Interview With Songwriter & Producer ‘Dar.Ra’

Tell us a little about yourself?

Irish born Songwriter and Author, made records for EMI, BMG, Polydor, Festival Records, 21st Century Records and now running the Kusha Deep Music label.

How did you come up with your artist name?

It’s an abbreviation of my birth name Darragh J Brady, I put out my books under my full name, also living in England people haveissues pronouncing anything other than David and James and I got bored of being called everything but my actual name hence me cutting it back to Dar.Ra

How long have you been in the music industry?

Since the 90’s when I first got signed to EMI.

How did you get started in the music business in the first place?

Always loved the process of making music, wrote my first song when I was 13 with a friend called ‘Love N Hate’. I got into my first band at 17 and never really looked back. 

How would you describe your latest single?

‘Rise Like The Sun’ is the current single which is an uplifting Latin Rock affair. I wanted to put out something that lifts spirits from the deluge of negative vibrations that circulate throughout the world at the moment. I have a new album out also called ‘Ballads For The Downtrodden’ which is a collection of laid back tracks that I have had released over the past ten years. There are also two Compilation albums coming out on the label under the titles Majestic Retrospectives that feature unreleased tracks and released music I’ve been involved with over the years’. 

When can fans expect the visuals for the single?

I do lyric videos and visualisers for the songs and will shoot some actual film when we escape from lockdown. 

Who are your inspirations in the music industry?

All the classics really from Beethoven to the Beatles, from Brian Jones to Dave Groll, from James Brown to Prince. I’m a fan of ambitious Artists who try and break the chains of conformity. 

How do you go about writing a song and what is your process?

I listen, look and then write.

I hear music everywhere, when I’m driving my old Land-rover, for instance it makes random odd rhythms, I can hear drum patterns as I hit different speeds, sounds of people speaking move in harmonies, the ocean roaring back and forth on the shore will open up the setting for a cascade of words that free fall from my mind to the pen. 

Music is everywhere if you take the time to tune in. Most people aren’t actually here,they never look around or up, just hell-bent on driving forward at speed to get nowhere.  Sadly the majority of human life that moves on the planet never see’s the beauty that surrounds it. 

What is the concept behind your forthcoming project if working on one?

New Kinda Normal album has hit over 150,000 streams since it has been released and was laden with subliminal and conscious concepts from soldiers questioning why they where fighting on Sovereign soil on ‘Heavier Than Rock N Roll’ to ‘Lights’ which is about suicide or the prayer that someone is there in your hour of darkness. 

This current album ‘Ballads for the Downtrodden’ has again a multiple of concepts on it from losing people you love too soon to walking up with the perfect stranger in ‘Girl Like You’. All my songs have deep structural storylines. 

Any plans on touring to promote your latest single?

We are in lockdown at the moment so waiting to see how things resolve. I’ve a few online shows and a US online tour plus played to a wide audience on the Rock The Lockdown showcase, while I was coming down with Covid 19 which was interesting. I could feel my energy dropping as I ploughed into my set and after I finished I collapsed sweating and shaking, but luckily I crawled into bed, where I stayed for five weeks. It’sno flu believe me. 

What did you buy with your first cheque off music?

I remember getting my first £15,000 advance from EMI when I was 20 and feeling quiet happy with myself. We rocked off down the Kings Road in Chelsea London and scored some cool clothes, bought guitars and studio equipment with it.

What are must haves when you’re in the studio working?

Good mics, leads and coffee.

What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed?

Always read the small print and be careful what you sign away.

Will you be collaborating with any other artists in the future?

Always open to working with other crazy people with an eye on inter dimensional travel.

What artist have you had the pleasure of working with and what was it like?

I’ve worked with some cool heads over the years from singers to sonic shape-shifters, made records all over the globe and written a book called Road Tales which documents some of the amazing people I’ve met on the road. One of the best sonic heads though would be Orlando Allen whose dad was the Maverick Daevid Allen of Gong Fame and Soft Machine founding member who toured with Jimi Hendrix across the US. Something about Orlando that was bordering on pyschic. We just knew where we had to go without speaking. Nothing like that when you meet another human who is tuned into your wavelength. 

Name an artist(s) that you would love to work with?

Byork, what a mind for the abstract, amazing soul.

Do you think your music is mostly enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?

I think you would have to ask the people who tune into it. Hopefully the full spectrum. I am not really just into beats anyway.

What area do you need to improve on in regards to your career? (Example: Better production, Delivery, Stage presence, etc..)

Bob Dylan said ‘If you think you have arrived then you probably have’. Meaning you’ve  stopped growing. Always be open to learning new things, that’s the thing about this game and why it never gets boring because ever song you work on is a different journey. 

What’s your all-time favourite song?

Strawberry Fields by The Beatles 

What was the last album you listened to?

Ogdens Nut Gone Flake by The Small Faces

Your favourite artist of all time and why?

John Lennon is the music artist of all time for me. He was an ascended master, who rode the tightrope of societies tabbos and blurred the boundaries of reality, so new pathways of creative expression could open up to the new explorers of harmonic and conceptual boundary breakers.

Who’s your favorite five artists right now?

Cigarettes After Sex, The Radio Dept, Desert Sessions, Unloved and Samantha Fish

In your opinion who is the most influentialand successful artist in your genre today and why?

I tend to move around a lot genre wise and create new ones so it is hard to say as my vibe changes all the time. Pushed to shove though I would say QOTSA. Let’s face it they have pushed Rock n Roll to the edge and back and keep on firing rockets to the furthest star in the universe to hit new highs.

Who have been some of your favorite artists that you’ve been able to work with?

Liked working with Rachel Brown from Faithless and Groove Amada, she was a tonic in a party with pure spirits.

How do you feel about the current state of music?

It’s good as long as you do not expect to be wined and dined by the mainstream.

Any dream award shows you hope to one day play at?

Music Streaming Awards would be fun as you would not just be with the usual boring major name line up.

What is your main goal as far as music?

Keep entertaining myself with new sounds and abstract ideas that reverberate through the cosmos of endless space. Opening up the portals to new worlds where only the colourful dare to go. That reminds me when I came out of a warehouse party in London about 8am on a Sunday morning and we got attacked by some guys who took offence to our colourful clothes and were screaming look at the ‘Beautiful People’, we were stuck at the traffic lights. I remember looking at them feeling sorry that they lived in such a grey prison. We drove off at speed and didn’t look back, funny how a question can open up a memory. 

Who would you say your music relates to the most?

Anyone who likes to get away from the boring mundane grey suited world of the bland.

What separates you from other artists? (What’s makes you different?)

I could go onfor ages here but I won’t, I’ve always been singled out for being different, sidelined because I wouldn’t fit in, dropped by record companies cause I would not do what they asked me. I hate being told what to create and laugh when people say you should write more commercial music to fit in. You either like me or you don’t there’s no in between.

When you’re not in the studio, What do you like to do for fun and relaxation?

I’m happy just sitting in nature with a horse or a dog, watching the wind blow the branches of the trees in unison as the sky hawks circle in packs ready to dive down to poach their next meal. Nature is everything.

If you could work with any producer who would it be?

Butch Vig

What’s the biggest highlight of your career thus far? Recording New Kinda Normal was a highlight among many, I really started to hear what was in my head coming out through the speakers, its been a frustrating process to channel out what I hear over the years.

What is your dream venue to perform at?

Madison Square Gardens. 

What’s the name of the last book you read and by whom?

The History Of Magic by Eliphas Levi

What’s your favorite sports team and why?

Liverpool FC, the only team that seems to still care about its community. 

Who are your favorite actor or actress and their best movie?

Steve Macqueen ‘Greatest Escape’ The king of cool. That bike scene couldn’t be touched by anyone today.  

Name someone famous who inspires you and why?

Paul Macartney is incredible what a career and has been on a creative journey for better of worse since his early 20s he is 78 now and just had a number 1 album, need I say more.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Some more sonic adventures and a film script. I would love to shoot a film of the book I wrote called ‘The Night That Jimi Died’ which is about a Girl who can channel the spirit of Jimi Hendrix and changes the music industry and the world forever by finding a way of using frequencies to alter peoples DNA. 

Where can the fans check out for your music?

All the usual suspects. If you want Hardcopy best email Kusha Deep Music.

Many thanks to you and your supporters for giving me the chance to speak with you today. God bless and stay safe. 

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