THE PULL OF AUTUMN
A CONVERSATION WITH DANIEL DARROW
The Pull Of Autumn is a new band, and they are getting ready to release their debut, self-titled album. The Pull Of Autumn is a also a supergroup comprised of Daniel Darrow (Johanna’s House Of Glamour) and Luke ‘Skyscraper’ James (Fashion), who came together to form the band. Friends, such as Fred Abong (Throwing Muses and Belly), were invited to help out and from what is their debut album. I recently had the opportunity to ask Darrow some questions about the group and the album.
“The Pull of Autumn came together when Luke ‘Skyscraper’ James from Fashion liked some of my electronic music on YouTube. Having been a huge fan of Fashion it was incredible to find he liked my music. In the beginning we started file sharing and one song turned into ten songs. I decided it would be great to include other friends so I invited Bruce McLeod from Johanna’s House of Glamour, Fred Abong from Throwing Muses, Jeanne Batting from Spindle Shanks ,my son Matthew, and drummer Jalen Perry. The cover painting was done by James Johnston. We became friends when he liked a Bandcamp side project I do with my son, The Woods Decay and Fall. James is so kind. He even let me choose any of his works for the cover!”
For the record, Johnson also provided artwork for album sleeves by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, P J Harvey and Gallon Drunk.
“To me the theme of the album is change. To move forward from your past, not forgetting it but trying your best to navigate your future. Even if it’s from day to day. James’ cover painting to me represents this. On one side is a large swell of color of light. On the other the figure facing the other way. You carry all your memories with you but sometimes you just have to turn to another direction, if that makes any sense?”
The band did not come together in the usual manner and they also had their own way of writing and working together.
“ We worked together in a lot of different ways. As Luke is in San Francisco I’m in Boston we shared files. Some of the more local musicians did tracks in my Massachusetts studio. It’s amazing how these tracks flowed and came together. Playing with Luke was very special to me as he is an artist that helped shape me as a younger musician during the punk (and) post punk era. Fashion really spoke to me. Their lyrics went away from the usual “I hate everyone” narrative, to political and other views. Beyond that their delivery to me was one of the first bridges into a more forward thinking sound on the song, “Heaven Now” from the Pull album I still hear it in Luke’s voice and lyrics. It’s been an amazing honor to work with him!”
The Pull Of Autumn has a unique name, and for those of us fortunate enough to experience four seasons, it has great significance, however, the name of the band comes from a personal place.
“The name The Pull Of Autumn came from my late wife Laura. Being a lifelong new Englander, the change of seasons often are how we mark time. When trees would change colors and fall, Laura would say, ‘the pull of autumn’. Thus the name.”
The debut single from the album, “Laurasong”, is a song Bruce McLeod wrote about Darrow’s wife, Laura, who has passed away. Laura was also a member of Johanna’s House Of Glamour
“‘Laurasong’ was written by my dear friend and lifetime band mate Bruce McLeod. The first time I heard ‘Laurasong’, it drew me back into our times in the studio together. Without having a way to explain it, it felt and feels like a personal insight to our time together as a band. The excitement of creating together. To be honest the first time I heard it I was blown away. It’s a lovely tribute to a beautiful person.”
Darrow and James have their own histories in music and experience. Although the Pull Of Autumn is a new band, both come to the band with clear ideas of what has worked in the past and what has not.
“Lessons learned from Johanna’s House? Never have expectations, never sell yourself or what you’re doing short. We dealt with Rough Trade Records, Cargo Records, and Instinct Records in NYC. Really I’ve learned the best thing you can do is try to connect with like-minded people who share a love of music. If I have one person who enjoyed the art I’ve created it makes me happy.”
And Darrow has a deep appreciation for the art of making records. He has a love of vinyl and the previous art form of records/vinyl.
“I realize in today’s world the internet is the media of choice. It certainly is the best tool to get your music heard by a larger audience, but on a personal note vinyl is my favorite format. A lot of the experimental electronic music on labels like Triangle and Berlin’s Pan Records do only vinyl. Nothing beats looking at the artwork and information on the covers. So vinyl is my addiction. I still buy CDs on occasion. Even in my studio I don’t like virtual synths. I’m old school and pretty much an analog producer. My main synths are the Waldorf blofeld and the studio logic sledge. I also use the Waldorf string synth that is amazing.”
“I hope people who hear The Pull Of Autumn walk away from the experience having remembered a moment in their lives perhaps triggered by the music. When art can help bring memories to life I feel that its done it’s job.”