Darren Hayes On Forming Own Record Label

FFollowing two extremely successful albums (1997’s Savage Garden and 1999’s Affirmation) as a part of duo Savage Garden as well as three solo albums (2002’s Spin, 2004’s The Tension And The Spark and 2007’s This Delicate Thing We Made) multi-platinum artist Darren Hayes issues Secret Codes & Battleships in standard format and collector’s edition format on October 24th in the UK through Powdered Sugar Records – the man’s own label – with distribution from EMI Records.

Secret Codes & Battleships

“It took about four years, actually,” the vocalist admits. “I’m Australian but I live in London, and my last record was pretty experimental. It was the first time that I put out an album on my own label, and at the end of that period I was a bit burnt out to be honest. That was 2007, and it took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do. I think the shortest answer to your question is that the goal for me was to really try to make a record that was a lot closer to the very beginning of my career, and the way that I used to write songs. That was focusing on song craft and writing classic melodies and really being quite hard on myself, the opposite of where I’d come from which was just being pretty indulgent and not really being concerned about airplay or commercial success. This record was about reconnecting and really trying to be disciplined, so that’s where it began and it was a pretty amazing run. I got to record all around the world; I got to reunite with a lot of people I hadn’t worked with since the beginning of Savage Garden, as well as working with songwriters and producers like Carl Falk who is a new Swedish producer. He’s a fan of Savage Garden and had actually come to my shows when he was 18. I’ll be 40 next year, and here I am in the studio with this 20 something prodigy and making new music together. It was a pretty extraordinary ride.”

Darren Hayes

Secret Codes & Battleships will be the second studio full-length to be issued through Hayes’ own record label. “I’d been with Sony Music or Columbia Records since I was 23 years of age, and when the record deal ended I didn’t even try to get another deal,” he confesses. “I felt quite frustrated towards the end of the record deal; I’d made an album called The Tension And The Spark and it was the most critically acclaimed record I had ever made, but the record label hated it. I experienced what it feels like to have a record essentially buried; it got a release in the UK but the US refused to release it, and it was really upsetting. I think at the end of that period, I vowed that I never wanted to put myself in that position again where an album that I’d made and was proud of was at the mercy of someone else. That was the beginning of me starting my own label, although Secret Codes & Battleships is out through Universal in Australia and EMI Music in the UK and the rest of the world. It’s a partnership between my label and those major labels, and that’s amazing because I’ve still retained all the control over my music and I’ve got this incredible machine and this enthusiastic promotion team behind the record. I can never really be in that position again, where a record of mine is essentially shelved.”

However, negative aspects come to forming one’s own record label. “I think partly why I’ve partnered up with major labels this time is because just being on my own was exhausting, and financially it’s very expensive – there’s a lot of costs involved in just getting stock to stores, and hiring a team,” the Australian explains. “There’s probably 20 people that work directly for me and with me on the record, so having that burden shared with a major record label as I do today is easier than just being on my own.”