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    My (unedited) Darren Hayes interview

    10-08-07

      12:24:59, by S p r k .   , 3119 words  
    Categories: Categorie-loos

    My (unedited) Darren Hayes interview

    Another post in English, since there might be some international readers interested in this. I had the opportunity to interview Darren Hayes a month ago about his new album, coming out and all that stuff... It appeared in the current issue of Gay&Night magazine. Here's the full, unedited version. Feel free to link to this URL if you want to link to the interview. Do not copy the text onto other sites etc. Thanks and enjoy.

    With their hits To The Moon And Back and Truly Madly Deeply, the Australian duo Savage Garden conquered the music scene in the late 90s. The lead singer, Darren Hayes, went on to become a succesful solo artist who wasn?t afraid of giving the audience insight into his personal life through his music. However, for years he was very ambiguous about his sexual preference and would not confirm or deny the many rumors about him being gay. Then, in the summer of last year, he married his boyfriend and came out to the world. This month, his third solo album This Delicate Thing We?ve Made is released and for the first time Darren is in full control of his own carreer.

    You were with quite a large record company until last year, what made you decide to leave?
    Gosh? Creative freedom ? full stop. Like a lot of artists, I began my carreer in a very commercial way, and thankfully sold a lot of records. But as I started to grow up as a person and as an artist, my music started to change and I felt more and more restricted by Sony. I made an album called The Tension And The Spark, and it was such a personal statement, such an important thing in my life. And it was met with such resistance? I sort of vowed never to be in that situation again, where I?d work so hard on something and it would just get shelved. It was released in the UK and Australia, but hardly in Europe and not at all in America. For an artist like me, who made them a lot of money in the past, it was a very hurtful experience to realize that executives and men in a boardroom had the ability to shut my carreer down because they didn?t understand it or didn?t like it.

    So now you've started your own label - what is it like to be in charge of EVERYTHING?
    It?s exchausting! I?m very hands-on, it?s not just a vanity label. I have 20 people around the world that work for Powdered Sugar. I?m involved in everything from making the records, choosing the singles, artistic decisions and directions, to booking advertisements and deciding what the sticker on the cover of the record looks like. It?s been a major undertaking, but it?s been enormously rewarding.

    I think you've said you're a Kate Bush fan. Has her album Hounds Of Love had anything to do with you releasing a double album consisting of 25 tracks?
    I?m a huge fan. Hounds Of Love was very conceptual, and I love the idea that my album could be like a play, with a first act and a second act. I bought the same synthesizer that Kate used for the album on eBay, it?s called the Fairlight, and I used that as a time machine, kind of, to channel something otherworldly.

    Side A of Hounds Of Love is filled with commercial tracks, and side B is more like an abstract story? Is that what you?ve set out to do with your album as well?
    No, it?s more like a story that develops from beginning to end. It begins with a song called A Fear Of Falling Under, and it?s all about plunging into water, and the water being a metaphore for your subconscious mind. I?m finding all these discarded objects in the dark corners, and throughout the record I examine them. One of the first things I find is a time machine. I go back in time and I visit myself as a child and I visit the people who bullied me, I deal with my relationship to my father? The last song is me coming home to my house in London and flying through the bedroom window on a chair that?s in the sky and I come back to reality a fixed person, a more informed and forgiving version of myself.

    So I guess it?s as personal as your last album?
    More so, I think. It continues on a theme, it?s almost a sequel to that record. There?s a song called How To Build A Time Machine, which is about my father. How, if I could, I would go back and tell him I missed him. The record has a much more colorful and more optimistic tone than The Tenstion And The Spark, but it?s still very analytical.

    I noticed in the album version of the song Unlovable, you sing ?You make me feel like my father never loved me? and then I?ve seen live performances where you sing ?You made me feel??, bringing into past tense, I guess. Did you deal with things in a different way since creating that album?
    Very much. The songs were written about how I felt at the time. When I perform them later on, the circumstance has changed, because I?ve dealt with it through song, and through emotion. When I sing Unlovable now, it?s almost a happier version. I?ve been mashing it up with the Fergie song Glamorous. I used the chords and the music from her song and I sing it in a way that is all in past tense, because obviously I feel loved today. But when I worte the song, I didn?t.

    Was it your intention to do that many tracks when you started recording the album?
    I didn?t have the exact number, but I planned to make a double album. Initially I planned to have 23 songs, because I was fascinated with that number. I wanted everything on the record to be about 23. But I ended up writing more songs and I sort of forgave myself. And 2 and 5 are derivatives of 23. 5 is 2 + 3 and that?s 23, so?

    Kind of like that Jim Carrey movie.
    Yeah, it is about that. But I haven?t seen the movie. It?s a mystical number, actually.

    Which artists do you look at for musical or lyrical inspiration? I suspect the performance of I Knew I Loved You may have been inspired by Imogen Heap?
    Actually, that was inspired by Laurie Anderson. And I think Imogen was probably inspired by Laurie as well. She sang a song through a vocoder in 1982. And the show designer introduced me to her and that?s kind of how I became obsessed with the vocoder. Imogen?s song Hide & Seek is just adorable ? actually it?s incredible. But when I put the dots together I realized maybe she had been listening to Laurie, too.

    Do you use any vocoder on your album?
    Yes, there?s a song called The Only One, which is pretty heavily inspired by Laurie and her use of sampling the voice as a percussion instrument. That happens a lot on the album, that my voice becomes a pattern that?s sampled and it becomes a symphony? But I try not to consciously be inspired by mainstream artists. Of course I love pop music, but I always try to make sure when I?m making records I go back further. When I made this album I listened to a lot of Kate Bush and early Eurythmics, Laurie Anderson, Jean-Michel Jarre, Giorgio Moroder and ELO? A lot of records that were made in the era of the Fairlight. I think my theory is, if you listen to something that?s on the radio and you get inspired and make another song because of that, by the time your record comes out, you?re already just a pale imitation of something that was great at that moment. It?s very tempting to do that, but I try as much as possible to not consciously be inspired by the radio.

    Yeah, if you?re basing new material on stuff that?s out now, by the time it?s recorded and released, it?s already outdated.
    It?s already old, and it?s already tired. And let?s face it: whoever did the song that you love, did it the best. The imitation is never as good. For example: Kylie?s Can?t Get You Out Of My Head. Amazing pop song. And afterwards there were lots of female singers making these electro songs, but Kylie did it the best.

    We've had interviews in our magazine with the recent winner of Holland's Next Top Model, as well as one of the judges on the show who I guess you could say is the Dutch equivalent of Janice Dickinson. What was it like to work with the real Janice for your music video?
    I met her in Los Angeles, she was in the lobby of the hotel that I was staying in. My publicist also represents her. It was just a chance meeting, she was in the lobby and he introduced me to her. She was completely the opposite of her character on stage. She?s really soft and feminine and kind. I was struck by that, and I said, as a joke, ?you should come by the video tomorrow!? and she did. She decided that she liked me and she came down to the set. As Janice Dickinson does, she made the whole day about her. Everybody was running around after her, terrified. I was just laughing, I thought she was really funny.

    You've always been secretive about your lovelife yet the lyrics on your previous album are very personal. Was that your way of trying to come out to the world?
    Umm, yeah, I?m sure on some level it was my way of being honest. I?ve always written songs about who I was. That album was really a diary of depression, the end result of two years of therapy. I knew, with some of the lyrics, it was essentially me coming out. I knew people would realize I was singing about a man. At the time I tried to have a bit more dignity, than to just hold a press conference and tell the whole world I was gay. Clearly, I had no problem that people assumed I was gay, but it wasn?t until I met my boyfriend and eventually we got married, that I felt strong enough in my personal life that I wanted my audience to know who I was. Also because I knew that he was a permanent part of my life and he was going to inform my life and my music. So that became part of what I wrote about.

    I think there are a lot of young gay guys out there who are really yearning for normal gay rolemodels, when right now all they're getting is... you know, Jack on Will&Grace. Did that move you in any way to finally make the announcement about your partnership?
    I think it takes a long as it takes for anyone to come out. You never really stop coming out. There?s always an opportinuty for someone to ask you who you are. Even if you?re just buying flowers, and the flower fella says you ?are these for your girlfriend??. You have an opportunity to say ?no, it?s for my boyfriend, actually?. If there had been people like me, openly gay, when I was growing up, I probably would have come out earlier, because I would have had a role model. But you know, I think I don?t look hideous, I?m mildly attractive, and I think I do represent somebody who can still inspire young people and still be someone to look up to. It?s not like I waited until I was Cliff Richard, it?s not like I feel completely undesirable or unworthy. But I first had to accept myself as being gay, before I could tell you that I was gay.

    Now that you've come out and the world knows you're gay and married, has that changed anything for you?
    I was never afraid how it would impact sales, I was never afraid of my carreer. I was afraid of my feelings about it. I knew that coming out in an ideal world is a liberating thing. But the world we live in at the moment, there are still small minded people and there are people who have prejudices? I was definitely afraid of being marginalized. But you know what? On the whole, it has probably been the most positive thing I?ve ever done for my carreer. Because I have absolutely opened up my audience and I?ve kept all these incredible loyal amazing fans that I already had. I might have lost some, but the people who I?ve lost I don?t want anyway. I don?t want someone to come to my show if they objected to who I was as a person. The people that I?ve gained really embraced me. The gay community has been so encouraging and kind and grateful, that someone in my position can stand up and say ?this is who I am?. If there?s any downside, it?s just that sometimes my love life will come into an interview when there?s no place for it. I did a radio interview for a mainsteam pop station this week, and the first question the journalist asked me was ?so, how did you tell your wife that you were gay??. And, you know, I laughed it off and I dealt with it. But internally I was thinking, that?s really sad that this person is talking to me like I?m the first gay person they?ve ever met. I mean, gay people are everywhere, and I just accept that I?m part of a generation that is making this thing normal. And I know that in 20 years time this all will be no big deal.

    In Holland we're really working on allowing same sex couples to adopt. Would you like to have children at some point?
    Of course! I definitely would. And I will. I think that?s part of the blessing of not having a traditional life. I have not been able to conceive a child within my relationship, but I?ve been given the opportunity to have a carreer where I?ve made some money, and I?ve got a good home, and I can give an education and a loving family to a child who doesn?t have a home. In many ways for me it?s a more sincere desire to be a parent, because I don?t want to be a parent just to see my genes reflected. I want to be a parent because I have a lot of love to give. And when I can concentrate on doing it full-time for a few years, I would try to find a younger child, not neccesarily a baby, but somebody who was old enough to understand the family that they were coming into.

    When you were touring your last album, you took 'audience interaction' to the next level and arranged a date for 2 of your audience members during your show. Have you received any marriage invitations from those people?
    No, but there is one couple that we introduced that are still boyfriend and girlfriend. So it worked once. Not bad huh?

    That must have been a pretty weird 1st date for those people then...
    Well, if I was a fan of an artist I would hate that, because they didn?t really get to see they show. They got bad food and a view of my rear.

    Bad food?
    It was really cheap, really bad food. We pretended that it was from the world?s best restaurant, but it was actually just salad from our back room. We did give them alcohol, though. That helped.

    And what was the weirdest 1st date you've ever had?
    It was with a really tall man. He was so tall that no-one paid attention to me. He even didn?t pay attention to me the entire date. It was actually at a Gay Pride, I was set up on a date. He was about 8 foot tall, really tall. Essentially, I spent the whole night standing next to him while people talked to him and had their pictures taken with him. It was like going out with Michael Jackson, in terms of the celebrity factor. It was a very, very strange experience. He was a nice guy, though. Too tall.

    How tall are you?
    5 foot 10.

    So just a little bit shorter then.
    Just a little.

    As soon as this album is out, what can the audience expect from you? Will you be touring, will you finally be coming to Holland?

    Yeah, there are definitely plans to come to Holland and to Paris. Maybe not with the full production that I have, because obviously I don?t sell as many records there. It?s planned either later this year or just before spring, to bring my club show. There?s a really great promoter in Holland who has been chasing us, which we love. And you know, I like Holland. I love the free thinking, the sense of humour and how politically progressive you are. I think it?s something the rest of the world can really take notice of.

    Do you think you'll be visiting Amsterdam for the annual Gay Pride that is happening in the first week of August?
    No, because unfortunately I?ll be in Australia. My record comes out there and in America on August 20th, so it?s the busiest month of my life. But I will be there in spirit. I?m kind of new to the pride thing, I was kind of ashamed for too long. I?m only just getting my head around the festivities. I performed at London pride this year, which was a blast. And I performed at Stockholm pride last year, and I?ve performed at Sydney pride, so I think it?s about time to perform at Amsterdam pride as well!

    Well, we hope to see you soon.
    Yes! And thanks for the great questions! It?s always a pleasure to talk to someone who actually knows anything about me, so thank you so much.

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