Music

20 Questions: The Darkness

Photo: Scarlet Page

The Darkness tackle barbarians and invaders on their dramatic and goofy fourth album. Guitarist Dan Hawkins also took time to tell PopMatters about his love for Yves Saint Laurent and Watership Down.


The Darkness

Last of Our Kind

Label: +180
US Release Date: 2015-06-02
UK Release Date: 2015-06-01
Amazon
iTunes

The Darkness have, like their heroes AC/DC, withstood life's hard knocks.

While everyone knows that their iconic 2003 hair-pop confection "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" will outlive most millennials, that overindulgent sophomore disc One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back sank most chances of the group rising above One Hit Wonder status. Frustrated, the group ventured off into other bands, with high-pitched vocalist Justin Hawkins trying his hand with the group Hot Leg, while guitarist Dan Hawkins and bassist Richie Edwards formed Stone Gods, both outfits releasing albums within a year of each other. Yet fate had other plans in store, and in 2012, the band released a long-awaited third disc, Hot Cakes, which contains what is arguably the greatest song they have ever done, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us".

With solid sales and a fanbase that never really left them, the band made their way out Valentia Island to record the aptly-titled Last of Our Kind, a disc which spends its time talking about barbarians and ancient conquests while still delivering the roaring riff rockers that have become their signature. As if that wasn't enough, the group even crowdsourced some group vocals on the soaring title track to their fans, known as The Darkness Army, who were more than happy to comply.

To celebrate the disc's release, Dan Hawkins took on PopMatters' 20 Questions and revealed to us a love of Watership Down, Yves Saint Laurent, and why he'd want to take a peek at what's going on in the year 3000.

* * *

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?

Watership Down by Richard Adams.

2. The fictional character most like you?

The 80's British TV character Lovejoy (played by Ian McShane), because if I hadn't entered the music trade I would be buying and selling antiques and solving crimes in a leather jacket.

3. The greatest album, ever?

The Beatles' 20 Greatest Hits.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek.

5. Your ideal brain food?

Sitting quietly alone makes you produce thoughts.

6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Being alive. Most people who have lived like I have and also battled cancer are dead.

7. You want to be remembered for ...?

Being the second-best rhythm guitar player ever, next to Malcolm Young.

8. Of those who've come before, the most inspirational are?

AC/DC's Malcolm Young, the Cult's Billy Duffy, and Metallica's James Hetfield.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

10. Your hidden talents... ?

Football, house renovations, interior decorating.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

"Stop worrying about things that don't matter or you can't change" -- Justin Hawkins (my brother and frontman of the Darkness).

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

My Les Paul Standard guitar. If it were the Medieval times it would be my horse.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or... ?

Yves Saint Laurent.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

Stephen Hawking.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?

To the year 3000, just to have a quick look and see how we got on.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?

Running at least ten kilometers.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or... ?

English Real Ale (preferably Harvey's Best).

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

Country; the Sussex countryside in England, to be precise.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Put more money into the National Health Service, as people are dying unnecessarily that have paid into the system all of their lives. Also, please increase the internet speed in my area, it's shit.

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on now?

The Darkness just finished our new album, Last of our Kind, which I engineered/produced and mixed. We are about to embark on a world tour in support of the record. And I'm also building my new recording studio. Busy times!


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.

Film

Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.

Music

3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".

Books

'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.

Music

Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor
Film

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.

Music

Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.

Music

Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.

Music

Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.

Music

Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.

Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.