Darren Cross has been part of the music industry for the last two decades as a member of a number of bands, most notably 90s indie pop upstarts Gerling. He’s also a soundtrack composer, runs the music and video production company Bernstein Studios, has co-written with Jagwar Ma and is now one half of Jep and Dep (with Jess Cassar) as well as writing, recording and performing as a solo artist. Cross is playing the upcoming PTW Presents gig at the Petersham Bowling Club (Sat June 7th) with Mark Moldre and James Thomson where he’ll be officially releasing his new single ‘Slings and Arrows’.
About the new single Cross says:
‘Slings and Arrows’ was written when I was in Nashville last year. There was an interview with one of my songwriting heroes, Jimmy Webb, on the car stereo and a song just came to me, inspired by Jimmy’s amazing stories from his career. I had to stop the car on the side of the road and instantly write down the song in my head. ‘Slings and Arrows’ was recorded and produced at my Bernstein Studios and mastered by my old friend and Grammy Award Winner William Bowden (Gotye, Jimmy Little, The Church) at King Willy Sound in Tasmania.
You can listen to an exclusive stream of the single below and read Cross’ answers to our Six Strings Q&A.
What’s been the favourite or most memorable gig you’ve played?
Probably last year in New Orleans at a bar called Circle Bar. I was only playing for friends and a few randoms but something about that night really hit home. It felt like I was finally ready to do this. It had been part of my USA Greyhound bus tour of Southern USA (some cool photos here http://dcdarrencross.tumblr.com/post/75251770196/alt-country-troubadour-darren-cross) Basically I got flown over to Atlanta to DJ at an old friend’s wedding and from there I toured around for 5 weeks in Greyhound buses playing gigs and staying with old friends in Atlanta, Austin, New Orleans, Brooklyn and Nashville. I wrote some really cool songs from the trip. I love the USA and wanna go back real soon.
How did you learn to play your instrument?
I got guitar lessons from a guy who knew AC/DC! My dear old mother paid for my first lessons until I went off and taught myself – mainly blues / leads and stuff, playing up to 6 hrs a day. I was hooked, I loved it. Lately finger-picking and doing rhythmic stuff on acoustic is my main focus – trying to find my own style as well is always a pretty awesome thing to achieve if you find it! Guitars are great, they never let you down if you find the right one. There was also a blues show on local radio every Monday night that I recorded as a teenager and just jammed along to. Friends would teach you some cool licks as well.
If you could sit-in with one other musician (living or dead) who would it be?
Neil Diamond playing ‘Sweet Caroline’ at a sold out Wembley concert. Fuck I love that song, and Neil.
Do you feel there is a good country/folk music community in Australia and how could it be strengthened?
Yeah for sure it’s getting better, I mean it’s a pretty broad genre and there is a lot of country /folk that I think is totally amazing and on the other side of the coin, some real horrible stuff… but like anything you meet like-minded musos and make friends and love their songs and slag off the shit stuff and the music that gets all the publicity that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any better than things that don’t get supported. I don’t know how it can be strengthened. I already detest that young Hipster types are wearing denim jackets….duh… I’m fine with them wearing their mothers cardigans but leave the denim for the alt-country gang please hipsters.
What has been your favourite Americana release so far in 2014?
I’m still trying to get over last year’s John Moreland’s In The Throes on Last Chance Records. Best record.
What are your aspirations over the next 12 months?
Id rather keep that to myself, but hopefully people hear my songs and come and see me play live. That would be great…and to sustain a living playing music is just the best!!!! I would love to tour and play to people all the time, any country, any place that will have me! GIVE.UP.MY.DAY.JOB.