How Music has Impacted Darcy Malone & The Tangle

Describe Darcy Malone & The Tangle’s music in three words.  

Craig: Rock, Blues, and Soul

Darcy: Rock, Pop and Soul

Glenn: Genre-Bending Rock

Chris: Driving-Energetic-Fun

Jagon: New Orleans Rock

Billy: Energetic, Fun, Dynamic

Where is home? What songs/music remind each of you of home?

Craig:  I’ve settled in New Orleans, LA.  “On Baronne” and “Together Tonight” make me think of New Orleans. 

Darcy: New Orleans Born and Raised. Of our songs, “Be A Man” and “On Baronne.”  Other Bands? The Radiators, Johnny Sketch, Lil Queenie, The Meters, Rebirth.  Songs: “Red Dress,” “My Dawlin New Orleans,” “Cissy Strut,” “Do Whatcha Wanna,” and “Sweet Chalmette.”

Glenn: Home is Uptown New Orleans. Of our songs, “Half Moon” reminds me of home.  I suppose that’s because of the funky groove and the reference to the moon (i.e., crescent).  
             
Chris: No one sounds like New Orleans as much as Fats Domino, every time. Of our songs, “Be A Man” is really New Orleans for me.

Jagon: New Orleans Born and Raised. DMTT, "On Baronne." Anything by Fats Domino or Allen Toussaint.

Billy: Born and raised in NOLA. Will die here. Never will I leave; this city is in my blood!  Of our songs, “Be A Man” because it has all of the elements of a NOLA rock tune.

We read the band’s name came from “the tangle” of genres incorporated at its inception... Describe the background into this array of musical genres and how they influence the band’s approach to writing and creating music.

Craig: Each of us is heavily influenced by a wide variety of genres growing up.  Many of us during our lifetimes saw two different genres being mixed together in music culture (i.e. hip hop and metal).  It only seems natural that we all would gravitate towards a band where we don’t feel confined to play just a specific genre of music but instead write songs that span across them all.  We also all bring varied musical ideas to the table which instead of being shot down for not being in our “sound” they are instead embraced and fully produced. We don’t fight internally about what our “sound” is - but instead embrace the ideas what each member brings to the group and support that idea. It’s very exciting and freeing.

Darcy: We all really grew up on different styles of music. When we write, which we completely do together, you really hear all those elements come in. Craig and Billy will lay down a solid pop driven groove, Chris will add in unique indie rock, new wave style guitar grooves, Jagon arranges adding in Jazz and Funk hooks and mesmerizing Sax parts, Glenn puts in his extraordinary Guitar solos and catchy hooks, and I top it with a little Soul. Every element is there in every song and its always interesting to see how the end result is interpreted by music lovers.  

Glenn: We all have varied backgrounds and influences. Darcy’s heavily influenced by soul. Chris was influenced by indie rock. Craig let’s his inner metal head out from time to time. Jagon adds a lot of funk and jazz. Billy is into the classic rock from the 70s and 80s. And some of my biggest influences have been blues-based guitarists. We manage to embrace and incorporate these varied backgrounds and influences into what has become “our sound.”      

Chris: The “Tangle” is also what occurs when a songwriter “conceives” or is inspired with a song. At the moment it happens, the music is pure and untouched inspiration. When it's brought to the band it is then played through others’ interpretation (their vision, influences, and ability) which alters and builds on the original. This mix of purity and interpretation is also a Tangle.

Jagon: The "tangle" of genres is not intentional or contrived. It is an organic amalgamation of each member’s musical background. The beauty is that the resulting product maintains originality with integrity--a difficult thing to do today where the convenience of "cut-and-paste" can be so seductive.

Billy: Everyone comes from different mindsets musically.  I’m from the early 80s rock generation, and teaming up with the other 5 has really made me reach deep and find more of the soul and heart of the songs.  Jagon - jazz; Glenn - jam bands; Chris – skateboard rock; Darcy – R&B NOLA soul; and Craig – music degrees . . . throw us all in a blender and you get The Tangle. 

Growing up, who were some of you all’s personal musical influences?

Craig: I’m all over the map genre-wise. I’m more influenced by great SONGS in every genre, not by specific artists. The SONG is all that matters, regardless of the instrumentation used or “genre”, or culture associated with it.  I went to multiple high schools across very different cultures (hip hop, metal, country, pop, grunge, rock), so I always listened to the music that my classmates gravitated towards in each place I lived.  And I’m not alone. I think a lot of people now listen to multiple genres. 
 
Darcy: My Dad, Dave Malone, and Mom, Suzy Malone, of course. Lil Queenie, Cyndi Lauper, Ronnie Spector, Donny Hathaway, Janis Joplin, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, The Beatles, I could go on and on! 

Glenn: Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, Mark Knopfler, The Edge.

Chris: Beethoven, Ice Cube, Cocteau Twins, White Denim, Tom Waits, Dif Juz.

Jagon: The sounds of New Orleans (The Meters, The Neville Brothers, The Radiators, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Victor Goines, Harold Batiste, Fats Domino, Dr. John, etc.), The Misfits, The Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Public Enemy, NWA, Fishbone, Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, INXS, Prince, The Cure, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, Miles Davis.

Billy: Phil Ehart (drummer for Kansas) gave me my first set of drums, so I listened to him . . . a lot, Stewart Copeland (The Police), and Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones) kind of sums up my sound . . . if I have one.

Darcy, growing up, how did having Dave Malone of The Radiators as your father impact your perspective and feelings toward music as well as the industry itself? How does this continue to impact you in your musical career today?

Darcy: As a kid, there is nothing more mesmerizing than watching your parent be a total rock star.  I was always hugely proud. I also was around A LOT of amazing musicians, and people and gigs. I learned a lot about good music very early on and I am so grateful for that.  As for the industry itself, I didn’t really learn about that until later and especially when I started to become a working musician myself.  Once my Dad saw that I was in fact going in that direction, then he began to really educate me on that side of “the biz”. It's great having someone with such experience know what to watch for and how to handle it. My Dad will always impact my musical career.  He will always be the very first person I go to for advice and for inspiration. I think I continue to grow into a better musician, because of where I come from and where he guides me. I am very lucky to have him as my pop.

Why do you all think music is so important to the people and culture of New Orleans?

Craig: Because it helps us survive the constant threat of flooding and high crime!

Darcy: There is something very special and unique about the people of New Orleans and the city itself.  There really is no place like it. New Orleans is like a person. She has her issues, and her internal problems, but she has a beautiful soul. And that Soul is the music.  Music heals us here. We can be going through a really hard time and one person can break into song, and everyone else, complete strangers would join in and all of a sudden, everyone is unified through this music.  And even people who visit here feel it when they come. Go to a second line, go to a gig, go watch someone on the street, music makes us.  And even through the toughest times, music brings us out of it. It’s very, very powerful. 

Glenn: Music helps ease the mind.  To me, it’s the language of the soul, and it provides a way to connect with other people.  New Orleans has long been a melting pot of people and various cultures.  It makes perfect sense to me that music often is the one thing that binds us together.
  
Chris: We've grown up with the sound of this city our whole lives, but when you're a kid you think the world is huge and there must be a billion places like this. And you grow up a little, travel around a bunch, and realize no other city has come up with this gumbo before!!

Jagon: New Orleans has a deep musical history dating back to the time it was a French colony, which accounts for some of our traditions like Mardi Gras, brass bands, etc. Something unique and beautiful happened then, which persists to this day. The city's multicultural inhabitants cohabitated and intermingled their customs--like music, food and events--to form new traditions that became distinctly New Orleans.

Billy: Music is just part of every New Orleanian. Music is played everywhere.  It’s hard not to be influenced by it. We play it when we cook, when we hang out, when we get in the car.  Heck, we play it funerals, weddings, parades.

Allen Toussaint once stated, “Music is everything to me short of breathing. Music also has a role to lift you up-not to be escapist but to take you out of misery.” With that being said, how has music gotten you all through hard times in your lives?

Craig: Music has gotten me through all my darkest moments. When I suffered multiple massive anxiety/panic attacks for two years while living in New York City, writing/producing music every day is what kept me from literally losing my mind.  

Darcy: Growing up the child of musicians, you spend a lot of time without them as a kid. I had a lot of down times as a child and one thing I always relied on was music to help me get through it. Music and singing is my therapy. If I didn’t have it, I would probably fall apart. It's helped me through a lot of hard times.   

Glenn: Growing up, music was therapeutic for me. I would listen to albums for hours on end after school. Even after a tough day at school experiencing everything from confrontation and bullying to self-doubt and insecurity, music was my companion that asked nothing of me and never required me to prove my worth. Music was (and is) a form of liberating, reassuring self-expression.    

Chris: If you're going through hard times and find yourself alone or in trouble, look for music that you connect with. And chances are there is a community behind that music that has people you identify with and have other things in common. Example: you find yourself alone in life and no one understands you, but classical music is a great passion for you. Go see a symphony and plug into the community behind the music, chances are they will understand you and help.

Jagon: Music has been with me most times in my life. Through hard times it has enabled me to have a positive focal point, goals and something to believe in that echoed back, giving me the ability to believe in myself.

Billy: Music is an escape. It brings me elsewhere when I don’t want to be here. It takes my troubles away. Seriously, I totally get transformed when I let music totally take me in. 

Digging deeper into this concept of music as a form of healing and solace, the foundation seeks to raise mental health awareness guided by the notion that music can directly impact a person’s mental well-being and state of mind...how do y’all identify with our mission and the Music for the Mind Campaign?

Craig: I clearly identify with it because I’ve been helped by it more than doctors and pills. Music is what got me through my anxiety disorder. It drove me to produce my first solo album before joining the Tangle, as well as motivated me to attend Berklee College of Music for Production and Songwriting to further refine my craft.  Music therapy is a well-established discipline and I highly support.  Music is sound medicine.  
 
Darcy: I was the child of divorced parents. One parent was always on the road, and the other was dealing internal demons which luckily got resolved. But it was hard to handle as a small child. But I would hit record on a blank cassette tape and I would play piano, or sing songs, and it literally made me feel safe. There is always a song that helps me handle a particular feeling. If I closed myself in a room and blared that one song, I could walk out feeling better instantly. I never needed a therapist to handle how I was feeling, because Donny Hathaway or Aretha or The Beatles helped me get through it instead.

Glenn: Music was my solace when I was a teenager full of angst, and it often is today.  Music allows one to experience hurt and disappointment without hurting others.  It allows one to feel without judgment. And it enables the mind to rest and simply “be”.  Music for me is therapeutic. 
  
Chris: The Music for the Mind campaign can raise awareness of the mental development power of music. As you listen to more and more music, and the many various styles, the mind opens to the breadth of expression that is possible in music. The mind is allowed to see in ways the musician has expressed, thus helping the listener understand other possibilities. And hopefully, other possibilities for their own life that they had not considered.

Jagon: Music can instill discipline and provide a positive focal point to a person that otherwise might not have the clarity to see their life as having such things. This has certainly been true for me and Music for the Mind clearly understands this. Therefore, I am proud to be associated with the campaign.

Billy: No question I think music can help improve the quality of your life. It is soothing, comforting, and an extra friend when times are tough.

In a brief period of time, Darcy Malone & The Tangle has hit the ground running with shows at Tipitina’s, The Maple Leaf, a CD release party, opening for Raw Oyster Cult, performing on WWL TV, performing at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, opening for the legendary rock band Kansas at the Civic Theatre in July, and playing at the BTD Foundation’s second annual Notes for Hope benefit at NOLA Brewery in June….describe how this whirlwind journey has been thus far. Is there any specific moment that sticks out to each of you as the most exciting moment to date? Where does Darcy Malone & The Tangle see itself heading in the years to come?

Craig: We’ve got a great buzz going on right now.  The best part is that our album is getting a lot of positive feedback which really makes me happy because our album was very challenging to produce.  It took a hell of a lot of patience, communication, and coordination between a lot of amazing, talented people.  I’m most excited about rolling up our sleeves and recording the next one!  
 
Darcy: It’s been pretty surreal I have to say.  We are so beyond thankful for the opportunities we have been given and also proud of ourselves for it because we have really worked our butts off.  Most exciting by far has been the release of this record.  To say we worked hard is an understatement. We put our souls into this and it has paid off. To see such positive feedback for this work that we created with amazing people like Rick Nelson and Richard Dodd, we are beaming. I see it continuing to go up. We’ve worked hard, paid our dues, and now, just like the Goonies, we feel like it’s our time down here! 

Glenn: The last few months have been super exciting and pretty surreal (as Darcy said). It’s great to experience some of the positives after all of our hard work. It’s also amazing to get positive reactions to something we created, something through which we put ourselves out there and risked ridicule. One of the most exciting moments for me was hearing one of our songs played on the radio for the first time. As for the future, I am a terrible prognosticator, but I know we’re all working very hardy to reach as many people as we can with our music and our shows, and we continue to work on new material. I’d like to think we’ll have some opportunities to visit some other cities and show them what we and New Orleans are all about!   

Chris: The journey so far has been hard to believe; I didn't think so much would happen so fast. The Tipitina's show is a major highlight.  There was a great crowd inside and the air was electric. We over prepared for that night and it ended up being just enough preparation. In the years to come, I hope we keep surprising ourselves and inspiring our fans with music.

Jagon: This has been a long time comin' for us. We have worked hard throughout the years for the opportunities we have now been afforded. And, we are grateful. For me, I don't think that there has been one specific moment. Rather, the whole journey has been quite exciting. That is, it has really been a building process--from the writing/arranging of the songs, to recording our record, to having been given such great opportunities as playing our record release party at the legendary Tipitina's, playing Jazz Fest, and opening for Kansas. I just hope it keeps going!

Billy: This is only the beginning. Releasing “Still Life” has been such a rush. We are getting good reviews. Tough critics have been totally positive and downright sappy over the record. Best memory to date is walking into Tipitina’s for our record release show at 9:30 (with show time at 10:00) scared to death it was going to be a small crowd. 25 minutes later there were some 500 people in front of us, cheering us on as soon as we took the stage, singing the words to OUR songs, with just a great response to every song. I see Darcy Malone & The Tangle on the national scene in the next twelve months. I feel that “Still Like” is our ticket to much bigger stages and crowds. Hopefully, we’ll be with a national tour, opening for a major band. Then, I hope we’ll convert to a headliner ourselves over the next 3 years. 

Last one, and it’s a fun zinger: You’re belting out a jam in the shower, selecting a song on a jukebox, or cruising down the streets of NOLA on a beautiful spring day, what is your song of choice?

Craig: “Downtown” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Darcy: “I Feel For You” by Chaka Kahn

Glenn: “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen (just something about this tune when I’m in the car).

Chris: “Mamma & Pappa” by Earl King

Jagon: Queen, "I Want to Break Free."

Billy: Queen, “We Are The Champions” (at the top of my lungs)!