17 December 2013 (released)
17 December 2013
10 years after the formation of The Darkness Marnie Wood interviews bassist Frankie Poullain. Poullain, full of dry wit and brutal honesty, talks about rejoining the band, social media and curry...
Music-News: Frankie, you were on twitter for a brief amount of time and then deleted it, do you think social networking is necessary for musicians nowadays?
FP: I don’t think it’s necessary, anyone can do something the way they wish. Personally I found that it was undignified, that’s why I left. I found that everyone was trying a bit too hard, suddenly everyone’s become really arched, the way they wouldn’t be in a conversation between two people, it became a great weight, which is nice in a way. I just felt like everyone was grasping too much so I found that I was writing messages to people, then I checked myself and I was like Frankie what are you doing, this isn’t you. It just didn’t feel right. Justin’s very good at it, he’s got that whole thing down. I just didn’t think it suited me. I have the feeling that it is the kind of thing where people will look back in a few years and be embarrassed about the way they were on twitter.
MN: We liked the sarcastic resignation letter that Justin put on twitter…
FP: well actually that was mine. I figured it summed up what I felt because it was full of self-importance and for most people that is what it’s about…it’s great for comedians like Justin. I guess you get some bands that are more twitter bands and some who are more Facebook but sometimes it’s just side-tracking because really the amount of time that some bands spend on social networks they could be working on their harmonies, working on songs or learning riffs with each other.
MN: How has your attitude to fame developed over the last 13 years? Would you say you've mellowed?
FP: Well its only ever really been recognition for being good, fame in itself is a game really, hence the expression ‘the fame game’. The most important thing is identity and not losing yours. The worst thing is to lose your identity and not become famous… The Darkness is the sore thumb of music, and that is our strength.
MN: Talking of sticking out like a sore thumb… how was touring with Lady Gaga last year? Why do you think your different styles complimented each other?
FP: to me it is nothing to do with music, it’s all attitude. I think it is an energy, which leads to an attitude. For example on this tour, The River 68s are completely different from us musically but they have a great attitude, they have the talent and they are warm-hearted lovely guys, they are just doing music for the right reason and they love music so we bond with them and like them.
MN: In previous interviews the band has mentioned a strong anti-bullying stance. What advice would you give to young people who experience bullying?
FP: most people who join bands probably were bullied that’s the portrait of a typical band. Don’t pander, just find a way of avoiding confrontation. Show strength if you can but it doesn’t have to be physical strength, it can be applied with words that have conviction… Tell the teacher!
MN: Any up and coming bands you would like to mention?
FP: The River 68s…. (ponders over question)… no, no one else!
MN: Are you pleased with your decision the re-join the band?
FP: If I say yes it makes me sound smug! I found the band became very ugly and I was glad not to be in an ugly atmosphere, the music wasn’t really important any more, it was becoming a very decadent, nasty and cruel atmosphere. The sound of that album is unpleasant to my ears, it sounds cold and inhuman because we had grown apart, and the whole thing to me was a nightmare.
MN: NME once called you the best member of The Darkness. Were you flattered? Do you agree with them?
FP: No I wasn’t flattered, I think it is meaningless what NME say, it is just pandering towards what is fashionable, it think it is like cultural fascism. It is the same thing with the Guardian with their ‘fifty coolest this’ and ‘fifty best that’. I think people who don’t have opinions of their own have someone dictate what they should watch based on what they think is cool is deeply patronising and offensive. It is everything that is wrong with British culture.
MN: We live in Camden and…
FP: I thought I recognised your faces. (to Emily) I’ve seen you before, do you know Ed Graham
FP: which part of Camden?
MN: By King’s Cross
FP: ah it is quite up and coming there. Do you live next to the canal?
MN: yeah it is a nice way to escape at night…and we see city foxes! There is great food there too! Many friends have told me that you adore Red Rose Tandoori, is it true that you flew a curry to the US?
FP: I think that was Justin being mischievous! There was some truth in it because we do go there quite a lot and the story had a happy ending because the man who runs it is a lovely guy with a lot of spiritual energy to him. We called him up a few months after and said can you deliver some curry to our rehearsal room, he wouldn’t even let us pay.
MN: Well you have made them famous! Do you have any surprises in store for your homecoming gig on the 19th?
FP: Well, it is a surprise because it’s a brand new venue and no one’s ever played there before, we’re christening the place. It’s going to be interesting! When the storms were crashing against the coast, it is right on the pier so if the storms come back it could be a great way to go! The whole thing could collapse!
MN: How are you celebrating Dan's Birthday tonight?
FP: You’ll see…there may be something on stage later!