First published on 10 Feb 2011. Updated on 19 Nov 2012.
Darren Hanlon's new album, I Will Love You At All, is being touted as his "mature" album - but thankfully that description applies more to the subject matter than the execution. The regular wordplay and wit remains, now applied to the grown-up subject of the disintegration of a relationship and its accompanying household, as on the resigned-yet-hopeful ‘Scenes from a Separation'.
"That one, I'm not sure where it came from," he explains. "I was just thinking about that one, it the last one or the second last one written for the album. When you're on kind of a roll. I never write kind of write them in between, like when I'm touring or anything. I always have to sit down and do a block of them. It's always that way. And that one came when I was on a roll and they were flowing, a lot quicker. I listen to it and think, who wrote that? Where did that come from? So there's fiction in that, there's fiction and fact in that one."
It seems almost like counterpart to the story-song ‘House' in that there's wistfulness about both of those songs, in terms of reaching back, rather than moving forward.
"Yeah, I think that was another unconscious thing, the whole record," he considers. "I think it's mainly due to just my homelessness for two or so years. And I think it just came through, I think yearning for a bit more stability. I mean it's always nice to come home to something after you've been travelling so much, but it just hasn't lent itself to be economically rational. I've just been doing so much touring, and there's so much coming up. I think that's why its come through - all that nostalgia..."
Well, we're none of us getting any younger.
"Exactly. And a lot of my friends in this age bracket, this is the time where your friends start dropping off a little bit, and getting families and houses. And they drop out of the social circle that had kind of been your support for your early life. So that kind of makes you re-evaluative your position."
And not being in the one place makes those grown-up social things tricky: it's hard to invite people backstage for a dinner party, for example.
"Yeah, the whole idea of being a musician, it does change when you get past 30. It does have to become your career, rather than being intermeshed with your social life. It has to make some kind of financial sense for you to keep doing it, for a start, and so you don't see those faces as much."