Photo Credit: Simon Emmett
UK Retro-Rock band, The Darkness, have been delivering exhilarating performances on stages worldwide for nearly two decades and have turned the sound of dissonance into an appeal for a variety of audiences. The English rockers have also been gathering crops from their experiences and putting together a feature-length documentary that is rumored to be out in 2018. Gearing up to share their fifth studio album with the world, I caught up with Bassist, Frankie Poullain, to discuss the upcoming release of ‘Pinewood Smile’, playing a run of shows with Guns N’ Roses, life in England, tattoos and more.
Congrats on the upcoming release of your fifth studio album, ‘Pinewood Smile’. Tell us about the creative and recording process behind the album.
The process was one of getting acquainted with Rufus Taylor and then to capture the energy of four men enjoying themselves, and occasionally musing over existential matters. We wrote most of the album in Inverness and Cornwall. We like to write on the extremities.
Adrian Bushby produced us and the backing tracks were recorded live to capture energy and edge. He was a joy to work with.
Rumor has it that The Darkness is working on a feature-length documentary. What inspired that decision and give us a run-down of what’s to come?
The documentary is directed by fashion photographer, Simon Emmett, and he is attempting to capture the eccentricities of people with unfashionable passions and obsessions. Namely us and our fans. It should be out next year.
The Darkness has UK tour dates announced. Are there any upcoming U.S. tour or festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?
It looks like we have a nice big juicy tour across the states about to be announced…April time.
You recently played a run of shows with Guns N’ Roses. Tell us about that experience and the greatest lesson that you learned while touring with the band.
It felt like going to war, the operation had a military-style feel, nothing left to chance. They were very accommodating and respectful towards us. Imola Racetrack in Italy was the highlight, over 100,000 on a crazy hot day. Justin never looks more at home than on an ego ramp, his energy is boundless and can’t be contained.
The Darkness has worn an eclectic array of clothing on stage throughout your careers. Who are some of your favorite designers and brands that you wear on stage?
We don’t really wear brands on stage, we have our own designers that we use. We don’t really talk too much to each other about what we’re going to wear, preferring to accentuate the differences between us as characters.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the artists that you collaborated with to bring the pieces to life.
I only wear invisible tattoos, I prefer the ambiguity and mystery. Justin has a striking image across his back of a large male fist and various naked women hanging from it. He has some really unique and unusual work across his body, always with personal significance or just plain wrong and hilarious.
For any of our readers who have never been to England, tell us about some of your favorite spots throughout the country that you recommend to check out.
Bath is an elegant and cultured city built on an old volcano and surrounded by beautiful sweeping hills and valleys. London is a rat-infested sewer, diseased and downtrodden, populated by desperadoes and try-hards, but I love it.
What is the biggest difference that you have noticed between live show crowds in the U.S vs. overseas?
American crowds holler and whoop more, they feel the jive, and before you know it you’re knee deep in a hoedown.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?
Get all of yourself wet.