Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter and guitarist Darro, who discusses the creative process behind his new track, “You’re Not Insane,” as well as his goals for the rest of the year.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Darro: I got involved in music at a very young age, I was probably 6 or 7. My dad was in a Cambodian wedding band growing up and I would sit at the top of the basement stairs as they practiced. Then when they finished and everyone had left, I would sneak downstairs and start playing on the drums or keyboard, trying to play the music I heard them play. It wasn’t until I was around 12 until I picked up the guitar, but I didn’t get serious until I saw my first Steve Vai concert. That was when I realized that I needed music.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Darro: It’s constantly changing but I almost always write out an instrumental arrangement first, usually stemming from a cool riff or a chord progression I like. Then I try to figure out what that sound “feels like” to me. It could feel like “walking in the streets of Boston” or “extremely tired but I can’t fall asleep.” Once I figure out what the song feels like to me, then I try to put it into words, my songwriting is constantly evolving and most days I like to think I’m getting better. After writing the lyrics, it’s just a lot of production and engineering. I’m a huge control freak so I really fine tune every single aspect, whether it’s voicing or phrasing of the bass lines, or the positioning of a microphone on the amps.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Darro: There are a lot of things that inspire me, beyond the obvious artists that I look up to (Paramore, John Mayer, Frank Ocean, Steve Vai), I really just want to do well for my family. I went very against the grain for most first generation Asian-Americans. Immigrants and refugees struggle like crazy to raise a family in a foreign country, so you can imagine the reaction I got from my family when I told them I was going to music school. They had worked so hard for me to get an education and go be a doctor or an engineer or something, but instead I decided to go into music. It felt like blasphemy against everything they had worked for, it still does some days. But I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I’m content with making music for the rest of my life regardless of the pay, but if I can reach any amount of success, it would be nice to have something to show my family for it.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Darro: Paramore meets Foo Fighters with a hint of Steve Vai.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Darro: Well there’s definitely a lot less guitars in a live show haha. Some of my tracks have like 12 guitar tracks. I always try to give a little something different in my shows, I like to throw in a few “Darro-ized” covers and some mashups too. But most of all I think it’s the energy, both the energy I give out and the energy I receive. Playing a show makes all of the long studio hours worth it.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2019?
Darro: Music goals: Release another single in the fall, play some shows outside of NYC (Boston, Philly, Baltimore?)
Non-Music: Learn how to surf, teach my dog how to shake hands, catch up on some sleep.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Darro: A music video for “You’re Not Insane” is coming out!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Darro: I’m playing a show at The Bitter End in NYC on August 9th at 8:30pm!