Interview: The Darkness

Written by Lucas P. Jones

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British hard rock band The Darkness have one of the most easily recognizable sounds in modern music. They can groove, they can shred, and they do it all with a touch of old school glam metal vibe and imagery. They launched into the stratosphere on that back of their first two albums, Permission to Land, and One Way Ticket to Hell…and Back. The first record featured the mammoth, iconic hit, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ which still is one of the great rock sing-a-longs of the past 20 years. Sadly, In late 2005, the band found themselves beset with personal and professional issues that led to the band splitting up.

The split lasted until 2011, when the original line-up came back together to play a series of reunion shows, including a set at Download Festival in 2011, and the Isle of Wright festival in 2012. They soon released their third album, Hot Cakes, in August of 2012. The Darkness was back.

We recently had a conversation with Darkness bassist Frankie Poullain to talk about the band’s newly released album Last of Our Kind, adding a female to the band, and the part of the female body that has served as their greatest inspiration, and no it’s not what you think.

Photo Credit: Scarlet Page
Photo Credit: Scarlet Page

How did the material for the new record come about? Did each member come to rehearsal with riffs and sections already written, or did you get together and jam it out and the result was the album?

We spent quality time together. Simple. It’s not about the technical side, that’s just a way of rationalising something after the event. Love creates good art, love and sacrifice.

You guys have a super hit in the form of “I Believe In a Thing Called Love.” Do you feel any pressure to try to write a song that is similar to that one, to try and repeat that success?

No we feel more pressure to write something with the depth and emotional punch of “Love Is Only A Feeling” or the other worldliness of “Curse Of The Tollund Man.” Most of all we fear never topping the fragile beauty and aural perfection of “I Love You Five Times.” Check it out and you’ll see what I mean.

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The new album Last of Our Kind is the first featuring Emily Dolan Davies on drums. Do you feel like her influences have changed the sound of the band? Or does she add to the sound you’ve already created?

The drum sound is fatter and warmer, it’s different yes. There’s more swing. I don’t want to disrespect Ed [Graham, the band’s former drummer] who was great in a different way.

Speaking of influences, who do you consider to be band’s main influences?

That’s easy, it is and always has been the small of a woman’s back. Ironically enough, the woman in our band gets to spend the entire gig staring at the smalls of OUR backs!

Do you have a favorite song to play live? If you do, why that song in particular?

I used to love playing “Concrete” from the last album. The punkiness and drama of it appeal to me as well as the concept of the song – searching for a sweet lady woman in the concrete jungle.

Which track off the new album are you most excited about?

“Mighty Wings” is something we have threatened but never delivered before. It’s a gargantuan ode to death. It’s ridiculously overblown and captures emotional states which are volatile to say the least. Those of a fragile nervous condition would be advised to leave well alone.

If you could go on tour with any three bands currently playing, who would they be?

Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Neil Diamond.

Finally, If you had to sum up the new album in one sentence, what would that sentence be?

It would be the most beautiful sentence ever written.

Last of Our Kind by The Darkness is available on iTunes.

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