INTERVIEW MONSTRE - THE DARTS "I wanted to name the band something that women would understand but men might not"

What is a Monster interview? Unlike the lengthy interviews we sometimes offer, it's limited to a few questions. From week to week, you'll find different recurring themes. It's up to you to choose your favorite questions, or to read the whole thing.
Have fun with Nicole of THE DARTS !

Taste question: Which artists have influenced you the most, and what can you tell us exemples about this influence? Who is the artist you dislike and why will he/she never influence you?
Nicole:The Darts are influenced the most by Thee Trashwomen, for their primitive, trashy girl-gang sound, but also by classic garage like The Animals, for the vocal melodies and organ vibe, Nick Cave, for the ballads we have, and The Cramps, for the guitar riffs and tones and the overall style on stage. I can't say that we violently dislike anything, in fact I have very wide and differing musical tastes in this band, but modern power pop and modern country music are definitely very very low on our taste scale. You'll never hear a Darts song - hopefully - that fits into those two categories!

Intellectual question: Which 'non-musical artist (filmmaker, writer, painter...) played an important role in the way the band evolved...

Nicole: Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill) and Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive) movies have been playing in the background as I create the songs. The series Killing Eve recently gave me a lot of ideas actually. And I love abstract, geometric modern art also. But it is hard to say where the muse gets its fuel exactly.

History question: Can you sum up the life of your group?

Nicole: Christina (bassist) and I (vocals/organ) played together for many years in The Love Me Nots. When that band dissolved, we were excited to start an all-girl garage rock band, as we had been talking about doing that for a long time. The goals were simple; have fun, see the world, and make great music with really talented musicians. We have always tried to find guitarists and drummers who have these same goals over the life of the band, and it has been quite a ride through lots and lots of international tours, recording four albums and even more singles, making music videos, documenting our experiences on social media, surviving the long dark pandemic together, and watching the band grow up and get bigger. We are thrilled to be back on the road now with a new album co-produced by Jello Biafra and a massive 10-week European tour. It's the best life ever right now.

Champollion question: What is the meaning of the band's name?

Nicole: I wanted to name the band something that women would understand but men might not. In America, a woman's blouse has two seams on the sides of the chest, to make room for breasts, and we call those seams "darts." So the darts on the old 1950's bullet bra became my inspiration for the name and the first band logo.

Buddy question: Who has helped you most in your band's adventure and without whom you wouldn't have had the same evolution?

Nicole: We are indebted to Bob Hoag, Matt Eskew, and Kelly Sahr. Bob produced the first four albums, even letting us do a lot of the recording ourselves in a separate room - and even in other studios in other states! - and he mixed the tracks later, always creating a great result. Matt has helped us with a lot of music videos over the years and always makes the process incredibly cool and easy. Kelly has been our photographer and videographer more times than we can count, in the craziest places and situations. We will always be profoundly grateful to these three for helping the band grow up.

Spinal Tap question: What's the most stupid thing that's ever happened to you?

Nicole: We were supposed to take a small flight to Germany and were due to arrive right before the show started. There were problems at the airport and security lines were very very long. So three of us got through and we literally ran to the plane and jumped on. But our guitarist got stopped at security, because she had too many liquids or knives or I don't know what, and the plane took off without her. So we landed in Germany and had to play the show without any guitars. Just bass, drums, and organ. It turned into a weird kind of lounge act. But somehow we pulled it off and even sold a lot of merch after the show. But there are too many examples of these kinds of stupid things happening when you travel as much as we do!

Question Happy Few: What's the biggest benefit you've derived from your band, and can you tell us about it?

Nicole: For me, the biggest benefit is the international tours, in front of bigger and bigger crowds, who now even know our lyrics and sell-out the shows and make us feel so appreciated. I love spending my days alone in a dark room writing songs, but hearing them come to life on a stage with a ton of people who are rocking out to it.. that is a transcending moment for me, a feeling I crave and I am so grateful for when it happens.

Art question: What book, film, record and current band made you flash?

Nicole: I'm not sure I understand what "flash" means..? I studied classical piano as a child and was a latecomer to the world of pop and rock. But the first pop songs I ever completely loved were "Rich Girl" (Hall & Oates), "The Beautiful Ones" (Prince), and "The Last Days of Our Acquaintance" (Sinead O'Connor). The historical fiction of Edward Rutherford and Ken Follett are some of my favorite books. I love time travel movies, even the stupid ones, like Highlander and The Terminator and Outlander. History fascinates me. My favorite current pop bands are Wine Lips, Mystery Lights, and Night Beats.

Funny question. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?

Nicole: That's a huge question and really hard to answer, especially because I'm kind of a serious person.. But my current bandmates, Mary Rose "Beef" Gonzales (drums) and Louise Sordoillet (sub guitarist) are a constant comedy duo. Louise is from Paris but has a Scottish husband, and Beef is from downtown Chicago. So Beef speaks kind of an urban-Chicago English and Louise speaks kind of a Scottish-tinged Franglish. The conversations in the backseat of the van are ridiculous. Louise: "Do you like Mars Bars?" Beef: "What's a mouse ball? What are you saying to me?" This goes on and on. We all laugh until we cry with these two around.

Camembert question: What's France to you, apart from the land of wine and cheese? 

Nicole: I have spent a lot of time in France in the last six years. Many tours, vacations, and lots of friends and colleagues from France. I love this country so much. There is an elegance and attention to beauty and detail that I adore, in the architecture and art and cuisine and everywhere in daily life there - even in the punk rock world. The language is gorgeous to listen to, very musical to my ear. And something about the people there really click with my personality; they seem overall to be very cultured, thoughtful and educated in the things that are important to me. The variety in the landscapes is huge across the country. I know it's not fair to generalize about a whole country but something keeps drawing me back there.

Sponsorship question: Who can you sponsor for Les Monstres Sacrés, and how can you convince us to talk about them?

I think the band Mystery Lights deserves some attention. They are fantastic live, but their recordings sound like big vintage masterpieces. The vocals are stellar. The production is perfect. One of my favorites and I think more people should be talking about them.

Thank you Nicole !
(September 2023)