Darren Spooner: Answer The Questions!

Who are you calling Jarvis?
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The Independent Culture

Darren Spooner, 44, is the sleaze-obsessed singer with deranged electro duo Relaxed Muscle. Despite his features being obscured by combat green make-up, he bears more than a passing resemblance to the front man from Pulp.

Your look caused quite a stir in the tabloids earlier this year. What is the inspiration behind the green make up?

There is no inspiration - my "look" was born out of necessity. A few years ago, I was trying to top up my benefit money with some "moonlighting" work. Whilst cleaning out some silos with industrial-strength cleaner, I wasn't using the proper safety equipment. To cut a long story short, I got some pretty bad burns to both my face and my hands. So the make-up is worn mainly to hide the scars from the public, though obviously I do also have a bit of fun with it.

Tell us about how the group came to being. How did you meet Jason (Buckle - music and the spitting image of sometime Pulp guitarist, Richard Hawley)?

I was at a low point in my life. My drinking had spiralled out of control and because of bad behaviour, I'd been sacked by my previous band (Heavy Cochran - darlings of the Doncaster working men's club scene). After the silo incident, I had no choice but to turn to burglary to try and raise some beer money; I got caught, and was given community service. They put me in a municipal park planting bulbs, and that's where I met Jason. The rest, as they say, is history.

Your stark electro sound is definitely very fashionable and underground, but there are definitely hints of '80s hair metal in there. Will you own up to them?

I was always going for more of a primetime Quo sound. But we're mainly influenced by, amongst others, The Doors, Kate Bush, Adam & The Ants and The Cramps. The electronic side of things is more Jason's area. When I first went round to his house, I thought it was strange because there weren't any instruments there, just computers. I thought he was taking the piss.

Sordid sex seems to figure pretty frequently in your lyrics, not to mention numerous penis jokes. What is it that fuels this preoccupation?

The gloves are off. We just tell it how it is. All blokes think about their cocks a lot.

Currently, your live shows seem to take place solely in trendy London nightclubs. Do you have any plans to visit the working men's clubs that spawned you?

The truth is that we already have, thanks. Our first ever concert was at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club.We keep it real. If bookings come in from elsewhere, that's OK - we'll do them. But we will always remember where we came from.

So what exactly is it then, that makes it OK for a wealthy British pop star, in a way not dissimilar to a rich Greek girl with "a thirst for knowledge", to mimic the lifestyles of "Common People"?

Probably the same thing that allows a middle-class twerp writing for a so-called "quality" Sunday paper to get away with pathetic attempts at writing about rock music.

Mr Jarvis Cocker of Pulp craved fame and fortune for 15 years before he got it. Does Darren exhibit the same yearnings?

We'll have to see what happens. I have no plans to leave Doncaster - at my age it's probably too late. If we were majorly successful, I would like to open some youth clubs in the Doncaster area to keep kids off the street. Ideally with me providing free martial arts training. I think that would cure a lot of society's ills. And a bit of extra beer money definitely wouldn't go amiss.

'A Heavy Night With... Relaxed Muscle' is out now on Rough Trade