Those Darlins are set to play Rough Trade tonight and DC9 tomorrow for what are sure to be two AMAZING shows, so I spoke to Jessi Zazu to find out what the band’s been up to recently. We chit-chatted about the split live record they made with Diarrhea Planet, as well as about how things are going in the ever-growing Nashville music scene at the moment. Read up on all of that below, grab tickets to the show tonight, download Blur the Line (out now on Oh Wow Dang) if you haven’t already got it, and follow the band on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news. HERE WE GO:
Photo by Angelina Castillo
So tell me about how it was to tour with Diarrhea Planet!
It was awesome, I love those guys. It’s like, if you let them loose in your gear they’ll go through all of it and fix it. They’re like fix-it robots. [Laughs]
And how’d you guys decide to do this split live album?
Well, we were with them at Pickathon and didn’t even know that they recorded our sets, but they contacted us afterwards to let us know that they’d been wanting to start releasing a series of splits with us as the first one. It was kind of all them, but of course we were like “Hell yeah we’re all in!”
It must have been nice not to even know that they were recording, though! I feel like it potentially takes away a lot of pressure.
Oh, totally. We did one live recording before where we were trying to make an album and I couldn’t stop thinking about it the whole time, so this was really nice. And they recorded two sets, which was great, because then we had options to choose from.
Nice! And you guys are taking a little break back in Nashville before you hit the road again, yeah? How long have you been living there?
Well, I moved back to Tennessee (I was born here and also lived here for a few years back when I was in middle school) when I was seventeen, and that was 2006. We started the band in Murfreesboro, which is about forty minutes outside of Nashville. So it’s not Nashville, but it’s close enough that we were playing here all the time, and technically we’ve been in the scene for about eight years. But we didn’t move to Nashville proper until three, maybe four years ago.
So having been in the Nashville music scene for a substantial amount of time, what are your thoughts on how its changed over the last few years? Because I’ve not been myself, but from what I understand it’s really exploded, to the point that some people are leaving.
Yeah, it’s a little bit weird; I honestly don’t know how I feel about it…I feel very conflicted, because there are good things and bad things about it. There are parts of it that still feel like the same city, but it’s very different from the Nashville that I knew growing up; it’s sort of losing that small-town vibe (and those small-town prices) that a lot of people are attracted to. It’s not that it’s completely different than it ever was, but looking at it, I get the feeling that in a couple of years I’m not going to know the city anymore. The amount of people moving here and the popularity…it’s sort of trading in the character and the things that make it special for money. That part’s a bummer.
But there are a lot of new people that are really cool that I really like, that are a big part of my life, so I wouldn’t say that everyone moving here is a bad thing, it’s just kind of weird and hard to get used to. The part about it to me that’s the strangest, biggest bummer is that all of the musicians that lived here (or still live here) that are part of the reason that people think Nashville is so cool can’t even afford to live here anymore. But like I said, there’s cool stores opening, there’s bigger opportunities for events…as a musician, I see more opportunities to grow within this city because it gets national attention. So I don’t know; I guess it’s a good thing and a bad thing. [Laughs]
Right, I hear you. Well, do you think all of the growth has translated to “progressiveness” at all? Like, say you released that album cover for Blur the Line today instead of in 2013, even…do you think people would be less scandalized by it now than they would have one and a half, two years ago?
No, not really. I mean, there’s more people here that are progressive, but there’s just as many that are still conservative; it’s still kind of a weird dichotomy between super religious Republican right-wing people, and then the more liberal, indie, younger generation. So I think it’d be kind of the same thing.
Interesting. I grew up in kind of a similar dynamic outside of DC, so I get what you mean about that weird contrast. Now, what have you guys got coming up apart from these gigs? Are you working on a full-length or an EP or anything like that?
Yeah, we’ve been recording some demos, but I’m not sure if it’ll be an EP and an album or just an album. We are recording towards that, though.
And what’s the songwriting process generally like for you? Is there any kind of routine you try to incorporate?
Honestly, if I get into a routine, it’ll work for a while, but the next time I try to do it for another body of work I find that I need to change it to keep myself inspired. A lot of the songs we’ve been working on right now (at least the ones that I’ve written) are all ones that I’ve written from now since the time we put out the last album, so I haven’t really taken a lot of time to sit down and write, I’ve just been doing it here and there when I have time. And we’ve sort of been taking those songs and getting together to mess around with them, record, let everyone put their ideas on them and see what happens. So it’s been pretty fun.