The DJ/producer known as Darling is something of an enigma. Despite being a member of Holland’s electronic music underground for the best part of three decades, the man behind the alias is rarely seen walking the streets or hanging out in the hottest clubs. Instead, he spends most of his time underground, tending to his vast collection of dusty old synthesizers and drum-computers or crafting what he calls “wishful music”.
As far as Darling goes, our hero’s story began in 2016 with Jacob’s Lead, a debut EP for Voyage Direct full to bursting with starry, retro-futurist tributes to the pioneers of Detroit and Chicago. He followed that up with JPS on Safe Trip, a wonderfully warm, melodious and colourful EP whose distinctive percussive rhythms were created using a drum machine given to him by his grandfather several decades ago.
It was perhaps fitting given that Darling was born into a family of sound designers and has dedicated his life to music ever since. There have been spells in thrash and hardcore metal bands, years spent making music videos, unusual live performances and nearly two decades spent producing and DJing under his given name. During that period, he notched up well over a century of heavyweight, club-rocking releases.
These days, his musical output is altogether mellower, more melodious and undeniably kaleidoscopic, though Darling’s knowledge of what works on a dancefloor is just as sharp as ever. He began 2018 with the first two 12” singles in an ongoing special series for Safe Trip, the Young Marco-helmed label. With more Darling releases lined up for the months and years ahead, these EPs offered a colourful and ear-pleasing taster of what’s to come.
Alongside this increased release schedule, Darling has thrown himself back into DJing. We can expect to see him emerge from the bunker and make his presence felt, primarily via crowd-driven club sets that flit between styles and sounds old and new. Speaking via a third party, Darling promises DJ sets that will not only be “very danceable with lots of energy”, but also see him fly off on adventurous tangents. Given the depth of his musical knowledge, the size of his record collection and the quality of the music he makes, these sets are most likely to be very special indeed.