The Darcy’s, the Toronto rock quartet, recently released their new album, AJA and are starting their first U.S. tour. I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Jason Couse, the day before they headed to their first stop in California.
So how’s the touring circuit been?
Couse: It’s good. We haven’t really done this much year. We had one night off in Montreal, we then drove all the way through there and back, which was a nice taste for what was to come in the next two weeks. We’re just getting started for the season, and it’s going to be action adventure for sure.
Do you guys have a favorite song to play during shows?
Couse: Recently, we’ve been playing Home at Last off of AJA. It seems to be a good mood setter for the set. Also, for us it helps us all connect to each other and feel warmed up and ready to cook for the rest of the time. That’s kind of the top track right now.
Is Steely Dan one of your band’s main inspirations?
Couse: Yeah, in an indirect way. It’s kind of the music that we all grew up with our father’s playing in the car and they were like, “Listen to this! You will learn to love this one day.” The interesting thing about Steely Dan is there is a very lustrous shine to it that people find it hard to break through. It’s kind of mischievous sometimes. Learning it as kids, we kind of took it for granted. It hasn’t necessarily influenced all the music we have made but it comes down to their attention to detail, and their constant reinvention we respect in a big way.
What was your decision to release your album for free?
Couse: There are a lot of bands that are trying to put up music right now. Us, as a relatively young and new band, it’s really important that we try to maximize our exposure and grow as much as we can in our own way. We try to have as many people as we can hear us, rather than make a couple dollars off a record. This way, we will be exposed to more people which is important to us because we didn’t work on AJA thinking about how much money we can make. Rather, it was us pouring ourselves into a creative project and trying to realize it was fully possible. After working that hard, you want people to hear it. You want it to be accessible to them. That’s what it’s made for, made for sharing.
The tough thing about that is there’s a lot of resources going into a rock band including touring, traveling. You need a van with lots of equipment, time off work, etc. It’s gets tricky at a certain point, but it’s all with a greater purpose in mind.
How does the crowd differ come Canada to the US?
Couse: We have yet to play a show in the US. Our first show will be in San Diego at the Casbah. Most of us have never been there at all, so we have four days to drive down from Ontario to San Diego.
So is your name inspired by Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice?
Couse: Yes and no. We kind of stumbled into the name. There was a point when we were all in English Literature class together and we were reading that book at the same time. Alot of the work that we were reading for that time period was kind of dry, but when we ended up reading that book, we found him as an interesting character. That’s something that kind of fell into place and all of a sudden, we had a different artistic idea and different lineup and aesthetic. It has been with us a long time.
How is his character present in your music?
Couse: I guess you could say it in that way. In general, his demeanor and aesthetic is aloof and cryptic. He was well-dressed, chose his words cautiously, but yet quite the cutting guy. He’s a cool dude. He knows that he has something to offer and the way he carries him self through that, although he comes across as arrogant, he is still modest in a way. I think all those are interesting qualities. We are similar in that we don’t want to give too much away.
I love your music video, Don’t Bleed Me. How did you guys come up with that?
Couse: Mike, the guy who directed it, had an apocalyptic scenario in the works for a while. He had been sitting on this idea and originally wanted to do it for a different song of ours. It was more fitting for Don’t Bleed Me and kind of through the process of us scouting locations and brainstorming different ideas to include in the video, there was a lot of discussion. Sometimes you have a video in mind when producing a song but there seems to be a massive gulf between what you write and when you work on the idea.
What’s the future for you guys?
Couse: Well AJA is fairly fresh, considering it just came out a couple weeks ago. We are going to be preparing for tour for a while, and also keeping busy with using our spare time for writing another album that’s coming along. We got a ton of ideas.