The Darkness on the state of rock & roll, returning to Australia and being larger than life

When The Darkness emerged on the scene they were larger than life. Presenting an incredibly unique take on the hectic nature of rock and roll, they really were a breath of fresh air to the industry and between the release of their debut album in 2003 to now, agenda wise, thankfully, not a whole lot has changed.

Set to hit our shores in April, for both Groovin The Moo and a handful of sideshows scattered throughout our capital cities, it seems that Australia really is the perfect home away from home. After recently sitting down to chat with bassist Frankie Poullain, I suddenly began to believe in a whole lot more than love.

You’re still going strong after such a long time playing, performing and touring do you have any secrets to your longevity?

A sense of duty. Responsibility and duty. Because the state of rock music today is an absolute disgrace and we feel that our purpose in life is to resurrect the nobel values of rock music.

Tell me about where you think the state of rock music is in now?

Well it’s a bit like society really. Western corporate capitalism. Rock and Roll has lost its identity. It’s lost its raison d’être. It’s just dying, slowly, dying with a whimper, just as the poet T.S Eliot predicted the world would end.

It’s such a sad state of the world sometimes! It’s so great that it’s so firmly on your agenda to bring it back. When you started the band, did you always have this larger than life image that you wanted to attach to your music?

No. It’s really something we grew into, we evolved into that. In a sense, it’s really about sensitive and introspective people overcompensating for their defects. Sometimes people overcompensate and in a sense that’s what we are. We are introverts who overcompensate for that by dressing up, and blowing everything up to immense proportions. We’re also probably quite depressive, and that’s why we’re satisfying to depressive people. That’s why the music has this sense of fun and euphoria. We’re trying to create something we don’t have.

I think a lot of art comes from compensation.

When you’re on stage, it looks like you’re a band that don’t take yourselves too seriously, does that read true?

Well ironically, things aren’t always what they seem. We actually do take ourselves very seriously. It’s definitely an illusion.

Even though you’re taking on this persona on stage, do you still feel that sense of vulnerability when you’re performing?

Yes, always with that vulnerability. But I would say that as a band we are all pretty sensitive people. The key is to transform that vulnerability into something powerful. Transform it into something where you can feel vulnerable, allow that in, and transform it into something that affects other people.

You’re heading back to Australia very soon, what’s bringing you back this time around?

It’s always a great way to start our next campaign. With the last campaign, Australia was such a highlight. In some ways it feels like our home. The unpretentious nature of Australians, I guess because you’re kind of isolated culturally, it means then that you’re not pressurised or too impressionable. I’ve always got a sense that Australians will judge it for what it is, as opposed to what’s fashionable.

Is there a massive difference when you’re playing a festival show as opposed to an arena or a headline gig?

No I really don’t think so. A show is a show, really. We were always a band who played both arena shows and pubs. In our minds it’s always been an extension of friendship with our style and it’s always a big show.

As a band, The Darkness put so much weight behind your live shows, and rightly so. Was that your aim when you started out?

Ultimately we just wanted to amuse ourselves. Something that a lot of people don’t know about The Darkness is, we’re very hard on each other, and very demanding of each other. Our rule has always been, the four of us have to be turned on by it. Even if one person isn’t turned on by it, we always listen to that one person and work out what that is. The Darkness has never been a kind of band where we are all just the same. We’re very much a group with four very different archetypes. It’s a sense of communal euphoria. And sequins. Unusual textures as well.

Have you got anything left that as a band you’d love to achieve or even individually as an artist?

We’re recording our fifth album at the moment. We’re recording with Adrian Bushby. It’s basically going to be our heaviest album by far… Adrian has really brought something to the table and upped the ante and set the bar high, he’s such a musical talent. At the moment being in the studio feels like a dream and it’s not felt like that since I first started.

Finally, what can fans in Australia expect when you arrive on our shores in April?

A banquet. Although personally, I don’t believe in any sort of equation, but that’s just me, so it’s hard for me to talk about other people’s expectations.

THE DARKNESS AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

April 27th | Eatons Hill, BRISBANE | 18+
May 2nd | Max Watts, MELBOURNE | 18+
May 3rd & 5th | 170 Russell, MELBOURNE | 18+  | SOLD OUT
May 10th | Enmore Theatre, SYDNEY | Lic/AA
May 12th | Metro City, PERTH | 18+

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