Meet Mickey Darling, The Internet's Latest Indie-Rock Triumph (Interview)

Mickey Darling Interview Suburban Rose Magazine
Photo: Carlos Alvarez @gnvrlos

Spotify's Discover Weekly playlists are often a hit or miss, but we all have those weeks when they introduce us to tracks that entirely align with our taste. Last month, mine gifted me San Marcos indie-rock duo Mickey Darling via their relatively new release "I'm Just A Buzzkill," which currently sits at 30,000 streams (thousands more than it had at the time of that fist listen). Upon hearing the track's sprightly guitars in the realm of boy pablo, nonchalantly melancholic vocals similar to those of Erik Paulson (Remo Drive), and its audibly fresh take on indie, I was convinced that the act was on the brink of further success outside of their current niche.

I was able to ask the guys behind Mickey Darling, Skyler Molina and Austin Medrano, a few questions about their music, and I learned that it was fitting I'd heard a little bit of boy pablo in their sound. "Skyler and I had been creating music on our own for about 5 to 7 years, not really crossing paths, until one day we talked about a band called boy pablo," Austin explains. "We were talking about how great they were and I brought up that I could probably attempt to create something similar. Then two hours later, I sent him what we now know as the song ‘Shane Dawson’ and to my surprise he said that he was absolutely blown away. So after that, we decided that I would just produce an EP for him on his own solo project that he wanted to do, but by the time we finished ‘Shia Labeouf,’ we just decided to release it as a band since we had so much fun working together on the production and the music video."

Mickey Darling inject a lot of fun into their image, seen in that aforementioned "Shia Labeouf" video, along with their social media posts, song titles, and literally all their other music videos. On this appearance, Skyler says, "I think because I spent so many years writing tons of super sad depressing songs and had this very 'wanna-be artsy mysterious boy' social media presence, I hit a wall." He realized that "most people don’t want to be constantly reminded of their existential dread," and decided to become the "fun, goofy boy" that he was in real life online, too. "So when it comes to all the songs and the videos, I want to make everything as fun as possible for people in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, they can listen to our songs and watch our videos [...] to escape from their everyday realities and all that existential dread that haunts us all." In a sidenote, he acknowledges that this authenticity and vulnerability may have pushed some people away, since it's impossible to please everyone. But in this, he's learned that social media doesn't ultimately matter; "So might as well have fun with it," he asserts.

Among "Shia Labeouf" and "Shane Dawson" are two other celebrity-inspired single titles from Mickey Darling, "Em Rata" and "Pauly D," which definitely made me curious as to the intention of the pattern. "It all sort of happened [...] while I was writing lyrics for 'Shia Labeouf,'" Skyler says. He elaborates, "I randomly rhymed [his] name into the lyrics on accident and we thought it was a good and funny rhyme, so we decided to keep it just for the goofs, really. But then I remembered that I coincidentally wrote a song about a year prior to Mickey Darling’s existence called ‘Em Rata,’ so after we decided that ‘Em Rata’ would be the next single that we would release, we thought, 'Wouldn’t it be funny if our first four songs were all names of different celebrities?' And thus, here we are."

When asked about his inspirations, Skyler says, "I personally don’t listen to a lot of music or anything of that nature, because I tend to catch myself subconsciously sounding like all of those artists that i am constantly being consumed in." Still, he cites boy pablo, Gus Dapperton, and Rex Orange County as major inspirations. "All of these kids had made a name for themselves with a completely new and unique sound from the confines of their bedrooms. They made us feel like it was possible to make it in an industry that you’re destined to never make it in."

Looking towards the the future, Austin reveals the duo are planning to release their first EP sometime this summer. "This is the first time that either of us have people paying attention to us [who] are ready to listen and critique everything that we do." On the tour side, they plan on playing shows around Texas in the near future, hoping to one day "make a living off of music and [get] to tour the world." However, Austin recognizes that as they're currently independent and not under management, anything beyond relatively local shows is presently difficult for them to make happen.

The success of "I'm Just a Buzzkill" is sure to propel Mickey Darling into the attention of a wider audience, and sets a tone for what's to come. Says Austin, "'Buzzkill' in my opinion is the epitome of Mickey Darling, with a really upbeat happy sound that completely combats the really sad and depressing lyrics." On this, I couldn't agree more. I urge fans of their contemporaries to check out Mickey Darling, who bring uniqueness and levity to a genre that could use a little more of it.

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