Review and Interview with Dar.Ra
Irish music artist Dar.Ra’s brand-new album Ballads for the Downtrodden, is his remarkable release to date. It’s 12-track collection that is more laid back, compared to his previous album and extended-plays. Revisiting the vault of tracks, he came across some old material that made the album’s final cut including ‘Evermore’ which was written for his mother’s sad passing. He dives deeper into his songwriting abilities revealing a different storyline than listeners’ are used to with subliminal messages, not that anything sinister and mind controlling is at work but merely to suggest that not everything should be handed away so easily on first experience, which all art should do.
Ballads for the Downtrodden, is an album that will bring the chills, draw some tears and leave you with some hope that someone is still carrying the banner for music that moves you on all levels.
The full tracklist to Ballads for the Downtrodden as followed:
- Girl Like You
- Whisky n Honey
- Safe N Your Arms
- You Kill Me
- Shadow Of The Sun
- Stand Up For The Heroes
- Start Again
- Red White n Blue
1.For our readers, please tell us a bit about your background in music.
I stumbled out of the cot to the sound of The Beatles, Bach and Jazz, so a mixed bag of resources to draw on. I got into Ska and Dancehall Reggae at school then got into bands playing that kind of vibe with some punk attitude. I got signed to EMI and started making dance Music as it was fresh in the 90s then left England cause I was bored of it and got back into more Rock n Roll and toured Australia and NZ made a few records there. Then decided to come back and set up my own label Kusha Deep Records in the Noughties and have been banging out releases ever since, for a mixed bag of fortunes.
2.Who or what are your musical influences?
It changes from day to day and depends what I’m hearing in my head. I want to see if anyone thinks the same or if its been done before. I think it better to kill your heroes (not literally), other wise you’re just a tribute act.
3.Tell us about your latest album ‘The Ballad of the Downtrodden’?
It’s really a collection of my ballads from the past ten years. I was doing a radio show for Vintage FM in Liverpool and I was playing of lot of slower tracks as it was December time, the ballad month and I listened back and thought, this would make a sound alternative chilled album, that wasn’t smashing you the face with loads of guitars and EDM production.
4.And how was the writing and recording process of this record? It moves around from my first solo album Soul Hours 2008-9.
There are tracks I wrote for my Mum who died that year unexpectedly and I found the track ‘Evermore’ sitting on a CD and thought it’s a shame no one else can hear this as its quite a beautiful sonic moment.
My process is odd and really has no form it just happens in my head and I try my best to write it down. Recording those tracks again was done in a few studios.
I had a small studio set up in Brighton England when I was hanging out with my Mum in her place and recorded Soul Hours there with a full band coming in and out. She was cool like that never ever said turn it down, would just knock at the door with Tea and Biscuits for the band. It was quite an amazing place with so many faces coming and going though that house, from String Quartets to Saxophone and Horn players to Amazing female singers, drummers you name it they where there.
Brighton is a cool place though, with some serious talent around every corner. Like London in some ways but better air and a beach.
5.What do you want the listeners to take away from your music?
Joy. Maybe help lift a mood, smile a bit, or see beyond a grey sky that the Sun is waiting.
6.How has the pandemic helped your creative juices? Yeah.
I’ve put out the most music I think through this period. I played a gig Rock The Lockdown to a few thousand people as we went into the craziness and then I got Covid and was out for five weeks after that.
Once I finally got myself back on track I wrote and produced a track called ‘Stand Up For The Heroes’ which was my thank you to all the Frontline Key Workers who kept everything moving while the rest of us hid behind the sofa. I Salute You!
I had just finished an EP called ‘Whisky n Honey’ but was too sick too put it out so that went out once I got back on track. Some great remixes on that EP of ‘The Lights’ by a Sri Lankan producer called Vidula, who also remixed the ‘Beat Bhangra Stance’ release.
I then put out the ‘Rise Like The Sun’ single which is a Latin Rock track with six amazing Remixes from Producers around the world. Since then I have out three albums ‘Ballads of The Downtrodden’, Majestic Retrospectives Vol 1 and 2 which is the best of all my dance remixes from the 90s to the present all re-mastered by this super star Producer from Italy called Astro.
A new EP called ‘Kings n Serfs’ which has a track called ‘Londinium’ on it which I did a cool film for about a London family telling their story through the ages.
I’m also doing Radio show for BBS Radio In LA and Vintage Radio Liverpool England. Plus a New Music TV show coming up on a new station XP TV based in Birmingham England.
I’ve written and recorded a new album to come out in the summer titled ‘Hello Comrades’. I’ve also done countless online TV interviews and press interviews plus did a virtual American US tour last summer. I’ve been busy through out the whole mad period of time.
7.What drives you forward as an artist?
It’s always the thought I can write and produce a better song or a better film or write a better book. I’m never satisfied for long and always want to move on to do new things. It’s hard for people and bands I work with because I’m always moving on to the next sound. I get bored easily I think.
8.And finally, what’s one fun fact about yourself for our readers? I failed English Language at school but still managed to write two well loved books. ‘Road Tales’ and ‘The Night That Jimi Died’
Never let anyone write you off just because you might not of reached someone else expectations at the time.
BIO Dar.Ra is an Irish singer-songwriter, producer, and author based in the UK. In the early 2000’s, he signed to EMI, Festival, and various dance labels over the years, leading him to set up the Kusha Deep Label. In 2009, he released his first solo album Soul Hours. He has various EPs Now Is Now, Live For Love, Cease Fire, including his latest album, New Kinda Normal, under his belt. He has music on various Hollywood films like ‘Snakes on Planes’ films starring Hilary Duff on ABC TV, Match Of Day (BBC TV) and US Documentary City Of Hope. His two new EP’s, Stand Up for the Heroes, which is a tribute to essential workers during this current global pandemic, and Whiskey n’ Honey, continue to shape his music catalogue. He has written two books under his full moniker Darragh J Brady – Road Tales, which is about amazing people with life changing stories that he met while touring the globe, and The Night That Jimi Died, which is about a girl who channels the spirit of Jimi Hendrix and rises to change the DNA of the world through music.
What the critics are saying. . .
‘a powerful call to action for change’ – The Beat remix called Bhangra Stance ‘number 1 lockdown release’ – Top Hitz Music ’the Rock anthem that Prince would of written, if he still graced this world’ – Music Mirror ‘phenomenal song, undoubtedly one of the finest to be released this year – in its mood, kinetic energy, and an adorned darkness, ‘Rise Like The Sun’ captures something truly remarkable about this chaotic era’ – Eyes On Hollywood Reporter
Streaming link: https://open.spotify.com/album/3c9w1qweQDF1erQVxhrAVB
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