You may have noticed something rumbling on the west coast in 2009, like the whispering of hurricanes two towns away, but it’s possible you ignored it and focused on the Christmas number 1 battle between the commercial and squeaky and the old and less poignant with facebook coverage, instead. But that was the sound of something coming, springing up from the undergrowth in Ayr, it was The Darien Venture, and they’re coming for your veggie burgers.
The Darien Venture, picture by Chris Baldie
With a successful Scottish tour behind them, support gigs with hot Scotrockers of the moment Sucioperro and 5 track EP ‘Indications’ on the way this March, The Darien Venture are set to be Scotland’s newest experimental power poprock sweethearts.
The band features Jonny Beveridge (drums), Liam Rutherford (guitar/vox) Kyle Shields (bass) and David Martin (guitar/vox), they describe themselves as a mixed grill.
The four piece was salvaged from the remains of rock band Fragile and metal outfit Kreeper to create something altogether brighter. I spoke to David and Kyle on a frosty January evening about their journey so far.
Named after an ill fated Scottish endeavour to colonise America in the late 1690’s the band themselves have no such wish to conquer the US, at least until they can figure out how to invent a tour bus that runs on bad jokes “That the way, we could tour the world” says Kyle.
David says he would rather have invented Jessica Alba’s new baby Honor Marie Warren and with the tradition of actresses and rock stars romantic entanglements, we’ll keep an eye on the enterprising young lad.
With influences ranging from Tool to the Beach Boys, David says “I also love heavy music that has great groove like Reuben, or the Mars Volta, their odd time meters are definitely littered throughout our music too. Aereogramme, Explosions In The Sky and American Football have amazing delicate sections and build ups.
The bands I grew up with like queen and the Jackson 5 gave way to Nirvana, Ben Folds 5 and Radiohead but I think there’s a mixture of them all hidden in the sound of the Venture. The biggest inspiration is jamming in a room with the other 3 guys in the band and seeing how far we can push a piece of music, changing the shape and flow of it and hopefully create something we’re all happy with.”
Their manager is fellow former Ayr resident and University of the West of Scotland graduate Vicki Cole and they are signed to her brainchild, Capture Cadet, the fledgling but ballsy Glasgow music management company also responsible for Midas Fall, Randolph’s Leap and Suspire.
The Ayrshire music scene has had a minor explosion in recent year with many bands forming from friendships made on the UWS commercial music course such as the well loved Atlas Skye and the super alternative Zetas Empire. The biggest noise in recent years from the area came from Sucioperro and of course, reigning kings of scotrock, Biffy Clyro.
David thinks the great music comes in spite of its surroundings, criticising the town’s lack of a live venue and the claustrophobic nature of small town syndrome, “I think there are great bands from everywhere, I wouldn’t say Ayr has an abundance of good bands by any means. Ayr has little brother syndrome, it applied to be a city at the turn of the millennium but it’s just a small town with a small town mentality. Maiden played here in the 80s but now there’s nowhere. I think the good bands from Ayr must feed off the frustration and put it in the songs, to create something beautiful to escape the grey.”
Kyle has a more positive view, “There’s certainly a bunch of cool bands coming out of Ayr, but it’s the same as Glasgow, just on a smaller scale. Hopefully the scene there will continue to grow and produce some cool music.”
David, “Glasgow on the other hand is where the musicians from towns like Ayr flock to, to find like minded souls. There are so many bands – everyone has a solo act and at least one side project – that it’s just a law of averages that a handful of them are really good. I admire the team at Glasgow Podcart (innovative podcast group) because they must hear a lot of shit to consistently find great local bands for every show.”
The boys both site Ayr’s Sucioperro album Pain Agency as their favourite from 2009.
Kyle, “I thought it was a real milestone for the band, every song was excellent and when we had the privilege of playing with them at King Tuts. Their live set was just incredibly tight.”
The Darien Venture takes pride in their music and rightly so as they manage to be quirky, sturdy and heartfelt in the same breath, with notes that canter from the frets, honest harmonies, cawing shouts and tough tight twirling drums.
Kyle,” My favourite song of ours is probably Broadcast Signal Invasion just now. It’s our most instantly catchy tune and people seem to enjoy chanting along, but we’ve got some other songs I’m more pleased with in the pipeline.”
David, “All the songs mean something different to me so it’s hard to pick a favourite but we have a song called E_R_A in which we build the middle section up and drop the music out to all 4 of us singing and when we play that live it’s a definite highlight of our set for me. A friend said it must be strange to walk in mid set and see 4 guys singing without playing their instruments and it’s nice to think we might be able to surprise people.”
Their live performance is not one to be missed, the band enjoys the kind of frenetic energy and on stage dynamic many musicians can only dream about, their track One Point Twentyone Gigawatts a particular highlight.
They say their best ever gig experience was at the Aberdeen Tunnels where a massive fight during the sound check led to an empowered release of a show resulting in a huge response from the audience. They won’t disclose who won but both relentlessly claim to be the best arguers, however they agree drummer Johnny would win in a fisticuff as David says, “You’ll know if you’ve seen him drum he’s clearly got the most stamina – his hands and feet are superluminal.”
Kyle, “By the time we got onstage we just played our balls off and had a really good time.”
Hearing people sing the words to the songs back at gigs, especially tracks which haven’t been recorded yet is the highlight of gigging for the band.
Happy to give up the day jobs as soon as they get a chance they band are all still working stiffs to pay for their art. Retail is soul destroying says David. Committed to their lifestyle as rockers they say if they weren’t in a band they say they would be in another band, there is no alternative for the men of the Darien Venture but to play.
Catch the Darien Venture EP ‘Indications’ this March.