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What I Learned at Bandcamp: The Darling Sounds

The Darling Sounds, Bandcamp, interview

The Darling Sounds is a new indie pop project out of Phoenix. The band is comprised of Grace Bolyard who “plays rhythm guitar and sings,” Cayce Roberts who “plays bass and sings,” Zach Nelson who “plays drums and looks pretty” and Cutter Videan who “is responsible for every other sound we ever make because he’s a brilliant robot.”

On Nov. 28, the group released its demo, Quilts, which is available for name-your-price-dowload on Bandcamp. This Saturday, Dec. 6, The Darling Sounds will play The Paper Plane Zine Launch Party at Lawn Gnome Publishing with The Multi Award Winning Male Pattern Radness.

The Paper Plane Zine is a new collaborative, creative zine featuring artists and writers across Phoenix. Bolyard is one of the founders.

Below, read The Spec‘s interview with The Darling Sounds…

Tell us a little about yourselves…
Grace: I’m a graphic designer by day, Darling Sounds singer/guitarist and Paper Plane Zine editor by night. And I’ll describe the rest of the band. Ahem. Zach seems like a simple, sweet, and adorable marshmallow Peep, but that Peep is secretly full of a mixture of Skittles and M&Ms. This strange combination renders less chaotic candy no longer satisfying. Cutter is the most sentient machine I’ve ever met, and he only eats 42 foods. I am sure Cutter is the meaning of life. Cayce is either a beautiful Amazon woman from space, or 15 cats in a very long coat. Either way, her defining trait is her big, sweet heart (or 15 big, sweet cat hearts).

Cayce: This question always makes me feel awkward. It has a strange power that takes any words right out of my head. So, after sitting here for 10 minutes I came up with… I’m Cayce and I like cats, whiskey and anything that’s gaudy floral print.

How long have you been making music?
Grace: I’ve been making music for almost my whole life. I used to walk around the playground singing made up doo-wop songs as young as 5. The Darling Sounds have been making music together about a year and a half, and we just added Cutter to the mix this summer. I’m still singing made up doo-wop songs, I’ve just tricked a bunch of people into helping.

Zach: I’ve been playing drums on and off since junior high jazz band, but making music has always sort of been a goal.

Cayce: Since I learned to sing and play the piano at age 8.

Cutter: I picked up guitar when I was 14, and haven’t put it down since. Luckily, I have gotten significantly better at all things music since I was that young. Let’s just say my friends won’t allow me to play “Stairway to Heaven” anymore…

Who/what are your influences?
Grace: My bandmates influence me more than anything else. I write lyrics about my girlfriend a lot because I keep trying to find words that’ll do justice to such a big love. I write a lot about perceived domestic bliss from an outsider’s perspective lately.

Zach: I feel like when we started making music together we were modeling our sound off of bands like Best Coast or Swearin’, but now that we’re more comfortable playing together a lot of our individual favorites are starting to shine through. Grace has a love of ’90’s and ’80’s indie rock, and her lyrics sometimes feel Smithsy or like something from Surfer Rosa. Cayce is really quick at putting together harmonies and Cutter’s taste for post-rock has definitely worked its way into the way he textures his guitar sound. I was always a White Stripes fan, so simple beats are fine by me, but I’ll try to throw in some more technical stuff if it fits the mood of the song.

Cayce: Talking heads, Depeche mode, New Order, The Smiths, Talk Talk, Haim, Holly Golightly, Jenny Lewis, Warpaint and Wild Nothing.

Cutter: Grace and Cayce have an (un)healthy love for things like the scanner vibrato in surf rock, synths from the ’80s, and pop hooks, which really inform our sound. I try to bring in some darker tones with my post-rock influences (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Swans, Silver Mt. Zion), and Zach’s drumming is stupid good (he’ll probably cite Death Grips and Animal Collective as artists who influence his drumming—learning from the masters).

What is your favorite song you’ve released and why?
Grace: I dig our song “Watch Me, Watch You.” It’s one of the first songs we worked on together, it has this fun surf-rock vibe that suits us well and showcases our strengths, and the lyrics are about loving somebody enough to want to let them watch you get old and disgusting and broken. Which is some of my favorite songwriting, a sweet love story with a weird/dark twist.

Zach: Probably the song “Clumsy Love” because when we were writing it the drums started out ridiculously simple, but then during one of the breaks in the song I threw in this kind of march beat, the rest of the band liked it so we kept it in as “solo.” It’s a really fun song.

Cayce: My favorite song we’ve released has to be “Slow Roots.” It’s my favorite because I relate to it the most and and I feel like it’s our best put together song we play. Everything just works to make me feel like I could get lost in it, and I like that.

Cutter: “Domestic Sounds“—solely for the ayyYEEEE aaaaaaaAAAAYYYYYYYEE harmonies. Nah, there’s a lot of good stuff going on in the song besides the amazing harmonies: it’s got the most cohesive feel, the most energy, and it makes people want to dance.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
Grace: We want to play a ton of local shows. I’ve always viewed myself as a songwriter rather than a performer, but I’m working toward putting on a better show. I want to write and write and write. I feel an amazing momentum with the brains in this band. We seem to outgrow our shoes before we even get them all the way on.

Cayce: We really, really, really, really, really want to tour. And I just want to play more shows and write more songs.

Cutter: The Darling Sounds and I just performed my thesis—a post-rock inspired concept album based on a collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges called Labyrinths—and we have all expressed interest in bringing some of the technical and sonic aspects of my post-rock to spice up our already awesome indie pop surf rock. There have also been rumblings about heading towards an EP… (But you heard that from Zach, not me. Definitely NOT me).

If you could no longer be a musician, what would you be or do for a living?
Grace: It’s not exactly a living, but my other passion project is the Paper Plane Zine. We’re actually releasing our first issue during a big party at Lawn Gnome this Saturday, and the Darling Sounds are playing that (everyone should come, bring your mom and your dog too). I have always been deeply passionate about print media, which is why I created this collaborative and interactive art zine. The zine showcases local artists and it asserts the idea that art is for everybody. It belongs to those who interact with it as much as it belongs to those who create it. I want the zine to give people the same excitement I felt for Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, the same consistency I get from the comics I follow now like Lumberjanes or Sex Criminals, and I want it to feel personal the same way that Bust Magazine feels like it was written just for me. All while showcasing some of the amazing local talent Phoenix has to offer. Lofty goals, but we’re only on issue 1, we’ve got time to get it all down pat.

Zach: Oof. Right now I work at a bank, which isn’t the most fun job, but the people are chill. Ideally it’d be cool to work at a gallery or museum, at least help other people with their art.

Cayce: I would probably be very depressed and a hairdresser. So I’d be a very depressed hairdresser with a lot of cats and eating cake at all times to compensate.

Cutter: Honestly, if someone would be willing to pay me to play videogames… I have been training my stamina and can easily play the same game for eight hours every day all week (looking at you Valve, Bethesda, Telltale). And I require little or no food: I can survive off a single drop of dew and the essence of the Universe.

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Grace: The Smiths are a forever influence on me. I think you can hear it in my sometimes morose or discontent lyrics over sickly sweet, jangly melodies. Lately, I’m listening to Swearin’, Gold Motel, Big Deal, Allo Darlin’, and Waxahatchee. Kathleen Hanna blows my fucking mind. I’ll always have a soft spot for Ingrid Michaelson because she really successfully walks that fine line between great songwriting and pop sensibility. Basically, a lot of badass musician/singer chicks, plus Morrissey.

Zach: For me, I love the way Animal Collective works, where the members can live in different cities or even take a break from the band if they need to, but they have enough discipline and communication to still produce amazing music. That’s astounding.

Cutter: As a band, I think we all look up to Cumulus (from Seattle), as they are the Gengar to our Ghastly. Personally, I look up to Interpol—they were the reason I picked up guitar.

Why do you make music?
Grace: I have to. My life wouldn’t feel right without it.

Zach: I have a lot of feelings.

Cayce: Because I feel the need to.

Cutter: I love telling stories—but my mouth doesn’t move very fast, my mind likes to explore all possible outcomes, and pretty girls make my mouth drier than the Sahara. So I make music to tell my stories for me. As for making music with The Darling Sounds, I just like hanging out with them. They’re excellent people, fantastic musicians, and it’s fun to jam, rehearse and play fun music.

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
Grace: We just wanted to share our tunes with anyone who’s willing to listen. I’ve always wanted a band that values friendship as much as musicianship, and I’ve definitely found it. So, hopefully, you can hear how much we love making music together in the songs.

Zach: Someone on Tumblr recently described our sound as “like what I wanna dance to with someone when the power goes off and there are only two candles to light.” That was rad. Stay Darling.

Cutter: I do a crazy blog thing at and if you want a taste of my music, I’ve got my own demo.

One Comment

  1. I love you people! Creative, talented, smart, interesting, made of cats and candy, with big shoes for wandering unique paths. And may I just say, thank the stars you’ve moved on from Stairway to Heaven, Cutter.

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