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Multi-instrumentalist. Cross-pollinator. Producer.
Heart Attack Sleeves
Under A Common Ceiling
Thunder and snow
Darren is/was with:
Cameron McGill & What army
Daniel and the lion
we dream dawn
miles Nielsen & the rusted hearts
Cory chisel & the wandering sons
As a seasoned drummer and percussionist out of Chicago with an obsession for writing and crafting songs, Darren Garvey continues to establish himself as a musical polymath, producer, and idiosyncratic songwriter with heavy-hearted lyrics and clever arrangements. In his ambitious 2018 Song Share, Darren posted 38 unreleased songs in just as many weeks. With his band Elephant Revival exploring new paths on their hiatus, he produced bandmate Daniel Rodriguez's debut solo EP Your Heart The Stars The Milky Way and released a brand new single that Daniel and Darren cowrote called Colorado (premiered on Colorado Public Radio). Darren has recently been performing with Shook Twins, Danny Barnes (Bad Livers), Courtney Hartman (Della Mae), We Dream Dawn, Daniel Rodriguez, and Bonnie Paine.
As a multi-instrumentalist Darren writes, arranges, produces, and performs virtually every instrument on his solo recordings. In addition to his 2010 debut Under A Common Ceiling and the 2018 release Heart Attack Sleeves, Darren produces records for select bands and has released dozens of compositions as the Music Director for a Chicago commercial music house (under the moniker Thunder and Snow Darren has 650,000+ streams on Spotify). No stranger to the recording studio, Darren appears on 100+ records and has worked on a dozen films including Black Gold, a documentary about the coffee trade that premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and convinced Starbucks to change their Fair Trade practices as well as the 2011 Academy Award winning documentary Undefeated. Upon hearing his production on Daniel and the Lion's album Death Head, Adam Duritz invited Darren and the band out on tour with Counting Crows in 2014.
Born in Milwaukee in the late-70s Darren was raised outside of Chicago where he played piano and guitar from an early age and led a handful of bands. After graduating from high school, his band won VH1's Best Unsigned Band competition and opened for John Fogerty at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gravitating towards the drums in the mid-90s, Darren studied with Glenn Kotche (Wilco) whose musicality and percussive approach to the trap set inspired Darren to further his education. While attending The University of Illinois, he formed an experimental jazz/funk/bluegrass project with Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) and ultimately earned a degree in Percussion Performance and Jazz Studies.
Darren has been on tour for two decades with performances at venues such as the Ryman Auditorium, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Hearst Greek Theatre, and Germany's Rockpalast. Some unique performances include his role as house drummer at Marc Smith's world renowned Green Mill Poetry Slam the birthplace of slam poetry; drums with comedienne Sandra Bernhard on Feel the Bernhard, Sandra Bernhard is #blessed, Sandyland, and I Love Being Me, Don’t You?; and live photoplay experiments across the country with Andreas Kapsalis Trio who were commissioned by Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, and University of Massachusetts Lowell to perform both a preconceived and improvised soundtrack to a variety of classic silent films in front of a live audience.
Darren Garvey is a member of Colorado's transcendental folk darlings Elephant Revival and lives with his wife and two daughters in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Much of Darren's legacy can be found in the huge fingerprint that he left on the Midwest independent music scene with bands like Cameron McGill & What Army, Andreas Kapsalis Trio, Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts, Daniel and the Lion, Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons, Like Pioneers, Ernie Hendrickson, Chicago Farmer, and Paper Arrows among others.
Algernon Charlie Changed His Mind
Andreas Kapsalis Trio Original Scores / Self-titled / Bubblegum Enlightenment
Buddy Nuisance Messy Lives of All Shapes and Sizes
Cameron McGill & What Army Is A Beast / Madeline Every Girl / Deserters / Two Hits and A Miss / Warm Songs For Cold Shoulders
Canyon Spells Now That We're Gone
Chicago Farmer Midwest Side Stories / Backenforth, IL
Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons Minnesota Beatle Project Vol 2
Daniel and the Lion East / Borrowed Air / Death Head / Sweet Teeth
Daniel Rodriguez Your Heart, The Stars, The Milky Way / Colorado
Darren Garvey Heart Attack Sleeves / Miss Liberty / Under A Common Ceiling
Ernie Hendrickson Down The Road
Head for the Hills Say Your Mind
Highscraper No Better No Better
L'Altra Telepathic / Favorite Flavor
Like Pioneers Piecemeal / English Garden
Mike Maimone Open Mic Nights, Empty Bottle Mornings
Miles Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts Heavy Metal / Presents The Rusted Hearts
Paper Arrows Good News For Love / Days of Getting By / In The Morning / Things We Would Rather Lose / Look Alive
Same Waves Algorithm of Desire
The Heartstrings Project The Line
Thunder and Snow Solve
Todd Kessler and The New Folk Sea Fever
W.W. Lowman Plain Songs
Heart Attack Sleeves review: "Out of the ashes of Elephant [Revival], comes the first solo release from any of the members...from the Bon Iver-esque presentation of First of the Year to the soft finger-picking of The Reason, to the dark, industrial synth of Detour Garvey puts forth a diverse and raw collection of highly personal tracks...and finally places his art out in front."
-Brian F. Johnson Marquee Magazine
"He's one of my favorite percussionists! His ability to play with a band acoustically and just invent, use a million percussion instruments to recreate a drum sound in an acoustic setting; he's an absolute artist with that...I love his percussion, but I love Darren's harmonies. He's such a good harmony singer as well, just really complimentary."
-Adam Duritz Counting Crows
Session musician: "Darren is one of the best drummers I've ever worked with. He comes prepared and focused and always delivers. He is a multi-instrumentalist that can add depth and understanding to your music. A major asset to the production of any record."
-Manny Sanchez Umphrey's McGee, Patrick Stump, Zwan
"I remember really being blown away by the Nervous Center show...I think [Darren’s] playing was fantastic on that – real imaginative and musical."
-Glenn Kotche Wilco
Production on Your Heart The Stars The Milky Way: "I've played the entire EP every day since...It's just got something that you want to hear again, something healing and good at its core...Do yourself a favor and play the whole EP, and do that again. And again"
-Wesley Schultz The Lumineers
"Fortunately for us, it didn’t take us too long to find Darren, and as you will see when you hear us play, the brother is in the pocket."
-Paul Murin DeadPhish Orchestra, Phix, Ralph's Kind
"The parts are extremely precise, [Darren's] moving back and forth from instrument to instrument at the right time in complex time signatures and different feels."
-Steve Edwards NPR - Eight-Forty-Eight
"Garvey is a life-long musician who studied jazz and percussion…and has been touring with bands since the late 90s. He is a producer, a father, and plays a myriad of instruments. He is inspired by his deep-rooted passion for music and the challenges of life. Those experiences shape his songwriting."
-Cynthia Wilson Scene Magazine
"Our very own, the incomparable Darren Garvey, opened the show last night playing a solo set and proceeded to blow everyone away. Luckily he’s on our side! ...Darren's drumming reputation preceded him. It is no wonder, now that I know him. His feel and timing are effortless. Not to mention, he always plays for the betterment of the song."
-Cameron McGill What Army, Margot & The Nuclear So and So's
"Ooh and ahh to the finest percussionist!"
-Peggy Mathies Taos Inn Adobe Bar
Music Director: "Darren is the most talented musician I've ever worked with. The fact that he plays almost every instrument and plays them well is so valuable to our company (and humbling to see as a fellow musician)...Those things, coupled with the fact that he is a really solid guy (hard working, reliable, modest, detail oriented, easy to work with, etc etc) made it a no brainer to ask him to be our Music Director. I feel super lucky to have him in our orbit, and can't recommend him highly enough."
-Josh Kahle I.V. Lab Studios, VTL Music
"Garvey is a bundle of creativity and passion packaged in a relaxed, soft spoken exterior...he is not a prisoner of old formulas. His music expresses helplessness and vulnerability. It is dark and introspective, while managing at the same time to express optimism."
-Hank Perritt Indie Music Chicago
Commercial music composer: "Darren is a rare breed of musician in today's world. His ability to arrange a song and his attention to every detail within the arrangement makes such an impact on any song he is tasked with writing...Not only is Darren a powerhouse of a songwriter, he is also one of the easiest people with which I've had the pleasure of working. He never lets his ego stand in the way of the ultimate goal/outcome of a particular song and is always focused on turning out the best composition or song...I couldn't be happier to be working with Darren."
-Jeff Leibovich Vintage King, River North Records
"Now when I play [cello] live, there's a solid drummer with us. [Darren] plays a stripped down set and he's really sensitive to our dynamics, which is rare in a drummer...The best thing about playing with him is understanding. I know where he is going...It's very natural to play with him. He has a great groove and an open heart."
-Bonnie Paine Elephant Revival
"On the new EP Say Your Mind, we have Darren Garvey from Elephant Revival recording with us on drums and percussion. He's an incredible musician. We try to bring the best that we can to our sound."
-Matt Loewen Head for the Hills
"He's just the best drummer I've heard in a long time. He's a real creative, very creative person."
-Shabda Noor Stan Kenton, University of Illinois Jazz Director
Rockpalast Germany: "Darren Garvey got on a plane with a day's notice back in March and he learned all of our songs! We didn't sleep for three days, we explored the Reeperbahn, the Dom in Cologne, East Berlin and an Irish karaoke bar...three of my favorite days this year!"
-Adriel Denae Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons
"Every time we come to Chicago, we go see an awesome show, and [Darren's] always a part of it...We would like to assume that [he] plays in every good band in Chicago."
-Mike Maimone The Mutts, Company of Thieves
"He's a frightening, worldly, musical power-genius, and I'm sure he's got some stories for you."
-Packy Lundholm I Fight Dragons
"I convinced the other members of Elephant Revival to add Darren to the band and in that process he ended up moving here...Colorado gained one of the best musicians and producers out there."
-Daniel Rodriguez Elephant Revival
Under A Common Ceiling review: "The layered tones and collisions of sounds infuse [Under A Common Ceiling] with a satisfying richness. Quirky, upbeat pop tunes show Garvey’s deft arranging skills and his knack for writing gently energetic numbers."
-Patrick Conlan Illinois Entertainer
"Multi-percussionist Darren Garvey is known to pick up rather scary looking yet ear pleasing metallic instruments [you] have never seen before..nothing short of mesmerizing."
-Sharyn Goldyn The Windish Agency
"Darren Garvey, has a freaking cello bow or something, and he draws it over the rim of his big cymbal, which he then sets wobbling in cosmic song...and shakers — how can you be brilliant at playing a shaker? But there’s this one round cheese-grater doodad, I swear Darren gets it talking, chattering in Hindi…watching Darren picking up and putting down this and that — I’ve only mentioned about a tenth of what he deploys, he’s laying out great counter-rhythms with a shaker in each hand, banging one of them on the Chinese cymbal, leaning out to ding the triangle and then stroking a bow around the ocean harp."
-Candace McNulty Read It News Magazine
"I was captivated by...Darren Garvey's almost schizophrenic ability on a multitude of instruments."
-Theresa Carter The Local Tourist
"Our drummer Darren plays just about any instrument you put in front of him, which is very helpful in the studio."
-Joe Goodkin Paper Arrows
Under A Common Ceiling review: "Deftly mixing jazz, folk, chamber pop, indie rock, and world music, Under A Common Ceiling is refreshingly varied in its restless, border-crossing musicality...A drummer by trade, Garvey is adept at incorporating sly grooves and rhythmic counterpoints into his songs, without distracting from melodic and chordal variations. It’s seriously interesting and engaging music that never imitates, but sometimes calls to mind similarly restless artists as Andrew Bird or Kaki King. This is good, good stuff. "
-CD Baby Editor's Pick
"[Darren's] percussion style is as unique as that of Kapsalis's approach to guitar. [He] pushes the boundaries of percussion to the limit- and sometimes further- by using unorthodox playing techniques in combination with traditional percussion instruments, such as a cello bow on the cymbals."
-Jazz Novo Review
Production on GNFL: "Throughout Paper Arrows' existence, their songs have sounded like an identity crisis set to music. The band struggled to determine its niche: plucky indie rock or hearty Americana roots music. Finally, it seems they've settled. The twang on Good News For Love is more defined, the tempo slowed and the songs are warmer and more full-bodied."
-Katie Karpowicz CHICAGOIST
What Army and production on Is A Beast: "Anyone who reads The Marquee regularly has listened to me drone on and on about Cameron McGill & What Army. I've compared McGill's songwriting to the greats and I've called What Army as crucial as The Cardinals...McGill and What Army have spent a ton of time on the road in recent years, and that time together has allowed them to find their strengths and truly focus on them. Is A Beast is a blast, from the Morrissey-esque "I Don't Believe In Magic" to the A.M. Gold-like saunter of "Counterfeit."
-Brian F. Johnson Marquee Magazine