The Darkness

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The Darkness

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For the past 15 years Justin Hawkins, lead singer and lead guitarist, has been gyrating his tight pants on stage and driving fans wild with the band’s tongue-in-cheek brand of rock and roll. But Justin reveals that the pants hold more than just his junk. “It’s a special trick we use in the studio. Whenever we’ve got to record a chorus I get a more generous cut, where if we’re working on a verse I pack everything in to get those high notes. It’s absolutely true. If you condense anything you get more out of it, so I do it for the music.”


Even after all this time squeezing into those pants and hitting those notes, The Darkness continues to hold the world in their loving embrace and refuse to let go. Justin believes the reason behind the band’s continued success is due to their own lofty expectations to always outdo themselves. “The pressure is more from within the band. We’re all trying to be the best. That first album was our benchmark. It was such a strong album straight out of the gate. I mean, bands go their whole career without turning out something that good. So we push ourselves to keep up at our own levels. I don’t think it’s in us just to churn out something that’s less than absolutely awesome.” Each success only further emboldens the band, and drives them to greater things. “When you get a little bit of success, it’s easy to keep going then. I mean hell, I could be working at Starbucks or something, but instead I’m making incredible music. Success is our only propulsion. Our albums sell, people come to our shows, and with that success we get all the energy we need to keep doing it.”


But 15 years is a long time, and to maintain the same passion and energy for music is one of the greatest challenges awaiting musicians. But Justin believes that, while you may not feel the same way you did when you first made music, your levels of enthusiasm will always remain the same. “It’s hard to remember how it used to feel. It’s still exciting; otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. Whether it feels the same is hard to say. All sensations change, something of the original must be there. I know I still get excited whenever we play, I don’t know if it’s the same excitement I felt at the beginning, but it’s still just as exciting.” 


Throughout their career, the band have released four albums and have had awards thrown at them like panties from a crowd, all the while in the background people continue to yell rock is dead. Justin laughed at a review that claimed The Darkness was just a big time 70’s rock tribute band. “I think our sound keeps changing. I wouldn’t say that our sound is a tribute to the 70s, but more inspired by the rock of the 70s, 80s, and 90s simply because music from that time was almost always brilliant. If we felt the same about more modern stuff we’d be inspired by that too, but I find the sound of the 2000s is shit, mostly because people are trying to find something new instead of something good.”


As bands go on in years, they begin to explore new sounds, even dabbling in other genres, in an effort to keep things fresh and new creatively. Justin explains that, while the band has explored new musical territory, the focus has been to keep things interesting, whatever that might entail. “We haven’t consciously changed anything. There’s a good cross section of rock within our sound. It’s been straightforward, two guitars, drums, and bass. Other times it’s more exploring and adventuring rather than purposefully looking to change everything. I mean, I like synths, I think they’re an excellent instrument for rock and roll. But I find electronic music boring, and synths in that sense are boring too, which is why we’ve never branched out into other genres. If it isn’t interesting to us, why should we ever bother playing it?”


With the band about to launch a new tour, performing in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney; Justin looks forward to travelling across Australia once again. “It’s been long overdue. All of Australia is brilliant. Perth is beautiful; I remember doing a show there and being startled by the noise of the crowd, shouting directly at me. You wouldn’t expect such an idyllic place to have such a mad group of people, and I say that with the utmost appreciation and admiration. A lot of people are saying that Melbourne’s where it’s at, but we’re just really excited to get to Australia and get the tour going. It’s going to be brilliant.” While not wanting to spoil the surprise awaiting his Australian audience, Justin does have a message for those hungry for the return of The Darkness: “Put the kettle on love, I’m coming home. Get ready for a bit of mischief!” 


Tour Dates

November 6 – HQ, Adelaide SA

November 7 – Metropolis, Fremantle WA
November 8 – Tivoli, Brisbane QLD

November 11 – The Forum, Melbourne VIC
November 13 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW