Godfathers of Pop – Daryl Hall Interview
Last year’s tour by Daryl Hall And John Oates – captured by the cameras at the Olympia Theatre in July, a performance just released on a new DVD, Live In Dublin – was as rapturously received as any in their career. But has it inspired the pair to consider making a new album together? Daryl tells Classic Pop of their plans and of his newfound career as a television presenter…
Why do you think Daryl Hall And John Oates are back in fashion?
The people we’re influenced by make timeless music, and our music is timeless too. It’s not really locked to a certain period. Maybe that’s because I was writing about things that were personal but also universal, so they transcend the period they were written in.
How has your friendship with John changed over the years?
I don’t think it ever has. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers, and it’s the fact that we were friends before we became musical and business partners that has sustained us over the years. Outside of touring, we don’t see each other that often as we live very separate lives, but we do see the world in the same way and that’s seriously important.
We talk with each other a lot on planes and tourbuses, bonding over books and seeing the world through the same eyes. But we’ve always regarded ourselves as very different individuals – in fact we called our production company Two Headed Monster because that’s the last thing we are.
Kanye West and many others have sampled you, The Killers and Arcade Fire are fans of your music… would you be interested in working with new artists?
I’m not really much for writing for other people. If I write a good song, I’d rather sing it myself, thanks! The same goes for producing; I never really produced for other artists.
One of the best decisions John and I made was to start producing our own albums in 1980, as it meant we didn’t have to answer to anyone, except on the business side.
But I don’t think anyone should have to think about how a song is produced when they hear it. My productions are eclectic and use a lot of techniques, but a production should seem as though it’s effortless.
How is your new album sounding so far?
It’s very optimistic as far as the sound goes, but lyrically there are a lot of different moods as I’ve been going through my archives to revisit kernels of ideas from different periods.
The overall feel is organic, very band-oriented soul and R&B songs.
Do you ever surprise yourself about how your frame of mind must have been when you revisit old ideas?
I really do. Occasionally I’ll hear one of our old songs and think “What was I thinking?!” Some of my old lyrics seem very prescient, especially from the start of my career when I was in my early twenties. It surprises me, because I seem to have a knowledge of both my own future and the future in general that I couldn’t have known.
You’ve got your own music TV show, Live From Daryl’s House on HBO, and Daryl’s Restoration Over-Hall on The DIY Network, about restoring houses. How are you enjoying TV presenting?
I’ve learned to ignore it, which is the best way to deal with it. I treat the camera as a person I’m having a conversation with, which is a technique most people do if they’re successful at it.
Does the menu at the Daryl’s House club have any dishes named after your hits? Private Pies, You Make My Breams, Your Fish Is On My List…?
No! There are some family recipes on there, but that’s as close at it gets. The Goo Goo Dolls and Joe Walsh have dishes on it too.
It’s a chance to see bands from my TV show, watch them with me and we can all hang out. I’d love to open one in London.