Apr 18, 2008
Marcella from Portland State University’s newspaper Vanguard came over the other day to interview us.
Here is the article she wrote –
The Darlings of Portland
Oh Darling use their own personal community to make fun rock music
By: Marcella Barnes
Fans of The Pixies and Enon rejoice! Portland’s Oh Darling has the fix you need.
Now, the band doesn’t sound exactly like those groups–though at times they come remarkably close–it’s more that they have an upbeat energy that reminds you of happiness and all the things you love.
Consisting of J. Marie Hall on bass, Daven Hall on guitar and Jasmine Ash on vocals, Oh Darling seems to epitomize everything that’s great about the Portland music scene–and maybe even Portland in general.
J. Marie and Daven Hall are married, and live together with Ash, along with band members from Dominc Castillo and the Rock Savants. Members from the band Derby live in the same neighborhood. The three groups often perform and rehearse together, providing a community support for one another.
J. Marie Hall and Ash started Oh Darling, with Daven joining later. And even though the girls are best friends, “We’re like the same person,” said Ash, it’s not a girl-run party. “Creatively we’re all really on the same page … we never fight about stuff.”
The three contribute equally in the creative process, which they said has been remarkably smooth. That ease might owe something to the fact that all three live together in a quintessentially classic Portland home. The house reflects the band, it’s wholesome and elegant with a subversively artistic edge.
That edge is controlled though, which isn’t to say that Oh Darling lacks spontaneity. These three are musicians with a clear idea of who they are and what they want to be.
“Our goal is to be something nice and cute, but would still, you know, rock,” said Daven Hall.
With their house, friendly and easygoing musical community, their self-acknowledged and perpetuated cuteness, it’s their desire to rock that steers them clear of becoming a strange musical mixture of the Stepford wives and the ’60s Haight-Ashbury.
Instead, the band mirrors the edge that so much of Portland straddles–the familial urge to help each other succeed, the unique style and finally, the music that their interaction allows.
The product is pretty great. Nice Nice, the group’s first full-length album, is fantastic. Its got that great blend of pop and rock that listeners often expect from The Pixies, but the final feeling is completely different. When they say they’re influenced by the Day of the Dead, they’re dead on. Pardon the pun. Oh Darling sounds like sugar skulls and exuberant celebration.
Nice Nice will hopefully drop at the end of this summer, and like everything about this group, it was easy and fun to produce. They recorded the album with yet another neighbor, Greg Williams, who has worked with The Dandy Warhols in the past. Because the band had so much time and familiarity with their songs outside of the studio, the band said the recording process was pretty efficient.
In promotion of Nice Nice, and because it’s fun, Oh Darling, Derby, Dominc Castillo and the Rock Savants are kicking off a mini tour of the Northwest, with their show at the Towne Lounge tonight. Later this spring, they also plan on going on their second tour of the West Coast.
“We’re going all the way,” says Ash. And with what this band has done so far, she isn’t just talking about California.
Oh Darling live
Tonight at the Towne Lounge
715 S.W. 20th Pl.
Starts at 9 p.m., $5