Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Feb 17th 2010 3:00PM by Matt Essner
How did Darlings of Chelsea form?
A bunch of us had played in different bands throughout the music scene here in Canada, bands like the Black Halos -- who were pretty well known -- a band called Cheerleader, another band called Robin Black. Those bands kind of went their way, and we just were just kind of hanging out around the rock clubs in Toronto, watching bands and bumping into each other all the time. We all wanted to start something new, and we knew we could rock harder than 99 percent of the bands out there.
Where did the name come from?
The name comes from a couple of different things. Our singer, Sean Robertson, is from England, and we thought it would be cool to have a kind of British flair to the name. The actual name Darlings of Chelsea comes from a group of people that were well-known as music fans in the '70s. They were referred to in a few old articles about the Stones and some other old British rock bands.
How would you describe your sound?
That's tough. It's rock 'n' roll, you know? It's got lots of elements of different sounds throughout the ages. You can hear everything from, like, '70s rock, the MC5 kind of stuff, through to the more modern kind of stuff -- Refused, the hardcore scene and lots of punk rock. It's a mixture of all those things, but then it comes together as one cohesive sound.
What are your musical influences?
That would vary depending on who you ask in the band, but there's a few that stick out with everyone. I would definitely say the Clash and the MC5 in terms of older stuff. Maybe some newer stuff would be the Hellacopters, maybe Queens of the Stone Age.
I thought your lead singer did have a bit of a Josh Homme thing going on.
Yeah, definitely. We've had comparisons to him, and we've had a bit of comparisons to Foo Fighters.
What was the music scene like where you were growing up?
Well, Paul, the guitar player, and I grew up together in a small city here in Canada, and the music scene was pretty cool for the size of the city. We were playing in bands that were pretty popular, but the city was small enough that there wouldn't be a lot of competition. When bigger bands would come through we would get to open up for some of them, which was a great opportunity. I think I was 18 or 19 when I first opened up for the Misfits. Doing stuff like that, we had great opportunities that you wouldn't get growing up in bigger cities. Now that we've relocated to Toronto, it's a lot harder. When the Misfits come to town, there are 80 bands ahead of you that are in with record companies, so they get the better opening slots.
What are the big music cities in Canada?
Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are the big ones.
Are there different sounds associated with those cities?
Yeah, it's definitely a bit different, for sure. Montreal has a lot of artier indie rock and the last six years it's been quite popular, with a great music scene and a lot of great bands coming out of Montreal. And traditionally, the more pop bands have been coming out of Toronto. Vancouver is different, too, but I don't think we're that varied from coast to coast, in terms of music.
In the States it's a pretty popular pastime of rock critics to rip on Nickelback. Is that something that transcends the border?
Yeah. Yeah, it's probably a part-time hobby of most Canadians. We've been doing it for a lot longer than you guys, actually. I saw Nickelback play up here on their first cross-Canada tour, and there was literally me and two friends in the audience. [We're] in a city with a population of 100,000, and they had more tech guys on stage than there were fans in the crowd.
In the States it seems that when people think of Canadian rock bands there's Rush, the Guess Who and Nickelback.
Yeah, it's sad. We find that a lot of Canadian acts that are really good don't break out in the States. It's a huge thing for Canadian artists to break out in the States, because it's so difficult.
How did you get involved in SXSW?
We played a festival up here last year called North by Northeast, which is kind of like Canada's version of SXSW, and there was this booking agent/manager named Mario Escovedo out of LA that had come up to check out some of his artists that were playing up here. We ended up playing with Spinnerette, Brody Dalle's new band, and he was up to see them and he ended up catching us. He really loved us and said he wanted to work with us, so he was the one behind getting us to SXSW.
What's in your festival survival kit?
We're going down there really bare bones. We're looking to sleep on couches, crash barbecues and get as much free beer and food as possible. Really, all we're bringing is one change of clothes and our guitars, and that's about it.
Matt Essner is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.