Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Laurenne.
Nicole, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
All of us in The Darts played for years in other bands, touring and learning, making records and connections… and eventually meeting each other in the process when our bands shared stages.
My band at the time with Christina, The Love Me Nots was breaking up in 2016 and she and I decided we should finally put together the all-girl band we’d been talking about for years. We hand-picked our bandmates and wrote a couple of songs, intending it to be a one-off recording project.
But the songs were so cool, and recording long-distance turned out to work really well for us, thanks to Bob Hoag here in Phoenix being willing to mix the tracks brilliantly, so within a couple of months we put out an EP on vinyl and started playing around the southwest. A couple of months after our first show, we signed with Dirty Water Records (London) and had our first European tour scheduled. By the time that tour came around six months later, we had put out another EP on vinyl and released our first music videos.
In 2018, we toured Europe twice more, including sharing stages with Black Lips and Turbonegro, released our first full-length record, “Me.Ow.”, on Dirty Water, made several more music videos ourselves, and put out our first 7″ vinyl on Jello Biafra’s (Dead Kennedys) label, Alternative Tentacles. We backed up Blag Dahlia (The Dwarves) on a side project of his, performed at Jello’s birthday show in San Francisco, and, this Fall did a US tour with punk legends The Damned. Now we are working on our second full-length record. Time flies.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road has been ridiculously smooth for this band so far, knock on wood. The only major issue we have faced is the exit of our first guitarist, but we were quickly able to sign on Meliza Jackson and drag her out on tour with us, in a nearly seamless transition.
Financing tours are always the biggest difficulty, along with scheduling around our day jobs and families. Finding a good road crew and booking help also takes time, but we found both in a stroke of luck in Justin McGrath, known now to us as “Tour Jesus.” He keeps everyone chilled out and focused on the next show.
Recording between Los Angeles and Phoenix is always a challenge; we have to do plenty of pre-production and send tracks back and forth so that the drum parts, which Rikki records first – and alone – in LA are as close to the finished arrangements as possible.
Then we record the rest of the tracks in Phoenix and sit back and watch Bob Hoag (Flying Blanket Recordings) tear his hair out for a few days mixing all of that chaos together. This band only works because literally everyone involved is fully committed to this project being a success. It takes a lot of cooperation and trust.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Darts are an all-girl, garage-psych-rock quartet who are becoming known for our tough sound and in-your-face attitude while always still being shamelessly female and committed to having fun.
In other words, we smile at you in our red lipstick and black dresses, while tearing your head off with punk rock vocals, overdriven guitars and a truly vicious rhythm section.
We’re really proud of being women, being ourselves, having a seriously great time wherever we are, and playing music we honestly love.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
LA is tough. There is no question about that. The music world is already saturated with great artists and songwriting, and LA is obviously one of the main hubs of that world. But getting out of the mainstream there, and heading underground to the more niche punk scene has helped us get exposed to audiences that get what we are trying to do.
LA does not suffer fools easily, so you have to bring your A game every time. And that’s actually a great life lesson in any walk of life.
- Website: www.thedarts.us
- Instagram: instagram.com/thedartsus
- Facebook: facebook.com/thedartsus
- Twitter: twitter.com/thedartsus