THIS INTERVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY INCLUSIVE NETWORKS IN SPRING 2015
AS ONE HALF OF SAVAGE GARDEN DARREN HAYES CREATED SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE SONGS OF THE 1990’S, INCLUDING ‘TRULY MADLY DEEPLY’ AND ‘I KNEW I LOVED YOU’. WITH MUSIC CURRENTLY TAKING A BACK SEAT IN HIS LIFE, WE CHATTED TO DARREN ABOUT HIS LOVE OF COMEDY, MUSIC AND HIS AMAZING CAREER.
YOU’VE DABBLED IN SOME STAND UP COMEDY RECENTLY TOO. WE’D LOVE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS?
The ‘stand up’ you’re referring to was a prank issued by Tim to me on our show. Part of The He Said He Said Show involves each of us issuing challenges, usually designed to humiliate the other one though originally we said it was to experience new experiences haha! But that was stand up written by Tim, and I had no idea what I had to say until I got up on stage. It was excruciating fun. All performing is performing to me and what is great about acting and comedy is that I feel the same connection to the stage. I’m an artist and it’s just another vehicle for expression.
DO YOU HAVE ANY COMEDY ROLE MODELS?
Stephen Merchant is probably my spirit animal. I love early Ellen DeGeneres stand-up, I love Lily Tomlin, Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld and my most favourite new comedian is probably Kyle Mooney.
AFTER TEN YEARS OF LIVING IN THE UK YOU MOVED TO AMERICA IN 2012. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU MISS?
They were amazing years. I miss friends, green commons, walking my dog without a lead, seasons, British TV and Waitrose.
“I’m honestly proud I have remained a decent human being after a journey that can be very traumatic. Sure there are spoils of success but there is a huge price. Nothing is free.”
STREAMING IS NOW A POPULAR WAY FOR PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO MUSIC. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS?
I think the problem is that all the digital platforms make money and pass it on to the record labels. The problem has been that the record labels don’t share how much they receive or pass on a fair share to artists. The general public is paying for music and they see artists as complaining but what recent developments are trying to show is that the artists are not actually receiving the lion’s share of earnings. It’s labels. I’m not sure how the new modes will change this but that’s the gist I believe. I feel sort of out of the conversation to be honest. It’s part of the reason I don’t enjoy making music at the moment because the industry is so confused.
YOU’VE ALWAYS PUT LOTS OF THOUGHT AND EFFORT INTO THE PHYSICAL FORMATS OF YOUR RELEASES. DO YOU THINK THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A PLACE FOR PHYSICAL RELEASES?
I love physical releases – and I’ve always been sentimental about them. I think people release physical formats now for two reasons. Firstly because they want to make music special and secondly because they want to give people a reason to pay for it when it’s so easy to steal.
DARREN HAYES, AMAZING SONGWRITER AND MUSIC STAR
YOU’VE EXPERIENCED MANY HUGE ACHIEVEMENTS IN YOUR MUSIC CAREER. WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?
I’m honestly proud I have remained a decent human being after a journey that can be very traumatic. Sure there are spoils of success but there is a huge price. Nothing is free. So I’m glad I’m still here and that I love what I do and that I have love in my life. That’s all anyone can ask for.
MANY NEW ARTISTS ARE OPEN ABOUT BEING GAY, LESBIAN OR BISEXUAL FROM THE BEGINNING OF THEIR CAREER. DO YOU THINK AN ARTIST BEING OPEN TO ALL ABOUT THEIR SEXUALITY IS NOW NO LONGER AN ISSUE TO RECORD LABELS?
I think we’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go. Most gay artists will tell you it’s frustrating to have your sexuality be an adjective used to describe what you do. That puts you in a box and that can feel limiting. Are we further along than we were in the 80’s? Of course. But it took a long time for a Sam Smith to arrive. I hope there are more. I genuinely feel lucky to live in this era and I have hope for future generations that they’ll live in a world where your sexuality is no more or less important than your shoe size.
ARE THERE STILL THINGS IN MUSIC THAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE AND EXPERIENCE?
Maybe one day.
“Most gay artists will tell you it’s frustrating to have your sexuality be an adjective used to describe what you do. That puts you in a box and that can feel limiting.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO RELEASE NEW MUSIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I have no plans at all. Kate Bush took 12 years between records last time. I may do the same. I may never make another record or I may put one out tomorrow. I’ll do whatever I feel in the moment. Right now it’s not music.
SO YOU’VE BEEN TELEPORTED BACK TO 1996. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE YOUNGER DARREN HAYES?
I wrote a letter to my 15 year old self that pretty much covers this. I’m sure you could google it. The gist is, the thing that makes you a target of bullying is the thing that makes you special.
WHEN ARE YOU AT YOUR HAPPIEST?
When I’m loved.