INTERVIEW: Darling Brando

Darling Brando are the new pop supergroup on the block that you will want to get to know ASAP. Hailing from Sydney, this dynamic three piece have real potential to fill the current gap in the boyband market. But these boys are more than just a boyband, they are a pop-super group in their own right with each member having previously been in the spotlight through social media or competing in a reality TV show. Together Tom Jay Williams, Alex Mather and Vlado Saric are Darling Brando. 

Introducing themselves to the world through a steady flow of covers via social media, they quickly formed a strong fanbase that were eagerly waiting for them to drop some original music. 

‘Their debut single ‘Beat Up Guitar’ is a big pop track that sonically sits between a classic Five Seconds Of Summer track and the pure nostalgia of Hot Chelle Rae. But it also perfectly allows fans to get to know them in a quirky way, and hear the sonical direction they want to head in with their music. 

I recently chatted to Tom Williams and Vlado Saric from Darling Brando about how their debut single ‘Beat Up Guitar’ came together and discussed their unconventional pop-up tour and social media start that saw them playing to fans before they even released a song. Check out the chat BELOW;

TB: Your debut single ‘Beat Up Guitar’ is a polished pop-rock affair with a big singalong hook, so how did this track come together creatively?

TW: We worked with a few guys from Sweden on the track like Fredrik Häggstam who worked on The Chainsmokers and Johan Gustafson who has worked on some other international pop stuff. 

It was really weird because we’ve been writing everything we’ve been doing but this is a song that actually came through the office and we heard the chorus and we instantly knew that this was a song we wanted to work on. 

VS: It just felt like the perfect song for us! We re-worked a couple of things and added in some more drums to make it feel more like a Darling Brando song and to give it that anthemic hook feeling. 

TB: What were your inspirations sonically to find who Darling Brando was going to be as a group? 

TW: Well at first we really didn’t know what Darling Brando was going to be, but over time we started to figure things out through experimentation. 

VS: At one point we were going to be a dance band, but then we found out that Tom can’t dance.

TW: That’s not true, I can dance!

VS: Nah, you can’t *laughs*! But we were recording dance music and tried to do choreography but it just didn’t work. So we stripped things back and started to figure out our strengths. 

TW: I wanted us to be like Nickelback!

VS: *Laughs* to be fair, the first time I heard the track I was thinking that the start sounded like a Nickelback song, and to be honest with you, I love Nickelback. 

TW: I love them too, and now it’s on record that we both do! But with this track we really wanted to find the essence of what Darling Brando was going to be. And we love bands like The Script and The Fray because they have that organic pop sound, so as soon as we started working on this song we got that feeling. 

TB: Because I was kinda getting Hot Chelle Rae vibes when I listened to it for the first time!

VS: Oh, we LOVE Hot Chelle Rae!

TW: You know what, we’ve actually been writing music with Hot Chelle Rae. Nash Overstreet is a friend of ours and he’s an incredible writer! We have some great tracks coming that we’ve written with them. 

TB: What would you say is your favourite lyric from the song?

TW: My favourite line is; “It’s fucked up history, we know how to take it too far”! 

VS: And mine would be “We make a beautiful chord on a beat up guitar”. I remember the first time I heard that because it’s just such a weird way of referencing something. It can mean a lot of things, but to me it’s about no matter all the flaws you think you may have, you’re still beautiful in your own way. 

TB: Leading into future releases, how does this song compare to how you want Darling Brando’s musical legacy to take shape?

VS: I feel like with us we’re taking everything step by step at the moment, but we want to make sure the next song we release is the perfect one to follow ‘Beat Up Guitar’ and show that evolution of who we are. And that’s the tricky thing with music because we have so many songs that we could release but at the end of the day we have to question if it’s going to work well for us or make sense. 

TB: Well, ‘Beat Up Guitar’ is super pop, so is that how these next release will sound too?

TW: You know what, we LOVE pop music. But Vlado also loves heavy metal and Alex loves country-pop, so even though we make polished pop records we also want to make it authentic so live instrumentation is something that is super important us in our songs. 

TB: Okay so this next question may feel a bit like therapy, but in a group everyone always brings something different adds strong to the collective. So with setting the foundations for Darling Brando, what would you say is the strongest thing that each member brings to the group? Let’s start of with Alex as he’s not here.

VS: He honestly brings a lot to the group!

TW: He’s like a dad figure as he grounds us. We have ADHD and can be pretty excitable and jittery, but he’s the one to calm us down. 

VS: He definitely levels us out in a good way. 

TB: Okay, what about Tom?

VS: Tom brings energy! He’s a coffee in a human form. 

TB: And, Vlado?

TW: Those gorgeous eyes! But honestly Vlado is a superstar. His vocals are amazing and his charisma is infectious. 

TB: You have been on the road for a run of pop shows across the country in the lead up the big single release. So what has been one of the funniest or weirdest things that has happened so far on the road? 

VS: Every day we are on tour, one of us does something stupid! But honestly the car roads are always the funniest. We get no sleep, so when we are driving between places we get deliriously tired and start snap chatting ridiculous things like using the old man and baby filters. 

TW: That wasn’t specific at all Vlado *laughs*. There was this school in Adelaide where things got a little crazy and the stage got crushed down. That stands out to me. 

It’s really interesting for me to experience these situations as I am a fanboy myself and a massive Jonas Brothers fanatic from way back, so seeing it all play out slowly for us is crazy to me. 

TB: This Australian tour that you’re on is quite unconventional in so many different ways. And some of these shows would not be easy to logistically pull off. So what has been something you guys have learnt that you are now aware of for future tours?

TW: Don’t be our own roadies *laughs* 

VS: And to set enough time for us to load in, rehearse and mentally prepare because there has been so many times where we’ve arrived a little bit late and we are rushing setting up. It gets a little hectic. So time management is definitely super important. 

TB: This pop-up tour also highlights the power of social media with fans already being established and turning up before a single is even officially out. So why has creating that foundations of a fanbase been so important for you before actually releasing music? 

VS: For me I watch a lot of documentaries about my favourite bands and artists like Parkway Drive, and you see them meeting their fans on the road, and that’s how they win them over and make sure that they feel connected to every part of the journey. And they also go to places that no one ever goes to, and I think that’s what we want to do. We want to meet everyone and give them an experience face to face instead of just releasing a song. 

TW: It’s great making music but you always want people to hear it, enjoy it and love it. So we’ve really wanted to give our fans covers to show who we are before releasing our first single and give them time to get to know us. 

TB: As a group you’ve been popping covers up on YouTube and social media. So when you’ve been jamming out and trying to put a cover together, what has been one of the most difficult one to put together?

VS: There’s always some difficulties doing a cover because someone is always going to be know a song better than others and then it takes time for someone else to learn it and get comfortable. It’s always a journey.  

TW: The 5SOS ‘Teeth’ cover was really interesting because Vlado actually filmed it. So if you watch it back you will notice that we are all never in one shot together. 

TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions, you guys ready?

TW: Okay!

VS: No, I’m not! Cause I just say stupid things *laughs*. 

TB: Our go to road trip song is…

VS: ‘Last Resort’ by Papa Roach 

TB: The messiest member of Darling Brando on the road would be…

VS: Tom!

TW: *Points to himself* Yeah, I thoroughly enjoy bathing in my own clothes.

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

TW: Amazing!

VS: Disgusting!

TW: Coriander is also amazing too FYI.

TB: If we could collaborate with any artist it would be…

VS: Justin Bieber!

TW: Nick Jonas!

TB: The emoji that best describes ‘Beat Up Guitar’ is…

VS: For me it’s the rock hand symbol.

TW: The guitar, obviously! 

You can stream or buy ‘Beat Up Guitar’ HERE;