Darcy Baylis is an Australian artist that's been at the forefront of minimalist pop and disparate club sounds within Australia’s tight-knit dance community. His unique style has been quickly capturing the eyes and ears of some of the underground's best, and he's recently been featured on the likes of i-D, Thump, Triple J, and more.
We sat down with the talented artist to chat about his debut record, Intimacy & Isolation, which has brought forth a new light onto the underground scene in his hometown and has pushed the limits of dance music. Baylis discusses his various influences, his live performances, the major challenges, and more.
Hi Darcy, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. You're gearing up for a massive LP that was written all across the world. What was the experience like? What were the biggest challenges going into an album?
This album is something that has existed in parallel to the rest of my life since maybe 2014, just steadily growing, like a virus. I think because of that, the biggest challenge was trying to reconcile the need to make an album when just living is enough of a struggle itself. We’re living in extraordinary times; it's hard to care about making an album when you don’t care about getting out of bed in the morning, or when you’re focused on the atrocities being committed by our world leaders every day. I had more or less ditched the entire thing for a while because it no longer felt important, but after enough friends convinced me otherwise, I decided to finally finish it and put it out.
On the flip side, what were the best moments of creating the record?
I think making this record was the first time I ever truly let go of all sense of self-doubt and truly let myself follow intuition. Certain moments - the screaming on The Force Won’t Kill Me, the guitar solo on Emergency - stand out as tiny epiphanies, the moments when I truly started believing that I had something really special.
You've cited major influences spanning from everyone from Bjork to Metro Boomin to Phillip Glass. How do you maintain all of these influences to be in a cohesive whole?
Here’s the thing, right: I never really felt like a producer. I don’t know if I’d call myself a musician and I’m definitely not a singer. But the one thing I do have, above all else, is taste. You could study at a conservatory for eight years but if you don’t have taste, what’s the point? On this record, I applied my taste meticulously. Every single stylistic touchstone, every single reference - nothing’s an accident.
What were the major differences between making a smaller project versus an LP?
There’s just far more at stake, I think. There’s a lot less weight attached to releasing a bad song than there is to releasing a bad album, especially when you have an album like mine which unfortunately takes itself very, very seriously. So I just had to make sure everything was considered, thoughtful and as close to perfect as I could possibly get.
Finally, what can we expect for the rest of the year?
Well, I finally figured out a way of performing live that I don’t find unbearable, so I’ll be playing shows a lot more. Other than that, I’ll be going back to University to get my Honours in Music. I’m planning to write a large piece for Voice, Piano, String Quartet and Electronics in which every voice and instrument is heavily auto tuned. It’s also going to be in Latin. But we’ll see how that goes…