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INTERVIEW: DARLING DOWN – June 2015

| 17 June 2015 | Reply

Mid-Michigan’s Darling Down – Amanda Legault (vocals), Dustin Claud (guitar), Jim Dokurno (bass), and Ryan Hudson (drums) – appear to be one of the newest bands to emerge from the Midwest looking to take their swing at grabbing the brass ring of rock stardom.  They are constantly touring and getting the word out about their band and their music, with a recently added date in the Detroit metro area with Bret Michael’s in July.  Taking a few minutes out from their lives, the band put thoughts and answers of a few questions to paper so we could help spread the Darling Down love…

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Toddstar: What can you tell us about Never Tell, your 2014 release?

AMANDA: Nothing! It’s top secret. I’ll never tell.

JIM: We recorded it with Chuck Alkazian at Pearl Sound Studios. It was definitely one of the most fun records to do.

DUSTIN: Album número dos, many more to come.

RYAN: It’s a hard hitting album that was created with the old school collaboration process, couldn’t be happier with it.

Toddstar: During the writing and recording process, were there any particular songs that were harder than others to complete from start to finish?

AMANDA: I don’t think we’re ever really finished with a song. Even after we thought we were finished we reworked a few tracks. “Pressure” started out with completely different lyrics. In my notebook it’s titled “Kill Ryan” because he has to play so fast we thought we were going to give him a heart attack.

JIM: Not really. They all seemed to come together after playing on them.

DUSTIN: Not any particular tracks, just drumming up the patience for completion… like mixing, etc.

RYAN: “Gypsy Soul” was probably the hardest since we technically wrote it in the studio.

Toddstar: Conversely, any tracks that seemed to write and record themselves without any struggle?

AMANDA: “Scars” came together flawlessly. I wrote the lyrics then Dustin came up with the music and everything just clicked. The biggest challenge on that song was learning all the words that Stephen wrote for the bridge. There are more words in that one bridge than in most of my songs.

DUSTIN: “Scars” was effortlessly.

RYAN: “Scars’ came together very quickly.

Toddstar: You guys recently released a cool video for the title track, “Never Tell.” How much fun was it putting together more of a story line video than the typical performance piece?

AMANDA: We had a blast shooting the video for “Never Tell” with Travis Ross of Ripjaw Media. The story line was the inspiration for the song, so we knew from the beginning what direction we wanted the video to go in… pulling it off was the tricky part. We couldn’t have done it without Kari Evich and her super realistic gory makeup and my fantastically messy hair done by Cameo Knapp. I also need to give props to our weapons expert Eric Miller who let us play with his guns.

JIM: It was a great time. Nothing like getting your throat slit and surviving.  ha-ha

DUSTIN: It was very cool. I’m glad we can all act somewhat. Lol

RYAN: We love to challenge ourselves and “Never Tell” was that – a huge challenge. We didn’t want to do a typical performance because the song had such a strong story already.

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Toddstar: There were some great collaborations on the disc (Clint Lowery – Sevendust, Vinnie Dombrowski – Sponge, Stephen Richards – Taproot, and Brett Hestla – Dark New Day).  Who else would you like to collaborate with, either writing or recording?

AMANDA: We were very blessed to have worked with so many talented people on this Album. As far as future collaborations… We’ll just have to wait and see!

JIM: That list is huge but would love to do something with Butch Vig someday (dreaming out loud)

DUSTIN: Collaborate… hmmm, with whomever Ryan tells me too.

RYAN: I want to work with Butch Walker at some point… and MANY other artists – let’s see what the next album has in store 🙂

Toddstar: You guys have toured with several high profile bands, including Michigan’s own Pop Evil as well as other national headliners as Theory Of A Deadman, Saving Abel, Saliva, and Mushroomhead.  What have you learned from sharing the stage with some of these bands?

AMANDA: Every time I see a live show, national act or local, I learn something. I guess for me it’s all about the energy. If a band is having a good time on stage then I’m having a good time in the audience.

JIM: That’s a tough one. I just always watch and learn anything I can.

DUSTIN: I have learned that I should wear black and part my hair to the side.

RYAN: I have learned that people are looking for something a little different than the standard “get on stage and blow through all your tunes like a machine” performance. People are there to have fun too, we focus on that now.

Toddstar: Who out there would you like to share the stage with that you believe Darling Down would match well with from a sound and image standpoint?

AMANDA: I’d like to share the stage with Amy Lee someday.

JIM: The Pretty Reckless

DUSTIN – Unhhhh.

RYAN – We don’t really match with In This Moment… but that’s who I could stand to see 30 nights in a row 🙂

Toddstar: Let’s talk about you individually for a moment.  What or whom in your life created the want or need to get on stage and be a rock star for a living?  Was there a defining moment or influence that is to be thanked… or blamed?

AMANDA: I’ve been singing in front of people for as long as I can remember with my father in the church choir. My parents get all the credit and blame for being so supportive. My mom spent hours waiting for me outside of piano and voice lessons, and even more hours making sure I practiced. So thanks mom and dad!

JIM: I have just always been drawn to music. Can’t really describe it but have always loved it. What better of a job could one have?

DUSTIN: I’m not a rockstar; I just play one on my personal TV. It’s my outlet.

RYAN: Well…it’s not quite a living yet, but I started to play drums to entertain the older neighborhood girls… not too concerned about being considered a rockstar however.

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Toddstar: When was the last time, and by whom, were you star struck?

JIM: Jimmy Newquist of Caroline’s spine. Very down to earth guy and super nice.

DUSTIN: Never been stars truck. We’re all just people trying to be ourselves.

RYAN: Only time was when I met Aretha Franklin, she’s a legend.

Toddstar: When it comes to leaving home for a tour, whether it is a one-off show or a multi-show run, what are the items you look around your place and decide you cannot leave home without?

AMANDA: I can’t leave home without my chi (flat iron) and my giant cosmetic box.

JIM: My pillow.

DUSTIN: Apparently bug spray, toothbrush, and… a pair of kicks.

RYAN: GPS, SmartWater, and gum.

Toddstar: If you were to leave your music playing device (iPhone, iPod, iPad) behind at a venue, what musical selection(s) might a fan of the band find to be odd on your device?

AMANDA: I have some Marc Anthony on there because I love Latin dance… and his voice is amazing.

JIM: The Beach Boys

DUSTIN: Mike Poster and Meg Myers

RYAN – A Fine Frenzy

Toddstar: If you were given the opportunity to go back through the history of time, what piece of music do you wish you could put your stamp on musically or just be a part of the process?

AMANDA: I would love to be a fly on the wall when “Bohemian Rhapsody” was recorded.

JIM: I would have loved to be at the In Utero recording

DUSTIN: I would of liked to participate in the sixties free weed/America/sex movement. I think I could have played a pivotal roll.

RYAN: Any Led Zeppelin recording or concert.

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Toddstar: If you could use one song name to describe your life, what would it be?

AMANDA: “Raise Your Glass” – Pink

JIM: “Fire and Rain” – James Taylor

DUSTIN: “Blur” 

RYAN: “Change” – Blind Melon

Toddstar: What was the first disc, LP, cassette, 8-track (or whatever mode of music you were into at the time) that you remember owning or purchasing for yourself?

AMANDA: I used to steal my older sisters Madonna and Paula Abdul cassette tapes…

JIM: Nirvana’s Never Mind

DUSTIN: Pray For Rain

RYAN – It was either Pearl Jam Ten or MC Hammer Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em

Toddstar: And what was the last you purchased (physical or download)?

AMANDA: The last music I downloaded was My Chemical Romance.

JIM: Bare Naked Ladies Greatest Hits

DUSTIN: Envy On The Coast – Head First In The River

RYAN: Alien Ant Farm Always and Forever and Flyleaf Between The Stars same day purchase download.

Toddstar: A final thought from you personally, at this point in your career and life, with everything going on, what is the meaning of life for you?

AMANDA: Do what you love and love what you do.

JIM: Honor family, friends and hard work.

DUSTIN: Meaning of life??? Burn the candle at both ends until the flame runs out.

RYAN: Gotta keep on keepin on.

 

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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