The Darkness will be spreading their Easter Is Cancelled message across the land with an Australian and New Zealand headline tour in March 2020. On a mission to lead us to the sunlit uplands of inclusivity, togetherness and rock’ n’ roll fellowship, The Darkness will play shows in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland. Frankie Poullain speaks to Hi Fi Way about the album and Australian tour.
It seems to be happening right now for The Darkness, an Australian tour and a new album?
Looking forward to Australia, we spent nine months making the album and now we’re taking the album on the road. We’re going to perform the entire Easter Is Cancelled and then do like a greatest hits set.
Was it a challenging nine months making the album?
This is the longest we have spent on making an album with an entirely different approach this time. We really wanted to concentrate on production and we had a lot of ambitious ideas for this one. There was a certain atmosphere we wanted to create on this album which is evidenced in the song Rock And Roll Deserves To Die. That song alone took ten days in the studio, so we decided to go back to the old school idea of going away from the previous album which was more of a live album to a more intensive studio album.
Is it the case the longer it takes the more frustrating it gets wondering whether you would get there? Did the band remain confident in the vision?
We had a shared vision for this album and that’s the most important thing and something which would honour the band’s legacy.
What is the background to the single Rock And Roll Deserves To Die? Is that really the case?
I think we had a responsibility to dig deeper and not just sit on the past but creating a new reality. The art form of rock and roll, there’s too many bands ourselves included, is just a rehash which has been going on a long time. So Rock And Roll Deserves To Die is laying down the gauntlet.
The Darkness seems to be working like a well oiled machine with three album in four years. How important has that been in rejuvenating the band?
We’re working harder than ever, we’ve never spent nine months in the studio before. I think Taylor on drums has given us a new lease on life and it means that we can approach different styles much easier, we can do for example Deck Chair which is like our first ever jazz or our first foray in to jazz theatre. Then we can do a prog rock song like the title track. Also we are better musicians now and more confident in it.
Do you think that this is your most ambitious record to date?
Without doubt, I would say that. We achieved it like it was our last album going in to the realms of working in musical theatre with Deck Chair and the bonus track Confirmation Bias. We would like to explore that more. A lot of people said that the world is waiting for a Darkness musical.
Would that be something that the band would lead?
I think we would collaborate with someone and deep down it is something we know we need to do. It was a similar thing when we knew we needed to do a concept album about the demise of rock and roll. I guess the story with this album is it starts off dark with Rock And Roll Deserves To Die and then moves to How Can I Lose your Love which is about falling out of love with rock and roll and losing a partner because the touring lifestyle and the nature of being a rock musician is hard to keep a relationship together. The end of the album is about the relationship with your guitar in We Are The Guitar Men. The love of the guitar keeps in alive.
Being a concept album do you write just enough songs for an album and start again fresh next time?
Occasionally there is a song that is left over from a previous album but usually we use all the best stuff when we do an album. There was one song Live ‘Til I Die, track three on the album, which is from 2001 and the second year the band was in existence. That was when we were shopping for a record deal for young band playing pubs. We had that song then, it has always been there in the background and we’ve tried to put it on previous albums but never quite got there. That’s an important song on the album because it’s about Justin’s life and that he has never taken himself too seriously. It talks about his love for rock and roll music as well and that one goes back eighteen years.
Where did the idea for the album title Easter Is Cancelled originate?
It was an accident! A lot of ideas come to us by accident. We were in an email exchange with our manager and he was referring to what he had to do over Easter and he said he’s just cancelled. I said to him that means something. Justin brought this animation up and this graphic artist had a muscle bound Jesus breaking free from the cross and Justin said that means something.
Playing some smaller venues on this Australian tour is a big win for Darkness fans?
Yeah, we sold fourteen hundred tickets in day in Melbourne and we’re really pleased with that. This will be the first time we have played Easter Is Cancelled in full and the first time we have had anything synchronised from start to end so we’ll be playing it start to end. It’s the first time we would have synchronised our outfits as well.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Catch The Darkness on the following dates, tickets from SBM Presents…