To the Moon and Back

Sat. July 26, 2008 12:00 AM
by Jason P. Freeman

Humble independent artistry hasn't stopped Darren Hayes from reaching for the stars

It's been almost a year since Darren Hayes' third solo studio release, This Delicate Thing We've Made, hit the shelves. Received by critics as a "fascinating and listenable release" of electronic and pop, Hayes fans were not disappointed. Yet, with Delicate being Hayes' first independently produced recording, its reception was likely a far cry from the 23-million CD-selling success that he knew as the vocalist forerunner of the '90s pop powerhouse Savage Garden. Now, with Delicate's close to year-long promotional touring at a close, Hayes reflects, paying respectful homage to the era when Savage Garden singles like "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and "I Want You" were a worldwide chart-topper.

"I wouldn't even be talking to you if it weren't for Savage Garden," Hayes says on the phone from his home in Notting Hill, London. "I was young, and the quick success [of Savage Garden] changed my life ... and I can laugh at it now. Especially my hairstyles." From a straight, mainstream singing sensation in his 20s with a new wave coiffure to a 30-ish, gay married, independent solo artist that's somewhat dark, broody and bearded, Hayes accounts the transition to his being "older and more sophisticated" and adds, "I'm really loving it."

Nevertheless, after watching the final concert of his most recent tour on DVD, it's hard to imagine that Hayes has ever flown in the coach section of the music industry. In an overwhelmingly ocular and aural exhibition akin to concert spectaculars ala Madonna et Cher, the DVD showcases Hayes on stage in a larger-than-life production. The theatrics consist of a 24-foot origami bird, a live band and a set design that's being touted as something straight out of a Jules Verne novel—-The tour, and its succeeding DVD, was aptly dubbed "The Time Machine Tour," and it's unlike anything ever seen by an independent musician. The expenses for which mostly came from Hayes' own pocket, and he has no regrets.

"This was the tour I've always dreamed of..." Hayes explains. "...doing a show like this was one of my before-I-die wishes ... No one's really doing [a production such as this] right now ... I couldn't think of a better moment than this period to try [it]."

Shot in Hayes' hometown of Brisbane, Australia on the final night of the tour, the DVD was released July 22, 2008. However, Hayes isn't planning to take it easy now that the DVD is in distribution. Currently, he's busy working on another DVD that's expected to drop at the end of the year. According to Hayes, that DVD will feature "remixed and animated music videos." Afterwards, Hayes is going to take a shot at being a songwriter. "I want to try writing songs for other people," he says.

The Time Machine Tour on DVD is available now at Amazon.com.