By Tyler Fox
Buffalo, New York seems to be the place to be right now. The entire area feels like it is in the midst of some sort of renaissance; beautiful new buildings, renovations to old staples, and an exploding artistic movement all contribute to this feeling. And Darling Harbor is a band striving to be a part of it.
Formed in 2013 as the brain child of Ben Uytiepo (who graciously provided us with this interview), Darling Harbor has been taking their time to get it right. The band released their first EP in 2014 and has since been playing shows and working on completing the lineup with Alec Dube and Eric Equils recently joining the group. Darling Harbor has this unapologetic, heartfelt sound (and lyrics) that, in my opinion, compare to The Spill Canvas and Say Anything. Uytiepo has a knack for writing honest, yet catchy lyrics that will draw you in and make you want more.
The band has a couple shows coming up in the Western NY area. Catch them at the Bug Jar in Rochester on August 9th or at Mohawk Place in Buffalo on August 19th. Be sure to check out the page to hear some of the songs, or grab the EP, “Truth in My Lies” from . Also, keep tabs of what the band has going on at their page and their .
The band recently rounded out the line up with the additions of Alec Dube and Eric Equils. But how and when did Darling Harbor start?
Darling Harbor came into fruition back in the summer of 2013. I wanted to start a band that had a huge focus on the stories and emotions behind the songs, instead of just the music itself. Previously, I had shared the stage with Eric Richardson in other bands. When I wanted a second guitar he was the first person I asked. Thankfully, he said yes. That was the beginning of what Darling Harbor is today.
Buffalo has had a good music scene for a long time, but I know it more for ska/punk/hardcore music. What has it been like playing and promoting this more alternative, toned down style of music in the WNY area? Have you found good opportunities to play in the area?
I don’t think it’s any more difficult because of our genre. The scene for it is there, it’s just not as publicized. People want to listen to all kinds of music, it’s just getting it into their hands that’s the problem. The internet helps a lot in this regard. So access to people is easier than ever, it’s putting bodies in the venues that has grown more difficult. Which is why we work on our live sets so much. We want to give people a reason to come watch us play, not just hear us streaming on the internet.
The EP Truth in my Lies has been out for while now, but let’s talk about that. Was this the band’s first release? Where did you record it?
This was our first release. We recorded it at Watchman Studios with Doug White. His resume is filled with bands that are, admittedly, more aggressive than us. Which was why I wanted to work with him. I wanted acoustic songs that have a punchy, aggressive, rock sound to them. I believe it helped create a product that is as familiar as it is unique.
Your music has this catchy, poppy, inviting feeling and the lyrics are super catchy. It has this radio-friendly feel but with a little grit and edge to it. Where do you draw inspiration from musically and personally?
We’re musically omnivorous, the music doesn’t draw heavily from any one source. In general we like old John Mayer and Pharrell. They’re fantastic songwriters. I, personally, took a lot of strides from folks like Max Bemis and Colin Hay who told fantastic stories with their songs. We also keep up to date with bands like Snarky Puppy, Polyphia, and Thirdstory who continue to do ground-breaking, awe-inspiring things in their respective genres.
You guys recently had the opportunity to play Canalside in Buffalo, which has become the premier spot to play in Buffalo over the past few years. What was that like?
Canalside is awesome. It’s exciting to see that area get turned into a real “go to” place for food, family activities, and, most importantly, music. Canalside is as important to Buffalo as their sports teams and their wings. That whole is indicative of what Buffalo seeks to achieve as a city, a rise from adversity. It’s an amazing honor to become a part of this slice of Buffalo history.
It has been a little while since your last release and you have since brought in Alec and Eric, so should we be expecting new music or a new release anytime soon?
Yeah, we’ve got some big plans for the fall that I can’t really speak of yet. I will say that it’s not a full release. Eric and Alec have just joined us so we’re still working on new material. So, you can expect some cool stuff really soon and a new album release on the horizon.
What else should be looking out for in the coming months from the band? (shows, tours, videos, etc…)
We’ve picked up a few dates at the end of July and the beginning of August for the Buffalo Infringement festival. We’re also working on some out of town gigs later in the year. We currently have some ideas for some cool, behind-the-scenes style videos in preparation for what’s coming in fall. You can keep up to date with all of that on our website, .
We’d like to thank Ben Uytiepo and Darling Harbor for their time and encourage you to check them out.