This Saturday, Say ‘Good Evening’ to Evening Darling
New York City alt-Americana band Evening Darling has a unique sound that has gained a lot of steam beyond the confines of the Big Apple. Their debut, self-titled album (which you can hear at the bottom of this article) is an exciting blend of influences that range from new wave to the folk and Americana of their previous incarnation, The Hunting Party.
We checked in with the band in advance of its performance this Saturday, August 5 at the Red Stag Pub Liederplatz stage at Musikfest to hear all about what makes them tick, and what we have to look forward to when they come to town this weekend.
First, for the uninitiated, tell us the story of how Evening Darling came to be.
Erica (vocals), Dan (drums), and Dave (keys) had found each other and started a band. There were some lineup changes ,and Nick was brought in to play guitar for a record release show. A little while later, the four of us started our own band and named it after a graffito that Dan saw.
What about this project is evolved from your previous incarnation, The Hunting Party?
That project revolved around a lot of folk influences — alternating basslines, banjo, picked acoustic — and when we struck out on our own, we subtracted the back porch sounds and added late-night eastern highway sounds: more electric piano, electric guitar, and New Wave drum ideas.
Folk and Americana remain the heartbeat of your music, but there’s a presence of pop, rock, and even some new wave that can be heard in your sound. Who are the primary influences here?
We developed our sound while listening to Dawes, The Pretenders, Neko Case, Frightened Rabbit, and early Kings of Leon.
You released your self-titled debut earlier this year, and we want to know more about it! Who worked with you on the record?
We recorded in upstate New York with Jeremy Backofen producing. Jeremy would be most well-known for his extensive work with the Felice Brothers as a producer and occasional touring band member, but his experience is really broad, and he’s really talented. The record is a snapshot of who we were when we were transitioning into our new band identity, bringing on two new band members, Brett and Ryan, who are both accomplished songwriters in their own lives, and experimenting with a bunch of different styles.
What has the response been to the new music, both from the public and those who have known you since the days of The Hunting Party?
The response has been wonderful! Our release show was packed and sweaty and exhilarating. People have been buying — yes, buying! — and streaming the music online, and we’ve even gotten a little bit of good, old-fashioned radio play. Nick’s mother-in-law still wishes he would play some banjo on the songs, though. You can’t win ’em all.
As listeners, what are some of your favorite moments on the album?
As time has gone by, we’ve been constantly changing what our favorite tracks are. Ryan’s guitar tone in the intro of “Classic Cars” is something some of us have kept coming back to. The first bridge of “Live Where You Lay,” and the dark horse of the album, “Stardust and Glitter,” too, where we tried to arrange a million different ways, but ended up going with the way it was originally written, with just electric piano and vocals.
People will have the chance to hear these tunes in action on Saturday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m., when you perform at the Red Stag Pub Liederplatz stage at Musikfest. We understand this is your first time at the festival. How did you find out about it?
We received an email from the wonderful people at ArtsQuest (hey Helen!), and honestly, it was one of the first times we had been offered a showcase slot out of the blue without needling or networking, or any of that ugly, behind-the-scenes music work. We’ve seen a lot of great local NYC bands play Musikfest, and we’re excited to join their ranks. Seems like the people at Musikfest have their ear to the ground and book a lot of really talented acts, many of whom we’ve shared the stage with back home!
How did you react when you learned you’d be performing at the nation’s largest free outdoor music festival this summer?
We were pumped. We knew we were going to tour over the summer, but didn’t have dates in mind, and Musikfest seemed like the perfect thing to build our tour around. It looks incredible, and it’s got lots of great food and drink options too. We’ll be getting there early just to poke around and see some music ourselves. Free outdoor music is pretty much one of the great pleasures of the world.
What can those in attendance expect from your set on Saturday night?
We’ll play some songs from the album and tease some new material we’ve been working on. It will be the first time we’ve ever played some of the brand new songs live, so you’ll be able to get a peek at the album and hear what’s next.
Where can ‘Festgoers learn more about you in advance of the gig?
Follow us on Twitter (@evening_darling) and Facebook.com/eveningdarling. We have a pretty fun Instagram, and we’ll be doing tons of tour stories there. The music is up on all the streaming sites, and our website is www.eveningdarling.com.