Since Darlia released their first EP, Knock Knock in November of 2013, they’ve caused quite a stir in the music world. The band has gained recognition from the likes of XFm, NME and, most recently, Radio 1. Talking to frontman, Nathan Day, we’ve discovered just how in demand the band have been right from the off and the downside of working in the music industry. Whether the band likes the idea that they are part of a grunge revival or not; their music, looks and attitude reflects the nineties grunge era that has been desperately trying to resurface itself to the top of the rock scene.
Raw Meat: I hear you guys are playing London tonight at the Sebright Arms for XFm.
Nathan: Yeah that’s right. I have no idea where it is or how I’m supposed to get there…
Are you excited for the show tonight?
Yeah, but it’s gonna be weird because it’s in a pub or something, which seems like it will be quite small and intimate, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.
And you’re playing with Baby Strange and Dolomite Minor? Have you listened to those guys before?
Yeah, that’s right, that’s right. They’ve been on a couple of our shows before, not as supporting acts just if they have a gig we’ll all hang out. So it’s definitely something to look forward to.
So you recently played in Germany, how was that?
Really good. Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, really honoured to play and be on the bill. I was speaking a bit of German.
Oh really, what were you saying?
Uh… [laughs] No, I’m not going to say it ‘cause it was pretty bad. It was still a lot of fun though.
You seem to be touring relentlessly, you had your first headline tour at the beginning of this year and you’ve got loads of festivals coming up. How do you cope with the amount of travelling that you do?
We’re fortunate enough that the touring and the gigs that we’re doing means that we don’t have to get jobs. It’s just so much fun to be able to be wherever the band takes you, whenever, at any time. We’re dictated by the band and it’s a really good thing.
How do you cope when you’re off tour?
Off tour, honestly, is so annoying. The adrenaline rush of being busy every single day and having such an adrenaline high when you go on stage, and then the adrenaline crash after the show – you crave it to happen again and again. That’s why tour is amazing. The second you come off tour, even after three days of just doing nothing feels like a complete and utter nightmare. It strips you of everything and you’ve got nothing to do.
So you’ve got Glastonbury festival coming up, Reading festival and loads of others as well, which are you most looking forward to?
Well I’ve never been to a festival apart from the ones we’ve played, like Rock am Ring recently, so I don’t really know which is best. All I know is that we’re playing all of them. So, I really don’t know. They’re all apparently great.
Are there any bands you’re looking forward to seeing while you’re at Glastonbury?
Dolly Parton’s playing Glastonbury isn’t she?
Yeah she is.
Yeah, that’s it.
I read somewhere that you don’t tend to listen to a lot of music, why is that?
It’s because I’m fully absorbed in it already that to listen to it is actually affecting me so much it becomes hard to do. It’s like watching a really, really sad film; everyone loves to do it, but you can’t do it all the time because it’s so emotionally involving - you know? It drains you completely. So it’s like that with me and music. If I’m walking down the street and music is playing in a car that’s pulled up, (anywhere that I hear music) it just gets in my head so much that it’s hard because it just drains me… because I love it so much.
You’ve only been a band for a short amount of time [just over a year] and you got signed pretty quickly, how did that happen?
Well basically, me and Dave were cleaners at the time and there was another cleaner who was also in the band, he was the drummer at the time. Everyday we were cleaning toilets and, when we could, we were playing and trying really hard to start this band properly. We started to get attention from deals and management and stuff, and the drummer at the time, unfortunately, just saw the pound signs and just got cray cray about the money. He got a bit of an ego and it got a bit too much. The thing is, he wasn’t amazing at drums and we could handle that, but it was just the fact that he turned into this person - so that was two strikes. The third strike was just personal things, but then we got Jack back, (we knew Jack already).
It does seem to have come around quickly. Did you label catch you at a gig or what?
They heard… I think someone… There were just so many people interested, it happened like a fire. It wasn’t just a few people in London who were interested, it was literally like all the labels I’d ever heard of and all the labels I’d ever researched. We were meeting up with everyone, and that was while we were still cleaners. When we did a publishing deal, we got fired at the same time so it was just perfect timing.
That’s so lucky! You’ve managed to get loads and loads of recognition from Radio 1, including doing the Live Lounge a couple of weeks ago. How has this helped you?
When Radio 1 are supporting you it almost validates what you’re doing. You could sound amazing and have a lot of people love you, but if you’re not on Radio 1, for some reason, you just don’t have that seal of approval. It doesn’t create our fanbase, it just massively encourages it.
Would you say that radio play helps more than social media? You’ve got Soundcloud and you’re on Spotify…
I don’t think so actually because if you’re played on Radio 1 all the time, you could be the most played thing ever, and if you don’t have a Facebook or anything like that, how are people supposed to find you and indulge in your music? Today, the internet is where people indulge in it.
You’ve just released ‘Dear Diary’, which is very different to things you’ve released in the past. Were you worried about the kind of response you were going to get?
The thing is, it’s not a new song, it’s one of the songs that we had. I’ve written so many songs that if we wanted to we could fill five albums right now and that would be it. So it’s like, um, when me, Dave and Jack and the band started to kick off, (I know it’s really early days but) when we first started kicking off I already had five albums worth of songs. This is just a song we decided to release today. So even if people decide that this is the shittest song they’ve ever heard, I’d say, “don’t worry about it, I’ve written 15 other songs”, and there’s a lot more to come that I’m really proud of.
Do you do all the writing for the band?
Yeah, that’s just the way it’s gotta be with me. It’s the way it is.
Do you like being in control of the band?
Only in terms of the songs, song writing and stuff like that. The label let us be completely whoever we want to be, so that’s the fun of being in the band.
The video for ‘Dear Diary’ is really cool, what was the reasoning behind that?
I definitely didn’t want a video that had a massive narrative because I don’t really like those kinds of videos - the song is for that, so why add other things to it and confuse things. I wanted an idea that was quite abstract, eerie and quite dark, and to just have a performance video.
Every song you’ve produced so far sound quite different, but they all kind of have the same Darlia-tone. Is that something you go for, or does it just happen?
That completely just happens and that’s why ‘Dear Diary’ is so important, because we have so many people saying that we’re a grunge band and I wanted this to come out to show that we’re not just a fucking grunge band. We don’t focus on grunge in any way shape or form. It’s important for ‘Dear Diary’ to come out to show that we’re not just indulging in a kind of nineties sound. We’re not trying to do anything like that. This song is important to kind of blast that away.
You often get compared to Nirvana and other similar bands - I’m guessing you don’t really like that.
Yeah because I don’t wish to be Nirvana. I don’t own any Nirvana. I’ve never bought any Nirvana CD’s, or fucking posters, or anything apart from a cassette from when I was about 11 that my uncle gave to me. But that doesn’t count because I was too young. It’s just irritating because nothing is intentional, but I guess it’s going to happen because… for a start I’ve got bleached hair.
You’ve done a load of acoustic sets, would you ever release an acoustic song?
I love the sounds of acoustic songs. I love that because not only is it raw, or stripped back or whatever, but it’s actually just really pleasant. It can be beautiful if you do it right, but if you’re sat in a garden and playing it with the wind in my fucking face it’s not gonna be that beautiful, but one day we’ll definitely do something like that.
You’ve already got some really dedicated fans on your Twitter etc. Has this changed anything about you or the way you think about your music?
It made me realise that it doesn’t matter if you’ve got 5000 likes on Facebook or fucking 100 likes on Facebook if you’ve got people that are so dedicated that your music means everything to them.When I was a teenager there was this band from Manchester and they had this song that my friend showed me, and they were my friends favourite band and at the time. They had like, 4000 likes on Facebook, which I thought was fucking loads, and I saw one of them in the street once and I was like, “shit that’s the guy from the band you like, that’s him, that’s him”. To my mate, his music meant everything. To think that we have that impression on people, that’s why we’re in a band – for that.It doesn’t matter right now how many Facebook likes you’ve got so long as you’ve got people like that. Think about it this way, imagine you had 2 million likes on Facebook but no-one really gave a shit about your music.
Does it motivate you?
It just encourages it. Not necessarily to make things perfect, it just encourages us to be ourselves.
OK, quick-fire round now. What’s the best gig you’ve played and why?
Best gig… um, I fucking loved Manchester Sound Control because someone ended up in A&E. It sounds bad, but it shows how crazy people were in the audience.
Do you know what happened to him?
I think he was just rocking out a tad too fucking hard.
What’s a band or artist that you’d love to tour or collaborate with?
You know what, I honestly really like Wolf Alice’s last song, so probably them.
If you were going to be in a band that wasn’t Darlia, who would it be? It could either be now or in the past.
I literally don’t know. Let's come back to that one.
What’s the worst thing about the music industry that you’ve found so far?
The politics, hands down. So much goes on that people don’t know about and it’s really disheartening.There’s so many puppet strings being pulled and I’ve found so many people with their hands up other people’s arses talking for them. It’s really, really disheartening.
If you were going to be stuck in a lift with a person for 24 hours who would it be and why?
One other person… who could I be stuck in a lift with… fuck... Someone who could fix the lift.
What’s the best album you think has been released in the past decade and the worst?
Did the Libertines come out this decade? Up The Bracket if it came out this decade. [It came out in 2002]
What’s the worst one?
Probably Swim Deep’s. Do you like Swim Deep?
I haven’t listened to them, but I did read an interview where you said you’re dreading Peace’s new album – what’s that about?
Do you like Peace?
Yeah, I do.
I think I’ll just focus on Swim Deep then.
So if we go back to the question you couldn’t answer. If you could be in a band that wasn’t Darlia who would it be?
Swim Deep so I could then quit.