From Powderfinger to bush cuisine, Darren Middleton has had quite the career so far, and with another solo record and tour on the table, it’s set to get even busier.
‘TIDES’, which will be the former Powderfinger guitarist’s third solo album, is geared to hit shelves in late September. Darren has high hopes for the new record, which he says has a rawer, more energetic feel than his previous work.
“I’ve worked with a whole bunch of different people and I’ve tried to give it a lot more energy and light, rough edge than my last two bits and pieces,” he says. “It’s not our Australian way to talk things up, but I think it’s really good.”
Besides Powderfinger, Darren also fronted his own band – Drag – before releasing his first solo LP, ‘Translations’, in 2012. This was followed by ‘Splinters’ in 2015.
Although Darren says he enjoys having the creative control afforded by a solo project, he also admits it can be a daunting process. “I think anyone, or possibly most people with creative control, can procrastinate because it’s just up to you, you can just keep changing your mind and going on and on,” he says.
“I’m not really one of those sorts of people, I like to commit to things and mistakes and good things and all that sort of stuff.
“So the reason it really took a long time is that I have been pretty busy the last year and a half doing a few different things, and I’ve found it a bit frustrating that I couldn’t really put a block of time into getting this done.”
Darren’s “few different things” have included working with chef Clayton Donovan to create an immersive dining experience known as ‘Tuning Fork’. “Clayton – Australia’s only hatted Indigenous chef – cooks all his food with bush spices and herbs, and he tells his story through his food, and I stand at the end of the dinner table and sing some songs and tell stories,” Darren explains.
“It’s a real intimate food and music experience – just two of the great things in life!”
Much like his first solo record, ‘TIDES’ features many of Australia’s greatest artists, not least co-producer Davey Lane.
The friendship between the pair is rather serendipitous, with Darren (who was already well acquainted with Davey) moving into the very same street as the You Am I lead guitarist. “I’ve just got a huge respect for his musical prowess and he’s kind of an archeologist of music.
“If you’ve got an idea, he knows how it was made, how to make it happen. Or if you’re referencing something from the past, he’ll know how that was made.”
Also featured on the album are artists like Vika and Linda Bull, Kelly Lane on backing vocals, and a strong team providing the rhythm, including Xani Kolac, Graeme Pogson (The Bamboos) and Louis Macklin (Jet).
Darren will be hitting the road in mid-October for a set of three east-coast shows. He says that these will be “very big, big sounding shows” – but, if you miss out, he reckons he’ll be back in a year or two. “At some point I’m sure I’ll strip back into a duo and reinterpret the songs and see what they can do in different jackets.”
'TIDES' is available now.
Darren Middleton Tour 2018Sat 6 Oct - Kulin Bush Races
Fri 12 Oct - Factory Floor (Sydney)
Fri 19 Oct - The Zoo (Brisbane)
Fri 26 Oct - Northcote Social Club (Melbourne)