Darren Middleton | Interview

Darren Middleton – Singer Songwriter and Powderfinger Guitarist


Touring is a well trodden path for this experienced guitarist. Darren is now a solo artist but was one of two guitarists for Australian super group Powderfinger. He has been enjoying his solo life despite now being the only songwriter. It allows “freedom” after being in a band. His current tour, “The One Thing” is taken from the latest single from his current album “Translations”.

Darren has enjoyed stripping back musical elements since Powderfinger broke up. “I’ve always been a fan of space and air in songs,” he says. Darren says he’s been enjoying finding the connection that exists with just the “barest of elements” between the lyrics, voice and instruments for this tour. His aim in the future is to strip things back where “less is more.”

Describing Powderfinger, Darren found a democracy within the band, even with five members. With songs he’d labored over, he would hand his songs over to the band with the philosophy saying “whatever happens, happens.” To him, the music is always the easiest part with melodies coming easier than the lyrics. For him it’s not so hard to make something sound good. “But the lyrics that where you can connect to people,” he muses.

Ian Coggs was the other guitarist in Powderfinger but Darren found it natural to have two guitarists playing. “Things happened quite naturally and organically.” There was never any great discussions or conflict between the two musicians. When Ian and himself would just start doing something and the other would stop playing or “just make room for it.” Occasionally ideas would come a band decision but generally the two guitarists worked well in a very “symbiotic” relationship. Both Darren and Ian instinctively “knew when to shut up and when to take the lead” when playing.

Darren is influenced by many songwriters including Paul Kelly,Charles Jenkins (ex- Ice- Cream Hands), Tim Rogers (You Am I). But for him, “Neil Finn is the one songwriter who I go gaga over. He doesn’t waste air,” He sees Neil’s sense of melody, lyrics, metaphor to be the prime example of songwriting. He also likes bands like Midnight Oil and for their energy and political and environmental stances.

Darren Middleton is currently on tour around Australia