Based out of New York City, rising dark indie punk pop artist D’Arcy has toured in over 40 cities throughout the US and is currently working on her new album with Sonny DiPerri (Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead). Her new single “Crazy” is out now – take a listen below. SPIN caught up with D’Arcy to talk about who inspires her, what her biggest challenge is, where “Crazy” came from, and more.
Come and vibe with D’Arcy below! For more SPIN Sessions, head over to SPIN TV.
Who is D’Arcy & how did you come to life?
The identity of “D’Arcy” came to be through hunger I had to create music that was influenced by, but separate from, my personal experiences and history. She feels very much “me” and also entirely “not me.” I wanted to feel free and fresh. And I do.
Tell us about your sound – where does your style originate from and what have been your biggest visual, social, and sonic influences?
I have a lot of influences, and a lot of them are not in the music space. Merce Cunningham and John Cage are big ones. I’m also very interested in Butoh, which is a really interesting type of Japanese dance that I studied a bit in school. Techno music and the city of Berlin. Patti Smith. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. David Mamet. Nietzsche. David Foster Wallace. Sadie Benning’s short film “If Every Girl Had a Diary” from the 90s. FKA Twigs. Cigarettes After Sex. My dogs. It changes a lot but these are some staples right now.
How has your songwriting/production process evolved through time?
I think I used to try and sound more like other people. I would come into the studio and say “I want to make a song that sounds like X.” Now I go into the studio and I say, “I want to make a song that sounds like nobody.” And even if that song ends up being just an acoustic guitar and a vocal, it retains an honesty that can otherwise be corrupted by trying to sound like other people. There is a big difference between being influenced by other artists and trying to sound like other artists. The challenge, and exciting part, is finding your own voice by absorbing and synthesizing different types of art and then generating your own, completely unique sound and style. In terms of production, acquiring my synthesizer was a big catalyst for starting to create a new sound. I feel like my knowledge of sound is ever-expanding thanks to the Prophet Rev2.
What ideas, processes, etc. have you been exploring lately to generate inspiration or new musical concepts?
I am trying to be a sponge and just absorb everything I can. Usually that means I am in my house alone listening to music or reading a book or watching something. But lately I am becoming very excited about meeting new people and having experiences out in the world. I think it’s important to have both phases and they both really influence how I take in inspiration and write based off of that. Maybe it’s to do with the weather in NYC now, but I am currently feeling very energized and inspired by people and the city.
How do you define and perceive success? What’s your journey been this year in the pursuit towards it?
Success for me is being able to create the best art as I possibly can for as long as humanly possible.
Do you create for yourself or for your fans?
Absolutely myself. I really try not to think about how things will be received when I am making them, otherwise I tend to make things I am not very proud of. Of course it is very exciting when my music is well received and connects to other people. I have to be kind of in a bubble when I am creating something from scratch, even if I am working with other people. Once I know the material inside and out, and can perform it, the performance aspect feels much less self-centered and more collaborative and giving.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as an artist?
Trying to not care about instant gratification and tangible results when sometimes it feels like it’s all that anybody cares about. The biggest challenge as an artist for me has nothing to do with art itself. It’s about all the “business” around it.
What inspired your latest song “Crazy”?
What made you want to become an artist?
There’s a really great clip somewhere on YouTube where David Bowie talks about creating art. Basically he says that it’s not always a pleasant process, and often excruciating, but for some people it’s just an absolute necessity like breathing or eating. For me it very much feels that way. I can’t not do it.
If you had to give a title to the current stage you’re at in your career, what would it be?
“Levitation.” Also that is one of my favorite songs. (By Beach House.)
In what ways do you wish to inspire up and coming artists/producers that are aiming to get their creative work out into the world?
Hmm. I think the most important thing is to inspire somebody to be themselves. There are too many copycats and not enough originals. It gets very boring. Be yourself, be weird, there are absolutely no rules. Stop thinking that there are rules, or that there is “one way.” I hope I can inspire other artists by embodying this ethos myself.
What’s next for D’Arcy?
I will be making a movie!
Take a chance now and manifest something: ______________.
Manifesting that I am currently making a movie!
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?