Fine tuning new Ideas: interview with Hawk Eyes
One of the most sought after live acts on the UK independent circuit, Hawk Eyes are on the cusp of rocking venues up and down the country with a multi-date tour, with support from rising stars God Damn. Known for their dynamic and expansive live performances, they will soon be bringing their unique live experience to a town near you. Guitarist Robert Stephens talks to Tom Mimnagh for a lowdown on what to expect from the tour, how they’ve moved on creatively since their last album, “Ideas”, and their new album, “Everything is Fine”.
Everything is Fine is released in a few weeks, tell us a bit about the making of the album and how it came about?
Well we started making the album in Texas at SXSW almost 2 years ago, we ended up in a rehearsal room with Meat Loaf and Iggy Pop, we watched Mr Loaf do his vocal warm ups in his car and we used this as inspiration to begin making a new album. Little did we know that we would pour over it for another year and a half, testing ourselves, our friendships and our sanity.
If the change in style from Modern Bodies to Ideas was one of refinement, Everything is Fine is an album that seems to convey a more expansive, more mature sound but still combining elements from the previous albums. What inspired you during the writing process, and how challenging was it to take the band in a new musical direction with this album?
Each time we have begun making a new record we have always felt like we needed to step away from what had come previous, be that because we have listened to those songs so much or just because it is pointless to repeat yourself. The four of us come up with the ideas together, we are incredibly harsh and honest with each other, anything that is similar to previous work gets thrown out fairly quickly and anything someone thinks is rubbish or ‘standard’ gets mocked and thrown away.
Directed and edited by Ash Pears www.ashtv.co.uk
You’ve chosen to release this album via the PledgeMusic platform, what made you choose this as the best outlet for your music? Do you think there is still life in the concept of crowdfunding of music?
It is the most straightforward and honest platform, there aren’t massive record labels offering us private jets. We can go straight to the people who are interested in our music to help us to continue to do this. I do think there will continue to be legs in this type of approach, it makes people more proactive and do things for themselves.
Ginger Wildheart has been very vocal in his support of Hawk Eyes, how much has this helped in widening the audience that has checked out Hawk Eyes? Also, how was he to work with on the Mutation project?
Ginger is one of the most honest and genuine people we have met through this band, he had seen one of our videos and invited us to go on tour with him, that simple, purely through the love of the music! He helped us getting a deal in Japan and then took us out on tour there, then he asked myself and Paul to write and record some songs for the mutation project, he has been such an inspiration on many levels I don’t really know how to thank him or put it into words so i’ll go with ‘viscous.’ He and all the other people were brilliant to work with, we definitely felt initially like we shouldn’t be there but everyone listened to our ideas and it was a lot of fun. Mark E Smith was funny too.
You’re off on tour with God Damn in support in the coming weeks, what made you choose them as a support band?
They like big riffs and are an honest band working hard, please come out early to see them and the other support bands if you intend on coming to one of the gigs on the tour. Also, please come to the tour and watch us. Many thanks.
What’s the best tour story you can tell us (obviously without getting yourselves in trouble)? Is there any one member of the band who is normally at the centre of on tour shenanigans?
Not really, we are quite sensible. I’d much prefer a Green Tea and to go to bed early than party all night.
With the tour approaching shortly, give our readers an idea of what they can expect if they come along to a Hawk Eyes show?
We will play the songs by Hawk Eyes to as best a standard as we can, we may even do a cover. There will be lots of big amps and lots of guitar changes because we wrote all the new songs in different tunings and didn’t really think it through. If we are lucky there might be some lights on stage and our friend Giles will be doing the sound, he is massive and from Bradford, say hello to him he gets lonely.
Catch Hawk Eyes and God Damn on the Everything Is fine Tour 2015: