Fresh off of their Canadian tour dates and the success of their Top 5 Billboard hit “Running For The Hills,” beloved alt-rock duo The Darcys (Jason Couse and Wes Marskell) release “Washed Away,” a moody alt-rock smash with syncopated guitar work that drives to an explosive and anthemic chorus.
Feeling the influence of their new home of California in their ever-evolving sound, “Washed Away” finds The Darcys opening up about the sometimes isolating and dejected experience of being an independent act in an era that values quantity over quality.”‘Washed Away” is about trying to keep your head above water. The expectation for new music and endless content means sink or swim for artists like us. If you’re not always generating, releasing, and growing, it’s easy to feel like you’ll quickly be forgotten,” the band explains. “The pattern is nothing new: when we try to meet every expectation of our band, our mental health suffers, we burn out, and it’s difficult to find our way back to the surface. We wanted to confront and acknowledge this toxic cycle as a first step to bettering our complicated relationship with creativity. Turning these feelings into a song was extremely rewarding and you can hear that when the bridge offers the listener a little bit of hope in the form of a lifeline.“
No matter the medium, characteristics like artistic purpose, individuality, integrity, and innovation, make for genuine artistry. Since the band’s formation in 2007, what have you done as a band to communicate/uphold this genuineness throughout the years? What have you come to learn about yourselves and each other in the process?
Jason Couse (JC): “As artists, all we can control is how we feel about the music we put into the world. With any piece of new music, we ask ourselves if we’ll be proud of it even if it doesn’t succeed in the traditional sense of the word. Analytics pages can destroy creativity. Time and time again, we find taking creative risks, ones that fulfill us as artists, generally lead to greater ‘successes’ than the times we try to engineer a song to fit a specific mould or work for a specific format. It feels like people crave authenticity more than ever, and that’s the energy we’re trying to bring to everything we create.”
Your latest single, “Washed Away,” sheds light on the expectations artists are met with day in and day out. Whether it’s generating content, releasing music, or growing as a band, it can become easy to feel forgotten. What expectations do you prioritize as a band in order to effectively navigate today’s social climate and the creative demand presented by apps like TikTok?
JC: “To survive as an artist these days is an incredible amount of work. The volatility of the music industry and the consumer demand for an endless stream of content make it difficult to justify taking a break. Contrary to everything we see about managing mental health, work/life balance, and preventing burnout, when you’re running your own business you don’t have the luxury of checking out when you feel like it, or when you need it. It’s easy to blame apps like TikTok, but those platforms provided us with a wonderful outlet to share our music with new people and connect with fans while the world was closed. The bonus is that we make our own hours, which is why you’ll see us on Instagram golfing at twilight or going for a nice long bike ride on a weekday. The balance is up to us to figure out, and the first part of that process is recognizing it.”
When under these expectations, one’s mental health is often left suffering, in turn becoming burnt out, quite literally “suffocating” themselves in all their misery. How are you able to separate your creative endeavours from everyday life? Do you ever find their respective expectations coincide?
JC: “I feel lucky that we’re able to keep the actual music-making part fun. We’ve never stuck to the same sound or approach for very long, so there’s always the excitement of invention and growth. The reason we’re willing to stay focused and juggle the many facets of running a music brand in the modern age is because it affords us the ability to make and share music, which is pretty awesome. If we have fun making something and even one other person finds enjoyment in it, it’s all worth it.”
The bridge of the song offers the listener hope in the form of a lifeline; reassuring them they are not alone with their troubles; offering a helping hand in a time of need. How do you find the creation of a song such as this helps keep your head above water and allows you to break any toxic cycle of falling beneath the surface?
JC: “I think the most important thing for someone experiencing a struggle is to feel like they’re not alone. It’s something that has helped me in the past, and I think on this particular topic we are constantly inundated with people’s successes and never see the hard work and challenges behind it. As much as we’re guilty of participating in that at times, it also feels important to remind others that community support is something that’s consistent behind most successes.”
How rewarding was it for you both to create a song that allows one to find comfort in the uncertainty of everyday life far beyond the music industry?
JC: “Sometimes just saying something out loud is all the relief you need. Despite all the frustrations we’re forced to endure as a band, our career allows us to communicate with a lot of people regularly and we try to share more than just our music with them. I know social media can be villainized, but it also provides a space for bringing people together and we’re lucky to have a community that wants to engage with us there. Like life, things can be uncertain, but when you’re surrounded by the right people, even the simplest things can be really great. It’s nice to take a second to appreciate that and reflect on how our online community continuously provides support for us.”
Following the release of this single, you will be gearing up to release an EP due this fall. What can you tell us about this collection of songs?
JC: “Moving forward from the ‘Fear & Loneliness’ universe, this next chapter of The Darcys is an exercise in simplicity, and in trusting ourselves as creators and artists. We want to feel confident and present early in the process to make sure we’re not overthinking the music as we build it out. I think a lot of people will connect with the process, and you’ll be able to hear and feel it in the music.”
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