The Darkness interview with Justin Hawkins: "People who dismiss Lady Gaga as 'just' a pop performer really don't know what the hell they're talking about"

04/10/2012 @ 13:01
No matter where you stand, you’ve got to admit that The Darkness is one of a kind rock band out there and their huge success is not coincidental at all. We had the chance to get their charismatic frontman Justin Hawkins answering a few questions about their truly dynamic return with their new album "Hot Cakes" and of course their current touring with Lady Gaga. And he did it with his own 'peculiar' style...

Hi Justin! It’s a real pleasure being able to communicate with you. Congratulations for what you've achieved as a band and for your new album. How are things in the camp of The Darkness?
Ηi Chris. Τhanks! Everything is great here.

Tell us a few things about how you decided to reunite and the formation of "Hot Cakes".
It was basically time. Hatchets were buried, songs were written, recordings were made, album was finished.

The DarknessHow would you describe "Hot Cakes" in comparison to your first two albums?
Always the same, always different.

"Keep Me Hangin' On" is one my favorite tracks on the album. It has a strong, catchy vocal melody and generally I think you’ve done a very good job on vocal lines and melodies.

Another standout track is "Forbidden Love", as it’s quite different than your usual approach to song writing. How did you come up with it and what’s the interesting story behind the lyrics?
Lyrics, really, are for people to interpret for themselves. I don't like to sully people's own opinion with my version of the truth.

The DarknessI couldn't help but mention the cover you’ve done to "Street Spirit". It almost has a metal vibe and I adore it. What led you to do such a cover?
We used to do it a long time ago. Originally it was for a radio session. It was time to do it properly.

What was the role of such a legendary producer as Bob Ezrin, in the final product?
The album was produced by Dan and myself. Bob mixed it all. And a fine, fine job he made of it too. He brings his own magic to the work.

Which of his previous works made you want to collaborate with him and why?
Too many to mention. His CV is a role-call of some of the greatest rock music ever.

How do you see now the tremendous success of "Permission To Land" and specifically of the track "I Believe In A Thing Called Love", especially in the U.K.?
It’s nice that people still like the song, and it was nice that they liked it then. It’s bought a lot of sushi for us over the years.

Justin Hawkins (The Darkness)Then, I never understood why people didn’t dig "One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back" equally. I think it’s an equally fantastic album, more mature than your debut album.
It was too much for some people. People expect one thing and feel betrayed when they get something different. Some other people just wanted an excuse to stick the boot in. It’s viewed as a 'failure' despite selling over a million copies. You can't please some people.

I saw you live last year at Download Festival and I had a hell of a good time. You were absolutely great and I can’t wait to see you again playing live. Are your live performances your main advantage?
Playing live is what it’s all about. BUT so is being in the studio. Each has their merits. But, yes... playing live is of huge importance to us.

You’re currently on a tour with Lady Gaga and I’m sure you know that a lot of fuss has occurred. Firstly, she is a love/hate persona and then she plays the pop music that most rock fans hate. What do you really expect of this tour?
We expect to go out there and entertain people. We're there to warm the crowd up for the headliner, and that's what we'll do. We have the greatest respect for Gaga as an artist and musician. People who dismiss her as 'just' a pop performer really don't know what the hell they're talking about.

I personally admire your vocal skills and love the way you sing, but you may know that there are people out there that have a different opinion. Would you consider changing your singing style at some point? I believe your range will allow you to sing differently.
I'll sing how I like for as long as I like, and if i change it will because I want to change. Other people's opinions are of little interest to me.

The DarknessWhat do you recall about the incident with Lemmy that’s on his movie? Are you in good terms with him and Dave Grohl?
Water under the bridge. That was a long time ago and we were all so much younger. Except Lemmy. He's been the same age forever, and long may he continue!

After the tour with Lady Gaga, what does the future hold for The Darkness?
More shows, more songs, more recording. More sushi.

Thanks for your time. Add anything you want. Hope to see you playing in Greece really soon.
Thanks Chris. Hello to everyone in Greece. Hope we see you soon!