Meet D'Arcy Spiller, who wears her heart on her sleeve with debut EP, Little Demons
After a string of singles across the last nine months, the Melbourne musician guides us through her life deeper than ever before.
Header image by Marc Scarborough.
There's something really special about an artist whose capable of diving within themselves to let others in, and as a musician, it's an often-difficult exercise needed to resurface trauma and past experiences to emphasise in music, as told through songwriting and lyricism. It's something musicians often face every single album cycle, having to dive further within themselves and their stories on a near-yearly basis to find stories to tell, often having to re-process them while trying to make art of them at the same time.
For someone like Melbourne-based musician D'Arcy Spiller, you can hear this process throughout her debut EP Little Demons. In the space of just five songs, the musician – tipped a major force to watch throughout 2020 – opens up and guides us deeper into her life than you'd expect from someone just finding their feet as a solo project, with the aptly-titled EP presenting everything that makes D'Arcy Spiller who D'Arcy Spiller is, both as a musician sharing some of the year's most brilliant music throughout the year thus far, but also as the person whose emotions and stories build into the songs that you hear.
From the second Little Demons begins, it's clear D'Arcy Spiller is something special. Within the space of five songs, she translates intimate stories into rich, beautiful moments of indie that ache with the emotive potency of musicians like Florence Welch and Lana Del Rey, albeit in a way that feels distinctly to her. "I wanted to make something dark and beautiful for everyone else who has those dark spots," she says on the EP, and you can feel that through its every moment and lyric; its rich sombreness emphasised by a level of songwriting that shows that Spiller is something special.
Take What In Hell, for example. Preluded by three other singles just as remarkable and emotionally indulgent – Deep Black Sea and Wildfire this year, plus Cry All Night last year – What In Hell sports Spiller at one of her most refined moments, with a stomping instrumental and country-esque twangs leading the way for some of the EP's most intimate lyrics. "What in Hell is about duality in the journey to self-discovery," she explains. "There are moments along the way, where we battle to ignore our inner truths, but eventually we find parts of ourselves we never knew existed."
It's clear there's something special cultivated through D'Arcy Spiller and the stories she has to say, so without further adieu, check out her shimmering debut EP Little Demons below and better introduce yourself to Spiller underneath – it's an opportunity to meet someone who's bound to be Australia's next alt-pop darling, before she blossoms into the heavyweight she's bound to grow into over the next few years.
Tell us about yourself?
Well I’m from a family of 7 who all have extremely different personalities (two brothers (Astro & Iggy), two sisters (Gypsy & Phoebe) and my parents Darren & Donna. I’ve had 6 vocal teachers including my Aunt Amanda Bruns who was my very first at 4-5 years old (back then I couldn’t read so I was learning songs by ear, playing them over and over again. I’ve travelled since I was baby living in 4 cities: Melbourne on and off Sydney on and off Auckland (NZ) for 1 year and Minneapolis (U.S) for 3. I’ve been to 7 Schools (including both primary, high school and online. Living in the U.S was an amazing experience and I’d probably be a completely different person if my family hadn’t of moved there. Although at the start I was very reluctant to moving there. During my time in The U.S I did a 5 week music program at Berklee college, which inspired me to get out of catholic school and go to art school majoring in music. I went to my first festivals there ( I went to Coachella instead of prom) and I started to love blues/alt, southern gothic, grunge & bluegrass.
I’m currently living in Melbourne but I head to the country side regularly to re-charge. I’m a spiritual person and feel pretty connected to the universe and nature as soppy as that may sound, but I love it, so whatever. I’m particular about who I invite into my life too for that reason. I don’t want to have to worry about what people think. If you’re toxic I don’t want a bar of it.
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
Little blues/alt/pop and a little me. The vibe is based around my spiritual and moral beliefs as well my own experiences. Sometimes I find it hard to express what I’m feeling or what I’ve experienced so using sounds, melodies and metaphors has been the ultimate solution to that.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
It’s kind of always different to be honest. It depends on who I’m working with. I always like to start with an emotion, a particular vibe, a particular phrase or maybe even a track reference. Then I start with lyrics if I haven’t already written something. Then the drum beat or guitar gets put down and we go from there.
Can you tell us about your single prior to this, Deep Black Sea?
Deep Black Sea came to be when I was sitting on my balcony one night listening to You Are All That I Am Not by Band Of Skulls. A melody was sparked and then feeling of having a secret grew. A secret I couldn’t let come to light because if I did something would be ruined. So I used a past experience to describe and relate to the idea.
Recording it was kind of magical. Chris Collins who did the production for the track asked if I had any ideas, I shared my thoughts and ended up doing the vocals around that one take. The experience was one I’ll never forget.
... And can you tell us a bit about the EP that it's featured on?
Little Demons... she’s got some past ghosts of mine on her. Ghosts are experiences (good and bad) that have made me who I am. Making Little Demons allowed me to move past an old flame, let go of past mistakes, understand myself spiritually and keep the memory of a family friend Mim Sundborn who passed in a song. It was therapeutic process and I hope that some of the tracks will be for other listeners to.
What does 2020 have in store for you?
Travel I hope, even if it’s domestic. I get a little antsy if I don’t move around a little. I also hope to collaborate with some great artists/producers, do some live shows on an actual stage and write some new tracks.I recently performed on The State Of Music: Episode 5 too.
What do you want people to take away from the project?
If you can’t say what you need to say straight up there’s always another way to say it. keep yourself open minded. Whenever the past comes back or something shit happens take a breath and keep going. Pick it up hold for a minute and then let go. There’s got to be some dark for there to be light.
Where can we find more of your music?
My EP is out in the world today and available on streaming services. I have a few tracks up on the triple j Unearthed website too.