Interview: Darling Fitch

I’ve been delving into the German music scene quite a bit recently, and Darling Fitch is one of the most unique artists I’ve found so far. Their track, Rise, really caught my attention – it’s well worth a listen if you like your music on the more experimental side of things. If you’ve not had a listen yet, you can stream the song after reading this interview.

By Jane Howkins

Photo by Claudia Brijbag

You released a single titled Rise. What can you tell us about the track?

Rise is what I call a “sly anthem of solidarity”. The track was inspired by my life as an artist in Berlin, facing the major gentrification crisis of the past decade here and seeing movements pop up to try to fight back and keep Berlin liveable. The city’s catchphrase “poor but sexy” has become harder and harder to live up to when rents have tripled or quadrupled and Berlin’s iconic underground culture has taken a hit. One of the wildest examples of this is that the famous artists’ squat, Tacheles, was cleared out and turned into multi-million euro luxury flats while using its “alternative” history as a selling point – pretty crass! But instead of giving up or giving in, artists have to get crafty and use what they’ve got, and they do, and Rise celebrates that. It’s a kind of dark optimism, I guess.

Because it’s a Berlin-inspired track, there’s a lot of techno elements and a kind of dark party vib, while staying rooted in the weirder, more experimental stuff.

How has the reception to Rise been so far, and where can the song be purchased?

I would say the response has been pretty solid – I’ve had some spins on radio stations around the world, some write-ups in blogs, and it’s sparked a few collaborations that are in the works… most importantly, listeners (both friends and total strangers) have reached out to me and said they really appreciated the track! That’s what I’m doing it for so I think that counts as a success in my book.

Rise is available for download on all the major platforms but buying it on my Bandcamp is the best way to support me and my work. Also, in keeping with the theme of the track I’m donating 15% of all Bandcamp profits to an organization called Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen, which is fighting for fair housing policy in Berlin.

You have a new single coming out soon, titled The Heart & The Bone. What can you tell us about that track?

The Heart And The Bone is an electronic ballad of resilience and survival, with a bit of that “dark optimism” again. It’s a very personal track, about my experiences as an LGBT person feeling the isolation of the pandemic while also watching what’s going on in terms of anti-LGBT legislation and violence in my home country of the US. From militias with automatic weapons storming drag events to laws dictating what clothing people can wear, it’s been a bit heartbreaking seeing such extremism in a place I truly love. The track is dedicated to LGBT+ people struggling with this repression – as the chorus repeats, “anyone could be so proud to survive.” Though it’s about that experience, I think anyone can relate to the message! We’ve all been knocked around the past few years, and we can all be proud to have come through… I see it as a sonic embrace to anyone who needs it.

Musically, it’s a slow and sparse track, but with a tender heart.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

Yes! I have something slinky planned for August so stay tuned!

Are there any plans to release an album or EP anytime soon?

Right now I’m focusing on releasing a string of singles that I hope to build into a full album down the road. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself… so all I’ll say now is keep your eyes peeled and your ears open.

Your music has a really experimental sound. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

I like to joke that my two main influences are Britney Spears and Throbbing Gristle but it’s kind of true. My background is in performance art, poetry and experimental music, but I’m forever just trying to make pop. I’m a big fan of Grace Jones, Fad Gadget and a lot of semi-underground stuff, but I also have Rihanna’s Anti on repeat. A cool part of sending out my own songs to outlets is discovering more contemporary independent musicians. I’ve made a whole playlist of recently released tracks that really inspire me, which I’ve featured as my artist picks playlist on Spotify.

I would also say that I’m most inspired by the resilience of the human spirit in the face of tough times, which I hope comes through in my work!

Do you have anything else exciting coming up this year?

I’ve got some collaborations in the works and some poetry I’m working on. There may be some video content coming out soon as well. On a personal note, I’m hoping to hike the Tour Du Mont Blanc later in the year.

You’re based in Berlin. How is the local music scene faring at the moment?

It’s obviously taken a hit – I think everywhere has. In addition to everything that’s happened globally in the past few year,s Berlin has also been undergoing a huge housing and affordability crisis and it’s made it hard for residents to thrive and for new people to come in. But there are always currents and movements happening – that’s what Rise is about! Despite everything, people come and they build things together. It’s important to lean into that spirit I think. Artists have always lived “on the edge” and the best stuff often comes from an urge that’s there whether or not business is booming. There’s some really exciting artists making some exciting work, and I’m glad to see and hear that.

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

I don’t have any upcoming dates but Brighton, London and Glasgow are on my radar as must-visits when I do! I’ve had a lot of friends and collaborators who’ve moved from Berlin to the UK so it’s just a matter of when is right to set something up.

Any last words for the fans?

Above all, give support and energy to the things you love