Interview: Justin Hawkins from The Darkness
Posted on April 30, 2012 by L&G
Last week, I got the chance to speak to the one and only Justin Hawkins from The Darkness. Seeing as though these cats are back together, about to release a new album, and on the verge of touring Australia, I had to see what has been up with him. The interview is below:
Justin Hawkins! This is a fucking honor! How are you, bro?
Not much, thanks!
What has been happening?
Hello? I can hardly hear you!
(phone clears up) Yeah, that can be a problem. (laughs)
Whats been going on?
Nothing much. Finishing off the album… Actually, the album has been finished now. Trying to work out the artwork… Umm… All that kind of stuff really.
Well let me just say for starters, I am a huge fan.
Oh, cool. (laughs)
We should probably get started on this interview, thank you for taking the time out to talk to PRIMO! magazine. Like I mentioned, it’s a mad honor. Let me start by telling you that I fully remember the first time I heard ‘Permission to Land’ in 2003. I absolutely loved it. You then backed it up with ‘One Way Ticket to Hell and Back’, which was an epic. You also got to work with Mutt Lange. How does it feel to still be relevant even after you guy broke up and got back together?
It feels good, you know what I mean? The feeling you get when you play in front of an audience is insane. Our guitar solos still sound the same, my voice hasn’t changed one bit and we are all really enjoying being back together.
Why did you guys break up anyways? What made you guys get back together?
We decided to have a break because it was becoming more and more like a cluster fuck, and we weren’t writing songs properly. We weren’t really enjoying it, and needed a break from it. I think its very hard when you’re on a major label that wants you to tour around the world, and in-between all of this, wants creativity. Its quite hard to be part of something like that. You can understand why we wanted to be away from something like that. We had a lot of things up against us, with a lot of decisions were being done without asking me, my brother, or the rest of the band. I fucking hated it, so I stopped. Now I am excited about it doing it our way, and not having any of those cunts telling us how to do it.
It must of felt amazing getting back together to making music again though, right?
Yeah, and you know what happened was, when that started, it wasn’t that we were against what was happening in the music world, we’re all fans of local bands. Everybody loves Suade, and Radiohead, and it’s not like we didn’t want to sound like them, more like we wanted to go back to our roots (classic rock). What happens when you’re not around is you become totally irrelevant, and it’s better to keep it like that because we didn’t want to be in the scene or like any other bands around, we are our own scene, and we did it our way.
Well its a good thing you went back to your roots, as you were on a winning formula and are still killing it now.
And new album still isn’t out, bro? When should fans expect it to drop?
The album? Well, once we get the artwork, you need two months to process it. It sounds ridiculous because a 5 year old child can pick it up on the Internet in 5 seconds.
Apparently iTunes has a really long waiting time because of the artwork, so its going to be 3 months from now. Probably June or July I reckon.
(Laughs) yeah! I mean, I don’t understand why it takes so long, its crazy.
Jerks. Anyways, I haven’t told you yet, but your live set is incredible. I wasn’t lucky enough to go watch it last time you were here, but from what my mates tell me, you guys absolutely kill it every time. How important is playing live to you and your band?
I think its really important to play live and be just a band because there is that little bit of magic that happens. I’m sure people like us who have grown up together playing would say it’s magic, so it’s important to achieve that. When you are live on stage, you can’t fake it. You either got it, or you haven’t and you don’t really have that option. It just works.
How did it feel getting back on stage after such a long break?
I really love it. I love getting on stage. I used to love making big entrances with props and flying, and stuff like that. But now, I just love getting on stage, getting a microphone, staring at the audience and for them to see the real deal. It’s real back to where I want to be. (laughs)
Good thing for me is that your on your way back to touring Australia for the first time in 6 years since your breakup. How does it feel knowing your coming back to such an awesome country?
Yeah (laughs). Australia is one of those countries you really look forward to coming to. We have been trying to get to Australia for over a year now. We wanted to be on one of those traveling events that happen, but it seemed to fall through because they didn’t think we were here to stay. I think thats changed now, as we get to pick our own tours and pick our own shows. It’s good because once upon a time, we were overlooked, so it’s good to be back touring.
It is going to be good to get to see you live, bro. I’m totally pumped. Getting back to your new album ‘Nothing Is Going To Stop Us’. It sounds like a song destined for the charts. Seems to be back to business as usual?
Yeah (Laughs). I think so! Some of the songs on the album are a bit harder, and a bit more old-school rock. That one is sort of the punky/poppy one that is on the album. But yeah, it is on the album (laughs), but it is definitely an indication of what is to come.
I am a huge fan of Gibson Les Pauls, and you seem to have always been rocking them. What made you decide on the Les Paul and why?
Umm.. Well, I have tried many different guitars over the years. I do have an old strat, and a new one that has been modified quite a lot to try and sound like more of a metal guitar. In a studio, I tend to use a strat because I can get different levels and stuff. But to be honest, nothing taps it like a Gibson Les Paul. Like, mine is a custom, but that is more for the way it looks. For example my white one, but it’s the sound that sets it apart.
I just love the meaty sound of it. Especially through a Marshall stack.
It pumps you up.
Definitely. It looks like you’re supporting Lady Gaga on her European tour starting in August. Word on the street that she selected you guys. How do it feel like getting notice from a pop icon?
It’s definitely a different type of music, but for us, this has to be a huge opportunity that will get to come our way. Going back to a huge stadium.. It’s good. A Lady Gaga show, you rock, she has two guitar players, and a whole live show. We will fit right in. (laughs)
You will, bro.
It will be good for the fans to watch her, then listen to us. It’s a great combo.
Will you guys be sharing costumes?
(Laughs) I don’t think I want to share my costumes.
Tell me, do you still have all those leopard suits?
Yeah I still have them! I like to kind of mix it up and not wear the same stuff too much.
Im looking in my wardrobe now, and I can see my catsuits from old music videos and festivals. Some catsuits that I have never worn before. *Rustling through wardrobe* I have a Dior catsuit custom made for me…
(Operator chimes in telling me I have one minute remaining)
Ok, we are running out of time, so we have to move onto the most important question of the interview: Burgers or Burritos?
Burgers! You can’t beat them!
You’re lucky I think you’re amazing, bro. I would have totally said burritos. Thank’s for taking the time out today to talk to PRIMO! Magazine. It has been a pleasure!
Ok! Thanks again!