So it should come as no surprise that we have been dying to interview
Darren Hayes for about a year now since we started EQ and we finally got a chance to catch up with him after coming off his recent Club Delicacy residency performances at The Soho Revue Bar in London.
In part 1 of our interview with Darren Hayes, he talks about the upcoming ‘Time Machine Tour’, the origins of some key songs on ‘This Delicate Thing We’ve Made’ as well as his thoughts on the current resurgence of electro music. It’s all just "seriously deadly, and deadly serious…"
Electroqueer: Hello Darren and welcome to EQ! So you just finished your amazing Club Delicacy showcase tour which hit the UK, Australia and the USA and Canada – how does it feel to have completed this showcase and to play some of your new music to the audiences?
Darren Hayes: It’s been a total thrill and the pleasure was all mine. Willie Williams has to take credit for the idea of me playing residency performances ie: tiny regular club dates, as it was his belief that this would help the songs develop live. I have never in my entire career debuted a record live before it hit the shelves and I have to say it was a joy. I loved seeing how through MySpace the audience was changing and were becoming more and more familiar with the new sound as I released teasers on the ‘net’.
EQ: So ‘The Time Machine Tour’ is coming up…how is it going to differ from Club Delicacy and your other solo tours?
DH: Oh God, it’s like night and day. This tour is the largest production I’ve ever had on stage. There are two identical stages being built …one here in the UK and one for Australia as we don’t have time to ship it here and back. It’s a full on pop show with theatrical leanings, costumes, sets etc. This show is almost like a musical. A lot of the songs will merge together and there are extensions of the idea that I mash up songs – both others and my own, to tell the story. It’s deadly seriously and seriously deadly.
EQ: ‘How To Build A Time Machine’ is an amazing song on your new album and there is a delicate story behind this track – can you tell the readers a little bit more about the story behind this song?
DH: Well, quite simply I had a dream that I went to sleep in my sister’s house one day and when I woke up it was 1983. Only I was 35 years old. I was still my age but it was 20 years in the past and I had traveled back in time. I tip toed out of the bedroom and realized that I had just one day to revisit my childhood and fix all the things that were broken. Including my relationship with my father and my view of myself. The song is about how I would do things differently if such a thing were possible. My relationship with my father has been and will always be the most influential experience of my life. This song explores the intensity of that.
EQ: We’ve been saying for quite some time now that ‘Step Into The Light’ feels like a natural sequel or next chapter to your song ‘Darkness’ from Tension And The Spark. Is that true?
DH: Honestly I think the whole album is. I see this record as a sequel to ‘The Tension and The Spark’. It begins where we left off, with a song called ‘A Fear of Falling Under’ where I talk about dipping into my subconscious mind and the fear of what I might find. As you’ll remember with the last record, things were not so great and I’m delighted by the second song to work out in ‘Who Would Have Thought?’ that there is in fact a spark of hope in the darkness. ‘Step Into The Light’ is about finding more hope in the wilderness years and realizing that in fact, I had never truly been in love before. Not when compared to the real thing.
EQ: Tell us about your new single ‘On The Verge Of Something Wonderful’. Did you and Janice Dickinson have fun on the set of the music video?
DH: Oh for sure! The single is the neon trailer to the movie that is this record. The record is actually deeper and darker in parts but I wanted to start somewhere in the middle with the singles to show that this ‘movie’ has a happy ending. The video is one of my favorites in my career mostly because it’s super 80’s and puts me in Tron world. Janice was a happy accident and she was a total dream to work with!
EQ: What was the inspiration behind ‘Me, Myself and (I)?
DH: The inspiration musically was Prince and Shave. I’d been playing Prince’s ‘Sign O The Times’ to Shave and in particular I was obsessed with the character Camille. ‘Bombs Up In My Face’ is also in the same vein. The theme lyrically is about ‘time travel’ and the notion that my soulmate was out there but somehow I’d messed things up and perhaps we’d missed each other by a lifetime. That theme is all over the album and especially in the song ‘The Future Holds a Lion’s Heart’. I believe very fiercely that I have been in Victorian England before and that coming ‘home’ to find my soulmate felt so natural because it was in fact, my destiny.
EQ: So outside of the new songs you’ve performed at Club Delicacy – there still are quite a few songs we haven’t heard yet – Can you tell us about any of those?
DH: God, where to start? By far my favorite songs on the album are ‘Casey’ and ‘How To Build A Time Machine’ because they define the sound of the record. But then moments like ‘Setting Sun’ and ‘Bombs Up In My Face’ let me explore my darker electro obsessions and moments like ‘Words’ are quite simply "aural sex". It’s just a voice and a piano. The most interesting production on the album is probably a song called ‘The Only One’ which is heavily inspired by 10CC and Laurie Anderson. What you will not find on this album is a 21st century influence. I rarely get inspired by the future. I like the idea of going back to go forward.
EQ: You obviously have such a huge passion for electronic music – what do you think of the current resurgence of electro music today – do you think it’s going to last?
DH: I think it always has. My first single 11 years ago was electro-ish (‘I Want You’) and I’m still doing it today. Madonna’s ‘Lucky Star’ or ‘Burning Up’ still sounds fresh today next to ‘Get Together’. New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ is to me what Robyn’s ‘With Every Heartbeat’ is. Good electronic music has been around since the first drum machine and there’ll always be room for good records. I’m not interested in fads. You know like in the 70’s how even rock bands were trying to make disco records because disco was ‘hot’? Electronic music is a bit like that these days. It’s flavour of the month. Thing is, I’ve always known what flavour I like. It may go in and out of fashion but sooner or later you hit your time.
EQ: How does it feel to be getting some good press in America, especially after the debacle that happened with ‘The Tension and the Spark’ being shelved?
DH: It feels like being let out of prison to be honest. I don’t think I can ever truly explain the frustration I felt seeing my best record sit on a shelf and gather dust. I vowed that would never happen again to me and it was the sole reason I decided to start my own label, ‘Powdered Sugar’. I could have signed to another major in the UK and I just thought "fuck it". What do executives in suits know about music today anyway? To realize that my audiences were out there trying to find my records and not being able to buy them (or hear them!) was bittersweet. Thank god for MySpace and cool bloggers like yourself Raj!
Aww – thanks Darren! Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Darren Hayes where he talks about blogging, being his own boss, his latest obsession with Robyn and all things 80’s!