The ever so stylish, Darron J Connett from London spoke to Northern Exposure about his plans to release his first
solo album. We can look forward to thirteen brand new original compositions to be released summer 2017…
For the people not familiar with you Darron, can you tell me a bit about yourself? You started out as a solo artist
is that right?
To sum everything up I was lucky to fall straight into a major subsidiary record deal straight from school with a band I was in at the time. I got the bug very early and despite the sharks, rats and charlatans and of course then there’s the real bad guys, I’ve never been put off or jaded but lets just say I can now spot a wrong un from fifty paces.
I released ‘Onwards & Upwards’ ep in 2007 as a solo artist and started to get radio play and press interest especially in London and got to support some great bands at prestigious venues like the marquee and 100 Club. Shortly after I formed a band called CONNETT and we released two albums on 208 records, a label we signed to in 2009. We also recorded are last album “Love & Curses’ in Chicago USA and Black barn Paul Weller’s studio in Ripley on a personal invite, which was a true highlight.
In 2011, I formed The last of the Troubadours. We released two ep’s on Delicious Junction records and toured with The Rifles, Athlete and The Real People and had the pleasure of playing The Isle Wight festival on the same bill as Weller, Stone Roses and Jake Bugg to name a few.
In 2015 I left to do a little project called Black Noire and released “Tales of the Unaffected” ep again on Delicious Junction records. They sponsor me and support my music endevours and I’m very proud to be an ambassador for them.
Who are your major influences?
All the usual suspects from Weller to the Gallagher’s but if your familiar with my music your hear its very eclectic and I don’t tend to give the people what they expect. I listen to so much music and it all goes in the pot.
I love 60s stuff like the Beatles, Stones, Small Faces, and The Who but I’m also really into bands like the Doors and Arthur Lees Love right upto Neil Young and beyond. T-Rex, Bowie,Elvis Presley and Costello, soul, motown. I can’t forget Scott Walker and John Holt as they’ve had a big influence on my approach.
My favourite female artist is Kate Bush, I always try to put a bit of her in my writing but as I said everyone’s an influence that’s made music. I guess as theres something I like in every genre but heavy metal from the 80’s/90’s can do one.
Despite you’re recent decision to go solo, you’ve had a couple of very successful bands, CONNETT and The Last of
the Troubadours with Joel Rodgers and Rob Pyne from The Rifles, what made the decision to go solo again?
I loved every bit about being in those bands and had some of the best times in my life with those fellas. The gang mentality is always strong in both CONNETT and TLOTT and I’m very proud of the music we made, but I guess I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to creating music.
I know what I want and I’m done with compromising, so I always feel the moment I’m not in control I get the urge to jump and that’s got nothing to do with anyone else. I’m not some sort of ego maniac and its hard to explain why I split my bands up, as I know with both of those bands, they were more than capable of going all the way. All of them are incredible musicians and i’d love to work with all of them again in a heart beat but ultimately I’m a solo artist. Its just what I am and what I do.
Maybe one day those bands will be revisited, who knows? I guess its up to the lads.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band and as a solo artist and how did you overcome it?
The music industry evolves constantly I don’t have to tell anyone that, but musicians don’t do music to be famous but to be successful in what they create and everything else is a bonus. I personally think the major labels are far to safe now and are not willing to take risks. As with all business and industries its just about pounds, shillings and pence. Which artistic creative people aren’t naturally motivated by, because the art is the prize, I’ve always believed that and that’s what spurs me on. Part of me stupidly thinks I still can make a difference and sell millions of albums, unlikely I know, but if I don’t believe that how can I expect anyone else to?
Bit gutted that average is the new great, peoples expectations have dropped as music is listened to differently by the kids theses days where the generations before held it precious, as it was literally the soundtrack to their lives. Its also getting harder with the demise of the smaller prestigious venues, the puppet masters want us in bigger soulless arenas listening to the very thing they would be listening to in their land rovers, Adele and all that lot. I remember a time when listening to the same thing as your boss or parents would be seen as so uncool. Its not the case so much now as the alternative mavericks are pushed further underground, its the gentrification of music and i’ll fight that shit all day long.
You have recorded at Paul Weller’s studio for CONNETTS second album Love and Curses, how did that come
about and where can we hear those tracks you recorded?
Paul Weller was giving a CD by my then manager Mark Bax Baxter and he used to call him most evenings telling him how much he liked the songs and invited us down to record, which as you imagine for someone like me who has never been shy of telling anyone how musically and style wise how much I loved Weller it was a dream. He is always willing to help bands and artist if he rates them. I recently saw a list which was called the Weller Babies and I was on it along with the Rifles and The Moons which was bizarre but I guess that list will never stop growing.
Both the CONNETT albums are available at 208records.co.uk but fuck knows whos earning out of them cause it certainly isn’t me. I know they sold quite well by all the people who keep telling me they bought them and love them.
You released two ep’s ‘Sooner the Better’ & ‘Don’t Stand on Shadows’ which was produced by The Machine from
Florence and well…. The Machine ha with ‘The Last of the Troubadours’ Can you tell me a little about that and how
it came about that they produced them?
Yeah, Matt Alchin was the original machine with Florence and also helped write the debut album I Believe. Joel from TLOTT knew him and he started his own studio up in south London so we were his first proper clients there. Hes a great talent and has many musical outlets and bands. Steve Diggle also played on our second ep which I’m really proud of as hes a legend and hes got some great stories.
You also toured with The Rifles? Any funny stories?
As you know Rob Pyne was an original member of TLOTT and used to still sub for us when he re-joined The Rifles so that’s how we got the Northern leg of the tour. They’re great lads and now mates to and I often have a beer or 10 with Deano Mumford or Grant. Ha ha any funny stories? Just the usual Rock n Roll shenanigans, no details I’m afraid. I couldn’t possibly tell you what goes on tour, that’s against the rules! Remember what goes on tour stays on tour!
How does playing at The 100 club compare to say playing the Isle of White Festival? Which do you prefer gigs or
Every gig is different for me and personally I love them all. I’ve played the 100 Club with every band or guise ive been in several times over and for that I feel very lucky, but getting invited to do a big festival is a proper buzz and as you can imagine, an adventure from the minute you start travelling but its all down to the crowd if they’re having it then so will I as you feed of each other energy wise. As long as you give it 100% regardless of size of the venue, you wont sell yourself short or the people who’s come to see you.
A gigs a gig and every band should be grateful for the opportunity to play live as some don’t get that privilege. Its true the more prestigious the venue, the better the rider and the hospitality but you’ve earnt that right?
In 2015 you recorded ‘Tales of the Unaffected’ as Black Noire on Delicious Junction Records to critical acclaim as
a one off project, what stopped you perusing that as a full time project?
I’m really proud of the Black Noire ep and would of loved to of pursued it further but it was always meant to be a one off but we could always release one off singles up for that any time. It really was a pretext for the next solo album I guess. The song ‘Make Mine a Double’ is probably the nearest so far to a complete Darron J Connett song and sound. If anyone wants to hear me in a nutshell that will be the song I reckon. Funnily enough, I wanted it to be a TLOTT song but realised it wasn’t right so banked it for what would became Black Noire. People and the press loved that ep and for a second I thought it might break but hey ho I never had the famous friends or the money to pay for its success but I hear Mr Blobby and Bob the Builder are up for the next one.
You model for companies like Gibson London, Fred Perry, Atom Retro, Lambretta clothing, and Delicious Junction
amongst others. How important is style and fashion to you as an artist?
I just love my clobber in general, always have done. Its not a contrived thing to fit into being in a band or as a recording artist or whatever. As Liam G says your not a proper lad if you don’t like your clothes and I think that’s a working class thing and not having the money to have the clothes you want, so you’d nick from clothes shops or wait till your older cooler cousin grows out of his. You’ve got to have a proper barnet (hair) and look the bollocks as its something to rejoice in and be inspired by.
Look if your in a band and you wear a pair of ill fitting jeans and a black Ramones t shirt your doing it wrong, that’s what the roadie wears. Historically music and style has always gone hand in hand, and the best front men and bands looked like they made an effort to look like they wasn’t builders and that’s how I like it I dress for myself. I guess that’s how these labels see it, so I’m always up for whatever and always honoured to be involved with different clothing ranges, but i’m always in shock that they ask me.
What can we look forward to this year from you Darron?
2017 has lots of exciting things going on like my first official solo album. That’s gonna be done with a crowd funding campaign very soon, which I’m absolutely shitting myself about as I’m not sure anyone would give a fuck about it or come on board. So we’ll see, but either way I’m gonna make it even if I have to beg steal or borrow its getting made. Lots of well known artist have said they’d love to be involved with it and play, sing on the tracks, which is lovely and very humbling but I wont mention names as they might not come off (come on Steve Craddock ring me) or maybe i’d like to not share the mike with this one as I feel this is the prover, the one where people will say fuck me he was right, he is the bollocks and not bollocks! Haha!
I’d love to have some sort of manager again that could really help give it 100% and make sure it has every opportunity to have its day in the sun and of course a decent label too, but not sure they bother with artist like myself these days but ill pursue that route if I’m can as I’m not sure if ill carry on after this. I don’t want to throw in the towel but is so hard these days and so frustrating when you see bands who are so fucking average at best get pushed forward and the fact no ones loyal these days. If your not laying golden eggs, they then think your shitting hot potatoes and no one wants to touch those but I know my worth so anyone interested give us a call . Then theres the CONNETT shoe I’ve designed for Delicious Junction which looks the nuts and I’m over the moon with it. I started out with a sketch that went to prototype to the real thing which will be in stores and online very soon and I cant wait to bowl about in them.
WEAPON OF CHOICE – (Instrument)
My big gob!
OBJECTIVE – (Future holds….)
World domination as always
BASE – (Hometown)
West London W12
FOOTBALL – (Team supported)
GUILTY PLEASURE – (Cheesy tune)
Witchita Lineman by Glen Campbell
HERO – (Inspirations?)
Claire Jane Connett Nee Read
VILLAIN – (Someone like Simon Cowell!)
Gary Barlow the nob!
AT THE BAR – (Alcoholic drink)
GIG YOU WISHED YOU’D BEEN AT – (Any in history and why)
Knebworth Oasis or Spike Island with The Roses
NIGHT OUT WITH ANYONE – (Anyone in history)
John Merrick (The Elephant Man)
FILM – (Favourite film)
BIG with Tom Hanks
BEST UNSIGNED BAND OUT NOW – (NOT YOU!)
Love Maker, top lads so them
THREE WORDS – (Sum up band/you if solo in 3 words)
Unlike! Anyone! Else!
Follow Darron’s solo project here….