black Halos, Rob was back from a UK tour with Robin Black, Chris was kicking around Toronto after Cheerleader split up, and I (Paul) was looking for something new after the Parkas went on indefinite hiatus. Rob and I are old childhood friends, and everyone else knew each other from either having played together or opened for each others’ bands. We all had a bunch of songs kicking around that we weren’t sure what to do with, and we drank a bunch of beers one night and played them for each other. Something must have gone right, because we ended up booking a rehearsal space and walked out a few hours later with 6 finished tunes… most of which made up our debut EP, “The Mimico Sessions”. We had a different singer at the time, but he left shortly after that album was released.

  • Who are some of your musical influences?
Darlings Of Chelsea: We’re a straight up, loud rock and roll band, and we wear our influences very proudly on our sleeve. The MC5, The Rolling Stones, The Hellacopters, QOTSA, The Replacements, The Clash, Johnny Thunders… it’s a mixed bag, but it works.

  • We found you as we were searching through the mountain of artists being featured at the 2012 NXNE. Why should a music fan come and see your show instead of all the other choices available to them?
Darlings Of Chelsea: We exist for our live show. We try to be the ones in the room having the most fun, and I think crowds feed off of that. And if they don’t, then we play harder and louder until they start to respond. We’re not above running into the crowd, stealing drinks, hauling people up on stage with us, giving impromptu guitar lessons… whether you like us or not, we want you to leave our shows covered in sweat and booze, with a giant smile on your face.

Steve Salas of Arbor Live interviewing the Darlings Of Chelsea photo by Scott Benesiinaabandan

  • Very cool, we can’t wait to see you live. What is your favorite single line of lyrics the band has written and why?
Darlings Of Chelsea: Probably the pre-chorus and chorus in “Lucky Ones”: “Don’t leave me here, carry my out, then carry me home, and we’ll carry on… We are the Lucky Ones.” it’s a song about two really busted up souls that find something great in each other, and that line sums up the sentiment rather well.

  • What does the rest of 2012 and 2013 hold for you?
Darlings Of Chelsea: Write write write, play play play… repeat. More specifically, we’re putting together some new songs that rip really hard, so we’re toying with the idea of recording a really raw record that showcases them well. Minimal overdubs, leave the happy accidents, everything in the red… just Darlings, warts and all. There’s such a huge focus these days on making records “perfect”, and it’s getting to the point where everything sounds so mechanical that it’s hard to tell if humans are playing the songs. We’d like to try to get away from that and see how people react. And of course… you can’t put out a record without touring, can you? Stay tuned.

  • Imagine that you were asked to be the opener for any band’s world tour (both current and historical). Which band and tour would be your dream opening gig.
Darlings Of Chelsea: Ha! I’m sure if you asked any one of us that question, it would be a different band depending on who answered. But since you’re asking ME… the Hellacopters. At ANY show, at ANY time. They were the rock band of my generation that excited me most, and I would have loved the opportunity to play with them.

Darlings Of Chelsea photo by Scott Benesiinaabandan courtesy of Arbor Live
  • What is the future of the music industry? With the concept of the album and physical CD’s facing extinction, how will we be consuming music in 10 years? Are the economics feasible for emerging artists?
Darlings Of Chelsea: It’s anyone’s guess at this point. New technologies have a tendency to change the game so quickly that everyone in the industry has a tough time reacting to any shifts in how music is made and distributed. The digital revolution has come and gone, so as long as there are computers and an Internet, there will be compressed files that contain massive amounts of music, and people will always have the option of forgoing the tangible side of it all. Bands have already followed suit. We’ve played with a few that didn’t even have CD’s; they were selling download cards. That being said, there are a lot of people who actually want something that they can hold, feel, and look at while they listen to the music contained within… I’m one of them. I think that’s why we’ve seen such a resurgence in vinyl. Sure, music is an auditory experience, but it’s a visceral one as well. There’s a feeling I get when I put the needle down on a record, check out the artwork on the sleeve, and listen to the record crackle before the song kicks in… it gives me goosebumps. Despite these times of mass distribution and consumption, there will always be listeners who want something more than just data in a file.

As for the economics… times have also changed. New bands? Don’t count on quitting your day jobs anytime soon. There’s money out there to be had, but it’s much more difficult to get and there are a lot more bands going after it. You have to be willing to endure 50 failures for every success and exist as such for years. Then again, you could just take our approach: Do it because you’re having the time of your life, play your asses off, and let the rest take care of itself. 

  • Where can people get your music/CD, is it being sold anywhere?
Darlings Of Chelsea: The best spot to buy it is at the shows, because then we’ll be most likely to get drunk and cut you some ridiculous deal where we actually lose a bunch of money and you walk away with a shitload of swag. Otherwise, you can find it on our website (www.darlingsofchelsea.net), iTunes… all the usual spots. Our Fight Dirty/Tell Me 7-inch is available through Yeah Right! Records (http://www.yeahrightrecords.com). Or just steal the whole lot of it online, if you’re so inclined… just make sure you come to a show and buy a t-shirt. You can’t download t-shirts.
  • At the end of 2011 we did our picks for top 10 albums of 2011. What album do you think we should include in our top 10 albums of 2012 article?
Darlings Of Chelsea: It’s not out yet, but if the single is any indication… the new Gaslight Anthem album is going to rule. Otherwise, I hear Biblical, Take Drugs, and Saigon Hookers have been in the studio as well. Darlings of Chelsea may also surprise you with some new material. Stay tuned for some rock n’ roll, folks.

Darlings Of Chelsea photo by Scott Benesiinaabandan courtesy of Arbor Live
  •  Any closing remarks for our readers?
Darlings Of Chelsea: Occupy your local rock venue.   
Thanks so much to Darlings of Chelsea. We hope that you can see them live. They are playing June 15th at midnight at the Bovine Sex Club for NXNE. The band’s website is here and as you would expect they are on Twitter and Facebook. In the meantime check out their YouTube video below. 

Interview by: Terry Makedon and Steve Mallinson

This entry was posted in Emerging Artist, Interview, NXNE, Rock and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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