INTERVIEW: – FRANKIE POULLAIN from THE DARKNESS
When the chance to interview Frankie Poullain from the band The Darkness (he’s the one on the right in the picture above) came up, I jumped at the chance. It is not often you get to interview a member of a Larger Than Life band member.
The Darkness formed in the U.K. in 2000 and came to prominence with the release of their debut album, Permission to Land, in 2003, backed by the singles I Believe in a Thing Called Love and Get Your Hands Off My Woman. But rapid success and constant touring came at a price and Frankie Poullain left the band in 2005 prior to the release of the second album, One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back. The band itself, imploded the following year, 2006.
Thankfully the band members came to their senses and reformed in 2011 and have been touring and releasing albums since. Last year they released their current album, Easter is Cancelled to worldwide favourable reviews and are on a mission to lead us to the sunlit uplands of inclusivity, togetherness and rock ‘n’ roll fellowship.
Hi Frankie. It is great to have The Darkness back in Adelaide again. Congratulations on the latest album, Easter is Cancelled. It certainly is a diverse album. Was it intentional to record it in so many different styles?
Thank you! Yes, I do think we gravitate towards different styles and approaches, for the sheer sport of it, so to speak.
Where did the name of the album, Easter is Cancelled, come from? Did the band set out to be controversial with the cover or was it always meant to be more Monty Python?
Last year we had provisional dates come through for our US tour and it looked like we were flying out on Easter Sunday. Our manager said ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ in an e mail and we thought ‘album title’! Then Justin came up with the idea of buff Jesus breaking free from the cross.
The album sounds like a band having fun, but I am guessing a lot of hard work went into the album. How many tracks would have been recorded just to get the 14 final ones.
15. I can only recall one not making the cut and that may surface later. It’s a song about a terrible nightclub.
Rock and Roll Deserves to Die from the album certainly has a bit of a Queen vibe to it, with both the guitar work and vocals. It reminds me when I first heard the debut Queen album back in the early 70’s. Is there a future for rock and roll or is it really dying?
We laid down the gauntlet as much for ourselves as other bands. All you can really do is dig deep creatively, mine for gold. Nothing has changed on that front; the problem is that the rock vocabulary and iconography is kind of worn out so it gets harder. The payoff is extra rewarding though when you hit on something new.
Do you have a favourite track on the new album?
Confirmation Bias the bonus track.
From Heart Explodes “I’m trying to write a ballad, that makes you want to stay, they’re easy to come up with but they’re difficult to play” How hard are ballads to play live?
It’s not easy to slow down and open your heart in the midst of balls to the floor.
Do you remember when you first were aware there was no Easter Bunny? (Although it pays to believe in him, otherwise no Easter eggs)
Honestly, I can’t remember!
How much of the new album can we expect in the set list when touring Australia? What can fans expect from the band on stage?
Expectations are overrated and often unhealthy. Arrive with soft ears and an open heart.
You are playing the iconic Gov Hotel in Adelaide, voted best live venue in Adelaide every year for the last few decades at least. How the does the band approach playing different sized venues, pubs, theatres and arena?
That sounds size-ist. We bring our A game regardless of square metreage.
You guys seem to enjoy making classic music videos to go with your songs. Which has been the most fun to put together?
Rock and Roll Deserves To Die with the baldness was liberating. Who knew hair was a drag?
The Darkness released their first album in 2003, how have changes to the music industry and the way people get their hands on your music impacted the band in this time?
It hasn’t really, music is music. The important instruments are constructed from trees. Man’s relationship with wood. Who cares about the industry? Bores and breadheads.
What was the last physical album you went out and bought yourself?
Parade by Prince.
What drew you to play the bass. I am guessing most youngsters starting in a band would want to be the singer or lead guitarist?
The moody vibrations.
The Darkness imploded quite quickly in 2005, after only 2 albums, reuniting in 2011. What was the atmosphere like in the studio when you first all got back together?
Healing and understanding, sniffing out redemption.
Rufus seems to have slotted into the band seamlessly, with the current line-up having now been in place for 5 or so years, with 2 studio albums and a live recording under its belt, how is the current line-up feeling compared to previous incarnations?
Not fair to say, but it sure feels exhilarating and powerful.
What song do you enjoy performing live the most and why?
Barbarian, because it’s badass and ‘nasty’, as the Yanks might say.
Your favourite Darkness album?
Easter Is Cancelled
CD, Vinyl, cassette or mp3?
Do you have a favourite memory of Australia?
Many, most of them unprintable, for good and bad reasons.
What has to be on the back stage rider for you personally?
Almonds and a fine bottle of red.
Finally, would the band ever consider incorporating any music form the various side projects into the Darkness set? Hot leg / Stone Gods?
See you in Adelaide. Looking forward to catching you live.
Looking forward to catching you too:)
The Darkness play The Gov Sunday 15 March, but the Adelaide gig is sold out, as are most of the Australian dates. Such is the power of The Darkness.