Darren Middleton was a guitarist in one of Australia’s most iconic bands, Powderfinger who in 2010 disbanded and completed a massive farewell tour. In November 2013 Darren Middleton released his debut solo album ‘Translations’ which is a very honest collection of material. I recently spoke to Darren about the release of this album and his current ‘One Thing’ Australian tour.
1. Your debut album Translations was released in November 2013. What was it like recording and writing this record?
Interesting, the writing was a reflection of the previous two years of my life, quite soul baring and challenging. The recording, great fun! I had a lot of friends involved lending their talents so it was a lot of fun for me.
2. What process did you go through to discover your individual sound as a solo artist and differentiate yourself from the work of Powderfinger?
It was a fairly natural process really, not forced or designed to be anything specific except what it ‘wanted’ to be. The only desire I had was for the landscape to be broad sonically, lots of air and the focus to be the voice and story.
3. Lyrically have you found yourself opening up more and telling your own personal story on Translations or do you write from other experiences? What song on the album would you say is the most personal/revealing?
This is a way more focused record, lyrically for me, more so than any in the past. It’s up front and honest, not riddled with metaphor and distance. The opening track ‘Can’t hide sad’ is quite a personal one for me.
4. Pete Murray, Clare Bowditch and Bernard Fanning are a few of the artists who you’ve collaborated with on this project. How important was it for you to have the input from your peers and fellow musicians on this record? What do you believe the strongest collaboration on this record is?
It was not designed that way, but became important as I began. I was still second guessing myself and I needed a few friends to give me a kick up the bum. The collaboration I’m most excited about was with Bernard. Just our history together, it was a really nice feeling to have him on board.
5. You will be touring Australia this April & May, what can your fans expect from these live shows?
Hopefully a moment in time where someone is standing before them baring their soul. The gigs have the songs stripped back to their heart and soul basically so its pretty much a direct line to whatever they are saying at the time.
6. You premiered your solo live set at the 2013 BigSound festival. Did you enjoy being back on stage and how did you prepare yourself to step up and take on the front man position?
I was nervous….really nervous, but as soon as we started, I was completely in love with it again. It felt like I had jumped up for the first time in my life and was thinking ‘how good is this!!!’
7. The lead single for Translations ‘Let Go’ is the first taste we have got from your solo music. Were you worried how people were going to react when they first heard it?
Not really. I believed in the song and could stand behind its story, so that makes it a lot easier in a sense. People are not really used to the sound of my voice, despite my history, so its new for them and I have to pretty much win everyone over from scratch…..fingers crossed.
8. If you had to describe ‘Translations’ in one sentence what would it be?
A beautiful reflection of a part of this man’s life. It’s always hard to answer this sort of question.
9. Powderfinger is always going to be an iconic band in the Australian music industry. What song in the Powderfinger Discography would you say is the bands most iconic song and why?
Well, people have really tied themselves to ‘These Days’ amongst others. Oddly, it was written for a film but just had that magic about it that seems to draw us to some songs more than others.
10. Do you believe that the music industry these days focuses on Imagery over artistry?
A little, it always has had focus on ‘image, always. I think perhaps things have become a little homogenized musically/production wise….a little too tricky and I find myself waiting for the fancy cobwebs to clear a little so I can fall in love with a singer and their songs again.
11. Here are a few sentences that you have to complete with the first thing that comes to your head…
– My ultimate music festival line up would be…Crowded house, Rage against the Machine, Magnet, Glen Hansard
– Something that no one knows about me is that…I entertained the concept of Astral Travelling for a short while in my 20’s
– If I had superpowers they would be…Flying
– One question I can’t stand in interviews is…How would you describe your sound?
– I don’t usually…forget faces
– I would never…say never
Darren Middleton is touring Australia this April/May on the back of his debut album ‘Translations’. Make sure you check him out live because you will not be disappointed.
‘ONE THING’ 2014 TOUR DATES
15th March – The Forum, Melbourne (supporting Pete Murray)
4th April – Soundlounge, Gold Coast
5th April – Hotel Brunswick, Brunswick Heads
6th April – Hotel Brunswick, Brunswick Heads
17th April – Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane
1st May – Fresh On Charles, Launceston
2nd May – Red Hot Music, Devonport
3rd May – Waratah Hotel, Hobart
8th May – Rock Lily, Sydney
9th May – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba
10th May – The Bunker, Coogee Diggers
11th May – Bombie Bar, Woollongong
16th May – Trinity Sessions, Adelaide
23rd May – Caravan Club, Oakleigh
24th May – Westernport Hotel, San Remo