The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
THE-DARKNESS-INTERVIEW-2015-Dan-Hawkins

 

THE DARKNESS INTERVIEW 2015

The Darkness is back with avengence with their Suffolk Viking Invasion quasi-epic almost concept album 'The Last of Our Kind'. We spoke to Dan Hawkins about the almost finished US tour, the upcoming Australian Tour, The Stone Gods unreleased second album and then some serious stuff like Sutton Hoo and the size of Lincoln's majestic Cathedral..

OCTOBER 2015

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It was a dark and stormy night* when we caught up with The Darkness’ Dan Hawkins somewhere in the depths of the land of our star-spangled cousins, ostensibly on tour but also quite possibly assembling fiendish plans of world domination through the power of rock…

 

* The darkness, storminess and time of day may not be entirely accurate  

Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit today Dan, how are you?


Dan: No problem, I’m very good thanks.


Mark: You’re currently on tour in the US, before you head back to see us again Downunder, then it’s on to the UK and Europe. You must be looking forward to getting through that first stage of what is a pretty extensive tour?


Dan: Yeah it’s drawing to a close we’re working our way to Boston, we worked our way over from the west Coast  to the East, but we’re about ready to leave America now I think (laughs)


Mark: How’s the tour gone over there so far?


Dan: Really good, it’s been promoted really well and attendances have been good, we’ve been hitting about a thousand people a night and really enjoying it. My brother’s been on top form, it’s all good, couldn’t be better, we’re very happy.
Mark: It’s a pretty extensive tour, lots of dates, lots of air miles?


Dan: Yeah, these days we kind of have to, in the past I used to say we’d do three weeks at a time before we’d go home. But these days it’s different, we make our living from playing live, and unfortunately you don’t make any money until about week five (laughs). So everything butts up against each other these days and that’s the way it goes these days.


Mark: So at least you’ll have some money to spend by the time you get over here then!


Dan: Maybe after the third gig! (laughs)


Mark: (laughing)


Dan: We might be able to afford to do our washing by then (laughs)


Mark: You’re also doing Q&A sessions before the shows this time around, It’s a pretty cool but potentially set up for some hilarious or scary moments,  how are they going?


Dan: (laughs) You know what personally I was dreading those things, I was thinking fucking hell, this is going to be a real nightmare, but I’ve been proved wrong, it’s actually been really, really cool and a good use of our time. There’s that period during the day when nothing is going on when you’re just sat in the dressing room, pissing around on e-bay or whatever. And there have been some interesting questions, they’re quite funny the fans, like there was this woman who asked us what our favourite B-Movie was on one day, to which I answered ‘Sharknado’ as a joke, and the next day she brings the whole series in! I didn’t even know there was a ‘Sharknado III’! I thought they cancelled it after the first one!    


Mark: (laughing) maybe they should have done! That’s so cool though. You’ve been back together this time since 2011, does it feel different this time around?  Is it like pulling on a comfortable pair of slippers?

 

Dan: (laughing) Yeah or Uggs if you excuse the pun! But yeah it does feel easier, it’s one of those things where I think we know where we are at. We know when we get on the stage that it’s going to be great, not to sound egotistical, but it’s also that we know our place in the Universe now. We’ve sort of ended up being one of those ‘kinda, sorta, cult bands’ but not quite yet. We’ve got a really loyal following and we know we can play all over the world but there isn’t that pressure on us to, you know start that ‘world domination’ – that’s for other people you know. Our thing is to just be The Darkness and be a bit odd!  


Mark: And you’re doing a very good job of it!


Dan: (laughing)


Mark: ‘Last of Our Kind’ came out in Australia on the first on June and actually got to number 23 on the charts over here, so you’ve certainly got some fans waiting for this tour who aren’t afraid to go out and spend their pocket money.  


Dan: That’s pretty good, I’ll take that!


Mark: It’s a killer album, some great songs and a suitably immense topic. I sort of have mixed feelings about its predecessor ‘Hot Cakes’ though…  


Dan: Yes so do I, I have mixed feelings about that album too. You know I think to sum it up, that record was a good collection of songs but it kind of didn’t have the attitude and that’s the thing, that’s what we went for on this record. Do away with all the fancy shit and get back to riff based records, that aren’t necessarily perfect, I think we’re trying album by album to try and make the dirties, hardest album we can. This is like the tip of the iceberg and we’ll be going all out to make a real Hard Rock album on the next one. It was about finding our feet again with ‘Hot Cakes’ I mean we hadn’t seen each other for years.  (laughs)


Mark: It’s a fantastic concept too (on ‘Last of our Kind’) I know that the Viking Invasion of Suffolk still plays on a lot of people’s minds…


Dan: (laughing) it does if you’re from East Anglia! Or England really I mean the fucking place has been invaded so many times; there’s a real mix in our heritage. Justin’s always been into history, as have we all really and historically we’ve always written about the area on songs like ‘Stuck in a Rut’; ‘Black Shuck’; ‘Tollund Man’. There’s also a song called ‘Sutton Hoo’ that were finishing that was about a large ship that was found there buried somewhere near Peterborough.  


Mark: If you’re heading up that way Peterborough’s just down the road from where my family is from in Lincolnshire, but that county always too boring to invade…


Dan: You never know, we might be heading up that way for lyrical inspiration next! We’ll start in East Anglia and work our way up to talk about the history of Lincolnshire, maybe the building of the Cathedral, that’s a beautiful building.


Mark: And funnily enough the tallest building ever built till 1890! Probably the most interesting thing about the county!


Dan: Wow… and steering away from the interview for a sec, we ended up spending a night in Lincoln on the last UK tour a few years ago. It was a day and a night off and we were all like ‘God, Lincoln what do we do here!’ but I was just blown away by the place I thought it was amazing. A really beautiful place.


Mark: I feel The Darkness will be adding some new fans in the UK’s flattest county… Humour of course is a very important part of the make-up of The Darkness how integral is that to the band as a whole?  


Dan: I think we’re quite true to ourselves, we’re quite an honest band really and if we were playing entirely serious music we wouldn’t be being ourselves. We like a laugh and The Darkness live show in particular is about making people smile I suppose.
Mark: You do have a fantastic live show I think the first time I caught you was at The Corner Hotel in Richmond on your first Australian Tour, and since then it’s been over here or in the US at Festivals like Rocklahoma. But the last Darkness Tour Downunder I’ve friends who still talk about it in glowing terms, and they’re all coming back. The tour is selling very well I hear.


Dan: That’s great to hear.


Mark: Conscious of the time and with so many questions to ask, we’ve just a couple from readers. This one actually I’ve always been intrigued about too. When The Darkness split, your interim band ‘The Stone Gods’ were just about to put out a second album before The Darkness reformed again. I know it was recorded but will it ever see the light of day?


Dan: Well I get asked that a lot actually. Funnily enough when I was in LA recently I caught up with my good friend Robin Goodridge, the drummer for The Stone Gods on that second album, and as Bush (Robin’s previous band) reformed at the same time as The Darkness reformed that was kind of it for the Stone Gods. But we’ve all stayed really good friends, Toby and Rickie and Robin and I; but Bush are kind of in the same place as us where they’ve spent the last few years touring relentlessly and releasing albums and building it back up again. But if we end up taking a break at the same time we’ll put the album out and do a little tour or whatever. We’d love it to see the light of day, but that could be a long way off given our schedules! Maybe we’ll just have to put it out.     


Mark: And finally our traditional easy question to close… ‘What is the meaning of life?’


Dan: (laughs) 42!


Mark: No not 42! You’d be surprised how many 42’s we get


Dan: OK I’m going again… Meaning of life, oh blimey!


Mark: The next Darkness album?


Dan: (laughs) Well I guess the meaning of life is to reproduce and pass on knowledge, but mainly to reproduce… I love Australia, love Perth; we’ll be there soon with our Sharknado trilogy!


Mark: Have a safe trip down there, I'll put the kettle on...

    

 

Dan spoke to Mark Rockpit

 


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