Substream Approved: The Money Pit

The Money Pit

Bobby Darling and Nic Newsham have always been prolific songwriters, but starting the chapter after Gatsbys American Dream wasn’t always clear.

“[Gatsbys American Dream] never said we broke up, we just kind of stopped doing stuff,” Darling says. “We never really closed the door. The Money Pit record, we toyed with it maybe being a Gatsby record, and then we were like, ‘Nah.’ It didn’t feel right. We may make one someday, but this felt right for the now.”

With the mindset of a new project, they recorded under producer Casey Bates (Pierce The Veil, Portugal. The Man), focusing on getting the deepest hooks they could while still keeping Darling’s slick guitar style. “Casey and I conceptualized the record before we started,” Darling says. “Guitars are like a faux pas now, like, ‘Ew, I don’t want too many guitars in there.’ I think that’s a sign of the times, and any day now a band will come and flip everything on its head. We wanted a rock record with great pop songs.” (Darling wanted every song to have a guitar solo, too, but Bates thought it would turn off listeners.)

The band’s name isn’t a comment on the music industry or past failures, but on the nature of getting older. “It’s about being in your 30s,” Darling says, “and doing what you’re ‘supposed to be doing.’ Working 40 hours a week, doing your taxes, brushing your teeth. This kind of long, inexorable trip to the middle. You make money for the purpose of spending it. You spend a massive chunk of your life at work so you can have transportation to work.”

When Darling isn’t playing guitar and writing songs, he and his wife are flight attendants for rival airlines. (He quit an office job after he realized he “was going through the motions in order to have what I thought was a grown-up life.”) Despite the travel, it’s not comparable to touring at all.

“Touring was our least favorite part about Gatsbys back in the day,” Darling says. “The world is so different now. The internet lets you share stuff without breaking your back touring, and most of our tours were before smartphones, so getting places with printed directions and no access to the outside world just got miserable.”

The time working different places has lead to a new maturity. “I used to write things so that everyone would like it or think it was clever,” he says. “Sometimes you put so much effort into the little stuff and no one notices, and then the stuff you put so little effort into is what excites everyone. I used to obsess over that, some cohesive music or a literary reference in our lyrics. You get older and let it go.”

With the Money Pit’s self-released self-titled album out, Darling’s already thinking of the future: short tours with old friends like Acceptance in 2016, and another record.  “We’re writing a lot more music already. I’ve got about 10 songs in the bag. We want to keep making content, making music. That’s all I want to do.” S

A version of this piece was published in Substream #49.