Queen's University — Since 1873
18th November 2011

Defining Darcys

With the release of their self-titled album, the Darcys feel like they’re experiencing a rebirth of the band

The Darcys recently signed onto indie label Arts & Crafts who let them release their new 
self-titled album for free digital download on their website.
The Darcys recently signed onto indie label Arts & Crafts who let them release their new self-titled album for free digital download on their website. (Justin Chin)

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With nowhere quiet to go, we ended up in a chair-filled stairwell in the basement of the Mansion. The Darcys’ Jason Couse and Wes Marskell huddled in their coats during our interview last Friday night before their headlining show.

Couse and Marskell have been friends since they were 10 years old, playing music together in many different capacities before forming the Darcys with Mike le Riche and Dave Hurlow. It’s obvious the two are close.

“Does it look okay?,” Marskell asked about his hair, after Couse attempted to smooth a rogue strand. “I had a haircut last month.”

The band is touring in support of their new self-titled record which was released on Oct. 25. It’s the band’s second LP, but has been years in the making after their lead singer left the band in January 2010. Marskell said this record in many ways feels like their debut.

“The way everything happened with the band, it came together on this record,” he said. “We had line-up changes and it took forever. It sort of felt like a rebirth.”

“We’ve kind of settled on the way we want to present ourselves,” Couse said.

This inevitably led to a question about how the Darcys want to project themselves. The two looked at each other before Marskell quipped, “You brought it up.” “I’m not sure, we work really hard for each individual song to present them in a certain way and then we sort of hope that when they get out there people can do what they want with it,” Marskell said.

The Darcys’ sound is purposefully hard to define and Marskell noted that many people have been describing them as “moody.” Their new album has been garnering them comparisons to Radiohead.

“You take a band like Radiohead who we grew up loving and someone compares you to them, you want to run away as fast as you can,” Marskell said. “Although it is a really kind comparison, as a band you want to carve out your own sort of thing.”

The band has extensively toured Canada over the last two years, including a stop in Kingston just last month. In March, the band played Clark Hall Pub, where they were introduced to a Queen’s favourite.

“All I recall is that we were introduced to Turbos,” Couse said of the Clark Hall specialty that mixes Smirnoff Ice and beer.

“So you guys have Turbos and no [fine] arts program,” Marskell said.

He and Couse compared stories on fights they’ve seen in Kingston — including a pancake keggar with purple people that weren’t figments of his imagination.

The band frequently comes to Kingston since much of Couse’s family lives here, including his sister who studies sociology at Queen’s.

“We’ll spot a couple uncles in the crowd at least,” Couse said of last Friday’s show at the Mansion.

Marskell said it’s important for family to come out to shows so they can understand what being in a band means.

“You go to a Christmas dinner and you try to explain to your family that you’re in a rock band and they’re like ‘Do you play in your mom’s basement?,’” he said. “Then they come out to a show and ‘Oh it’s a real thing.’”

The band came to Kingston from Ottawa — a band favourite after a previous adventure that involved climbing onto the roof of the Chateau Laurier. Drinking may have been involved.

“Not safe,” Couse said. “I don’t recommend trying it.”

Video with the Darcys -


The Journal had a sit-down session with the Darcys.

Interview: Alyssa Ashton & Caitlin Choi
Camera: Justin Chin
Editor: Justin Chin

© Queen’s Journal 2011

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