Don’t let the name fool you; Blue Daisy is producing music of the dark and dirty kind.
Championed by Radio One’s Mary Anne Hobbs from the start and signed to Black Acre, Kwes Darko is producing music beyond his 24 years. Preoccupied with the subversive and inspired by nature, recent album Sunday Gift is an unnerving mix of light-fingered melody and heavy-handed bass. Darko shuns the chance to craft dance floor fillers with his contemporaries, instead offering a blend of trip-hop and psych-rock with tides of crunchy distortion colliding with static. i-D online caught-up with Mr Daisy to discuss Pink Floyd, on-stage gas masks and mad festival antics and grabbed an exclusive mix to take along with us on the way!
What influences your music? All the things I’ve witnessed in my life I’ve been able to storyboard in my music. I tend to dig a little deeper than just what everyone else is listening to. Pink Floyd made music forty years ago, and it’s ridiculous when you’re listening to them ten or fifteen years down the track and it still sounds fresh. In terms of current stuff, Fever Ray is one of the main pop influences on the album.
Which is your favourite track on the album? ‘Psyche inquiry’, the track featuring Hey Zeus because I come from a hip-hop background. It’s my take on hip-hop with that electronic feel to it. I’m not forgetting where I come from. It took me back to when I listened to raw hip-hop like Wu Tang Clan.
Why did you call the album Sunday Gift? My birth name is from Ghana and it means Sunday-born boy. It also represents the day of rest and now I’ve finished the album I’ve got a day of Sabbath!
Black Acre are a small Bristol based label unafraid of pushing new types of artist out into the ether. How did being signed by them shape your musical journey? Ian Merchant who runs Black Acre has been a substantial help in my advancement. He’s always allowed me to do what I want so I send music over to him and if he likes it he puts it out. They’re not on my back and they don’t want a pop record. It was a big risk he took to put the album out.
Your performances at live shows are pretty quite different from the tracks on your album… It’s very different. My live solo shows are intoxicating and there is a lot of noise, bass, rawness and harshness. That’s why I started wearing a gas mask, as a warning to the audience to say that you’re about to experience something that’s not for the faint-hearted. Like, you’re literally about to get gassed. Welcome to my gas chamber. The live shows are pretty cynical
How was playing Outlook festival with Kidkanevil? Outlook is where my music fits in because it’s completely raw. The whole festival is dirty and completely bass heavy. I saw this guy fall off a window ledge and his head burst open. I saw him the next night with a bandage around his head going back partying the same way.
Who are your favourite new artists and producers? Lapalux from Essex, his music is layered so beautifully and he takes it to a different dimension. I also love Illum Sphere and Hoya:Hoya, in fact the whole of the Brainfeeder camp are representing big time.
What’s next? At the moment I’m concentrating on getting the album live show sorted, because I’m working with audio-visuals and a full band. I’m doing a soundtrack for a UK independent horror movie called Young, High and Dead, then I’m moving to Berlin next year.
Text: Jess Duncan