This is the first of a series of interviews in which I speak with some of Munich’s creative Zuagroaste – people born elsewhere who’ve made Munich their home. The questions will always be the same, but the people, their backgrounds and their passions are all very different. I hope you enjoy them!
Twenty-one year old English-French musician Xavier Darcy dropped out of university to pursue his music career in Munich. Not the most obvious choice for a young creative, perhaps, but it’s paid off – after self-releasing a couple of EPs, he’s about to release his very first album, and it’s going down a storm.
What drew you to your job, and why did you choose Munich?
It took me a while to summon up the courage to follow music as a career. I tried studying PPE at university, but I was extremely dissatisfied. At uni I was a good student, but one of many hundreds, a member of the crowd. It made no sense, why force myself to do something that tens of thousands of people are doing, rather than do something truly individual and unique? So I decided to drop out and try and make a living from my music. I knew that if I didn’t give it a try, I’d forever regret not having pursued a career as a musician.
I’ve genuinely always loved Munich as a city. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but I’ve spent the best years of my life here, and know the city like the back of my hand. So despite that fact that the music scene here is relatively small and unremarkable, I wanted to start off in a city that I knew well. It made sense to begin my career on my home turf.
How does Munich differ to where you’re from?
Munich is a stark contrast to where I’m from. My family on my mother’s side come from the north of England, which is a very industrial region. Sadly a lot of the old mines, factories and steelworks are now being closed down, and the local economy is suffering because of that. Munich couldn’t be any more different from that. No big old factories and docks here, just shiny new offices and lovely old houses. Oberbayern is also one of the most prosperous regions in Western Europe, and the North-East of England is one of the poorest. It’s important to remind ourselves sometimes that we live in a prosperous and privileged city.
If you weren’t living in Munich, where would you be?
I’d like to move the other side of the Atlantic someday. I used to live in Canada, and love the people there. So maybe Montreal? Otherwise I’ve always thought Portland, Oregon seems like an awesome city, especially for music.
What does Munich lack?
Affordable studio and practice spaces! As I said, Munich lacks any sort of industrial heritage. In cities like Berlin, Manchester or Liverpool there are plenty of old factories and warehouses that can be transformed into creative spaces. Here we don’t have that so practise spaces are at a premium.
Do you have a favourite district in Munich?
Tough one… I love the cafes and shops in the Glockenbachviertel, and Schwabing is great fun for going out to drink. I’ve always dreamt of living in the Au one day, it’s such a beautiful part of town, basically a village in the middle of Munich.
Favourite place for a coffee?
Mahlefitz (Nymphenburgerstraße) and Man vs Machine (Müllerstraße) are my two favourites. I love the decor at Cafe Jasmin, probably the prettiest cafe in Munich, though their coffee isn’t that great. Just order an orange juice instead then I guess!
Any hidden gems you’d like to share with us?
The Analogie, the bar at the Hochschule für Philosophie. Gin & tonics for 4€, beer for 1.50€!
How do you like to spend your free time?
I try to use my free time as productively as possible, preferably by reading a good book or watching a film. I’m currently working through every classic movie i can think of, so in the last few weeks I’ve watched Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas and The Third Man. Any tips for more films are welcome!