Allo, Darlin' interview
After scoring a TMF single of the week recently with 'Dreaming' Adrian travelled to indie central to meet Elizabeth from the band. Here's what they talked about.
Would you kindly tell us more about Allo, Darlin'?
Allo Darlin’ are 4 friends. Bill and I are from Queensland originally; Mike and Paul are from Kent. I write the songs, play uke and sing. Bill plays bass and sings. Mike drums and sings whilst Paul rocks out on guitar and sings sometimes too.
How did you form?
I’ve been doing little releases for a couple of years, and settled on Allo, Darlin' as a name in 2008. We only formed a proper “band” at the start of last year, when we recorded the 'Henry Rollins ...' 7 inch for WeePop and wanted to play some shows as a full band. The first thing I did with Paul was a cover of 'Atlantic City' a Springsteen tribute album at the end of 2008. It all followed from that.
I heard ‘Henry Rollins Don’t Dance’ in last year’s Festive 50 on Dandelion radio. My other half sympathises with this as my hardcore roots also make dancing at weddings and parties difficult. Is this song drawn from your own experience of punk-rock partners?
Er, yes! It takes a lot to get my other half to dance. Well, at least a lot of beer. Although after I wrote that song he enrolled us in Jive classes, so tell your wife not to lose hope! Writing songs about things sometimes helps you get what you want.
I think more people in indiepop have a hardcore past than people realise. We played a gig in Cardiff with The School and Greg (who’s filling in on bass while Bill is on paternity leave) was wearing a Dischord records t-shirt. Someone in the crowd yelled out “Discord fucking rules!” That cracked us up. We’re not as cute as people think!
Dancing seems to be a recurring theme in your songs. Are you keen on shaking your thangs?
You know, you’re the first person to point this out. I didn’t even realise. But you’re right!
I guess I am. Going out and having fun and dancing with our friends is pretty much my favourite activity. Apart from playing shows, but that’s almost the same thing! The after show disco is one of the best things ever!
So how did you come up with the name Allo, Darlin’?
Well the band I used to be in was called The Darlings. There were about a million bands with that name. So we wanted something similar, but stupid enough that no other band in the world would want to have it.
I used to work in Soho and go past the market traders, and everyday they’d call out “allo darlin” to me. Seemed to fit. I never though I’d have to stick with it though! People rubbish our name all the time, but I like it. It’s kind of weird and it starts with A, like some of my other favourite bands. Abba and AC/DC!
You released ‘Dreaming’ as a single in March and it was The Music Fix single of the week. What was the muse for this song?
Hmm, the muse. I guess it’s that feeling of going home on a night bus in London, when it’s rainy and cold and your feet are sore from dancing too much. And you can’t stop smiling because you’ve had such a good time. And it feels washy like a dream.
The album is out in June - having been fortunate enough to hear it I think it’s an amazing record that follows in the lineage of Belle & Sebastian & Camera Obscura. Are they influences on your work?
Thanks very much! I definitely used to listen to a lot of B&S when I was younger, and I really love Camera Obscura. I think they’re a very underrated band. But I don’t know if they’re a direct influence on us really. In terms of indiepop I’d say it was more a Magnetic Fields, Jonathan Richman or Jens Lekman influence, certainly. And older stuff like the Velvets, although you can’t really hear that except on one or two songs.
We were more influenced by 80s daggy pop music when we were recording this album, you know like Paul Simon or Billy Joel. Ha! The Beach Boys definitely come up a lot as well.
You must be very pleased with the album, how was the process of recording it?
It was amazing. We recorded with our friend Simon Trought (who used to be in Tompaulin) underneath the Duke of Uke. A lot of the arrangements weren’t finished, so Simon helped us a lot fine tuning things in the studio. We played everything live, even some of the vocals are live. That’s the way Simon likes to work and it suited us fine!
It was summer, it was hot and we had a real party making it. It was brilliant.
Yeah, it’s got a very summery vibe. Are you planning to play many festivals this year?
Yeah we’d love to! We’re certainly playing Indietracks, which we are dead excited about. We’ve never played Indietracks as a full band so this is the year to do it!
We’ve got some other festivals lined up that are confusing the hell out of us, we have no idea why we’re on the bill, but we’re excited none the less!
What do Allo Darlin’ do when they aren’t making music?
Paul and Mike work in schools. They also have another band called Hexicon which have been going for years. Their debut album is also just about to come out.
Bill plays in Darren Hayman’s band The Secondary Modern and also Moustache of Insanity and is very soon to become a dad for the first time. He’s a busy kid!
I work in music sometimes, and I play in Tender Trap (Amelia Fletcher’s group) as well.
Darren is lovely! We are big fans of him at The Music Fix Shed of Dusty Records. So finally, does anyone in the band have any exciting talents aside from making music?
Yep, Paul is an amazing illustrator and animator. He’s just made our first Allo Darlin’ t shirts. If you look up Paul Rains in YouTube you can see some of his animations.
And since this interview the sun has shone every day - surely a side effect from the joyous vibes given off by the band. Keep your eyes on The Music Fix for a review of the amazing debut very soon.