Q&A with Schmercuries nominee Darren Hayman

Over the coming weeks FFS will be submitting the same set of questions to the Schmercury nominees. Today, Darren Hayman — who is nominated for his amazing album Pram Town — questions our motives, says he wants La Roux to win the Mercuries and that Emmy the Great is his favourite artist on our shortlist.

The Schmercuries is FFS’s best album prize (apart from there is no prize other than the glory of being deemed brill, ace AND skill by our lovely readers). You can see the nominated albums and vote for your favourite to win here.


For Folk’s Sake: Congratulations Darren, you’ve been nominated for a Schmercury. How do you feel?
Darren Hayman: I feel grateful and honoured that anybody likes or listens to my music but I remain slightly distrustful of any awards or list, big or small, whether I’m on them or not. Sorry.

What did you think of the Mercuries list this year?
I honestly had to Google them to reply this question. I try my hardest to filter this part of the music industry out. Anyway here goes…

Kasabian  — Thick boy rock. Don’t like it never will. I’m sure they are horrible people too.
Florence and the Machine — Not heard it, sorry.
Bat For Lashes – Not heard it but I have hunch she sounds a bit like Kate Bush right?
Glasvegas – Not heard it but I have a hunch this is also thick boy rock as well right?
La Roux – I like the La Roux single a lot and I think she looks great. I want her to win.
Lisa Hannigan — Not heard it, sorry.
Speech Debelle — Not heard it, sorry.
The Horrors — Not heard it, sorry.
Friendly Fires — Not heard it, sorry.
The Invisible — Not heard it, sorry.
Sweet Billy Pilgrim — Not heard it, sorry.
Led Bib — Not heard it, sorry.

Aside from your own, what’s your favourite album on the Schmercuries list?
Once again I had to Google the list, but Emmy the Great’s album is my favourite. The album is a little underwhelming on a first listen but she is super smart and talented and I love the MIA song.

What albums released this year should be on it but aren’t?
Don’t ask me I’m only really listening to Dub reggae at the moment.

What d’you think about panel prizes vs voted for by the fans?
I don’t know what purpose any of it really serves. I suppose smaller awards help promote smaller bands, but to me Camera Obscura seem huge. Both lists seem quite narrow in scope but then what would be the point of an awards list which brought in Jazz and Country? What’s the point of ‘best’ or ‘winner’ when it comes to art? It’s not a race is it? I hope I win though.

What are your thoughts about Pram Town. Are you happy with it and other people’s reaction to it?
I’m pretty happy with it and how it’s been received. I don’t know that I feel the album is special or better than anything else I’ve done, but I do feel I dug a bit deeper in trying to create a sustained mood. I think it has also sown a seed that will continue to grow on the next two albums.

What’s your favourite song on the album?
‘Out of my League’

FFS are pretty passionate about the album as a format. Do you think you would ever ‘do a Radiohead’ and eschew albums in favour of releasing a series of digital tracks as and when?
Radiohead really annoy me with this shit. I know they think they probably think they are socialist or art rock agitators but it just comes over as ‘we are much bigger and more successful than everyone else.’
These avenues are just not open to someone like me. I love albums but will release songs in whatever way I can to scrape together a living.

What’s your favourite album ever?
‘The Ballad of the Fallen’ by Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra. Well, this week anyway.

If we had all the money in the world to spend on an actual prize for the winning band, what would you like it to be?
I don’t need anything. I’m happy with what I’ve got thanks.