The Darcys Find Their Sound

Toronto Band Drops New Album, Remake Steely Dan

Photos Dylan Maloney

Toronto rock outfit the Darcys’ self-titled album, released this past fall and the catalyst for their upcoming North American tour, was one that even the band thought would never get finished.

“It was sort of surreal for the longest time,” said drummer Wes Marskell. “We were working on [the album] and it never felt like it would actually get released. So I think we sort of just plugged away at it more as something to do.

“I still didn’t believe it, even when we signed the deal and when it was announced and when we knew that it would actually come out. It seemed like something else horrible would happen to deter it from actually making it to the shelves.”

The quartet, composed of Marskell, Jason Couse, Mike le Riche and Dave Hurlow has, in the past year, endured the loss of a lead singer, followed by numerous re-recordings of their album and trying legal proceedings before they were finally able to release their record this past fall with Toronto label Arts & Crafts.

The label’s unconventional approach has allowed the band to release their album online for free, something almost unheard of in the world of large record deals.

“I think that when you make a record in this day and age there’s so much competition in the rest of the world to get your music out there and to get in the people’s ears. […] There’s so much that’s available for free, so to have a record label that says, ‘Okay, we’ll help you, we’ll put this record out for free,’ was really exciting,” said Marskell. “People don’t have any guilt about downloading it and sharing it with their friends.”

The band also has the record available for purchase on vinyl.

Their new record isn’t going to be their only unconventional release, though. The Darcys have another free online project slated to drop at the end of January. The band has recorded their own re-imagining of Steely Dan’s 1977 record Aja.

“It’s sort of weird, it’s more like an art project. It’s nothing whatsoever like the Steely Dan record, the only thing that is similar is the vocal melodies and the lyrics. Everything else is totally redone. So in a sense it’s our own instrumental record with the Steely Dan stuff on top,” said Marskell.

“The way we looked at it was that we took the record and learned it in its entirety, and [then] we just tried to destroy it—the sheen of Steely Dan, the goofiness, the essence of what a Steely Dan record was. We tried to build it back up in our own light.”

The band kicks off their North American tour on Jan. 12 in Montreal, to be followed by a trip to Austin’s South by Southwest festival, and then to Toronto for Canadian Music Week in March.

Constantly writing, working on new material and experimenting with their sound, Marskell predicts that their next record will be different from its predecessors—but can’t predict what direction the Darcys will take for it.
“I’m as interested as anyone else to see what happens.”

The Darcys / Jan. 12 / Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.)