Exposed has taken a pew inside a small recording studio on the outskirts of the city centre, situated amongst the rusting warehouses and factories which represent the rattling gasps of Sheffield’s once alive and kicking manufacturing industry.
Sat directly across are four young lads who’ve provided a breath of fresh air for the local music scene. The Darlingtons now look set to deliver a spot of wider resuscitation to the sound of British alternative music with their atmospheric, brooding, post-rock vibes.
Hi chaps, let’s kick off by discussing the tracks you’ve chosen to play today?
Chris: We’ve gone a bit stripped back today. We chose to play a track called ‘Sunflowers’ – which is an old track, and also ‘Fiction Is Not Imagination’ – a new one of ours, which we haven’t really played live yet.
Could you briefly tell us a bit about each track?
Chris: Sunflowers was written a while ago. (to Kiran) What did you write it about?
Kiran: Sunflowers. (Laughter)
Chris: I think it’s kind of a depressing take on being a sunflower. How they always face the sun until the end of summer when they wilt away – I’d like to add that we’re not actually as depressing as we sound!
Ah, the irony of sunflowers. What about the second track?
Kiran: ‘Fiction Is Not Imagination’ took a while to get to the stage in which it sounded right. We spent a lot of time developing it in the studio.
Chris: We were working on it for a good few months. I think we’re getting there with it now. It used to sound horrendous, but now it’s probably our strongest live track.
How did you guys start playing music together?
Kiran: We went to school together. Simple as that, really.
Chris: We were all part of the same friendship groups, but strangely all began by playing in separate bands. We started jamming together and stuff towards the end of college.
Daniel: I think it’s been about six years that we’ve been playing and writing together.
That gives you a lot of time to hone your sound. Do you feel the gradual improvement in your music over time?
Daniel: Yeah, you definitely notice the sound getting stronger.
Chris: Song writing can take a while to perfect, especially when you’re working with four people, you need to know how each other works musically. So, yeah, I think we’ve become a lot more aware of that.
You’ve played a few interesting gigs recently: The Great Escape festival, supporting Catfish And The Bottlemen, then performances in Belgium and France. It’s been a busy month…
Kiran: It has. It’s been awesome. To play Great Escape then support Catfish in the same weekend at another cool venue was a great experience.
Chris: Playing Belgium and France was great. We played some good gigs, got treated really well, and met some really interesting people.
The beer in Belgium isn’t bad, either?
All: *Loud resonances of agreement*.
Kiran: They don’t even shut the pubs! They stay open all night and in to the morning. We ended up being banned from drinking this 9% beer called Chimay. It was incredible.
I’ve read that your name derives from the Anglo Saxon period…
Chris: Well, it’s based on the surname of a guy called Bob Darlington – who used to help us out loads. However, we read in to it and then found the Anglo Saxon link.
Did you know that Sheffield originated from a settlement built by a family of Angles, on the banks of the River Sheaf, near where Commercial Street is today? We’re talking early 9thcentury here.
Chris: We didn’t know that! Now, thankfully, we do. We can pop that in our bio now.
Yup. They were described as ‘barbaric, warlike characters’ – which member of the band does this represent the most?
Daniel: I think that’s probably all of us when we’re on a stage.
Chris: Yeah, our live set is very energetic – so I think you could apply that to all of us.
Alex: It’s a good job we play a short set. You see some bands going at it for about an hour and a half and I’m thinking, if we did that, we’d need A & E. It’s quite nice having the opportunity to strip back our sound today and hear the music a bit differently.
It’s funny you should mention a softer sound, because the instrument of choice for most Anglo Saxons was the harp. Do you reckon there’s a way you could incorporate one of those in to your set?
Kiran: It could be part of our new campaign.
Chris: My auntie plays the harp – let’s get her in.
I’m feeling the Anglo Saxon vibe here. Let’s have another. It was tradition to bury Anglo Saxons with ‘grave goods’, personal possessions to take in to the afterlife. What would you choose?
Kiran: Yeah, I’d say guitar. Dan would probably take his phone. *Laughter*
Daniel: Well, you’ve got catch up with what people on Earth on are up to…
Chris: I’d take clean pants. If you’re going to the afterlife, you’d want to make a good impression. I’d also take a football, so I can react the scene from Castaway, draw a face on it and call it Wilson.
Finally then, what’s on the horizon for The Darlingtons?
Chris: Exciting times, hopefully. We’ve just signed to a booking agency today!
Kiran: We’ve also got a single recorded – and the video shot for that. Our latest single, Rotations, is out now. We’ve also got a couple of gigs left before our tour finishes.
Chris: Our next single will be called ‘Whoever Really Knows’ – and it looks like that will be out around July time.