We chat to former Savage Garden member Darren Hayes about his upcoming album and his solo career as a whole.
-Plans for this album seem to have been in the pipeline for a long time. Are you excited to finally get it released?
It's taken me four years to write and record this album so I'm relieved more than anything to know it's finally being released. It's been a lot of hard work and we're all really proud.
-Your solo albums have always had a few years between them. What's the touring/recording cycle like for you?
It takes me a while to have something I want to say. I really believe the only way for me to be able to make music is if I have lived some life in between records because ultimately my songs are about real people and real life.
So after an album and tour are over I take 6 months to a year to do other things. Once I went to University and studied screen writing. Another time I learned to dance. This time I really got into cooking!
-How was the songwriting process for this album?
It started accidentally when I was asked by Syco, Simon Cowel's label to write songs for Leona Lewis.
I was introduced to a writer named Carl Falk and although we didn't come up with anything suitable for Leona, we had such a strong connection and we began writing songs for me.
That was a few years ago now! That process began a great journey of working out what my next sound was going to be.
-It's been almost a decade since your first solo album. How do you think your solo career's gone?
I started singing in my first band in 1992 so I'm coming up to 20 years in this business. That's a long time.
So the fact that I'm still making music I believe in is a success in its own right.
It was never going to be easy transitioning from a band to being a solo artist but I accepted that right from the beginning. I'm proud of my work and how I've evolved as artist.
-What can fans expect from new single 'Talk Talk Talk'?
It's a great introduction to an album that is quite layered and emotional. 'Talk Talk Talk' is really effervescent - it's a combination of fantastic modern pop production with live strings and a lyrical sentiment that is very serious.
I think of it as a song about peace talks between two lovers at war. Its a plea, really, to come down off your mountain and hug it out.
-Do you do anything differently this time round?
I try to balance out my private life with my public job - I have learned to draw a very clear line in the sand and save up hugs and kisses and special moments with friends and family when I can because the job involves a lot of travel away from the people you love.
That becomes harder to negotiate as you get older and more settled in your skin so I made a pact that I would only do this if and when I felt I had something I was proud to show the world.
-Was it difficult moving from Savage Garden to your solo career?
Of course it was. But I learned very early on not to compare the two in terms of record sales or commercial success.
I was a part of something extraordinary and apart from writing the songs and performing them - there was a lot of luck and timing involved in how successful the band was.
You can't control that. So I began a solo career a decade ago starting from scratch and its made me grateful for every tiny success I've achieved on my own.
-Do you miss the duo/band environment?
It's been so long now - I've made more music and performed twice as much on my own as I ever did as a band. I cherish the memories, but they are definitely from a long time ago.
-Are you looking forward to touring?
Most artists will tell you that is their favourite part and it's true. I like writing and recording as much as I like performing live. The two go hand in hand.
Live shows are a joy for me because it's when the music really evolves and changes literally in front of your eyes.
-What can fans expect from your live show?
They can always expect to be surprised. I work with Willie Williams - director and show designer for U2 amongst others - and he and I always try to do something that takes the album to a theatrical place.
Obviously I'm not playing stadiums like U2 - but we do try to create a unique experience that engages the audience on many levels.
I am going to start off in tiny venues to begin with this year and hopefully expand the show in 2012.
-Do you have any fond touring memories over your career?
My first tour of the United States was amazing. It's such a large land mass - it took 2 months to play 40 dates and you do most of that living on a tour bus.
You get to see the real America in the tiny truck stops and corner stores. Every day in a new city was like a new country. I loved it.
-Will this album mark the start of more frequent activity?
It marks an awakening from a self imposed slumber probably yes!
I believe in the album and I want to share it with the world so that involves being out there. So that is what I shall do.
-Who are your main influences?
I don't try to copy other people or imitate their sound. Rather, I take inspiration for how they carry themselves, how they survive in this strange business and how they evolve.
So artists who have done all those things are usually of another generation. I adore Kate Bush, Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel for example.
-What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I'm touring the UK in October, Australia in November and there is talk of a couple of U.S dates after.
Talk, Talk, Talk is out now. Watch the video below.
Female First - Alistair McGeorge
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