by Andi Bricklin
There’s something magical about finding friendship in a university setting, there is something even more magical about finding friends that you can collaborate and create with. Darla is a 7-piece funk band formed at Drexel University. The music industry program at Drexel has been a hot bed for talented musicians thanks to state of the art studios, great instructors and core curriculum that attracts budding artists to one of the best programs in the nation.
Darla is comprised of – in the order in which they introduced themselves to me: Mike Morrongiello (bass guitar, writer), Kosta Johnson (keys), Jake Fabian (sax, singer?), Richie Straub (drums, manager), Wil Schade (sax, writer, keys?), Brendan Monahan (guitar), and Alex Marino (guitar). You’ll see some roles are “ify”. That’s because Darla is still figuring what works best for them live.
“Jake is our resident voice for when we pull out a Nickelback song,” says Straub, who also doubles as the band’s manager. “We’ll bookend a set starting with “Arms Wide Open” and end it with “Rosanna” by Toto. You may also hear some funky versions of the Cranberries or 4 Non Blondes at one of their show as well.
Last month Darla celebrated the release of their newest EP, Darla Forever, at The Fire in Philadelphia with the full support of their fellow students. “We made a lot of friends doing house concerts,” states Straub. With a community full of creative minds, Darla uses the full resources available to assist them in developing their “basement blender” style of funk; everything from studio time and professor feedback to utilizing the talent around them to help with album cover and T-shirt designs.
Armed with great musicians and pulling inspiration from bands like Snarky Puppy and Vulfpeck the band is constantly writing and working on new music. They also provide backing tracks for other upcoming artists like 21-year-old bluesy singer songwriter Kelley Plante.
The future is looking bright for Darla and this Sunday, 2/15/15, Darla will be opening up a sold out show (and I mean sold out, like the only chance you are getting a ticket is if someone dies and wills it to you) for the legendary George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the Ardmore Music Hall. It’s sure to be night of much needed funk on the Philly music scene!