Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 01 October 2018

Brighton-Bound Darwin Deez Taps Into Michael Keaton & Andie MacDowell Classic For New Self-Directed Video

After recently releasing his fourth studio album, Darwin Deez has shared his first self-directed music video, ahead of his visit to Komedia Brighton.

Deez, who is a New Yorker originally from North Carolina, and has created another clever addition to his existing catalogue of renowned and highly original videos. 

Darwin says of his work on Say It First

"My favourite music video ideas are usually ripped off from 90's feature films. 

"My video for Free (The Editorial Me) developed from my idea to rip off Groundhog Day. 

"This one didn't directly come from Multiplicity but it's similar. Guy clones self to deal with romance, hijinks ensue. 

"I wrote and self-directed for the first time, and I also did the edit. 

"My cousin shot it and hooked us up with the producer Molly who made it all happen." 


The crux of his latest album, 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart, is Darwin's singular songwriting. 

Darwin, the autodidact, is fiercely original as an artist, and enormously catchy and accessible.

In the contemporary musical landscape, overfull as it is with redolent reverbs and saccharine synthesizers—a style of music he jokingly calls "Spotify-wave"—Darwin still makes sparse guitar songs. 

But not the kind of mellow, "psychedelic" 70's-inspired stuff typical of most guitar-based indie groups nowadays. Songs with energy ("why should EDM have the monopoly on danceability?"). Songs with vulnerability. Songs with relatable, audible, intelligible lyrics. 


"Ever since I bought my first CD—Last Splash by the Breeders—I've been internally railing against the kind of vague nonsensical stuff that passed for lyrics in the 90"s.

It's not that it was objectively bad, but it was so cryptic and over my 13 year old head that it infuriated me."

"Everyone is getting a free pass, lyrically," Darwin says. 

Had it not been for the full year he spent in 2007 attending weekly open mic nights, at Sidewalk Café in NYC's East Village, hosted by scene godfather Lach (whose progeny include Beck, Regina Spektor, and The Moldy Peaches) Darwin might never have been challenged to develop his voice as a lyricist

"I've always respected country songwriters because they"re some of the last ones standing, lyrically. 

They're some of the last writers not to be getting away with murder out here. They don't mess around in Nashville."

It"s not that he won't try new things. Lead single and album opener, The World's Best Kisser, came in part from a co-writing session that was planned but never happened with Grammy-winning child prodigy Jacob Collier

Collier, a jazz whiz, often uses the harmonizer in his live shows, which inspired Darwin to adopt it in the studio to fantastic effect on the song. 

Whereas harmonizers have been used ornamentally by many trend-following pop producers of late, Darwin's first and only usage more readily recalls what is arguably the definitive pop song to use the instrument: the heartfelt classic Hide and Seek by fellow DIYer Imogen Heap.

The World's Best Kisser is, in Darwin"s words: "A reflection on the mystery of attraction and the attraction of mysteries. 

"After writing the song, I learned via Joseph Campbell of Thomas Mann's concept of "erotic irony": that flaws/imperfections are what make a person identifiable within a piece of devotional art. 

"And so to write a love song that is truly about a specific person is to write something that cuts the person down to size a bit. Which is paradoxical but true—that in order to glorify someone in a love song, you might point out their defects."

The album also features, for the first time, a few juicy electric piano riffs in lieu of his characteristic stratocaster, and even a full-fledged trumpet solo by then-roommate Alex Toth (of indie band Rubblebucket).

Darwin Deez is one of the few indie musicians who truly ought to be much more famous than he is. 

Someone with the refreshing ability to be both goofy and grim

Someone with the songwriting chops to express the human condition artfully, in a way that cuts through thick clouds of cultural static. Someone with his own sound and his own style

"I'm mixed; my dad is half black and my mom is white. Maybe that"s why I make the kind of music I make. It"s definitely why my hair was like that. 

"That hairstyle was the only way I could figure out to wear it that looked good to me. Mixed race hair is definitely a thing. My dad is always talking about the mixed race experience."

The origin of his originality is beside the point. It's here. It's been here. And on this record, there is a wider-than-ever range of its expression both instrumentally and vocally. 

Darwin Deez's new '10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart' is out now. He plays Komedia Brighton on 2nd October 2018. CLICK HERE for more details.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    

credit Andy Willsher

Musician and songwriter Andy Burrows and bestselling Hove-based author Matt Haig, whose friendship blossomed after they 'met' on Twitter, have spent the past year passing ideas back and forth to create a collection of songs loosely inspired by Haig's books.

Maverick Sabre's third album When I Wake Up is an acutely personal and poignant body of work from the songwriter and artist and includes guest appearances from Jorja Smith and Chronixx.

The London born, Brighton raised and BBC Sound 2019 Nominated singer Grace Carter found through music the strength to speak out, to face down heartbreak and forge something transformative from the pain. 
Photo credit: Sarah Millican

Comedian and writer Sarah Millican has just finished a year-long sell-out tour, including two dates at Brighton Dome, where she encouraged her audiences to make a donation to the Samaritans through bucket collections after every single show.

At 65 years old, and with an incurable illness, award-winning comedy writer Paul Mayhew-Archer decided to go to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 to do something he'd never done before: perform a one-man comedy show.

Canadian alt-rockers Dilly Dally's latest long-playing release, Heaven, rose from the ashes after the four-piece almost decided to call it quits following the rigorous cycle around their much-loved debut, Sore. 
Pic by Grant

Winner of the first ever Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2008, Andrea Gibson remains one of the most captivating performers in the spoken word poetry scene today. 

Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 80th birthday next year by raising funds for theatres, with a new solo show which will play on 80 stages across the UK, including Theatre Royal Brighton.

Last weekend Brighton & Hove Green Party began collecting donations of clothes, food and toiletries for a range of local charitable organisations which support the city's most vulnerable residents

The Turner Prize-nominated visual artist David Shrigley has created a personalised artwork to help raise funds for the Brighton Dome's refurbishment project.

The much anticipated Christmas Queens, at Brighton Dome Concert Hall, began via a video montage of some of the most famous and popular queens from all ten seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race.

After a successful inaugural outing this summer, Black Deer returns in 2019 for a three day celebration of Americana and Country at the Eridge Deer Park in Kent. 

Wave's inaugural podcast festival - which includes podcasts from lifestyle to film to comedy to music - is set to take place across a range of venues in Brighton.
(c) The Unthanks 2018

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle is a new work commissioned by the Brontë Society, written and recorded using Emily Brontë’s piano in her home, by composer, pianist and producer Adrian McNally of the band The Unthanks, and performed with sisters Rachel & Becky Unthank.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd