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Life according to: The Darkness frontman, Justin Hawkins

The Darkness, fronted by Justin Hawkins
The Darkness, fronted by Justin Hawkins

The Darkness frontman talks about the band’s latest album and their special relationship with Scotland. 

How did the pandemic affect you?

We were in the middle of touring in Australia when we had to stop. It was an expensive and disheartening moment. We watched everything we had planned fall away.

Did you record the new album during lockdown?

We started working on it in the thick of it. We didn’t even get together to make the album. I was doing my stuff in Switzerland (where he lives) and sending it to the guys using technology.

What can you tell us about the track Welcome Tae Glasgae?

It’s something we always say to each other when we arrive in the city. I wonder if part of the reason we’ve always had a great reception there is because Frankie (Poullain, Scottish bass player) is in the band.

Barrowland is one of my favourite venues, I’ve never played another place with an atmosphere like it.

Any special Glasgow memories?

I had a bad tour four years ago, when I had a lump on my vocal chords and it had to be cut off and biopsied.

It was only a polyp but it was really hard to sing around and I couldn’t control my voice. We did a show at the Academy and it’s probably the worst I’ve sung but the crowd lifted me. I had the procedure and lots of after-care.

We did a show in the same venue and it’s probably the best I’ve sung. I was pleased that crowd got to hear me sing like that.

You headlined T In The Park in 2004. Did it feel like it came too soon?

They decided to promote us because David Bowie was too sick. We tried our best but it was too early because we only had one album and a bunch of B-sides. It would have been nice to have a little bit more material to share on those big stages.

It’s been 10 years since the band reunited – are you enjoying it more this time around?

We’ve been together for longer now than we were before. This is harder work than people realise. It isn’t all parties. We’re all passionate about music and the focus is on that.

Does touring in December mean you’ll play festive hit Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)?

The good thing about the Christmas song is we have a Christmas song. The bad thing is, because we have a Christmas song we end up touring when it’s really cold.

It would be nice to be sitting next to a fireplace, but sometimes we are sitting in some damp and wet dressing rooms.

The sacrifices we make, eh? But it’s a particular kind of wet and cold in Glasgow. It’s not just wet and cold for the sake of it – you’re up north for a start, so it’s justified.


Motorheart is out now. The Darkness play Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, on December 9