With a pure sound and meaningful lyrics abundant in each of his well-crafted tracks, London-based author, music writer, producer and remixer pioneer Dar.Ra kindly opened up his busy schedule to have a quick chat with us. Telling us more about the much-loved new EP Blood N Treasure, stories from the music world, and charting worldwide, he also kindly provides valuable advice for all musicians out there who want to be the best.
Llewelyn: We’re super excited to speak with you Dar.Ra. Firstly, how has your 2023 been so far and please tell our readers what it takes to be a successful musician in this stream-friendly world we live in.
Dar.Ra: The year has been flying by, I get up early, stay creative, try not to react to the global madness and meditate as much as possible. I think being successful in this industry is a measure of how you see success. I’ve been making music since the mid-1980s I got a job as a vocalist in a Reggae band called Bass Culture at 16 and went on the road to avoid working in a factory soldiering PCB boards. I think if you’re still going after that long and you’re still putting out good records then that’s success in my book.
Llewelyn: Secondly, let’s chat about your upcoming EP Blood N Treasure. Where did the process begin and what’s the vision behind the new project?
Dar.Ra: ‘No Time For Tears’ came first I wanted to do an epic ballad which moved around arrangement-wise and ended up with a 7-minute tour de force. It was inspired by the story of the last Russian Tsar and how the love they had for each other couldn’t be stopped by bullets that assassinated them. I believe we go on after this. I have experienced other dimensions through sleep paralysis, I know there is something else beyond this third-dimensional experience we call reality. When you ascend from your body and see yourself asleep you explore what your astral self can do which is beyond the physical experience. It’s happened quite a few times and each time it reminds me we are more than this body or ego or car we drive around in. ‘Cure For Jealousy’ came out of left field I had a jam going in C minor for a while and the lyric came into my head as I felt a pang of jealousy when some guy was chatting to my G friend in a club I was DJ ing at. I was being cool but I could feel that uncomfortable fear someone was trying to move in on my Goddess. I was jamming at home the next day and thought I wonder if there is a ‘Cure For Jealousy’. It’s a hard one to crack however much of a Zen master you think you are, it’s the universe’s way of testing you to say you’re not as cool as you think you are. The thing is when you’re too detached from people and things, the less you care about stuff like that, but when you’re connected to something its easy to get triggered when other people aren’t playing by the same rules. I’m still working on it and unless I go live in a cave and meditate all day and night I’m going to get triggered by people not showing respect for you or the things you care about. It’s hard to get the balance, but that’s why we are here on Earth to work through these things. The remixes for both tracks on the EP are equally awesome, both were done by Sri Lankan-born and based Viduala who also did ‘Lights’ which is one of my favourite tracks I’ve worked on to date and features on the ‘New Kinda Normal’ album.
Llewelyn: You are known worldwide for your music and the much-loved Kusha Deep Radio show. Do you still feel the rush of being on such an incredible show and what do you love most about what you do?
Dar.Ra: I go through stages with all things, sometimes I’m buzzing sometimes I’m chilled about things. I love putting together a killer set, be it Tech House or Reggae, when I hear tracks that take me to that next dimension, I’m diving in the deep end to get things rocking. If you’re happy though I’m happy. I’ve always been a crowd-pleaser when I’m out and about, I just want to see you having the best time of your life. I remember playing Camden Palace London in the 90s with my band Bliss I had a number 1 dance record called ‘New Dawn’ and we had 1500 people all unified and rising up as one, total love mixed with euphoria that’s what it’s always been about for me. It’s more than Music it’s a connection of human energy and when it ignites with Love the place explodes. If you come to a Dar.Ra / Kusha Deep show you’ll get what I mean.
Llewelyn: You’re known as one of the best writers in the game and have penned worldwide hits for various EMI and 21st Century Artists. What do you feel makes a truly great song and do you go into a different zone when writing or does it just flow when you want?
Dar.Ra: I think just being as real with what you’re channelling is key, not getting in the way of inspiration and letting it flow without censoring and editing it before you’ve let it flow out of you. There is this space that we can all go into when we silence our thoughts, it’s in that space where genius lies, where all ideas come from it’s a frequency or a universal matrix of vibrations. All ideas come from that silence. You never solve any challenge by thinking about it, it’s when you turn off from thoughts that the ideas flow. Think of any great idea, Tesla for instance would go into that space and feel the energy grid then find the alternating current for instance that makes your car work. He also understood the power of vibration and how to harness it to create endless energy. You can have anything you want you just need to know how to ask for it.
Llewelyn: Cure For Jealousy certainly has our attention. It’s ridiculously infectious and mega catchy (in a good way). Is this your favourite song off the new project and may you kindly provide the A&R Factory readers with some further insight into this terrific track?
Dar.Ra: It is a cool tune and one which I enjoyed making, once they are out I’m on to the next thing though writing the next thing of hearing a new melody in my head, I do not look back too much once they are mastered. It’s fun though to go back and re-learn how to play them if you have to do it live. Each track brings a new challenge and that’s what keeps me interested in making music. I remember meeting Debbie Harry when I was at Chrysalis and I remembered her Heart of Glass track and how Georgio Morroder, produced it and got vibed up on that live Disco/ Rock feel, and I just went down that road with it. It’s got a lot of flavours on the track which you are not hearing on a lot of tunes out at the moment. It’s real and all played live. I do not rely on loops, auto tune or AI to make music, it’s all 100 organic like a Veggie Stir Fry.
Llewelyn: Do you have any funny or wild stories you’re allowed to share from a past gig or a moment in your career that makes you laugh or cringe a little?
Dar.Ra: I played a gig in Queensland Australia in 2003 and the place had been used as a wake for a person who had died earlier in the afternoon. When we came on the coffin was standing on the side of the stage in the wings but you could see it every time you looked right. We just got on a rocked the place, everyone dancing and going off and the coffin was moving to the vibrations of us playing, I was praying it didn’t fall off the stand and the dude roll out into the crowd. That was a weird one. I wrote a book called ‘Road Tales’ (Darragh J Brady) about being on the road with all the crazy people I met from 1995 to 2007 who all had incredible life-changing experiences. It’s on Amazon and tells you more about that kind of intense but cool moments. It goes from the UK to Australia to America and Central America, worth a go if you’re looking for a good read. My other book is the ‘Night That Jimi Died’ which is about a girl who can channel the Spirit of Jimi Hendrix, she changes the world through using certain types of frequencies that alter people’s DNA in order to awaken them to the great takeover of human freedom from the powers that be. They both have 5-star reviews on Good Reads.
Llewelyn: Lastly, do you have any plans for the rest of 2023 and what exciting projects or shows are scheduled?
Dar.Ra: I’m recording some Audiobooks, producing a new album later this year and looking to leave England for pastures greener setting up a well-being centre which will hold music and yoga and meditation workshops. You will all be welcome!
Check out the video for the lead single Cure For Jealousy on YouTube.
Follow this experienced artist on all his adventures via IG.
Interview by Llewelyn Screen