Darren Hayes On New Album 'Homosexual' – An Ode To Being Your Authentic Self

Darren Hayes talks all things mental health, sexual awakening, queer politics, generational stigma, and the catharsis surrounding the release of the new album ‘Homosexual’ after a ten-year sabbatical – “recording this album was like a primal scream; it wasn’t a choice, it was therapy.”

Darren Hayes - Image © James Reese

From the first synthetic buzz of Darren Hayes’ first new album in ten years, audiences will be hit with a sonically nostalgic and familiar queer renaissance. A narrative feast, with a cinematic edge, 'Homosexual' elicits an ode to 'Stranger Things', Daft Punk, Patrick Cowley, and Madonna – striking a balance between emotional impact, catharsis, and queer party anthems.

“I think that, at the beginning of making this record – because I had cut myself off from being creative, which is a really necessary outlet to cope with my depression – I just had so much to say.”

“After I saw [the film] ‘Call Me By Your Name’, I had an unusually sad reaction, where I was filled with grief. I didn’t have a positive feeling about being gay – I didn’t have a gay adolescence – and when I was a famous figure in Savage Garden, I was basically suffering from imposter syndrome,” Hayes reflects on the inspiration to the album.

'All You Pretty Things' is in memoriam to the lives of those who perished in the Pulse Nightclub Shooting. 'Birth' is the traumatic signature for the album’s autobiography, and throughout the tracks audiences are reminded of Hayes’ vibrancy, and vocal range.

“A lot of the journey into this record was. . . I was feeling angry about erasure, and I felt like as an artist I never made music that was so obviously queer – and so to have it out now, it just feels so obvious, and I feel comfortable and grateful that this music exists.”

When Hayes is asked about headlining Sydney Mardi Gras earlier this year, he reminisces on two experiences with the festival.

“About 15 years ago I performed but wasn’t publicly out. I was full of so much internalised homophobia – everyone was having such a great time, and I just hated myself. Then this time I just felt so free and loved. I remember having a few minutes with the audiences and saying: 'thank you for loving me, even when I didn’t love myself'.”

“When I was in that stadium, I realised I had put myself in a self-imposed exile – the music career I’ve had was so lucky, people don’t really differentiate between songs, or albums, or artists – it’s just music.”

“When ‘I Want You’ started and the crowd cheered, I realised that that song was part of the lexicon of Australia. I felt that Australia never really went away.”

When asked which artists he would love to collaborate with on future tracks, Hayes swoons.

“Oh man! Obviously, someone queer. Something I’ve been working towards is collaborating and giving opportunities to queer people. When making music videos my crew, and co-stars, are on the queer spectrum.”

“Naturally I would love to collaborate with Troye Sivan, I love Brendan Maclean – I would love to sing with Kim Petras, I know she’s not Australian, but Sam Smith got there first. . . And Sam! They have such a lovely voice.”

“Anyone queer, really – if you’re out there, call me!”

'Homosexual' by Darren Hayes is out now. Darren tours Australia in January-February 2023.

Darren Hayes 2023 Australia Tour

Tue 31 Jan - RAC Arena (Perth)
Sat 4 Feb - Sidney Myer Music Bowl (Melbourne)
Tue 7 Feb - Aware Super Theatre (Sydney)
Wed 8 Feb - Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Sat 11 Feb - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Sun 12 Feb - Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre