Musician Mike Skinner turns actor and director with ‘The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light’


LONDON (AP) — Mike Skinner is doing it all himself — even if it takes years.

He wrote, directed, edited and starred in a feature-length movie, “The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light.” It is accompanied by an album of the same name released last Friday — the first album from The Streets in 12 years. Formed in London in the early 1990s, The Streets’ debut record “Original Pirate Material” was released in 2002 and became an instant classic. Their lyrics reference club culture, hangovers in cafes and dating celebrities, but also topics like male fragility in “Dry Your Eyes” and battles with grief in “Never Went to Church.”

Skinner’s movie “The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light” is described as a “neo-noir detective film” but instead of a private eye solving the case, it’s a DJ. Though obviously nonfiction, it references Skinner’s life as a DJ in his mid-40s — taking place in backstage rooms, on dance floors and behind decks and in the backseats of cars as the sun comes up.

Skinner jokes that it didn’t really feel like he had “much choice” in taking on all of the roles in the filmmaking process, because “no one was going to give me any money to do it.” It took seven years.

Because the record was made at the same time, it too is more than seven years old now. Skinner says this is a good thing because it’s had “time to breathe,” as his focus was on the film.

The movie has been screened in several venues round the U.K. and Europe, with Skinner taking part in question-and-answer sessions afterward. He likens the film tour to “DJing, but not in the middle of the night, which is great.”

“A film is almost designed as the perfect amount of time to have dinner. And then when you come back, everyone’s finished the film. I think I’d like to take that idea and put that back in to DJing, and just be like, introduce the DJ set, but then just sort of press play, go off and have dinner,” he says.

And after the album’s release, The Streets are hitting the road. Skinner says he’s looking forward to the tour — especially after the “nightmare” of finishing his movie.

“When you’re on tour, despite what everyone says, you’ve only got an hour’s work to do a day, like you’re sleeping behind the venue in the tour bus, it’s really easy,” he says. “Don’t tell anyone I said that, but I’m looking forward to an easy life, put it that way.”

It maybe easier, but Skinner describes the experience as being “zero glamor.”

“Oh, yeah, no you’re parked in a car park the whole time. Don’t think it’s all, you know, limousines and after-show parties. It’s not, but it’s definitely relaxing,” he says.

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