Back in all their flamboyant glory, the UK’s The Darkness recently announced a return to Australia. Because there wasn’t enough rock in the line-up already, Groovin’ The Moo has invited to the flashy rockers to join them, performing alongside a string of nationwide headlining shows. Famed for falsetto vocals and haute couture, The Darkness are known for their ridiculously catchy numbers – but as bassist Frankie Poullain reveals, there’s a wholly more sombre element to the band, far removed from the tight body suits and the showy larks.
When you released Permission To Land it was such a pivotal album, not only for you guys coming on the map but just in terms of shaking up rock ‘n’ roll – you guys have released so much great music since but you’ve never had as much recognition as you did for that album. Is that something you feel is unjust given how hard you’ve worked over the years?
No, certainly not - I would never be so arrogant as to think just because we’ve worked hard we deserve recognition. Hundreds of millions of people around the world work hard and don’t have any recognition, so I would never be that arrogant.
I think we’ve only got ourselves to blame really – the second album [One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back] certainly wasn’t the release it should have been and we were certainly blighted by indulgence, decadence, we were quite bloated, you know? The third album, I think Hot Cakes we came back into the game, we were a bit fresher we’d been out of action for a while and we were still building bridges between us as people. I think we made some mistakes there. The last album, [Last Of Our Kind] there’s a lot of people that think the last album too, wasn’t very settled. Now we really are flying, we’ve found our rhythm and our mojo, thank God we’ve got our mojo! We’re literally on our second to last day of recording now and we’re about to wrap up on a real high, you know? We think we’ve done something really special, there’s something great about this.
What can you tell me about the new album? What kind of direction have you taken with it?
It’s hard to explain, it’s like a dream. We just really hit our stride and spent a lot of time together, I think we’ve been lucky that we’re all in a good place at the moment and we’re super focused and enjoying each other’s company. We’ve got a proper relationship with each other now and Rufus [Taylor] has been in the band now for two years, and he’s brought a huge amount with his drumming – very powerful. He’s very musical, a proper musician.
What has the addition of Rufus to the band brought that maybe you might not have had before?
Blondeness. Vitality, youth…
So the elixir of life personified?
Yeah, very well put, you said it better than I did! He’s our… erm… Guilty pleasure.
"Last Of Our Kind"
[Laughter] That’s good to hear, I’m not sure if I should elaborate on that or not. [Frankie Laughs] So you may have some reservations as to the albums between the bookends but it’s still been enough that you have such a massive following – what does that feel like that you have such a huge fan base after all these years, despite what you may feel about the music you’ve put out?
Depends on what mood I’m in really. Sometimes I feel lucky, sometimes I feel like we should have ten times as many fans. It really depends if I’m in a grateful mood or a spiteful, greedy mood.
Do you get in to the spiteful, greedy moods often?
No I don’t really, I’m just being hard on myself there [laughter]. No, really we don’t think too much about the number of fans we have, we just work as hard as we can and put everything in to it and try to channel positive energy and create a joyful environment for our fans.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you can be a little self-deprecating at times.
Depends what mood I’m in, what mood we’re [The Darkness] in. I mean, I’m a bass player and bass players tend to be a little more grounded.
Do you think bass players are the ones that carry that sense of humility that keeps bands grounded?
[Laughter] I wouldn’t go that far! But I’m probably a bit more reflective, to the point of being pretentiously philosophical.
Your Australian tour – your Melbourne show sold out, you added a second date and now that’s sold out – that’s a pretty amazing thing to happen. Obviously you have a loyal fan base so what can they expect from the shows when you come on over?
[Long pause] Honest answer, I have no idea. Only they can see it through their own eyes what it is, I can’t second guess what a fan would say. And to be honest, I would say fans say different things and look for different things – not everyone looks for or expects things in the same way.
Catch THE DARKNESS at the following venues in May!!
Thursday April 27 – Eatons Hill, Brisbane (18+)
Tuesday May 2 - Max Watts, Melbourne (18+)
Wednesday May 3 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) – SOLD OUT
Friday May 5 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) – SOLD OUT
Wednesday May 10 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Lic/Aa)
Friday May 12 – Metro City, Perth (18+)
TICKETS ON SALE: NOW
PRESENTED BY SELECT TOURING AND BLUE MURDER