Today we are very pleased to throw the spotlight on the work of Darren Michael Boyd as our featured artist on the Modern Music Magazine ! Darren is an Ottawa and Toronto based songwriter and musician who's debut instrumental album "Lifting the Curse" was written as a form of therapy to move forward after a life-altering car accident, and the physical and psychological complications that followed. It was entirely written, performed, and produced by Boyd, while on the track "Was is something I said" features drums by Emily Dolan Davies (The Darkness, Kim Wilde). He has toured and recorded with a variety of artists, such as Black Ju-Ju, Creeping Beauty, and Famous Underground (featuring Juno award-winning vocalist Nicholas Walsh) and on multiple occasions was privately invited to audition for platinum-selling artist Fefe Dobson, as well as asked to write songs for Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico Cooper and long time bassist Chuck Garric’s band Beasto Blanco. He has shared the stage with such acts as One-Eyed Doll, Wednesday 13, Yngwie Malmsteen, Stryper, Harem Scarem, Beasto Blanco, and Lee Aaron. Earlier this week we sat down with Darren to talk more in depth about multiple aspects of his music carreer as well as his personal life and circumstances that brought him today to where he is ! Darren thanks for giving us this interview ! The first thing we always like to ask to get to know an artist is who they consider their all time favourite artist or band .
- So , Who is your all-time favourite artist or band?
That’s always a challenging question, because I love so many different artists for different reasons, and music is never a competitive sport! But if I have to pick one, I’ll always go with Alice Cooper. He’s a monster onstage and a gentleman offstage, always has a killer show, great songs, and a band of top-notch musicians. - What was the trigger that led you down the road of Rock n'roll and wanting to become a full time artists ?
When I got my first Kiss and Alice Cooper records (seeing a theme? Haha!). They were like superheroes to a seven year old Darren, and it set me on a lifelong journey of rock and roll!
- What do you feel is the best song you have released so far and why?
Wow! This answer could change in fifteen minutes. I think I’m most proud of an acoustic song I wrote for Creeping Beauty called “This time”, because it’s so personal, and unfortunately relatable to a lot of people. (I say unfortunately, because it’s rather sad). As for my instrumental album, I think the title track, “Lifting the Curse”, because it’s so dramatic.
- Which famous musicians do you admire?
Paul Gilbert : He can play guitar like he is from another planet, yet is such a humble, down to earth guy. And, he can really sing! Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman : They were always an amazing team, better together than apart. Those songs had a huge impact on so many people. Alice Cooper : He’s never let me down – which is pretty amazing considering I’ve been a fan almost my entire life!
- Let's tall about challenges both in life and in Music . What do you feel have been the biggest ones you have had to overcome?
Two come to mind. I spent a lot of years in a very abusive relationship that I felt completely trapped in. It took a long time to gain the courage and strength to break all those ties and move on, knowing I would lose a lot of what my identity had become. Men do not tend to talk about these situations, but they do exist. Another song I wrote for Creeping Beauty called “Bloody Witch Hunt” outlines that anger quite clearly. The other challenge was a more recent car accident that changed my life in the blink of an eye, and complicated everything I cared about for several years. Fortunately, I came out of that with a greater appreciation for my life and freedom. My new instrumental album, “Lifting the Curse”, was created as a form of therapy for me, and I’m really proud of the results!
- How do you go about composing? Walk us through your creative process ?
That particular walk is like a haunted amusement park! It’s full of unexpected twists! In all honesty, there are times when songs just come to be, and other times I have to sit down and approach it more methodically. Either way is fine, as long as I’m happy with the end result. If a song it really not working, I will put it on the backburner, or possibly abandon it. I find the music I have to fight with rarely makes me happy in the end. - Who would you say is your inspiration for making music? Music is a great healer, both for the listener and creator. It’s also one of the most perfect forms of communication we have. Sometimes I take these concepts to heart when I’m writing songs, and other times I just simply want to grab my guitar and play a rock riff that makes me feel like the coolest cat on earth! Either way, whatever moves me to make music is perfectly valid. I have a non-negotiable need to create, and I think that’s just part of being human. - What do you want to transmit to your audience when they listen to your music? It may sound strange, but I’m not sure it’s really up to me. I want listeners to get something personal out of my music – but I can’t tell them how to feel. It goes without saying I want people to enjoy it, but even that is out of my control!
- As a musician you have obviously seen alot of performaces and shows by other artists/bands! Describe the best and worst performance you have seen?
I’ve seen SO many brilliant performances! Aside from the obvious arena concerts, I’d have to say One-Eyed Doll. I remember opening up for them, not really knowing much about the band or their music. We hit it off personally, and the show wasjawdropping and I became a superfan immediately. I can’t think of any specifics, but the worst shows I’ve seen are usually due to alcoholism and subsequent sloppiness, and are therefore rather forgettable. I always try to look for the good in every performance. - Have you written songs for other artists and what was the experience like working with them? I have some experience with that, and so far it’s all been good. I enjoy the challenge of writing a song that matches the style or genre of a specific artist. That only makes me a better songwriter! I’m always open to working with other musicians. - Do you believe labels are relevant in the digital age and If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? Labels definitely still have their place and serve a purpose. That isn’t to say it is necessary to be signed in order to have a successful music career. It seems most of the artists that get signed to major labels these days have already proven themselves to be valuable, and have grown as much as possible without the funding and opportunities a big label can provide. Artists create art, labels are in business, 100% - you just don’t see unproven artists getting signed and then nurtured over the course of several years anymore. In a perfect world, I would probably change the way musicians are valued overall.
- What’s next for you? I’m working on a couple more music videos for songs from Lifting the Curse, which I hope to release in the spring and summer. I’m also recording a follow up album, which I expect to release in the fall of 2020.
- In today's world everyone has an opinion about how to do things right/wrong and many are very eager to hand out advice ! What would you say is the best advice you’ve been given?
What comes to mind is – the world doesn’t owe you anything. It sounds a little bleak, but it is, in fact, quite liberating. - On that note , what advice do you want to give someone that is starting off in music today? Be open to learning everything you can, and be easy to work with. Be respectful and supportive of other bands you are sharing live shows with. Always be positive and grateful – fans pick up on that. Everyone wants to support a winning team, so keep any complaints and drama private.
You can connect with Darren and his latest work at the links below ! Website: www.darrenboyd.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darren.michael.boyd/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darrenmichaelboydmusic/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/THEwHORRORcanada We wish Darren all the best with his work and thank him for this great interview and his openess about his life and all the subjects brought up within the interview !