Those of us of a certain age who remember the halcyon days of the ’90s would also certainly remember the music of Australian pop duo Savage Garden being the musical backdrop of the day. Darren Hayes’ new musical release, “Do You Remember?” invites you to cast your mind back to those days, before smartphones, or indeed, even before mobile phones were really a thing!
Hayes has been away from the musical spotlight for years now but is roaring back to our consciousness with a flurry of activity, including a successful promotional visit of Australia, a banging headline set to a sold-out crowd of 40,000 at the 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and announcement of his 2023 Australian tour, where he’ll be performing in six Australian cities between January and February next year.
“More of a mini-film than a video – come spend seven minutes in heaven with me and my gang in our fictional CLUB U WISH!,” Hayes posted on social media.
The music video, totally conceptualised by Hayes, couldn’t be described better than how the press release did it: “Hayes continues to present a version of his past that is clearly a peach tinted re-imagining of his actual life. Timelines blur with the neon and pastel of the 1980’s sitting comfortably next to a Dandy-esque 60’s presentation of the singer portraying himself having a blast.”
The single is inspired by the “late 80’s drum-machine, synth-bass heavy R&B pop that influenced his youth” Savage Garden fans will know that Hayes had previously alluded to his first kiss in the 1999 song Chained To You.
“Acting like a mover shaker dancin’ to Madonna then you kissed me,” Hayes sang on Savage Garden‘s sophmore record.
In 2022, he re-visits the moment, but this time it is an out and proud Hayes re-telling the story and its queer elements.
“After so many years of being placed in a neat and tidy package, it’s nice to remember why I got into this business in the first place: to be an artist. Ok, and to be a pop star!”
A Different Mardi Gras Experience To 2005
Speaking to the Star Observer in February about scoring the Mardi Gras, Hayes had said “The first time I was invited to do this [in 2005] I wasn’t out and I was in one of the lowest points of life. My relationship to my queerness and my sexuality was at an all-time low. I just didn’t feel good about myself and I was really struggling with my identity. So to come back this it’s really emotional for me. I feel very grateful, it’s a huge honour. I honestly think this performance is going to heal a decades-old wound in me.”
And even though Darren Hayes, who credits George Michael and Prince as his musical heroes, can certainly claim the mantle of pop star, having a cool 23 million record sales under his belt as part of Savage Garden, he has chosen a decidedly non pop star lifestyle, having been happily married to his husband, Richard Cullen for 17 years.
He’s also in long term relationships with his massive fan base, a cohort that spans generations, given that the kids listening to Savage Garden in the ‘90s now have children of their own, who indeed will soon be passing their musical tastes down to their own children – a massive contribution to the musical zeitgeist in anyone’s book.
‘The First Time I Fell In Love With A Boy’
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) March 9, 2022
Hayes spoke to Lisa Rockman of Newscastle Herald at the beginning of March and talked about the inspiration for his latest single and his generational legacy, saying
“Do You Remember? is about the first time I fell in love with a boy but in terms of the tour name, it’s about being at a wonderful stage in my career where now it’s cross-generational. There are people who grew up with me, and there are the children of people who listened to me, and that combined audience is magical.
Grab tickets for Darren Hayes’ Australian “Do You Remember” tour, playing in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast in January and February 2023, here.