With CWL 2 just a week away… we took some time to ask the all-conquering HAWXX a few questions about the band, their background, their message, and their plans for the future. HAWXX have had a big year, with 3 singles released this year, some airplay on BBC Introducing, and some exciting festival slots over the summer. Here’s how the interview went down…
So, first of all, how and when did you all meet?
Anna and Hannah met first at Alaska Studios at the end of 2017 -Hannah was working there and Anna came in to use a rehearsal studio. Hannah heard Anna through the wall and heard she was amazing so was extra nice to her (which paid off because then Anna suggested a jam and a beautiful thing was born). Iman was found on the internet (you can get anything off the internet) and Anna and Jess knew each other from playing painfully cheesy covers in Soho into the early hours.
What are you three main musical influences as a band, and are they obvious in your music?
As a band, I guess our 3 main broad influences are classical music, jazz and metal. Anna and Hannah come from a classical-musical background, Iman and Jess come from a jazz background and we all collectively love the metal. I think you can hear the influences – for example, in the breakdown of The Lie, Jess puts a break-beat on a more classically influenced guitar part.
Which band / artist have you been listening to a lot lately?
Anna: Magma album by Gojira
Jess: Porcupine Tree and King Crimson
Hannah: the new Tool Album
What was the first song you wrote together as a band? Do you still play it?
It was a song called ‘E’, which looks at anthropomorphising the inner darkness that can come to visit all of us. It was an amazing process for us to build this song together. We absolutely still play it! It’s an 8 minute epic voyage of a song.
How do you tend to approach the songwriting process?
Currently the bulk of the songwriting is usually written by Anna with Hannah taking on the editing of the lyrics, but we all build and transform the song into what it becomes. There’s the writing and then there’s the sound. The sound needs all four of us! The song will be brought to rehearsal and we will all put our individual stamps on it. For the writing of our latest single ‘You’re No God’, it was a real cathartic experience.
Anna: I was in that dreamy state between awake and sleep and was confronting a past abusive experience. I then imagined speaking the words ‘You’re no god’, as a mantra over and over again. I was confronting this individual for what he had done and I was also seeing him for the nothing that he was. When it came to writing the riff, I wanted it to be full force of nature. A real kick in the teeth. And the only time the music would come to a halt would be to speak these words- no melody, just spoken word- ‘You’re no god, you’re no god, you’re no god of mine’.
What was your favourite gig of 2019?
To play or see? To play….The Big Red was so much fun but unfortunately it’s closing this month which is really sad. To see…Trivium in Download festival were amazing –it was a week before Hannah got married so Anna and Hannah were in a circle pit dressed in a veil and top hat haha
What is your favourite aspect of playing live shows?
You can have a shit day and feel really low, but then being on stage the four of us creates this real sense of power. We love our little family of HAWXX and magical things happen when we are on stage together. Also, connecting with an audience and sharing that power is what its all about.
What would be your one dream gig to play in the future?
Do you have a core message or ethos in your music? As a listener, it is clear from your recent singles that you have strong views about personal empowerment, and resistance against manipulation and abuse...
We aim for our songs to have a self-contained message within the lyrics. There’s not really a core message because the songs are quite diverse – our recent single, You’re No God is about personal empowerment, – we also have songs about the manipulation of the public by media and politicians (The Lie), a song about women that’s based partly on The Handmaid’s Tale and partly about what’s happening at the moment in terms of laws being passed over what women can do with their bodies. And then we’ve got a song about a lovely sealion called Trev 😉
What are your hopes for the band over the next couple of years, and is there a debut album on the cards in 2020?
Aside from world domination and bringing metal to the masses, bringing and experiencing more diversity to the rock scene on stage and in the audience would be amazing. We’re also going to be releasing another single before the end of the year and then stay tuned…exciting things planned!
Give us one weird, random fact about the band...
We all go by nicknames depending on our playing style. The music is always “beefy”. So Anna is Beefcake Bender because she bends notes all the time (vocally and on guitar), Hannah is Beefcake Squealer because her signature sound is to make the guitar squeal! Iman is Beefcake Slider because she loves a good slide across the fretboard. Jess is Beefcake Basher because...need we say more?
Who is your favourite underground artist in scene at the moment who you think deserves a bit more exposure?
We recently played with I am Warface who are awesome. And we are massive fans of Black Orchid Empire and Saint Agnes!
What's you number one tip for people starting up a new band?
Find the right people – being in a band is so much more than gigs so you really need to get on! We’re so lucky we all get on really well so even admin conversations are bearable!
Quickfire round (short or one-word answers! 😊):
Creative control, or flashy record deal?
Creative control… bit of flash would be nice though…
Beer or Wine?
Wine for half the band, beer for the other half…
Led Zep or Sabbath?
Ketchup or Mayo?
Ketchup for half the band, Mayo for the other half…
Streaming or Vinyl?
Haha vinyl in theory, streaming in practice!
Fender or Marshall?
Pizza or Kebab?
Pizza all day long!
So there you have it! Massive shout out to HAWXX, and we are very excited to have them headlining at CWL II on Friday 20th September. It should be another great night of music - with our friends Gramma Vedetta, Superseed coming up from Bristol, who have also had a big year, and Empty Friend completing the bill.
Tickets available online - just £4 in advance - or £6 on the door: