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EXCLUSIVE: The Darkness reveal new album details

Lowestoft rockers The Darkness have been speaking to Classic Rock about their forthcoming album. Frontman Justin Hawkins says that they’ve nearly finished writing the follow-up to 2012 comeback, Hot Cakes.

And it seems that the band’s choice of locale has been key. “We’ve been writing it on a remote island just off the coast of Ireland,” he explains. “It’s been a really inspirational place to work and a real luxury to be able to do that. It’s a great place to write songs. There’s really nothing to do but rock out and enjoy the scenery and the Atlantic. We have loads of super-strong material.”

Hawkins’ guitar-toting brother Dan reveals that it wasn’t the first place they tried, but is glad they ended up there. “We just thought it was about time we fucking made an amazing album,” he offers. “We wanted to be inspired and write it in an inspirational place. Our first attempt was in Ibiza, but unfortunately we just sat around in shorts and drank non-alcoholic beer by the pool and ended up writing calypso tunes. So Ireland is the complete opposite.”

Recording is due to begin in August or September. “We’ve put a lot of work into the pre-production on this one,” adds Dan. “There’s an album pretty much already recorded, but in demo form. We’re even talking about recording it in Kerry too. I can’t tell you what sort of effect the place has had on us. It’s just triggered some of these medieval, Led Zep-style riffs that we’ve been missing for a while.”

In fact, the guitarist seems to have borrowed more than one page from the Zeppelin handbook: “I was reading something about them and Jimmy Page was talking about how bands went out to make very eclectic albums in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Whereas these days bands tend to think, ‘What would our fan base expect us to do?’ and stay within those parameters. And I think we’ve been guilty of that with the last record. So this one is more like an experimentation in rock. It’s similar to what we did on the first record [2003’s Permission To Land], where there was every different type of rock song on there. Change is good and we are changing massively on this next record, sonically and in appearance. Everything is pretty much going out of the window.”

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.