Those Darlins, the punk-rock Americana group of girls, Kelley, Nikki and Jessi Darlin, from down the road in Murfreesboro, played in The Americana Music Festival this weekend. The Belmont Vision had the chance to interview them and find out a little more about the outspoken musicians.
None of you are from Tennessee originally. So what brought you to the Nashville area? What did Murfreesboro have to offer?
Kelley: I moved to Murfreesboro to study recording at Middle Tennessee State University. I wanted to be near a bigger city with more opportunities to see bands and play music, meet people.
Jessi: Nikki and I heard there was a big kegger so we came down and somehow never left.
Who are the bands top 5 musical influences? Where do you think those influences come through in the music?
Dolly Parton, The Ramones, The Beach Boys, Meatloaf, Bubba Dubba
How do you break through the mold of playing in an area saturated with country music when you could be classified in the same genre?
A lot of country music in Nashville is just lame pop music. I think we play good pop music and that sets us apart.
The bottom line is that Nashville “country music” is actually NOT country music AT ALL. It is modern pop music. I still think the music we’ve written is a lot closer to what country music ACTUALLY is than mainstream “country” today.
In what ways do you mostly consider yourselves feminists?
We are feminists because we believe in equality between men and women, and we try to positively influence a change. But we don’t write feminist songs or try to represent that in our music. We just write songs about things that happen to us and the way that we feel and if people think they have feminist messages, well maybe they do, but not because we intentionally want them that way. We just are feminists and we write about ourselves. Its kinda like “Bob Dylan didn’t write topical songs”
What is Americana music to you as a band?
Americana is a way to describe music that is kind of country but influenced much more by the “roots” of American music and is used to distinguish it from commercial pop country. I guess it is supposed to imply a more “pure” rough and tumble kind of country music, but it usually ends up being a catchall phrase for bland singer-songwriter types and people over 40.
What’s next for the band? What are your plans for the next few months?
We’ve got solid touring all around the country twice and even a few dates in Canada, our first out of country excursion before the end of the year. Next year will start out with more touring. And we are working on writing our next album, which we’ll start recording next year.
Those Darlins will perform Saturday at Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tenn. at 2:00 p.m for the cave’s “Bluegrass Underground” concert series. Legendary country singer Charlie Louvin performs as well. Tickets for students are only $5 (that’s a 75% discount!). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information.