March 15, 2013

Darcy Clay

Today marks 15 years since Darcy Clay died. I was lucky enough to meet him a handful of times - firstly to talk about directing a music video for him. Trevor Reekie (Antenna Recordings  his label) put me onto him, as Darcy had got an NZ On Air music video grant. He had some great ideas - doing a big song and dance number down Queen st - but eventually decided he'd rather work on some recording instead and ditched the music video. Later I got to interview him for Pavement magazine, see below. The following interview will be included in my book I Believe You Are A Star, out May.

Darcy Clay: He’s evil?!

Published in Pavement, August/September 1997

Having already conquered the pop charts, twisted Auckland musician Darcy Clay now has his sights set further afield.

"I wouldn't mind going to Africa and spending some time with the lions," he intones. "I'd like to travel. Music is not the greatest thing in the world. It's one of them but it's not the only one, as far as I'm concerned. I want to get into Pavement magazine and I want to be on the cover of Time." Well, he's halfway there then.

Darcy Clay has taken the airwaves by storm. His infectious pop ditty Jesus I Was Evil has been all over student radio for a while and now, with the release of his six song CD of the same name, he's set to become a household name. Maybe that sounds a tad optimistic for a song recorded at home on a four-track but the CD is already cutting through the NZ top 20, debuting at number 18 and rising to number 5.

The Clean hold the title as the last New Zealand band to make the charts with a DIY four-track recording back in the early-'80s. But what's behind the enigmatic man who came up with the great auto-racing couplet: "I used to crash parties and Maseratis. Jesus I was evil!" I ventured out to deepest Grey Lynn, the cutting edge of home recording (Chris Knox, come on down!) to find out.

When I arrive, Darcy is standing in front of his piano pounding away, playing along intently to a tune on his Walkman. We adjourn to his front porch for a quick chat in the face of a damn crisp early evening.

Why avoid the traditional recording studio route and record at home? "It's good. You can record at any time of the day. It's cheap. There's no pressure. And you're alone. I like that. You don't have to talk to anybody, just suit yourself."

What's it like being famous now?

"I don't know. I'm not famous. John Lennon's famous. I guess being known, it makes it easier. People are more willing to lend you gear."

Clay is planning to record some new songs soon too. "I'm going to do about five or six songs at home and release them, then do an album in a proper studio. I don't care where, as long as it's with a good engineer."

And then there's that trip to Africa...

Watch: Dylan Taite interviewing Darcy, 1997. Taite: "It's like nothing you've heard before, but in fact, it's like everything you've heard."