Post-Wes Anderson in affect and hyper-clever practitioners of perfect-pop, the Brooklyn band Darwin Deez is led by one jheri-curled frontman named, yes, Darwin Deez, though that ‘Deez’ was once a ‘Smith’. Darlings of both the critics and the Shoreditch crowd, their records regularly racing up the UK indie charts, they’ve built a considerable Berlin following, and they’ll be charming the crowd at Astra on Friday, March 11 with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs opening.
You’re touring the US right now.
Like many indie musicians, we have been given the cheapest possible forms of transportation to carry us across the country. Right now we’re driving a minivan that’s miraculously lugging a giant trailer. When we stop at checkpoints and tollbooths, they ask us which one is the soccer mom. Our opening band’s van caught on fire in Wyoming. They had to abandon their ride and switch over to a rental. The Darwin van made it a little farther, to Northern California, where we broke down at midnight on Mt. Shasta. We were waiting on the curb, wandering up and down the mountain under a beautiful starry sky. There were pinecones as big as our head. We took one of them with us. Our goal is to get that pinecone all the way back home.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Before we take the stage, each of us takes a hefty shot of psyllium husk. On tour, it’s important to get your fiber, and sources are scarce. We’re huskers, baby.
You play Berlin often. Can you say something about its flavor?
Berlin tastes like döner: fluffy baked bread, red Turkish sauce, white tahini sauce, shredded cabbage, and lamb, if you’re carnivorous. Berlin tastes like that special lemon version of Becks. You can drink it on the streets without having to worry about getting a ticket. There’s incredible graffiti in that town. But you’re probably better off not eating the graffiti.
So, how can other bands achieve indie Godhead?
Do 100 things, and then the 101st thing will work. Write songs. Record songs. Give them away for free. Release them. Sell CD-Rs for
five bucks. Make t-shirts with beautiful designs. Some of the stuff might seem like tedious grunt work, but find a way to be passionate about as much of it as you can. Film videos and put them on YouTube. Rant blogs on the internet. Make websites. Do photo shoots. Hang out a lot at shows and make friends with all the musicians in your town. Play shows. Play for big crowds opening for bands that are further along than you. Play for medium-sized crowds where you had to invite every last acquaintance you know. Drive for hours to play empty shows in the next town over. You’ll do all of these things and it will seem like nothing’s really working, but then you’ll take a look at it one day and realize you’ve made a little progress. And then maybe one day you’ll do one more thing, just like the stuff you’ve been doing all along, and that thing will multiply, blow up exponentially. Or maybe not, but you’ve probably made a lot of great expression along the way, no matter what. And that’s worth a lot.