Published Jan 01, 2006When Toronto musician Thomas D'Arcy broke up his old band, the Carnations, to lock himself in his basement and work on a solo project that would come to be known as the Ladies and Gentlemen, even he was surprised by what an ordeal it became once he was left to his own devices.
"You know, with every other band I've been in, you get together, you write a demo, then go to a studio for a day and make a real version of it to shop around," explains D'Arcy. "You're really restricted by time, so you're forced to compromise and make decisions quickly because you can't afford to do it any other way.
"But with those constraints removed, it turned into such a lonely, time-wasting process a year of recording, re-recording, starting over again and again constantly. I had to be happy with every single, tiny little part without compromise which is liberating, sure, but it can make you go pretty crazy at the same time."
Luckily, all that craziness seems to have paid off; bolstered by a strong showing at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, and an overwhelmingly positive response to the album's first single, "Stay," the Ladies and Gents' debut full-length, Small Sins, has become one of the most eagerly anticipated indie-pop releases of the season. A huge relief, D'Arcy says, considering the immensely personal nature of the disc.
"I hadn't played anybody anything for the whole year I was working on it, so I was really self-conscious about it at first but it turned out people liked it ten times more than anything I've ever done," he laughs. "Which I guess goes to show, if you just do something you really love personally and don't worry about anyone else, and people find a connection to it, it totally makes all the crazy alone time worth it."