Posted On 19 Oct 2017
England’s most distinctive, multiple award-winning, platinum-selling, hugely entertaining rock gods and one-time saviors of rock n’ roll turned international pleasures The Darkness – Justin Hawkins (vocals / guitar), Dan Hawkins (guitar), Frankie Poullain (bass), Rufus Tiger Taylor (drums) – is back with their fifth album Pinewood Smile, released on October 6th through Cooking Vinyl. The album is available on CD, limited edition Deluxe CD (featuring four bonus tracks), Gatefold Heavyweight Vinyl, and in both Standard and Deluxe digital versions.
Fresh off shows with Guns N’ Roses and headlining European summer festivals, The Darkness will continue touring the UK extensively through early 2018 and unleash their power on U.S. stages in Spring 2018. Details coming soon.
Written in Putney and recorded in Cornwall, England, Pinewood Smile was produced by Grammy Award-winning Adrian Bushby (Foo Fighters, Muse). The compositions have all the crucial elements of classic Darkness fare, but with added layers for the ears to peel away at…like a sonic onion, but a lot tastier. The album also features the drumming and vocal talents of gorgeous new band member Rufus Tiger Taylor, son of Queen legend Roger Taylor.
Pinewood Smile finds The Darkness in electrifying form, delivering some of the most sharp-witted, infectious, humorous and downright brilliant songs of their career. In addition to the glorious, hard-rockin’, autobiographical album opener “All The Pretty Girls” that intellectually examines the fact that when you’re a rock star you get a lot of attention from ladies and discussing the ethical conundrums that come with that, the album boasts the swashbuckling “Buccaneers Of Hispaniola,” the expletive-strewn howl of frustration that is “Southern Trains,” the hugely emotional “Why Don’t The Beautiful Cry?,” the globally anthemic “Japanese Prisoner Of Love” and the ode to pumping out smash hit after smash hit “Solid Gold,” which finds The Darkness addressing the turbulent nature of the music industry and how they have enjoyed its flamboyant highs and spectacular lows.
ABOUT THE DARKNESS DOCUMENTARY
The full breadth of The Darkness’ legendary rise to the top, spectacular slide to the bottom and steady climb back up the greasy pole of rock n’ roll is soon to be laid bare in glorious detail. Currently in production is a philosophical, darkly humorous and deeply personal documentary of The Darkness’ comeback, due for release in 2018.
The documentary is being created by world-renowned photographer and filmmaker Simon Emmett (Jay Z, Matt Damon, Helen Mirren). He has recorded over 250 hours of footage to date, capturing the past, present, hopes, dreams and inner mental turmoil of The Darkness.
As Justin explains, “As soon as Permission To Land was wrapped up I already knew it was going to be a mega smash. But I also knew that the second album would not be, and that we’d split up, and I knew we’d come back together and I knew the comeback would be fabulous. The fabulous element of the comeback hasn’t materialised as yet, but it’s all a work in progress. To be frank – the story of The Darkness is: years of perspiration, overnight sensation, over-saturation, temporary separation, reunion elation, career renovation, Pinewood Smile creation!”
Connect With The Darkness Here:
Learn more about this band in the following All Access Interview with The Darkness bassist Frankie Poullain:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? What music do you like to listen to when you are relaxing or answering interview questions? 🙂
Robert Wyatt, like an open wound, pain and insight transformed into spine tingling sadness and euphoria. I’m at home in Tuffnel Park in London.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? How differently did you all approach this year than you did 2016?
It gets better and better but then what is happiness? Sometimes happiness manifests itself in the worst periods, looking back.
Can you tell us about the moment years ago when you all realized that you could make music together and be in The Darkness?
When Justin began to charm audiences with his unique intuition and generous heart.
Do you think your band name represents the music that you create? Where did your name come from in the first place?
Our music, like all art, is a reaction to the darkness, the void, the human condition, the animal condition – call it what you will.
What is your hometown? How do you think being from there has affected the music that The Darkness creates, or the musical influence you bring to the band?
I was brought up in Scotland, on the east coast. The brothers are also from the east coast but much further down. I have no idea if this means anything, or indeed what I am talking about.
Let’s talk about The Darkness’ new fifth album called “Pinewood Smile” released on October 6th. What was it like making this collection? Did anything surprise you about the whole process? How long did it all take to make?
Just listen to the album and you find the answers all those questions. We were pushing boundaries and having a laugh, prodding each other out of our comfort zones. Usually the idea of the first song all the way to the final mastering of the album takes 2 years or so.
Can you describe how a few of the songs came together? Generally, how did the band about writing the songs on this album?
We had four week-long songwriting trips. Alicante in Spain was the first. An awful Airbnb next to a circus with elephants chained up outside. We wrote prog rock and smoked a lot of dope. The only thing that came out of this session was that we weren’t a prog rock band. And the bonus track ‘Rack of Glam’ about man’s evolving relationship with the mammary gland.
Then we went to Cornwall twice and the Highlands of Scotland once. We were on fire during these sessions and hey, presto, Pinewood Smile was born.
What is it like having Rufus Tiger Taylor (son of Queen legend Roger Taylor) drum and sing on the album?
It was like one long musical blow job. Not in a gay way though.
How do you think this band continues to grow year after year? What has remained the same about your style and your overall dynamics?
Evolution baby. The selfish gene.
What has it been like making The Darkness documentary? I have read that it is going to be darkly humorous and deeply personal. Can you elaborate on that? Did it ever get frustrating having a camera in your face all the time, or did it not feel that way?
It’s a pain, cameras all the time. But of out of pain comes beauty. Sometimes.
How were your recent shows with Guns N’ Roses and headlining summer festivals? How do you guys keep up the energy night after night?
Laughter. Often of the rueful kind.
Where do you think you are all happiest: on stage performing, in the studio recording new music or elsewhere?
None of the above. Kissing the light fandango under the constellations of Orion. Or breakfasting on a freshly baked croissant in the spring sunshine.
With the summer being over, what was your favorite part about it? What was something fun that The Darkness did together or tried together?
Supporting Guns N Roses, especially the Italian leg – 135,000 in the crazy heat, like something biblical, an epic moment.
We are living in a crazy and at times, rough world right now. Do any of the songs on the new album reflect these hard times?
The times have always been crazy and our songs reflect that. Hence the sense of the ridiculous in our music. Humans have always been ridiculous save for the handful of exceptional individual souls who have made a difference, namely The Darkness.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for The Darkness?
When asked that question we always say God – why settle for less? That’s why we never collaborate, the bugger doesn’t exist.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We don’t hope, we know what our message is. We just can’t quite remember.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
Don’t listen to what The Darkness bass player says. Listen to your gut.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about The Darkness or your new music?
I’d like to share my hatred of guns and greedy people who feed their bellies and let their brains rot.