Interview-Redneck rock: Those Darlins aren't your average pop group
"We've had so many guys come up to us, saying, 'Wow, I saw you guys, and I thought, great, another girl band. Then you played, and you really surprised me,'" ukulele player Nikki Darlin relates. "What, because we're girls, you expect sappy girl music? That's a general frat boy assumption."
The Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based rockers Those Darlins aren't actually having an identity crisis, much to the surprise of the numbskulls among us as the Darlins spread their catchy, folk-infused rock throughout the country.
Their rollicking self-titled debut combined punk-rock sensibilities with backwater country storytelling under song titles like, "Snaggle Tooth Mama," "DUI or Die," and "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy." There's usually an element of novelty with all-girl bands, of course (that could be a whole separate discussion), but Those Darlins handily transcend it, fueled by equal parts alcohol, confidence, and–- cheesy, perhaps–- sisterhood.
The Hook: Would you prefer to be filed under country or rock?
Nikki Darlin: It's one of my pet peeves when people describe our band as "countryfied." I hate it. I think of us as a pop band. Not as in like "this song is made for TV" kind of pop–- more like The Beatles wrote pop songs. That's what a pop song is: really catchy.
The Hook: Would you say there's a dangerous side to this band?
ND: We're mainly dangerous to ourselves. We might give someone a black eye, but other than that...
The Hook: So you have a sense of humor?
ND: All three of us have funny personalities, and in general we're pretty silly people–- it comes out a whole lot in our music. Kelley tends to write heartfelt love songs, Jessi writes sillier songs–- we wrote "Snaggle Tooth Mama" together about growing up in the middle of nowhere.
The Hook: Did you bond over your shared Southern roots?
ND: Me and Jessi definitely, we both grew up in the country, our parents just living off the land. My mom is a visual artist, and so is hers, so we got to a point where we were talking about our moms bringing home dead animals– "Is your freezer full of dead hawks and stuff too?"
The Hook: Is it fair to say that the band's identity is feminine?
ND: It's sad that just because we're women, it is something rare and weird. We're not preachy feminists, our songs aren't about being women, but I do feel like I'm proud that we're women, and we're doing it, pretty much being gypsies.
The Hook: As women in the spotlight, do you have any body image issues?
ND: There are things you can and can't do, which bothers me. None of us have any issues with our bodies, or think that we're fat–- we are who we are, we like to look interesting when we play, like wild crazy people with feathers and fur.
Those Darlins plays at The Southern, Saturday, January 30. The Pine Hill Haints open. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are $8.