The Darkness

Civic Hall, Wolverhampton on Thursday 3 July 2003

eFestivals caught up with Justin Hawkins (singer) from The Darkness in Wolverhampton to ask him a few questions.

NME reported your album as being entitled 'The Darkness', yet Kerrang called it 'Permission to Land'. Which one is correct?

Justin: Generally you have to ignore anything NME writes about us. Recently I met the editor of NME and he saidto me "you're going to hate me when I tell you who I am" so I said "Who are you?" and he replied "I'm the editor of NME" to which I said "Well, fuck off then!" because they slagged us off in the early days and we don't do features with them, we don't do anything with them. So they like to have a little dig here and there, but Kerrang have looked after us since the beginning so we are nice to them. Kerrang have got it right, but NME are not going to be accurate.

You seem to be a band that likes to put on a show, is that a fair comment?

Justin: That's one of the main things that we hold dear. The emphasis is on having a good time and being a multi-sensory experience rather than four blokes just playing their guitar. It is a visual thing, and it's a smell thing, and a touch thing in some cases. It is more of an event than a gig.

You are talented enough to make it without the gimmicks that you use like leotards etc, do you think that you would be able to make it without those gimmicks?

Justin: Yes I'm certain we would make it without the glam stuff but it wouldn't be as rewarding because the stuff I'm into is the high impact stuff like Aerosmith with their big stadiums, pyrotechnics and flashy costumes. That's one of the reasons I'm doing this, I'm living the dream in a way.

So your ideal goal would be to have a full stadium show?

Justin: Yes every bell and whistle imaginable would be ideal.

Do you feel that you have been built up too quickly so that you can be knocked down?

Justin: No, we have been going for years and the relationships in this band are long term, so it's not like we have just been thrust into the spotlight. We have done hundreds of gigs since 2000. So we see it as a curve that has gone steadily upwards in terms of the following we had, and then with the recent exposure we have had recently it's gone up.

What was the idea behind releasing 'She Grows on Me' as your first single?

Justin: We were aiming for top twenty in terms of the campaign that we structured, and the nature of that single means that it's not a genuine radio smash, it's a grower ironically, and it ended up at Number 11, then a week later it was still in the top twenty, so we have achieved our goal with that one, the next one is a radio smash.

You seem to be forever on tour, which band have you enjoyed touring with?

Justin: We really enjoyed Def Leppard, Ted Benson, and The Wildhearts they were the three best ones.

Who would you still like to tour with?

Justin: Aerosmith because I think we would do really well. Also the big challenge would be AC/DC but that would just be a piss dodging exercise, as their fans are really hard to please.

Do you have time to catch other bands at festivals?

Justin: I saw Metallica at Download, didn't see any of the bands at Glastonbury because it was the week of release for the album, as soon as we came off stage it was 12 hours of interviews with one hour break for lunch.

Are there any festivals you would like to play?

Justin: I’m looking forward to Reading because I used to go there all the time, 5 years on the trot. Untill my liver couldn't take any more. We (me and Eddie) used to run the fun centre at Reading, it was a few tents in the camp site with fun centre written over it. We had loads of white cider and power drinking events. A bit like a drinking exhibition. We are looking forward to playing there!

How would you describe 'Permission to Land'?

Justin: As a debut album it is up there with the best debut albums ever because it sounds huge, and the songs are brilliant. I'm proud of all of it. There is nothing concept about it, nothing funny, just a proper rocking album.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Justin: I want people to remember me as a person who just didn't give a fuck, one of the true not give a fuckers in this world.

Many thanks to Justin and The Darkness for their precious time and kind hospitality.

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article by: Luke Seagrave

published: 23/07/2003 12:44