The solo rocker opens up about his latest album, upcoming Brisbane tour and the ever evolving music industry.
Former Powderfinger lead guitarist and songwriter turned independent musician Darren Middleton has got Brisbane on his mind.
The rocker will be returning to his hometown this Saturday to play for fans on a floating stage at the Teneriffe Festival.
It’s been four years since Powderfinger hung up their guitars for good but for Middleton those years have been spent traveling, recording and cultivating a unique sound.
He released his first solo LP,Translations, in 2013 and is still on a high after recently wrapping up a two month tour which saw him play multiple venues across Australia. Although the tour was successful Middleton admits he was nervous undertaking the sole mission, worried that he “wouldn’t be able to hold people’s attention with so little”.
“Being on stage like that was daunting but it was also amazing,” he says. “I was up there and I just felt like everything was stripped away. There was no disguise and I felt naked . But then I really started connecting with the audience and talking with them. Then I couldn’t get enough.
“We played shows where it was very intimate with only a few people in the audience and then much bigger shows. I played some tracks from Translations, some newer music and some Powerdfinger songs. At first I was really hesitant to play ‘finger songs. I didn’t know how people would react to hearing them in such a different way, stripped back and performed by somebody who wasn’t the lead singer. But people seemed really on board with it and loved to hear them.
“I’m always happy to talk about the Powderfinger days and I’m really proud of it. I have so many great memories from that time, the most vivid one is the Crowded House Farewell to the World concert. We played at that and I remember standing on the Sydney Opera house steps as we played and just thinking ‘this is amazing.”
Middleton has become very hands on when it comes to recording and promoting his own music, but even as an established musician he says it’s tough out there.
“I have a lot of time for aspiring musicians and I am involved in mentoring programs,” he says.”I’m an independent artist now and it’s a hard industry for anybody to be in. We’re all in the same boat just fighting to be heard and even with all the changes to the industry it’s still about getting radio airplay.
“It’s a changing landscape but I’m passionate about this and that makes all the difference.”
You can catch Darren Middleton and a host of other musicians live on the Mirvac River Stage at the Teneriffe Festival this weekend. For details visit www.teneriffefestival.org.