Mad Young Darlings
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Mad Young Darlings

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Alternative




"To hell and backIt took a few hard years, but Mad Young Darlings prove there’s life after a breakup with their triumphant debut, Creaturette"

"I can’t believe I’m sitting here with you right now," says Natasha Reske-Naurocki, the flame-haired frontwoman of local alt-rockers Mad Young?Darlings.

"That record almost fucking killed me."

After what can only be described as an arduous birth, Creaturette, the?Darlings’ long-awaited debut album, is finally seeing the light of day this week. The disc’s release is nothing short of a momentous occasion for a band that has been on a relentless roller coaster of ups and downs since it first burst on the scene back in 2006.

For a time, Mad Young?Darlings were one of the most buzzed-about bands in the ’Peg, scoring radio play on both of the big rock stations in town, Power 97 and Freq 107 (RIP), and a spot on?Power 97’s?Class of 2006 compilation disc. By 2007, the band was opening for Britrockers The Subways, touring with Danko Jones and starting to make some serious noise beyond the Perimeter.

The band’s local fanbase was growing, too; Mad Young Darlings were named Best New Band of 2008 in Best of Winnipeg, Uptown's annual readers’ poll — but by the time the issue had hit the streets, the group had called it quits. (Let’s hope that isn’t some sort of omen.)

"Collectively, priorities changed, we had changed and we had exhausted our relationships," explains Reske-Naurocki, 26, over drinks at The Toad, surrounded by her new bandmates, drummer Erik Strom, 23, guitarist Troy Taylor, 28, as well as fellow founding Darling, guitarist Brad Donahue, 23, and band manager Cory Rivard, 28.

"Brad and I wanted to keep going, and it’s good it worked out the way it did. We didn’t know what to do — we just knew we wanted to keep going."

Happily, Reske-Naurocki and?Donahue’s luck would change; the previous incarnation of their band had built enough buzz that local musicians-for-hire knew who they were and the kind of music they made. The remaining Darlings recruited bassist Chris Peluk (ex-Alverstone), Strom (ex-Sons of York, Wear Your Wounds) and Taylor (ex-The Universe) not unlike a pickup hockey team and, in 2009, got to work cutting their first album as Mad Young?Darlings.

Things didn’t exactly go smoothly.

"It was 14-hour days on a diet of marijuana and coffee — then wine when things got really tough," Reske-Naurocki says. "I would spent eight hours in a closet with Christmas lights around my feet recording vocals. It was pretty brutal."

Creaturette is the definition of a DIY?recording; the?Darlings recorded, mixed and produced the album themselves, save for some additional tracking done at Unison and Rappaport Records.

"We woke up one day and decided all of a sudden we wanted to do everything on our own," Reske-Naurocki explains. "Half the songs hadn’t been written yet, so we wrote and recorded a lot of the record at the same time."

There were other frustrations as well.

"Part of it was learning how to record," Donahue says.

"Or things like our computer not being powerful enough to do all the things we were asking of it," Reske-Naurocki adds.

"I think it was the worst for her," Strom says, nodding toward his bandmate.

"Erik had showed up later in the process," Donahue explains with a smile.

"And thank God he did," Reske-Naurocki says.?"This record wouldn’t have happened if any one of us was missing."

Perhaps the liner notes sum up the experience best: "Thanks Brad for your perseverance, Chris for your faith, Troy for your enthusiasm, Erik for existing and Natasha for not spontaneously combusting."

Indeed, it’s obvious from the resulting Creaturette that these are people who are comfortable making music together. For Reske-Naurocki in particular, making this record was an emotional bloodletting — her lyrics and vocals on this album are incredibly visceral and raw — but she had a safety net of fellow musicians who had her back and were on her page.

For Donahue, having fresh energy in the band was renewing. "Part of it was breathing new life into the old songs," he says. "Having new members and their enthusiasm for the songs we’d been living with for so long made it possible."

"It was a terrifying and empowering decision to make our own record," Reske-Naurocki adds. "We put everything into this.?We quit our jobs. Thank God for parents."

Ultimately, the experience was worth it. Mad Young Darlings finally have their debut album — and Creaturette is a monolithic beast waiting to be unleashed. Ferocious, hard-charging alt-rock is tempered with atmospheric, black-as-night gothic electronica and the whole thing is anchored by Reske-Naurocki’s wildwoman vocals.

For the Darlings, the birth analogy stands; they’re relieved that their Creaturette is finally out in the world. Now, they can start forging ahead as a new band.

"I felt like I had fallen into a pit and (making this record) was all about clawing my way out of it," Reske-Naurocki says.?"I think (the album) speaks to where we were — but I think it’s a step toward where we’re going."

"Where we are now is the best place we could ask to be with this band," Donahue says. "I’m so excited to start writing with this band."
- Uptown Magazine

"Live Review"

And good luck forgetting about the nattily attired Mad Young Darlings, who nearly stole the show with a 45-minute set of jittery, ominous alt-rock. The local quintet apparently landed their opening slot simply by sending The Subways an e-mail, and the chutzpah was evident as frontwoman Natasha stalked and strutted around the stage like a cross between PJ Harvey and Rayanne from My So-Called Life


EP (2006)
Creaturette (2011)



­­­­­­"Blondie on acid" - Power 97

"Creaturette (debut album) is a monolithic beast waiting to be unleashed. Ferocious, hard-charging alt-rock is tempered with atmospheric, black-as-night gothic electronica and the whole thing is anchored by Reske-Naurocki’s wildwoman vocals" - Uptown Magazine

"Singer and lyricist Natasha Reske-Naurocki whispers and yowls to great effect." - Winnipeg Free Press

-Voted into top 3 best local bands in Uptown Magazines 2012 readers Poll

-Voted into top 3 best new local CD's in Uptown Magazines 2012 readers Poll


Band Members