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THE DARKNESS: DAN HAWKINS | INTERVIEW

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Interview

photo: Simon Emmett

The Darkness are currently full steam ahead. In the midst of a European tour, lead guitarist Dan Hawkins gave us the lowdown on what to expect from their new album, Pinewoord Smile; “the main difference is that we now have a lead drummer:  Rufus [Taylor – son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor]. He is amazing. Having a lead drummer adds a lot more punch to the sound; it’s more exciting, more riff-based.”

How has that changed the songwriting process for the band? “Normally Rufus and I will go into a rehearsal room, I’ll bring in some music or some riffs and we’ll build up a backing track. We’ll put together something that sounds like a verse, a bridge and a chorus, and then we’ll try and add lyrics. It’s very collaborative at the back-end; we kind of just knock it into shape.“

Interview

photo: Simon Emmett

Whilst they are still going strong as a band, it’s no doubt The Darkness are still best remembered for the string of great singles they put out around the time of debut album Permission to Land. Black Shuck, Love is Only a Feeling and I Believe in a Thing Called Love are air-guitar classics, but how do the band keep the songs alive when playing them nightly? “When a crowd reacts to something it gives you a real buzz. It’s exciting to play when people are singing along. With the new album, over the tour we’ll whittle it down to the ones we love to play live. And that decides whether they’re singles or not. There’s never a moment where you go ‘Oh no, it’s this one.’”

Considering how rock has gradually waned in influence on the airwaves, we asked what The Darkness’ audiences are like. “Last night I’d say a good 70% of the audience were under 25. It’s interesting, we supported Guns ‘N’ Roses in the summer with a couple of big venues. And it’s all just kids. They weren’t there when Guns ‘N’ Roses were first around, they’ve gotten into them in the last five years. It shows that rock is very much still alive, but alive in bands from previous generations…and I guess that includes us these days!”

St David’s Hall, Cardiff Wed 13 Dec. Tickets: £29. Info: 029 2087 8444 / http://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk

words MEGAN POTTERTON

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