Lancashire three-piece Darlia moved from Blackpool to Manchester to really launch their music career, and now it seems they're at the top of their game with their 'Knock Knock' EP causing a stir and their UK headline tour coming up later this year along with their summer festival run.
We caught up with Jack, Nathan and Dave at Live At Leeds 2014 to discuss new experiences, how they got together and why they don't need synthesisers.
Contactmusic: Hey Darlia, welcome to Leeds! How're you finding the city?
Jack Bentham: It's great!
Nathan Day: Apart from the crowd of football idiots chanting outside when we got here.
CM: In the least insulting way, for such a young band you've been given quite a heavy mantle of praise. Are you wary about that kind of endorsement at this stage in your career?
Nathan: Yeah, absolutely. We're aware of everything that goes on and we know the effect that it has; we know what it's gonna do and what's gonna happen. Everything is scheduled in advance, it's never like, 'Oh, Zane Lowe is playing us tomorrow.' At this stage, things are happening one after another.
CM: Well, what do you hope to gain from this experience of playing Live at Leeds?
Nathan: I have no idea what it's going to be like. I think we've come on a lot since the last time we were here [playing upstairs at the Cockpit], the guitar tech tuned my guitar really, really badly. I was on stage playing for 15-20 minutes with THE most out-of-tune guitar. When I finally tuned it, it turned out Dave's bass was also out of tune so we were on stage, prancing about, looking like we didn't know how to tune our guitars. Other than that, it was a fun place to play.
Dave Williams: We've never done a festival season before. Me and Nathan have never even been to a festival and Jack has only been to Reading [Festival].
CM: Seriously? You're in a band and have never been to a festival?
Nathan: This band is breaking so many moulds for me. I'd never been on a ferry, been to a festival or even been out of the country before we went to play in Holland. When we go to Australia in July, it'll be the first time I've been on a plane.
CM: At what point after you guys got together did you think, 'Right, we've got a band here'?
Dave: On the train here!
Nathan: Before we even started. We're not saying we think we're amazing though.
CM: It's good to see you're so united. You were all friends before the band, right?
Nathan: Kind of. What happened was I met Jack when I moved primary schools so we've been friends for a while. We used to play on and off then Jack went to uni and I started playing with Dave.
Dave: When we were cleaners!
Nathan: Yeah, we were cleaners and we started playing, then it was like 'Right, right right.' We had another drummer at the time and basically we got loads of attention as in management deals and record deals - loads of exciting s**t was coming up. So we needed to be really serious and actually have a decent drummer so we got Jack back.
Dave: That was the moment when we noticed it worked. As soon as we rehearsed it was like, the missing link had been completely filled. As soon as we started playing the songs, we knew 'This is the one.'
Nathan: You see, I had experienced that feeling when Jack and I used to play - that's why I said it was right before it had even started. Me and him had that and me and Dave had it, and then Dave and Jack had it and then we all did.
CM: How would you say your friendship has evolved since Darlia became a band "on the scene"?
Dave: It was weird 'cause we were all in the same school together but we never really spoke.
Jack: No, you never spoke to us!
Dave: F**k off! I spoke to you all the time!
Nathan: I thought you were taking the p**s out of me all the time. Dave was really popular but I was the weird kid.
Dave: The friendship hasn't really changed because it really began through this; it has just grown from a point because of the band rather than a bunch of mates who make a band then it f***ing explodes. Now we all live together as well.
Nathan: We're in an open relationship. No strings attached.
CM: Without focussing on your Blackpool roots too much, what do you think about the music scene back in Lancashire? Has it inspired you to work hard?
Nathan: Not really, it just made us leave [Blackpool] and move to Manchester because there was nothing, just nothing going on. There's some interesting stuff going on in Preston - there's a big group of really active musicians there and they all play each other's shows. People from Blackpool would go to Preston for that. But we just thought, 'F**k it, let's go straight to Manchester'.
CM: How has life changed since you moved to Manchester?
Dave: It's not just the music, it's being in a city where it's lively and there's people working and hustling and bustling. It's like a mini London.
Nathan: Blackpool was like being in the countryside, especially with the music scene. Nothing's going on. In Manchester, we're more independent, we do what we want. And then there's a city going on alongside that.
Dave: Blackpool, it's just so depleted. Not even only for music, it's a depressing place to be.
CM: How does a song come together for you?
Nathan: Basically, I write a song acoustically and then it's turned into a rock song by Jack and Dave. I'll write it then it becomes a rock song when we play it.
Dave: We don't talk to each other beforehand and say, 'We want it to sound like this or that.'
CM: Would you, Dave and Jack, ever want to be more involved in the lyric-writing?
Jack: I'm the drummer. I write the drums. That's as much sense as it's ever gonna make. Same with Dave.
Nathan: We all appreciate what the others do so much that we don't need to ever think, for example, that drumming's a bit s**t because it's never s**t. We're never dissatisfied, we all just agree.
Nathan: This isn't even related to the question but one day I was scanning through our YouTube comments, which you should never do. On the song 'Queen of Hearts' someone had written, 'Aurora Borealis comes from a hidden Nirvana track.' [Cobain] says 'Aurora Borealis' once so I was like, how could someone think that? I never even knew that. They judged the whole song based on one word.
CM: Comparisons with Nirvana are inevitable though, and it's not a bad thing. Do you get tired of it though?
Nathan: Yep, I've never listened to any Nirvana album before, don't own any Nirvana material. I've bought two CDs in my life; one was Definitely Maybe [Oasis] and the other was Babyshambles.
CM: Wow, really? What's your musical background then?
Nathan: I grew up playing guitar. I had this uncle who played and I'd visit him every week. I'd go into a room and play his guitar then my nan would catch me and tell me off. Because it was a forbidden thing I thought, 'this is really interesting.'
CM: As a whole band, what would your dream merch item to sell be?
Nathan: Barry Chuckle and Paul Chuckle T-shirts. No, Chuckle Brothers morph-suits! [The band discuss this idea at length amongst themselves and agree it would be a great idea].
CM: What's the biggest compliment anyone has paid you so far as a band?
Nathan: My favourite one was when Nigel Harding [Radio 1] said we were 'the most exciting guitar band in the UK'.
Dave: Someone in Blackpool said we weren't a real band.
Nathan: I'd like to take his quote and put it against Nigel Harding's.
Thanks for speaking with us!
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