Interview: The Darts
2019 has been a big year for The Darts. The psychedelic inspired garage rockers released their brand new album I Like You But Not Like That, gave us music videos for “Breakup Makeup” and “Love U 2 Death,” and had the incredible opportunity to share the stage with a rock-n-roll icon! We recently had the opportunity to chat with the group’s guitarist Meliza Jackson about all of this and so much more; including working with Jello Biafra, touring with The Damned, and what advice she’d give to the next generation musicians and artists.
1. Earlier this year, you released your album I Like You But Not Like That. Tell us a little bit about the album and what people can expect to hear from it.
I feel like this album really shows the band's range. There's an element of psychedelic mixed in with garage rock. Lots of moody synth and heavy bass that creates the backbone of our sound, filled with fuzz guitars. I also feel like the vibe of the record captures how much fun we had recording it. It was the first time all the band members were in the studio together to record (minus our drummer), and I think that energy comes across on the songs. I love every single track on the album, and I hope our listeners enjoy it just as much.
2. This past August you released a music video for “Breakup Makeup.” Why do you feel that is one of the strongest songs to be a first representative for the album?
“Breakup Makeup” is a total in your face rocker with all the attitude. It showcases the band's energy and playful side and felt appropriate as one of the first singles to say, "we're here, and we're ready for the world to hear us.”
3. What two other songs from the album would you say people need to hear to get the overall feel of it?
I think “Love U 2 Death” & “Don't Hold My Hand” are both great examples of how diverse the album is and gives the listener a good feel of what to expect from the rest of the record.
4.What’s your personal favorite song from the album and why?
My personal favorite is “Phantom.” I love everything about it; From the heavy bass line and infectious groove, to the spooky fuzz guitar and the vocal delivery & lyrics. We've recently added it to our live set, and it’s become one of my favorites to play as well.
5. The album was produced by Bob Hoag. What did Bob bring the studio that helped elevate your sound the most?
Bob is one of the hardest working record producers I know. He will work on tone for hours until he gets it just right. He has an incredible ear for making things magic, and we all spent a lot of time together refining the parts and going through different amps and guitars and such until everything sounded just right.
6. The legendary Jello Biafra assisted with the production of the album. What tips and advice did he offer that help you find something within your sound that otherwise may not have been there?
Jello thought the album could benefit from raising the vocals up in the mix when we were getting around to the final edits, and I think it really helped bring in some nice finishing touches.
7. Speaking of Jello Biafra, you teamed up with his Alternative Tentacles for the release of your latest music (as well as an earlier 7-inch). What made you decide that Alternative Tentacles was the right home for your music?
Jello and the whole team at AT are so supportive and caring for the band, it was such a great fit from the start. I think the entire team over there really believes in us as both artists & people, and they just want to help us bring our vision to life.
8. In 2018, you had the incredible opportunity to tour with the legendary punk rock group The Damned. What did you learn most about performing live from watching them night in and night out that you’ve since incorporated into your own shows?
The Damned put on such an incredible show every single night. They have a charisma and energy that's super fun to watch, and they are killer musicians that play solid together. It was just inspiring to watch them play and interact with the audience.
The most important thing is to engage with the audience and make sure they are digging it. We just try to have fun and make sure the show is high energy and something you enjoy.
9. You’ve played shows with Jello Biafra, The Living End, the aforementioned The Damned, and many more! However, is there one band you’ve always wanted to play a show with that you haven’t yet?
Actually, I've always wanted to play with Joan Jett and we got that opportunity earlier this year! It was surreal. She's been a longtime idol of mine, being one of the first female rocker icons that plays guitar. Sharing the stage with her is something I will never forget!
10. We’re all about helping the next generation at allageszine.com, so we always end all our Q&A’s with this question. What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting out with their first band today?
Never give up - Play lots of shows, get the experience, take opportunities, and most of all don’t forget you're in this to have fun.