EP Walkthrough: D'Arcy Spiller dissects her dark and intimate second EP, Disarray
The swelling, four-track EP is the perfect follow-up to Little Demons, the debut EP Spiller released back last year.
Header image by Nick Mckinlay.
It's been a big year for D'Arcy Spiller.
In 2020, the Melbourne-based musician was heralded as one of the year's most exciting newcomers, laying the foundations with her debut single Cry All Night at the end of the year prior, before building on them with a series of singles littering the six months following. Eventually, that turned into the release of her debut EP Little Demons, a rich five-track release that felt like both an introduction to the musician as well as her musicianship; a crafty and starkly intimate release that brought you into her world through brooding, stripped-back indie-pop.
In the past year, D'Arcy Spiller has reaped the rewards of her craft (or, at least as much as she possibly could, going in and out of lockdowns). She's become one of Australian indie's most captivating new additions, and a testament to the power that can underlay sharp and reflective songwriting - something that Spiller has proved herself somewhat of an expert of. She's shown that on the live stage too, with shows throughout her journey capturing her growth in performance and how she's able to translate her songwriting onto a wider, light-lit scale.
All the while, she's been working on her second EP Disarray, which with its arrival today via 100s + 1000s, re-solidifies D'Arcy Spiller as an expert in her trade, proving that her debut EP is something that can be grown and evolved from. Disarray spans only four tracks (three of which being previously released, prior to the EP's full arrival), but that's all the space Spiller needs to prove her point. It's full of wit, charm and personality, capturing darker fringes to her world but through an artistic lightness that prevents the entire EP from being too held down.
Take In Another Life, for example, which looks at heartbreak and loss of trust but with a subtle veil of hope shrouding it, or at least so it seems through the single's jangly instrumentation. K Karma brings another example, as an open-eyed burst of anxiety towards the world around her, turned into a shimmering pop song written alongside Ali Barter and Oscar Dawson (who, as always, have their signature touches felt throughout K Karma).
However, there are a couple of moments in which D'Arcy Spiller appears to relish in the darkness of her songwriting, and the previously unreleased Forgot Your Meds is an obvious example of such. It's amongst the most brooding of her career both sonically and lyrically, written after caring for her sister after a depressive episode. "During her episode, I kept trying to say it’s okay to feel sad, but the world is going to keep on moving so you’ve got to try and keep up, which I know is easier said than done because I’ve had my share of anxiety," she says. Spiller turns it into a cathartic and powerful moment, one that becomes a testament to her entire sound and everything she presents across the course of Disarray.
It's an incredible moment amongst an incredible EP, one full of depth, meaning and observations in D'Arcy Spiller's world. Take a dive into the EP below, find her forthcoming tour dates underneath, and read a track by track dissection of the EP while you're at it, to learn about the EP's songwriting, themes and creation, broken down one song at a time.
I wrote Wolfblood with Phebe Starr and Mark D’Angelo over a couple of Zoom sessions at home, plus a session in the studio alongside Mark and over Zoom to Phebe. During lockdown no.1 in Melbourne, I was going through this experience of spiritual growth, and I was really digging into my shadow self, my inner desires, or the inner subconscious aspect of ego. I began to kind of analyse myself being alone behind doors and exploring my beliefs and things that people might call you crazy for. I began to tune in to what I felt like was the other side and I found it kind of difficult to explain to people what I was feeling or believed.
So, I decided to run with this experience and put it into a song. I felt like a lone wolf standing under a full moon at night. The bluesy stomp worked with what I felt was the wolf walking and the synths making it a dreamy state of being on the other side.
In Another Life:
This track came out of nowhere! I was in the studio with Mark D’Angelo, and we decided to write another song after finishing off another track, and In Another Life came to be within hours. To me, it felt like we were both being guided by something because these production ideas and lyrics fell into place so quick. I’d been wanting to describe the experience of meeting someone for the first time but thinking I swear I know you from somewhere. Like your soul has met that other soul In Another Life. Lockdown had also happened pre-writing this, so there was also that angst of wanting to be anywhere else at the time.
In Another Life is also about trust and heartbreak hence the line "Once upon a time in another life, oh I could love/fight, but now I’m broken."
This track was written with Ali Barter & Oscar Dawson firstly over Zoom during lockdown and finished in a session in their loungeroom. It’s pretty much about the beginning of our Covid journey and the big impact we’ve made on the environment and the amount of stuff that’s going on in this track kind of symbolises the chaos of what’s happening. We’ve procrastinated on what we need to do to fix our wrongs and mother nature has gotten pissed off and fed-up waiting. That’s where the lyrics “K Karma’s coming for us, we’ve gone and fucked everything up, K Karma’s coming for us been running but she’s catching up."
Forgot Your Meds:
I kind of find it hard to define this track because I know it may sound insensitive to some. It’s about anxiety, depression, and medication. I wrote it with Mark D’Angelo and Zach Hamilton Reeves after a moment I had with my sister when she was having a depressive episode which really hurt to see. During her episode, I kept trying to say it’s okay to feel sad, but the world is going to keep on moving so you’ve got to try and keep up, which I know is easier said than done because I’ve had my share of anxiety.
This track emphasises an outside perspective. Both of my sisters suffer with depression and anxiety and used to quite frequently forget or feel like they were okay to go without their medication (hence the name of the song). In doing so though it created these chaotic episodes that not only hurt themselves but their loved ones. So, I wanted to write a track with encouragement but also describing the consequences of not taking the necessary medications from both sides as harsh as that may sound. Both my sisters understand why I wrote this and are supportive of this track because they hope that in the near future, we can freely talk about mental health issues together and not feel strange about it.
On another note, the track is also about taking control and using what you have. The line in the track "you’ve been given a crown wear it or put it down" is about having all these opportunities and resources and wanting to use them but complaining that the goal is too hard to reach. You need to stop for a moment and realise that’s there’s no proper satisfaction from taking the easy road. The most incredible things aren’t created easily. A rocky road can lead to an incredible person! ‘Nothing comes easy, no nothing comes easy and if it does. There’s a price’.
Fri 11 Nov | Northcote Social Club | Melbourne, VIC
Thu 18 Nov | The Vanguard | Sydney, NSW
Fri 19 Nov | O’Skulligans | Brisbane, QLD
Sat 27 Nov | Major Toms | Kyenton, VIC