Star Scene: Justin Hawkins ~ The Darkness

Justin Hawkins’ scene seems to be dodging and skirting. The lead vocalist and guitarist from English band, The Darkness, states: “Well I think I like mountaintops. I like the wind rushing through my hair. I like snow-capped peaks. I like running, I like running away, cowardly running away from anything that requires any sort of dedication or commitment. That’s my scene.”

Though, with the issues that once plagued the band now resolved, Hawkins seems to have embraced his responsibility to the band and to his fans. The Darkness has just recorded tracks for a fifth studio album and have a hectic touring schedule ahead. Hawkins shares the band’s experiences online but only shares “the facts on the show”, reflecting his view of the internet age through his respect for his fans as well as for his music. He states: “I try to provide an insight into daily thing but really the only thing that changes is what we have for tea. The process is very cloak and dagger really, we don’t like it when people know what’s going on. It’s quite limited in what I can share. I’m trying to be more au fait with the new internet age. Like everything, the internet age has got pros and cons. I prefer quality as opposed to quantity. You’re encouraged to provide content; I like to provide art. I think it should be singles and videos and things that you’re really proud of. But it’s just stuff, a constant stream of stuff and I think that’s underestimating the audience really. I don’t think the fans are so dumb that you have to constantly drip feed them the ludicrous, the videos of you farting in the kitchen. I think be patient and you’ll enjoy the release more without all that guff, that literal and metaphorical guff.”

The Darkness is always true to their sound, and appeal to wide range of audiences. “We are like a crossover band,” Hawkins states. “I think we introduced a lot of people to rock who were pop. We’re like a gateway drug into the harder drugs of rock that they would not have discovered if not for The Darkness and I feel very proud of that, being a crossover rock band. It’s quite an achievement. It’s not something you can force into. When it happens to you, you just go with it.”

Recently The Darkness was taken to a whole different audience, and age group, through Apple Music’s commercial with Taylor Swift’s Dance like no one’s watching. Justin states: “Well I didn’t really know who she was, in all honesty. I mean I knew her name. Then when somebody said she’s going to do this and you’re going to get this much money, I thought ‘Oh that’s wonderful, and she can dance as much as she likes’.” Hawkins laughs and continues: “But I never really was aware of her work. The only thing I knew about her was that stupid Kanye West thing that happened. I sympathise with her for that but I also have a slight suspicion that it might have been a bit of a set up too, perhaps not completely. I think her participation wasn’t entirely involuntary, let’s put it that way. I know two five year old girls who really love the work of Taylor Swift. I’m delighted to see more people discovering The Darkness – that means more work and that’s what makes me tick.”


The band has an ever-growing fanbase in Australia and Hawkins says he can “feel” the love. He states: “It’s funny because the shows have sold really well and really quickly, especially in Melbourne where we ended up having to add two more shows, which is amazing. We do come back, we try and come back as often as we can to chip away and do the work in trying to make friends there and I think it’s starting to pay off now. So I’m really happy with the way that’s going.” As for touring, Hawkins states that he has “mixed feelings” yet when he delves in to it, he doesn’t see the negative at all. He continues: “On the one hand, once I’m doing it, there is nothing else I’d rather do. It’s a brilliant existence. I don’t want to leave the tour. Some people go out and have a day off here and there. And I just want to be with the tour, I want to be in the bus, I want to be in the hotel, I want to be where the party is; not the party party but the touring party because I’ve become immersed in it and I really enjoy it. You’re travelling a lot and regardless of what some people say that you don’t see these places, you do and you get to feel it. Traveling is amazing, it’s a total privilege and also playing to a varied audience especially if you’re doing an International tour. It’s a brilliant experience and I’m really grateful for it. To be totally honest, I don’t understand people who moan. I think it’s great.”

Hawkins is especially excited about coming to Australia. He recalls some of his favourite moments. “Actually, the last time we came I had a really brilliant time in Brisbane because I got some family there. My father’s sister moved to Australia, and they live in Brisbane so they came to the show and we Skyped mum and dad and we had the phone with the Skype call taped to the guitar stand so they could see the whole show. The family were there and it was totally packed and it really really kicked off and there was just you know people … women who were throwing their tops around and it was just crazy and a really awesome atmosphere. I just thought ‘Fucken hell, these people just know what we’re trying to do’; it was a brilliant experience and I really really enjoyed it.” [pullquote]I remember James Hetfield trying to help me, trying to encourage me to stop battering my liver. He was being really kind to me, taking me under his wing, and at the same time Lars Ulrich was doing the opposite, completely enabling me.[/pullquote] Hawkins continues: “The Big Day Out was great too. I remember touring with Metallica, Muse, Black Eyed Peas. It was an excellent bill that one.  I remember James Hetfield trying to help me, trying to encourage me to stop battering my liver. He was being really kind to me, taking me under his wing, and at the same time Lars Ulrich was doing the opposite, completely enabling me. Those sort of things only happened in Australia and that’s the reality of it, and that’s why everyone is excited about coming.”

Catch Hawkins with The Darkness at Groovin’ The Moo or/and one of the sideshows now:


Thursday April 27 – Eatons Hill, Brisbane (18+)

Tuesday May 2 – Max Watts, Melbourne (18+)

Wednesday May 3 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) – sold out

Friday  May 5 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+) – sold out

Wednesday May 10 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Lic/Aa)

Friday May 12 – Metro City, Perth (18+)


About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.