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Interview with Darren Hayes (Part 1)


After selling more than 27 million records all over the world, the now-defunct Australian pop duo Savage Garden is back in the spotlight with a brand-new compilation album "Truly, Madly, Completely – The Best Of Savage Garden." The album features some of the group's biggest hits including "I Knew I Loved You," "To The Moon And Back" and "Truly, Madly, Deeply." As a bonus, the CD includes rare B-side tracks and two brand-new songs performed by Darren Hayes.

After Savage Garden split up five years ago, Hayes has put out two successful solo albums overseas that have maintained his popularity among Savage Garden fans and other pop aficionados. His last album "The Tension & The Spark" was an impressive piece of work that showed a darker side of the singer with minimal synth arrangements and his intensely personal lyrics in which he copes with depression, heartache and his violent childhood.

Darren Hayes is currently in the pre-production phase of his third solo record. He is also preparing a U.K tour in 2006 and possibly a tour in Australia and Asia. The singer took time out of busy schedule to talk with Arjan Writes about about Savage Garden and the Best Off album. He also spoke candidly about his private life including his upbringing, relationships and sexuality.

I've decided to publish a raw and unedited version of the entire phone interview with Darren in four parts.  In Part One, Darren's talks about the making of the Greatest Hits record, songwriting and censorship. Tomorrow, he will talk more about his gay fans, homosexuality in Hollywood and attending Elton John's wedding.

Part One of the interview with Darren Hayes featured is after the jump.

Arjan Writes: How did the tracklisting for "Truly, Madly, Completely - The Best Of Savage Garden" come about?

Darren Hayes: Well to be perfectly honest, a record company is free to release a greatest hits album whenever they want to. It is usually part of the contract an artist signs. Ever since Savage Garden split over five years ago, the record company has wanted to put out a Best Of album. But they have been very gracious in listening to my request to please wait. I had so much to explore as a solo artist, and I felt that it would send the wrong message. Unless there's something new about a Best Of, it can seem like an easy way to get money out of your fans. I have always been against that. So because my third solo record is nowhere finished I agreed to do it, but I had to do it my way. It took a lot of time to get the original tracks remastered. Our first record was only available on multi-track tape. Some of the B-side songs that are included were missing as well. I had to actually phone up a fan in Wales to get a copy of "I'll Bet He Was Cool."

Of course, there's always a few songs that haven't been a single but could have been included because they represent Savage Garden so well.
Like what song?

I think "I Don’t Know You Anymore" is one of those songs.
I love that song. It was actually on my original tracklisting, but we couldn't fit everything. You know what the story is behind that song?

I don't.
I was living in New York, and I was really sad. I don't talk about my private life much, but it is pretty much public knowledge that I was married once. And she was my best friend, but it didn't work out. It was very painful to stay in contact for a while. So we decided not to talk. She really needed time apart. So I was in this big city, I didn't know anybody. I missed my home, I missed family, and I was kinda depressed really. And we agreed not to speak, but I couldn't do it anymore. I remember picking up the phone in a phone booth on Broadway and I called her up and I said 'look, I know I'm supposed not to call you, but I really need to talk to you right now.' The song is really the conversation we had on the phone. There's a lot of guilt in that song. Anytime a relationship ends there is a lot of guilt. 'Unlovable' is a song like that as well. The ending of a relationship is like death. You had a lifestyle with somebody and all of a sudden that just stops. And the sad thing is that the world goes on and people go about their business not knowing the pain you feel inside your heart. It is very interesting for a songwriter to write about that.

I think your gift as a songwriter is that you are able to convey those complicated emotions in very simple terms.
It is funny you say that. There's certain parts of the world that respond to the openness. You know what it is, I never really wanted to be a celebrity. I'm a really private person. I would not be able to be a topic in the tabloids. But I'm so open in my songs. Songs like 'Two Beds And A Coffee Machine' or 'Dublin Sky' – when I sing those on stage I really relive those moments. It is painful.

Do you write your lyrics in minutes or does it take weeks or months for you to finish a song?
Sometimes it can be really fast. Like this week, I'm writing songs for other people and that takes a lot more time. When I'm writing for myself it is a form of madness really, it just flows out of me. Songs like 'Unlovable' came fast, but a song like 'I Like The Way' took a long time.

With Savage Garden you have had success all over the world, also in small-town America where people  might not agree with your opinions. Were you ever forced to be politically correct?
Yeah, but not by a record company but by a fear of getting censored. It is funny it was never about sexuality. In the song "Affirmation" I have a line about the relationship between oil and war. I was advised to take that out. That was really sad to me.

[Tomorrow Darren will talk more about his gay fans, homosexuality in Hollywood and attending Elton John's wedding.]


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