Interview: Allo Darlin’
Few bands start out as perfectly formed as Allo Darlin’. The London via Brisbane quartet first appeared in 2009 with an eponymous debut album that received stamps of fevered approval from international press heavyweights. And their sophomore record is proving to be equally as irresistible. XYZ’s Jimmy Volts spoke with singer Elizabeth Morris ahead of their current UK tour to discover why she pays no mind to the critics, how their first tour nearly killed them and how she never really stops working.
Elisabeth is at home working on some new songs when we strike up our conversation. “I don’t really read reviews.” She muses. “I’m far too sensitive to read opinions on our music. I did a cover of ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ by the Ramones for a Youtube compilation once, and someone posted that they wanted to ‘find me and smash my skull in with the microphone’. Which of course is funny really, but I still think that it’s best not to look at comments at all.”
Surely though, the praise for the band’s delightfully nostalgic Indie Pop far outweighs the odd farcical death-threat? “Well, the only critic I’ve ever really listened to was Robert Forster of ‘The Go-Betweens’, who are personal heroes of mine. On hearing the first album he said that we have ‘many open doors before us’ which I took in a positive context. It spurred me on to make sure the second album was even better than the first.
They must have done something right, because Allo Darlin’s second album ‘Europe’ was recently voted into Rolling Stone’s top forty albums of the year so far, so it’s swings and roundabouts indeed. But let’s backtrack to the band’s first proper tour. The inspiration for ‘Europe’ was a five week, twelve thousand mile string of shows around said continent. The plans were laid, but the journey was riddled with setbacks and nearly destroyed Elizabeth’s faith in touring completely. “It was a disastrous but strangely triumphant journey which really broke us financially and emotionally. We crashed our van on the first day and spent hundreds on spare parts and road tax fines. But the shows were great, we wrote songs, caught up with old friends and made lots of new ones too. We actually started recording for ‘Europe’ within two weeks of returning home.”
One would’ve thought they’d have needed more time to recuperate after such a challenging tour, but this thought didn’t even register with Elizabeth. “Well we’d all been pushing ourselves. And a lot of people said we should take some time off, but it didn’t occur to me. All I thought was, we have new material, lets keep the ball rolling!”
It’s clear that Allo Darlin’ are far more driven than their seemingly carefree music would suggest, and as our conversation draws to a close, Elizabeth is already one step ahead, thinking of parts for a brand new tune. Perhaps we’ll be treated to a rendition at their upcoming show at the Haunt on September 12.
Tickets available from ticketweb.co.uk
Words by Jimmy Volts