From Putting Together An Entire Album At Home to His Greatest Inspirations, Musician DARWIN DEEZ Elaborates On It All!
Posted On 22 Sep 2015
It’s been two years since indie-pop renaissance man and musical DIY-er Darwin Deez released his sophomore album “Songs For Imaginative People”, the follow-up to his highly successful debut, and today, he has finally released another album via Lucky Number!
This collection, entitled “Double Down” features “Kill Your Attitude,” the album’s first single and BBC Radio 1’s recent “Hottest Record In The World.” Inspired by the song’s lyrical theme of “love is war,” “Kill Your Attitude” has been turned into an absolutely masterful visual experience, directed by Dent De Cuir, in which Darwin is unknowingly immersed in a first person shooter game arena and battling his significant other.
“To me, Double Down means to gamble again. To go again,” Darwin says. “With this album, my intention was largely to do again what I did on my debut: make simple, irresistible pop songs – with a fresh new twist. So I went back to my same influences of Thriller, Dismemberment Plan, and Andre 3000 and I came out sounding more like myself than ever before”.
Learn more about Darwin and his newest album in the following All Access interview:
Can you talk about what it was like recording your entire album in your home? Why did you make that decision? Have your other collections been made there? Will you do it again?
I did it ‘cause I’m frugal. Recording is expensive, even at your cool friend’s little studio. I can kind of get it done; I know enough about computers and compression and EQ. Yes, all my albums are home recordings. I will continue this way because I keep learning, I keep getting a little better at it every time. It’s very comfortable for me. I write and record at the same time. Recording is otherwise a tedious process. Combining it with the writing and the arranging—those are the fun parts—that’s the most fun way to do it.
How has your music grown since your first collection?
I’ve added more strings to my guitar, added more notes to my songs. I can’t really put my finger on how it has grown to be honest. I hope I’ve been able to make more evocative images and more danceable beats. I think sonically the recordings have grown to include more frequencies maybe. Less midrange. That first record was hella midrange-y.
Generally, where do you get the inspiration for your music? Is that constantly changing?
There are inspirations that have been imprinted on me, mostly records from around the year 2000, records that I keep coming back to because they sort of define what I like about pop and rock music. And then there are new interests like Thin Lizzy was for in 2012. You meet new people, they bring you new stuff that they’re excited about. You have this reason to expand your palette—your new friend—so you look deeper for what there is to appreciate in whatever they like.
What artists have consistently inspired you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
The Dismemberment Plan, Jacob Ciocci of Extreme Animals/Paperrad. I’d love to work with slash work for Max Martin.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
Indie pop rock. You can dance to it. Happy songs with sad lyrics.
“Double Down” means I’m attempting to do again what I did on my first album, doubling the wager I initially made when I put that record together. The wager is that I spend 2 1/2 years of my life betting that people will like it enough for me to continue to not be broke. Doubling down is the adventure of my career.
What can you tell us about your album’s first single “Kill Your Attitude”?
This is a little nugget that came out one day. It’s a very good song, you should listen to it. The chorus starts on the V chord. Well, that’s not interesting is it. The BPM is 152 I think. That’s also technical and dry. I’m pretty analytical sometimes. The rhythm guitar tone you’re hearing is from my Hiwatt Custom 50 amp. That’s interesting to guitarists. What about to other humans? The song is inspired by an experience I had with a old friend cutting me out of his life. It’s also about fighting with your significant other. Fighting as amicably as possible. At a certain point I get really quiet when I’m mad at my girlfriend. I have to sit and stare until my feelings calm down. Smoldering like Smaug. I think that’s better than being loud and obnoxious, but I do that, too.
Where do you see yourself in 10-20 years?
Behind the scenes in the music industry, producing, recording, writing. Married with kids, living in my hometown, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
What do you hope is the message of your music?
Not so much a message as a respite from awful, terrible life. My message is kind of like, “I know how bad it can be. Are you feeling bad? I hear you. Hey, come on, let’s dance to this one.” There isn’t really a message though, the music is more of a standing invitation to get lost in the groove for a little while.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I’m really cool and you should like me. You should listen to what I have to say, you know, because I have a lot of really cool things to say in my music and in my interviews. I’m amazing. You have no idea how special I am. But I’m telling you. For instance, I was a 6.7 on hotornot.com when I lived in Harlem around 2004, but then my average got dragged down. That’s just one example. I have many more stories I could tell you, but I won’t.