Dark tales sung sweet from the Montreal underground. After unexpected attention from an acoustic demo-turned-"Winter Keep Us Warm" EP, The Darling DeMaes brought their pop noir tunes into producer Joseph Donovan's Mountain City studio and recorded the critically acclaimed full-length debut, "A User's Guide to Raising the Dead (Songs of Spring)". Melodic male-female harmonies and subtly complex arrangements with unexpected twists and turns, all spearheaded by Erik Virtanen's unique storytelling, quickly set the demaes apart as a musical gem to be discovered in the Montreal scene.
Click the link below to view the Q & A
The Darling Damaes, it begs the question, name origin…?
Short story goes: Lea De Mae was a member of the Czechoslovakian High Diving National Team when she injured her spine. Became a really great porn star, and then died of a brain tumor at 27.
In that case, I guess it’s safe to assume you consume a lot of porn. Does it influence TDD’s music?
Not nearly enough as it could/should.
The Darling Demaes have such a unique and rich soulful sound that oftenspeaks of dark terrible things in sweet heartfelt tones. In some ways it reminds me of The Smiths, or even The Beautiful South – a type of very modern cutting-edge folk sound. Am I way off? How would you describe your sound?
The Smiths…maybe. Erik’s lyrics tend to be laced with a bittersweet nostalgia. It’s ghostly. I think he kind of takes what he sees in his head, his memories or illusions of his experiences, and puts them to story. As musicians we try to fill in the space with whatever the truth of the song is. It’s hard to describe a sound. Maybe I’d describe it as Rock and Roll Storytime. We try to create a landscape that is unconventional and enigmatic, but as a listener, you see yourself in that scenery too, living that story through your own memories.
Is indie music, i.e. unsigned bands, getting better by the minute? Or is that an illusion? Is this just a result of accessible technology that wasn’t around at the height of the garage band era, or is there something else going on?
Anyone can make an album now and call it indie music. It has become so easy. People can create all kinds of weird shit, slap it on myspace and guess what? Someone’s gonna love it! Someone’s gonna tell their friends “you gotta check out ‘Fox and the Tame###s Scribble Drove’, they’re amazing!” So whatever. Maybe they are. If, by “getting better” you mean are there more talented bands out there? Probably. But it still takes originality, luck and money to not only “make it big” but also to last in the industry.
Is word of mouth generated from live performances enough to attract a
following, or do you need a slicker more produced sound on The Web as well? I ask because I know you recently self-produced a great sounding album.
I think if you have good songs, and you play them well onstage and you make people feel something, they will remember it and then next time they’ll bring their friends. Having a great sounding album is valuable because then you’re at home with people. While they’re doing their dishes or twitting about ikea customer service, or getting laid, there we are to share it with them. As far as having a following goes… we’re not Justin Bieber, but the people who come to our shows really seem to get a lot out of it.
I’m from Montreal, so I might be biased, but is the ratio of good bands to “so-so bands” seems to be lot better in this city than in most, or at least on par with nearby mega-cities like Toronto or New York, and if so, why is that, why Montreal?
It feels like Everyone here is a musician. In Montreal, rent is cheap and artists can be artists. I think people here feel very passionate about creation and expression and aren’t too worried about being 34 and needing to buy a house and have some kids. There are thousands of us just playing music because it’s what we want to do. If it sounds good and someone likes it, even better. I think that’s the attitude around here and it’s not just about money or fame. I think Canada is creating some amazing new music. There’s a pretty great scene in Brooklyn, too.
There were only three of you on stage one time when your lead-man Erik mentioned that at least 5 bands were being represented. Can you give me the names I should look out for if I want to catch TDD talent in its different incarnations?
We’ve got Pale Ramone comprised of myself, Erik and James Finnerty. We’ve been recording over the last couple years and things are slowly coming together.
Erik Virtanen has a completed solo album, recorded at Mountain City, mixed in LA, mastered with Harris Newman, release date tba.
I have a side project entitled m/v Lark that is in recording at the Hotel2Tango with Howard Bilerman and Radwan Ghazi Moumneh
Our drummer Stefan just released an album with Subject Object
Trevor Lashmore, our bass player, has a neat solo project
aaand last but least, we had a side project called Shitting bear for a while, but we’re a little busy at the moment !
When are your next gigs? Where can I see you? Where must I see you?
We’re playing O Patros Vys Friday, Sept. 17 ( I guess that’s today )
We’ll be in Ottawa on Sept 24th at the Elmdale House Tavern
We’ll also be playing a benefit concert for Apathy is Boring on Oct 14th
On Oct 16th we’ll be at Il Motore opening for Avi Buffalo.
All our shows are always listed on our myspace.com/thedarlingdemaes
Has a sad thing happened recently that‘s in the process of becoming a song?
Sad things? Never! Ok, yeah, life is sad and makes you feel kind of empty sometimes. But that emptiness is usually what reminds you that ‘hey, fuck, I’m alive!’ and that is refreshing and you turn it into a song and you go along and on with life.