Musician and producer Darrin Lewis has spent the last fifteen years making music, touring and producing, most notably with metalcore outfit Beside The Silence.
In lieu of Lewis releasing his debut single “#GOTHGIRL” from his solo act Nothing Valentine with an accompanying music video on the way we sat him down for a quick chat about the new project and the exploration of new sonic landscapes.
By: Adrian Kjøsnes
Adrian: Can you give us some background info? What is Nothing Valentine and who is part of it?
Darrin: Nothing Valentine is a stage name I’ve been using since my first band, To Live is to Die (circa 2004). It’s a name I’ve always identified with. When I decided to put Beside the Silence on hiatus I was considering just starting another typical band. But over the years I’ve always been left feeling unsatisfied with that route. I’ve always been the writer/producer/art direction with every band I’ve been involved with since 2007. And alot of times, it was a very lonely process. So I thought, why not just present everything myself?
A: Having played in a metal oriented band such as Beside The Silence what prompted you to go a new, more electronically based direction with NV?
D: I’ve always grown up playing in metal bands. Really cause that was the only type musicians around me. When I got into music, the metalcore and deathcore scene was just starting to break out and thats what everybody was interested in. But I was always drawn to industrial/electronic bands of the 80s/90s like NINE INCH NAILS, SKINNY PUPPY, MINISTRY, and KMFDM. As well as “nu-metal” electronic bands that blended the sound with more modern metal elements like STATIC-X and FEAR FACTORY. I always felt bands like that were very creatively freeing compared to the deathcore style of “play it as heavy and fast as you can.” I was feeling very cornered in that scene and I wanted to explore myself musically. I’ll always love metal though and I’m far from done with it. I have a whole second BESIDE THE SILENCE album written that I’m sure will see the light of day sometime.
A: Your new single “#GothGirl” seems to be a bit of a mixture of genres yet remaining firmly on the alternative spectrum. What was the inspiration for it both lyrically and musically?
D :”#GOTHGIRL” is at its core, a song about individually. I’d watch alot of my friends online getting involved with people who don’t understand them. Having a goth girlfriend is very posh these days and there’s alot of guys out there who think they’re hot but as soon as they get involved they try to change them. And that’s really unfortunate cause goth culture can be so beautiful and creative if you just give it a chance.
A: Is there any chance for shows and/or touring anytime soon?
D: Yes I currently have a few shows booked for next spring in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Touring is expected to start next summer. I’m spending alot of time building an exciting and high energy show and I’m really excited to finish putting it together.
A: As well as being a musician you`re also a producer. How did you get started in that field?
D: My introduction to recording and producing came about when I was 15 and in my first band. We recorded at a big name studio in town and I was enamored by the process and all the gear. I started learning and reading every book I could about recording and mixing. When I turned 18 I bought a multitrack recorder and a drum mic kit and I started recording basement demos for myself and friends bands. A couple years later I started getting into computer recording and programming synthesizers. I wanted to be able to produce my own music and not have to rely on other people so I started recording my own songs.
A: Which artists have you produced so far and do you have anything coming up in that realm anytime soon
D: Other than my own projects and some friends local bands, my first major project was “ICONOCLASM” (by Norwegian band Carrion ). I’m mainly focusing on my own music for the time being but I’m always open to work on something cool if it comes along.
A: Back to the single, you have a music video, what was the inspiration behind the video and do you think you will be doing more videos?
D: I wanted to shoot something fun, sexy, and spooky. I don’t want to give away too much but it most certainly involves some hot babes in a graveyard.
A: Nothing Valentine is more on the electronic/industrial side, how long have you been working within those types of genres?
D: I would say just about as long as metal. NINE INCH NAILS has been my favorite band since I got into music and have influenced my writing alot over the years. I’m glad to finally be able to explore that side of my creativity more with this new stuff.
A: When creating for NV do you rely more on software or hardware?
D: I like using a combination of the two. I tend to use software to quickly get ideas down. Then I’ll go back and run the midi through my hardware synths and reamp just about everything through guitar pedals.
A: Where did the name Nothing Valentine come from?
D: The name Nothing came from a character in a 1991 vampire novel called “Lost Souls”. It’s a book that I fell in love with when I was a teenager. Nothing was someone I related to heavily back then and still do in some ways.
A: The last word is yours, feel free to promote or leave a message, shout out etc
D: Keep a lookout for the #gothgirl music video and new music! I’m always in the studio working on stuff and excited to show everyone what else I have up my sleeve.