• Interview

The Girl Next Door: An Interview with Margaret Darling

There is no arguing that Margaret Darling is talented.  From her contributions in The Seedy Seeds, playing the accordion and guitar and singing her heart out, to her solo project, where she is currently focusing her energy, she has continued to grow as an artist, especially as a songwriter.  Margaret’s new tunes were no less than impressive - intimate and addictive.  To add to her musical talent, after chatting with what felt like a childhood friend, I am now impressed with her compassionate, vocal, and absolutely hilarious personality.  Margaret, the girl next door, spoke about her childhood, musical past and present, and gave an in depth equation of exactly why you need to support the local music scene.

I love your spirit. What type of kid were you?
Ha!  If you ask my parents, I was a difficult one—I'll spare you those details.  I was relatively private and was often caught up in reverie dreaming up elaborate plans and possibilities (most of these were, of course, not at all possible).  My greatest dream was to build the most awesome fort ever, which I'd often attempt to do in my bedroom after being tucked in for the night.  I was completely at the mercy of my interests; I was interested in being an artist and a ninja turtle.  Except for having accumulated more years and experiences and knowledge, I'm basically exactly the same.

You have been involved in the music scene for over seven years. How did you get started as a musician? 
To be honest (and also probably a little pedantic), I don't really identify with being a musician.  To me, a musician is often a "math brain" who has a very different understanding of music and its laws and makeup, and who is likely much more accomplished at a given instrument than me.  When describing what I do, I think of myself as a songwriter—meaning that I write songs, not necessarily that I play music that sounds like music written by musicians in the "songwriter" genre.  And when I think about how I approach writing music, I think of myself as an artist—my songwriting process is not conceptually dissimilar to how I would go about expressing a collection of ideas and rules in a visual piece.  I took some music lessons here and there as a tot, and have always written songs for fun, but I never considered exploring music beyond hobby until moving to Cincinnati and finding enthusiasm in Mike Ingram, who started The Seedy Seeds with me. 

How would you describe your style of music? Who/what influenced you?
I write and perform fairly straightforward, melodic songs, most of which are dark or melancholy in subject.  I don't usually mess around with fancifying or dressing up my music any more than it needs in order to carry the words that go with the chords.  I'm mostly obsessed with lyrics, though I'm totally crazy about melody.   In an effort to make car rides with four kids a little less ridiculous, no doubt, my dad trained us to enjoy The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Moody Blues, and other pop bands from his heyday.  I'm sure that constant exposure at a young age to music with such an emphasis upon melody is completely to blame for my obsession with writing melodic songs. 

I’ve been a fan of The Seedy Seeds for quite some time. Why did you decide to go solo? Do you plan on writing any more albums with the group?
The material I perform under my own name began as byproduct when I was trying to write for TSS.  I kept accidentally writing snippets of songs which weren't what I was aiming for with TSS and which weren't good candidates for TSS songs.  Eventually I came to understand that I had to write through these non-Seeds songs in order to get to writing for the band.  Before I knew it, I had enough material to start playing shows on my own.  I wanted to become a better performer, and I initially accepted solo gigs in order to practice being on stage in between TSS shows.  I know better than to casually throw the word "never" around, so I won't say Mike and I won't ever get to work on another TSS album, but we have no plans to do so presently.

On your website, www.margaretdarling.com, you have a few unreleased demos. I really enjoy The Brothers Five. Are you releasing an album soon?
Glad you like the song :)  I don't have a timeline in mind, so I can't promise "soon," but I am readying my material for the studio. 

You are very involved in community service events to better Cincinnati. What's one thing our audience can do this week to engage in and help build up the Cincinnati Music Scene? 
Go to a show.  The audience plays a crucial role in the health of music in this city.  If you value music and want a good scene, you absolutely must physically support it by going to shows.  We get the best music coming out of this city when musicians and songwriters are challenged to evolve their craft, which happens naturally when you have other musicians and songwriters writing really good stuff.  But for good writing to happen, artists need good places to play.  Venues host live music in order to sell bar product and promoters work shows in order to take a percentage off ticket sales.  If musicians can't draw patrons who will spend money on tickets and booze, those musicians won't have opportunities to play.  If they don't have opportunities to play, they are less likely to devote time and energy to producing really good music.  It's not exactly fair to just assume other people will fill in the crowd in your stead.  I know you have to wake up early for work, and you don't want to have to fuss with a babysitter, and parking is always a bitch, and you don't care about the opening band, and you don't want to run into that one creepy guy who always finds you in the crowd like a heat-seeking missile and talks incessantly only about himself and doesn't pick up on any social clues that you wish he'd leave you alone, and you hate seeing shows shoulder to shoulder with the crowd, and you feel like you shouldn't have to pay $5 to get into the door AND another $5 for a cocktail, but suck it up!  Pick one night this week and go see live music. There are talented musicians playing all over town every night of the week who have invested time and love into writing songs and practicing them and booking gigs and promoting those gigs.  They've printed posters and handbills and delivered them all over the city.  These musicians show up to venues early to load in and sound check and deserve to play to a room with people who are there to see them.

Win passes to Bunbury Music Festival HERE!


Margaret Darling
Bunbury Music Festival
Saturday July 13th
Cincinnatus Stage



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