The Dark­ness

Pinewood Smile, 6 Oc­to­ber

Guitarist - - The Lineup - Pinewood Smile will be re­leased on 6 Oc­to­ber via Cook­ing Vinyl. The Dark­ness start their tour in Ire­land this Oc­to­ber be­fore UK dates in Novem­ber www.thedark­nesslive.com

With a new al­bum, fol­lowed by a tour and even a film, The Dark­ness are com­ing back in a big way. We talk to Dan Hawkins about why the band is in the best place it’s ever been now, and his love of the Mar­shall Su­per Lead… It seems like the band is in a re­ally good place, but what’s it been like for The Dark­ness since the re­union in 2011? “When we got back to­gether, the man­ager, la­bel and band thought it was go­ing to be a ‘Ta da!’ kind of mo­ment and it kind of mis­fired a bit. But I was talk­ing to some­one to­day and he was com­par­ing our last three al­bums to the three al­bums Aero­smith did when they got back to­gether. And it’s in­ter­est­ing how they mapped ours with this lat­est one be­ing our Pump. And I love Pump, so I was happy with that com­par­i­son.

“It’s cool, but we’ve had so many dif­fer­ent is­sues – things not re­lated to the ac­tual mu­sic and the el­e­ment of the Dark­ness that is about fun. More le­gal stuff, man­age­ment is­sues and drum­mers de­part­ing… just so much crap. We’re now in a place where we’ve fi­nally got through it all. All the peo­ple we didn’t want to work with have gone for­ever, all of the lawyers who were chas­ing us for this that and God knows what have all been paid and have gone away. We’ve got the ul­ti­mate line-up and we all get on so well. Plus we’ve got an awe­some man­age­ment team and a great la­bel.” Apart from the Pump com­par­i­son, how would you de­scribe your new al­bum, Pinewood Smile? “It’s like for the last [two] al­bums we’ve been look­ing back at what we liked about what we’ve done in the past and try­ing to take el­e­ments of that and redo it. But this al­bum is so not like that. Let’s do what­ever, let’s have a laugh and not worry about whether we’re go­ing to have any hits. I think you can hear that. The al­bum doesn’t re­ally care!” It sounds like your chemistry is branch­ing out as a band on this record… “Def­i­nitely, and Ru­fus [Tay­lor, drums] is heav­ily in­volved in the writ­ing on this record. The stuff that he’s singing on the al­bum is gen­er­ally lyrics he’s writ­ten. I’d say he and I were the nu­cleus of the mu­sic. We would work on riffs and mu­si­cal ar­range­ments, get them up to a point while the other guys were do­ing the flow­ery stuff and work­ing out where it’s go­ing to go. He and I worked in­cred­i­bly close to­gether on all the mu­sic. So I guess we are branch­ing out be­cause there’s a new writer in the band.” Is it still Gib­son/Mar­shall for you? “I’ve been on this sonic ex­per­i­ment for God knows how many years now. I started work­ing with this guitar tech­ni­cian called Ian Nor­folk, and it’s ter­ri­ble, re­ally – he eggs me on be­cause he’s an into ex­per­i­ment­ing with amps as I am, just try­ing to find that per­fect tone. We’ve gone through moun­tains of gear in the last cou­ple of years, but the one thing I keep com­ing back to is the Mar­shall Su­per Lead. I made a real break­through in that depart­ment re­cently. I tried bou­tique ver­sions and hand-wired ver­sions or Mar­shalls and mod­ded Mar­shalls. I tried ev­ery dif­fer­ent make you can imag­ine try­ing to find the tone in my head, and the un­equiv­o­cal thing I’ve found is that – un­for­tu­nately for me and the first five rows – is the sound in my head is a 100-watt Plexi with no power break or at­ten­u­a­tion through four 4x12 Green­backs. That’s it and there’s noth­ing on this planet that beats that sound for me. But it’s so loud I can’t have it fac­ing to­wards me; I now have to have it fac­ing off to­wards the mon­i­tor guy! And it’s amaz­ing how ver­sa­tile that amp is, just with you vol­ume con­trol.” There’s a Dark­ness doc­u­men­tary com­ing next year, too… “Yes, with this guy Si­mon Em­mett, who is an award-win­ning pho­tog­ra­pher who’s shot ev­ery­one from Jay Z to su­per­mod­els. He also made this film about his lo­cal foot­ball club Bar­net FC called Un­der­hill. What he does is kind of like hu­man in­ter­est sto­ries and fo­cuses on un­der­dogs and the com­mit­ment of fans, things like that. Then he asked if he could do one on us. We were very flat­tered.

“That was about three years ago and the cam­eras haven’t re­ally stopped rolling since. It’s one almighty edit­ing job. That’s the main el­e­ment of the crowd­fund­ing cam­paign, to find some­one worth their salt to go through the footage and pull the film to­gether. We’re hop­ing it will be fin­ished next year.” [Read more about the Indiegogo cam­paign at http://bit.ly/dark­ness­film.]

The Dark­ness’s pow­er­ful new dy­namic is be­ing cap­tured on film for a forth­com­ing doc­u­men­tary

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