Words by Lauren Ziegler - Published on May 8, 2014
UK neo-grunge three-piece Darlia haven’t been around for long (less than a year!) but they’ve already been making huge waves in the UK – and they’re getting ready for a world takeover, starting with a trip down under for Splendour In The Grass.
We caught up with frontman Nathan Day about how the band came to be, paving their own way, and flowers….
For those who don’t know, tell us a bit about Darlia and how the band came together?
So basically, Darlia was formed twice. I formed the band with the drummer, Jack, and a few years later I formed it with the bassist [Dave]. Jack went to university, and that’s when Dave came into the picture. Things got serious then. When management and record deals came into the picture that’s when we got Jack back in.
Where did the name come from?
At the time, I was going through a massive obsession with flowers, flower parts and flower names, and I just loved how it sounded, it just represented beauty.
As in the Dahlia flower?
Is that your favourite flower?
It was at the time. Now I quite like chrysanthemums
Oh they’re nice, which colour?
Anyway, I read that your first EP Knock Knock was your first ever time in a recording studio. How was it going from your first time recording to getting signed in such a short space of time?
It was quite strange, we were completely blown away by the studio at the time. We were taking it very seriously, it was so amazing to be there. We were just blown off our feet, like, ‘what is going on?’ and we just managed to get such a quick response.
Yeah, I mean you’ve been around for just over a year, it’s pretty amazing to have come so far in such a small space of time.
Yeah, I wanna set something straight now. I’m not saying this because I’ve heard it, but to set any record straight: I’ve seen bands in the past, who’ve only been around for a year, and they’ve got a record deal, and everyone gets suspicious, like ‘how has that happened so fast?’
The thing is, I was always trying to start up this band, always trying to do this ever since primary school, and it just happened that way. I don’t know anyone in the industry, I never spoke to anyone in the industry to try and get a helping hand, no behind the scenes stuff.
I literally formed the band and it fell into place so quickly with the management and the record deal, it just exploded so quickly. A lot of the time it turns out that someone in a band has a cousin who works at the NME, or their brother writes for someone, but we had no connection.
That clearly means it’s a genuine thing.
Yeah exactly. Like I said, I’ve been trying to do this for so long. It’s not that I’ve tried and failed, it’s just that I’ve tried and tried and tried and I’ve never stopped to look back, just trying and trying and trying and trying, and then finally it started.
It must feel satisfying to get there after trying for so long.
Do you have any particular influences from when you were growing up?
When I was 18 for the first time I properly appreciated Oasis. Before that I never listened to them because they just seemed like football hooligans, who I really despised. And then I really started to respect them. Now, Noel Gallagher’s my favourite. And I really like Kate Bush, she’s just so truthful in what she does.
So you’re heading down here for Splendour in the Grass Festival. Have you been here before?
No, funnily enough it’s my first time on a plane, and it’s 23 hours, haha.
Wow! First time on a plane?
Yep, never touched one.
So is it your first international festival?
Well the first big festival we played was a few months ago, and we drove to Holland for it. And again, it was my first time in another country. A lot has changed in the past few months.
Oh wow, that’s amazing. So are you excited about all the upcoming travel?
I’ve a tiny bit nervous. I don’t do drugs, but I once had a bad trip, and that made me feel better about my day to day life because I knew that nothing else could be as bad as that. And when we went to Holland, that broke a barrier for me. I used to get really agoraphobic, really weird and feel horrible, but when we went to Holland that broke the mold. It was the first time I ever went out of the UK, and it kinda cured my anxiety, so I’m really looking forward to it.
It must have been cool that your first ever trip overseas was to perform.
Exactly. I keep telling myself, it’s a fact that we went there for our music. When we go to Australia, it’s a fact that the music took us there, that’s why we’re there
Any countries you’re really excited to play in?
All of it! I’m so used to this grey sky.
Well you’ve got a lot of travel coming up, coming here, and all the UK and European festivals coming up too, is there anything you’re particularly excited for?
Yeah, Dolly Parton at Glastonbury.
Anyway, so when you’re writing music do you have a process with how you write the lyrics or the melody?
What usually happens is that I’ll have a really really strong idea for something, and I don’t even need to record it – it’ll just be there in my head. I’ll eventually put down a rough edge by hammering it down as a sound file in my phone, just catching it. And that will develop. If you said to me, ‘I want a song written in an hour,’ it’ll be done, because it just happens. It’s such a quick process if I want it to be. If I know it’s got to develop , I’ll just let it happen. I remember writing the Queen of Hearts melody when I was 15 or 16.
I really like the video Candyman. How did the idea for that come about?
I’d really wanted a B-movie horror-slasher jokey over the top ‘70s ‘80s film clip. When it came to management, they made the idea more practical, so we spliced up an old film.
Have you got more videos coming up?
Yeah we just shot one last week for Dear Diary, which is on our next release. I really loved it, I can’t say anything else!
So besides the festivals what else is planned for the year?
We’ve got an album out soon, at the end of the year, that’s exciting.
Will it feature any of the songs from the EPs, or all new stuff?
A mixture of both, we obviously don’t just wanna release music you’ve heard before because that’s absolutely pointless – but we do want some of this stuff to be captured on the album.
So I imagine there’ll be even more touring following that?
Yeah, the schedule is crazy, every single day there’s something on. It’s perfect, we do so much that if we have a night off, or even a day off, it’s agonising. We need things happening.