Play the opening few bars of ‘Radar Detector’ and you’ll immediately know what song it is, thus was the power of the huge hit singles on Darwin Deez’s self-titled debut released in 2010. ‘Radar Detector’ along with fellow singles ‘Up In the Clouds’ and ‘Constellations’ may not have made the UK top 40, but they were played everywhere, and became the indie soundtrack to 2010. However, their next release, Songs for Imaginative People, didn’t receive the same amount of radio play meaning excellent singles like ‘Free (The Editorial Me)’ didn’t get the publicity they deserved.
The band’s third record, Double Down, is being released in September, and from the sounds of the handful tracks they’ve being playing from their upcoming record at festivals this summer, we can look forward to 2015 being an almighty return for the indie pop group.
We caught up with Darwin Deez on the first stop of their festival season at Truck Festival in Oxford. With a plethora of summer festival dates to come, as well as a huge UK & US tour this autumn were there any places they were particularly looking forward to playing? “Benacassim!” bassist Michelle Dorrance answered immediately. “Apparently Benacassim is the shit,” vocalist and band’s namesake Darwin added.
On the topic of festivals, we asked Darwin about the differences between festivals and headline shows: “Festivals are more of a challenge, you really want your machine oiled if you’re at a festival gig. If it is oiled, you’re loving it, and if there’s any snaffoos it’s amplified I think, as your set time is much more rigid, so you want it to go smoothly. And if it goes smoothly you’re rocking it, you’re loving it, because the crowd is there to feed that.” His preference? “I think I sort of prefer to headline, but it certainly is nice to have the variety!”
With their third record out two and a half years on from the previous it gave the band, and lead songwriter, Darwin a lot of time to work on new material. “It was two and a half years of sitting in front of my laptop trying to come up with stuff.” Darwin explained, “And I tried a bunch of different approaches this time. I tried to write bass line songs this time, like I think ‘Billie Jean’ is a bass line song, and Michael Jackson was praying for bass lines and he got that one and so I started to open myself up to that, and there are some pretty cool bass lines on this record. There’s at least two cool bass line songs, as well as guitar riff songs which is my standard thing – songs that are based around guitar riffs. And I just recorded it all in my laptop mostly. I did one day in a fancy studio, and did a couple of vocals, and yeah, it’s just my thing; I just hole up and do it and now it’s done. And now I’m a flower and I bloom into the public!”
We finished the interview with the all-important question for any festival season, what is the band’s all time favourite festival food? “Funnel cake,” Michelle answered certainly. “I don’t know if I like pies that much, I think they have pie here,” Darwin added, going on to say: “I would like a whole organic veggie salad station.”
We caught the bands electric set later in the evening, and they were the well-oiled machine Darwin had spoken about earlier. Blasting their way through old favourites and new material, all interjected with choreographed dance routines (including one to Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’) it was one of the highlights of the festival. We can only hope that their latest record will follow in a similar vein, and if it has an ounce of the energy they put into their performance at Truck, we’re in for a treat.
Double Down will be released on September 18, via Lucky Number records.