Interview: The Darkness

Interview with The Darkness

The Darkness


After a six-year hiatus, Brit Award-winning, glam rock-outfit, The Darkness are back with a brand new record. We caught up with the band to discuss latest album Hot Cakes, opening for Lady GaGa and why there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

Questions and answers

So guys, why did you name your album after a brunch favorite?

Justin Hawkins: Because we were all in a cab throwing out different name ideas and it’s the only name we could all agree on.

What were the key inspirations behind the record?

JH: Love songs... Matters of the heart, good and bad. Small town anxieties, big city anxieties, my relationship to the stage and stealing a bike. But not in that order.

Let’s assume someone’s alarm goes off and he wakes up listening to “Everybody Have A Good Time”. Is he gonna have a good day?

JH: He’s gonna have a bad day because he’s gonna be rocking out and miss the bus to work and it will be all downhill from there. He’ll lose his job. His wife will leave him. And he’ll end up dancing alone. In bed. But rocking out.

OK, how much have you evolved since your last album?

Ed Graham: In the exact words of Simon & Garfunkel, “After changes and changes we are basically the same.”

How does the new material differ from your previous work? And have the dynamics changed since Frankie rejoined the band?

JH: It’s better. Frankie brings a certain exotica to the music and the experience of being in The Darkness. We all love meat and potatoes, but it’s nice to have a sprig of parsley or two on the side.

How long did it take to write and record? Was it a fun experience?

JH: It took about a year on and off. And in the words of Shakespeare, “Love is a smoke raised with the fire of sighs.”

How do you cope with writer’s block?

JH: Songwriting is like catching butterflies: you’ve got your net and you’re sitting by the river. If you’re writing from the heart there’s no such thing as writer’s block.

EG: Unless you’re dead or mentally-impaired due to a severe accident.

Say you’re in a car and you hear one of your songs on radio: what do you do?

JH: Pull over. Take off all your clothes and start crying in the lay-by.

If you had to pick the track you’re most proud of on Hot Cakes, which would it be and why?

JH: For me it would be “Every Inch of You” because it was two thirds was written in 2001 and one third was written in 2012 and it still works.

EG:Concrete” is my favorite track and I played the piano on the recording and I can’t even play the piano.

Which was the best gig you ever played?

JH: Polish Woodstock, August 2012. There were 480,000 people all dancing to us. I couldn’t do my usual walkabout due to safety concerns. The only reasonable thing to do was stage dive... Twice.

Have you ever fought on stage or felt feisty?

JH: No. No one dares take us on because we’re the hardest band in rock.

What are your plans for this fall?

JH: Touring and more touring and dancing through the streets of various cities around the world, kicking the leaves and dodging yellow fever.

You are opening for Lady Gaga: quite a 180 considering you used to support Metallica. Have you met her?

JH: Yes, we’ve met her and she’s lovely. And that’s not a 180. It’s more like a 40.

Are there any artists in particular that you have been inspired by lately?

JH: Lady GaGa, Alexander McQueen, Steve McQueen, the Queen, Queen and Dairy Queens. Oh and Queens, NY. What was the question again? And Paul Hardcastle.

Share one of your guilty pleasures. What you wouldn’t want us to find in your music library?

EG: You should never feel guilty about listening to music.

Frankie Poullain: The Darkness is about never feeling guilt about anything apart from high treason and identity theft.

Did you watch this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?

JH: No. GB flopped again.

What was the first album you bought?

JH: RUN-DMC Raising Hell.

And what are your favorite albums from the past year?

JH: Foxy Shazam’s Church of Rock and Roll. The Muse Olympic song is really good and I really love The Black Keys’ album El Camino.

Finally, if you could choose any artist to work with, who would it be?

JH: Michelangelo.