Track By Track: Darts
Melbourne outfit Darts burst out of the gates with their debut LP Below Empty & Westard Bound. ALLY CAMPBELL-SMITH* and *ANGUS AYRES run us through each track.
Angus: ‘Commanche’ opens the record with a lot of aggression. Like a lot of the album, it deals with depression and particularly the feeling of losing control, like a mutiny on your mind.
Angus: I knew this guy who lost it because there was a blackout and he couldn’t use his computer to watch videos for 20 minutes. I guess this song was influenced by that example of our inability to live our lives without constantly being connected, closing ourselves off from each other with our heads in our devices and our weakness to instant boredom. Which I hate, yet am completely guilty of as well.
‘Push Me Thru’
Angus: Push Me Thru kind of evokes the constant self-analysis running around in your head, and the resulting isolation, feeling like you don’t fit where everyone does.
Angus: Ally had this song from a while ago, and it held significant meaning to her. We’ve always really liked it so we felt it had to be on the album. It’s a certain collection of memories, I guess, that sum up a fondness for that childhood innocence that allowed us to form the most honest relationships we’ve ever had. When we were trying to brainstorm ideas for the video, we gave the song to Timothy Casten. It’s really interesting when you give such a personal song to a complete stranger to see what they come up with. He honoured the song and was so careful to communicate the emotions conveyed in the song.
‘Here Is Down’
Angus:I don’t sleep too much. I’ve always been one of those people wandering around the house at 3am. I think those hours where everything is so quiet and most people are sound asleep, your inner thoughts get amplified. It can be deafening and anxieties can snowball into all out panic. The sleeplessness leaves you feeling frail, weathered and overwhelmed. This song is about that.
Ally: This was the first time Angus and I had tried writing for each other. He gave me the song and asked me to write the lyrics. It was a different experience for us, and an interesting process writing lyrics for a track I hadn’t written because usually, the two come together simultaneously for me. I wanted to translate the music in a way that honoured Angus’ ideas as well as explore a different delivery to what I’m used to. I found myself drawn to that feeling of a sort of mid journey breakdown, where the realisation of what you want is unattainable and you’ve exhausted everything only to get to the half way mark, with the choice to give up or keep going not knowing how far you’ll get.
Ally: I remember going round to Angus’ place and finding him and all his gear spread out on a mattress, he showed me a demo that turned into this song, and it blew me away. The song also reinforces a running theme throughout the record that we’re heading in the wrong direction, and the regret that our lives didn’t take an alternate path.
Ally: Angus has a thing for old Westerns and their soundtracks, which is fairly evident here and throughout the album. The isolation in some of those westerns with ‘the man with no name’ kind of inspires the imagery and tone. We had the horn section in in this one as well, rounding out that western feel. It’s also the first song we played live where we had people singing the words back to us, which was pretty amazing.
Angus: This is the first song we all wrote together at the same time, and it also happened to be the first time we had played with Jessie. It’s about feeling like you’re slipping out of touch with everyone, and conversely those who feel you’ve disappeared.
Angus: I used to sit at cafes a lot by myself and sort of just watch people as they walked by and imagine who they were. At the same time kind of feeling disconnected, it’s kind of a melancholy song propelled at times by Paige’s organ.
‘Travelling Aardvark Kashmir’
Ally: The futile attempt at trying to erase a bad memory, heartbreak and regret. This song was actually the first song the boys wrote way back in 2007, but we felt that it fit perfectly both lyrically and musically on the record.
‘My Darling / Bendigo’
Angus: This song is kind of a two parter. We wanted to end the album with a melancholy fader but at the same time capture the sort of desperate anger that permeates the record.