For anyone active in the Australian culture scene of the late 1990s and early 2000s; Darren Cross’ music and design were hard to ignore – As a member of much loved experimental-indie-rock-electro group Gerling (1993 to 2007), and key part (along with founder Tim Everest) of apparel brand Schwipe (1999 to 2009). During those heady times Darren and his fellow Gerling bandmates supported acts such as Pavement, had multiple hits both in Australia and internationally, and collaborated with people such as Kyle Minogue. With Darren also experiencing the highs and lows of the fashion scene with the aforementioned Schwipe – who you may remember for their infamous ‘Ketamine is a drug for horses’ T, and countless other fun designs.

Since then Darren has continued his explorations in sound – Releasing albums covering a wide variety of genres from electronica, folk, rock, to acoustic guitar; producing albums for acts such as JESSICA, with whom he also collaborates in the duo Jep and Dep; and performing live all over the globe. Whilst also continuing to engage in design and art.

Darren’s 2023 album Wizrad.

Currently Darren is crowdfunding a vinyl release of his 2020LP Terabithian whilst continuing to ride high from the celebrated release of his latest album, 2023’s Wizrad.

Wanting to learn more about him, we sent Darren some questions to answer over email.
Check it out, below…

Getting Acquainted

Name and date of birth?

Darren Cross.

Early November – Gen X

City, state, and country you currently call home?

Arncliffe, N.S.W., Australia.

City, state, and country you’re from?

Sydney, N.S.W., Australia

Please describe some memories – such as art, music, writing, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, film, travel, religion, work, crime… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:

* Your childhood:

Yeah pretty good.
Mischievous. Creative.
Quite small, through trial and error learnt how to out smart the school yard bullies.

Was part of all the cool 80’s hype, Star Wars, Skateboarding, E.T, Karate Kid, VHS; Deep Purple, Santana and Boy George records played alot in our house and the radio pumping out the hits of the day. Loved melody. Still do.
In primary school called a teacher a “head swell” and he picked me up and body slammed my in the playground. I got winded. Mr Schuster was his name. Would love to run into him this week…

Lived near a quarry that had a mountain and an amazing Alpine Pine forest.

* Your teenage years:

Didn’t really fit in any of the groups in high-school so ended up painting abstract expressionism in the art class in my lunch break. Made it into Art Express (top 200 paintings of students in the HSC) at the Art Gallery Of N.S.W.
Was hopeless at sport. One dopey meathead broke my arm playing football at lunch time school yard – maybe in year 7, right from kick off. Good bye sports. I had found guitar then before that though – maybe I was 12. Started playing every chance I could.

My mum bought me a classical guitar and I took a few lessons from a guy who said AC/DC used to rehearse at the rehearsal studio. He played Back in Black on a nylon guitar and I almost collapsed. Been playing ever since.

The class clown, trouble maker.

Started my first band Gerling with Brad Herdson, was a great friendship and his zany New Zealand family were an awesome haven from trauma.
Grunge. Grunge. Grunge.

Went to the first Big Day Out and saw Nirvana front row. Saw Violent Femmes that same day – I liked the Femmes more.

Darren, circa 1994, in the crowd at Waterfront Records in Sydney, for an instore appearance by Superchunk and Fur.
Photo by Monica Ruth.

* Your 20s:

Gerling started to take off. Devoted.
Day job – apprentice chef.
Lived in Newtown with a hippy chick from Tasmania. The first place we stayed didn’t have a roof.
Newtown was cheap and cool back then.

First big Gerling show supporting supporting Dinosaur Jr.
Pretty devoted to being in Gerling.
Played at Summersault Festival with Beck, Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill, Foo Fighters, Pavement and also did heaps of cool supports. Created two of the biggest Gerling albums – worked hard with Gerling.

Finished apprenticeship and got out of the kitchen as soon as I could! Was a fruitarian for two years.
Toured lots with Gerling. Saw Pavement and Ween‘s first Australian tours. Supported Pavement. PAVEMENT!

First went to Berlin, Germany.
Fell in love with Berlin.

The poster for the Macquarie University leg of Summersault Festival – Held on the 31st December 1995.
Featuring Gerling and a slew of other epic bands.

* Your 30s:

Gerling fizzled out after we recorded our 4th and last album with Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon) in Hollywood.
Bit of a blur.
Met my current partner Jessica. Had a dog called Stevie Nicks for over a decade. Learnt how to fingerpick. Devoted my life to acoustic guitars.
Did some solo records, some bad rave techno records, best thing started a folk noir duo with Jessica called Jep and Dep. We supported Johnny Marr who told me about Bert Jansch.

Darren aged 31 with the legendary Henry Rollins.

* Your 40s so far:

Started the solo acoustic instrumental project D.C Cross. My main artistic endeavour.
Taking the acoustic fingerpicking thing seriously.
Have put out 4 D.C Cross albums and few albums as Darren Cross and Jep and Dep.
Best D.C Cross show- supporting Ed Kuepper at the City Recital Hall, Sydney.
Toured Europe 3 times.
Sober almost 4 years.

Darren (right) with Ed Kuepper after their 2023 concert at the Blue Mountains Theatre, in Australia.

Personal motto(s)?

You are what you leave.

What role did toys play in your childhood?

… and any favourites you remember?

I guess I got my first playable guitar while I was 12 so probably that!

Toys were cool in the 80’s. I was typical kid so they were inspiring. A Team, WWF, Star Wars all that stuff!
Marbles were cool at one stage of the game.

A flyer promoting a recent solo show by Darren.

Creativity Questions

When and why did you first become interested in music, design, apparel, and everything creative?
… and any pivotal moments / influences regarding each of them?

When I was a kid I really got hooked on the guitar. Once some kid showed me how to play the pentatonic blues scales on my cheap electric I was hooked. Improvising along to a blues radio show I would tape each Monday night, barely audible as it was some phantom community radio station.
Guitar was a way I could escape from any trauma happening around my life. It was a solitude thing. You could see if you put in the work you could develop as a guitarist.
Learning bands’ songs you love also was good. Even with Gerling – as I was the main singer- I still like playing guitar more and I still do.

About ten years ago I really got stuck into fingerpicking and acoustic guitars – playing, recording, composition and it’s what I continue to do.
Just need a guitar and quiet space and off I go. Old school.

If you had to explain your creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?

To create music, the arrangement of sound to create some combination of form, harmony, melody, rhythm, or otherwise expressive content, using a musical device made out of wood and played with strings and fingers. To create rhythms and melodies that evoke all the human emotions for us to experience.
Sounds for healing, to amuse, entertain and enlighten.

Darren circa 2022 playing live in Paris, France.

Who are some of your favourite writers, filmmakers, artists, and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?

Kerouac, Bukowski.
Scott Ryan, Wim Wenders, Steve Hanft.
AC/DC, Dirty Three.
I can relate to their expression and experience.

If people wanted to check out your stuff, work with you, or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
Being truly independent I release all my music on this platform.

Also check my socials – heaps of live guitar, film clips etc

Heaps of videos here:

Steve Hanft (Beck, L7, Stone Roses, The Cure, Elliot Smith) video D.C Cross – Harebrained Adventure Of An Amateur Shaman

The video for D.C Cross’s track ‘A Harebrained Adventure of An Amateur Shaman.’ From his 2203 album Wizrad.
Directed by Steve Hanft.

We know you were a founder of street wear label Schwipe – who gained a fair bit of press both in Australia and internationally during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Can you please share with us the tale of your involvement in Schwipe?

Yeah nah. Not a happy ending.
I started the company with a bloke and then another artist become more hands on. The main guy wanted to make it more of a “viable” company with the addiction of a “silent partner”… I “left” the company after about 6 years I think.
Cool at the beginning, crazy slogans like “Hugs Not Drugs” and “Ketamine is a drug for horses.”
Lots of hat wearing. :/

Are you still involved in art, design, and / or apparel these days?

Yes to some degree.
I design all of my D.C Cross and Darren Cross album covers, and tour posters, online graphics. Also make a lot of my own clips. Apparel just my own band shirts and beanies.

Do you have a ‘day job’?
… if so, what is it?
… and what impact does it have on your creative life?

I am a DJ. A restaurant DJ. Sydney’s 14th best restaurant DJ. Playing songs that everyone can enjoy. Steve Miller into New Order into Fred Again into Sleaford Mods version of West End Girls into Neneh Cherry into Santana.
Strangely, it does not effect my creative life, I guess because its 99% fun most of the time! I get paid to wear headphones in public and play songs I like.

Any news, upcoming projects, or releases you would like to share?

Just released my 4th D.C Cross album late 2023 – It’s called Wizrad.

Currently crowd funding a D.C Cross album Terabithian from 2020 I released digitally only as it was Covid times. The campaign is to get Terabithian press on to private press vinyl. Campaign finishes 19th April 2024.
I would now describe Terabithian as, “otherworldly escapist acoustic fingerpicking compositions soaked in ethereal reverbs, atmospheric port hole ambient dreamscapes, barely audible speaking samples and field recordings of my environment, doves humming, trees blowing, seasons changing, new day risings…”
It was covid lockdown times – what I was trying to do was make an un-newage new-agey (ambient folk punk lol) escapist album – taking the forced idea of escapism through music but making an actual free escapist album through music. With the intention of that idea but not held back from restraints of what had come before.
I loosened up the guitar but tightened up my guitar practise technique – I made Chuck Wild “Liquid Mind“ inspired ambient atmospheres but unique to my direct surrounding. I was actually listening to the Liquid Mind series to combat my hopeless feelings of being locked up.
I made the music late at night, in the instant coffee heightened twilight zone, seeing things move out of the corner of your eyes dream state. No cheesy music. No 80’s hot tub music. No guru. No fake cults. Fully aware of the weirdness of a Pandemic lockdown but floating way above that control.
I was free through the music. You can feel it.

Darren’s 2020 album Terabithian – soon to be released on LP for the first time!

Odds & Ends

If you could live in any place, during any historical era – When and where would that be?

Berlin just before the Wall came down.
I would then squat in an abandoned place till forever.

What are the top 3 items you own?

My Opus Acoustic Guitar – hand made for me by a guy in South Australia.

An ex-police motorcycle jacket I found in an OP shop in Nowra.

These two Ears artist collages. I bought the bigger one off him for $2 on King Street Newtown 15 years ago and strangely found the small one in a OP shop just a while a ago…pretty rare and seem to be from the same time.
I’ve been dragging around the big one for years..
Cheers Big Ears.
I emailed him. He never got back.

If you had to sum Australia up in one object – What would it be?

… why did you choose it?

… and how does it represent Australia to you?

A kookaburra.
Loud, brash, unique, crazy laugh, chilled but still a hunter.
Beautiful. Brown and Blue.

In a fight between the following iconic Australians: Chad Morgan (musician) Vs. Aunty Jack (fictional television character played by Grahame Bond) – Who would win, and why?

No idea who they are. Maybe I know Chad Morgan.
Hope its a Muay Thai fight at the very least.

Please describe your last dream in detail…

No idea.

The video for D.C Cross’s track ‘Nothing Ever Stops (On the Astral Plane).’
Directed by Darren Cross and Greg Hodgson.

Does sex change everything?

Does if one of the people are impregnated.

What does God mean to you?


Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?

My creative offerings.


All images supplied by Darren or sourced online.