The Darcys descend on the Okanagan

The Darcys head to the Junos March 30 and arrive in Kelowna April 3. - Contributed
The Darcys head to the Junos March 30 and arrive in Kelowna April 3.
— image credit: Contributed

The Juno Awards committee really reached outside the box when it included The Darcys on the nomination list this year, according to the band’s drummer, Wes Marksell, who quickly adds “it was a good album.”

Nominated for Warring, their third release as a four-member group, the record has also put them on the Arts & Crafts label tour, Fieldtrip, coming to Kelowna next month. A Juno for Alternative Album of the Year would be the icing on the cake if they win on March 30th.

“It is a bit of a legitimizer, even though we put out three albums in a year and a half,” said Marksell.

It’s also more than a bit of a sales boost. The day after the nomination was released, albums were flying out the door.

“I’ve been wrestling with how I feel about it…It’s a very tight-knit group of people who tend to secure the nominations,” Marksell said.

Like most award shows of late, criticism of the selection process has been in the headlines with artists frequently asked to comment. Marksell jumps into the topic of his own volition, noting with a facetious jab that Arcade Fire has 3000 nominations whereas Born Ruffians, nominated as breakthrough group of the year, have been working away in the indie music scene for over a decade.

“We’ve been a band since high school, almost 11 years—it’s been a long time. So break through after that long is less of a ‘breakthrough’ and more like softly pawing at the wall,” that band’s bassist, Mitch Derosier, joked in interview with CTV after learning of the honour.

A former judge has also launched a petition against one band’s nomination, saying The Flatliners are not metal enough for their category, Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year.

All of this said, given that they’re not floating around on yachts everyday, Marksell is perfectly game to admit the group is grateful for the recognition—and from the sounds of things, controversy is their bailiwick anyway.

Marksell learned to play the drums after effectively conning his way into the percussion section of his Grade 6 band class. Sometime late in the Grade 5 school year, he wrangled one of the coveted seats for the following year by claiming he could already play.

“When I showed up, it was quite evident I had never played drums in my life,” said Marksell. The teacher didn’t care. He let him work his way out of the predicament by learning and set in motion a lifelong passion for music in the youngster.

The story has been on Marksell’s mind because of another outside-the-box moment the band is sharing.

This winter, they gave several free concerts in Toronto-area schools, in part to develop their young fan base and in part to protest cuts to public school music funding .

Faced with a $30-million deficit the Toronto school board threatened to cut music teachers, and programs, last spring.

“We want to inspire our fans to hold their school boards accountable to maintaining and developing music programs,” Marksell wrote in a statement on their website.

The Darcys are part of a tour of rotating slots in which different bands jump in at different points along the way.

The Darcys will join Reuben And The Dark and No on April 3 at Habitat; tickets are $13.50.

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