BAND INTERVIEW with HAWXX

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…

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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. 

  5. 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’.  

  6. 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

  7. 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. 

  8. What would be your one dream gig to play in the future?

    Download festival!

  9. 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 😉

  10. 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!

  11. 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?

  12. 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! 

  13. 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! 😊):

  14. Creative control, or flashy record deal?

    Creative control… bit of flash would be nice though…

  15. Beer or Wine?
    Wine for half the band, beer for the other half…

  16. Led Zep or Sabbath?

    SABBATH!

  17. Ketchup or Mayo?

    Ketchup for half the band, Mayo for the other half…

  18. Streaming or Vinyl?

    Haha vinyl in theory, streaming in practice!

  19. Fender or Marshall?

    Marshall.

  20. 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:

https://www.wegottickets.com/civilwarlondon

HAWXX will be headlining our second show - CWL II - on Friday 20th September at New River Studios, Manor House, North London.

HAWXX will be headlining our second show - CWL II - on Friday 20th September at New River Studios, Manor House, North London.

Dave Kirk
CWL II and CWL III announced!

Busy times as always… but we are really looking forward to our next show, CWL II at New River Studios, which will feature one of our favourite bands - HAWXX - as headliners, with stalwarts Empty Friend, Bristol’s finest Superseed, and Gramma Vedetta in support. Massive thanks to them for filling in at short notice at the last show. All in all it promises to be a massive night of riffs and heavy music on Friday 20th September, and the venue is a really cool warehouse type venue, with a great main room, some excellent Italian pizza on offer in the bar and plenty of decent beers and drinks too. It takes a little bit of getting to, but it’s well worth it and we are keen to support what they are doing at New River as well.

While we are still very much focused on the next show, we have quietly announced on FB the headliners for CWL III - with awesome Dutch rockers Black Monsoon playing for us on the Saturday night of their first UK tour. They are making waves over in Holland, touring and playing festivals, so it is genuinely exciting to have them over for a show. We will be hosting it the legendary ‘Constitution’ in Camden, in their basement venue, which has held many a DIY show in the past. Part of the inspiration behind Civil War was my attendence of some gigs put on by a hardcore collective called ‘Rip This Joint’ (and Empty Friend drummer Karl M used to play in one of their bands called Yokozuna), and they held a ton of gigs at the Constitution. I expect it to be intimate, loud, and one to remember.

I’ve also just found time to add (long overdue in some cases) some new bands to our collective, and on our website, so please welcome:

Gramma Vedetta

Stoneflies

Aliceissleeping

Shockpowder

Rough Stone

Imaginary Dreamers

This thing is still moving and developing well, and I hope we can really pull together some of these amazing bands into a real, living scene, like I hope to. Other plans include an all-dayer for 2020, maybe even a 2 dayer festival, so watch this space!

Dave K

Dave Kirk
CWL I

So the first show was amazing… we really couldn’t have been happier with how it all went. The Unicorn was pretty much packed out with a really energetic crowd, the sound quality in the venue was superb, and all five of our bands delivered fantastic performances on the night. It was exactly what we had hoped it would be.

More than just the music though, our friends from other bands and around the general grunge scene all turned out, with Luis Rodrigues taking some great photos of the night, with the 3 of the lads from Circa Never coming down to support despite having had to pull out, Minky and Sol from Brain Ape down front and centre, and lots of our hardcore fans. Absolutely killer vibe.

Massive thanks to everyone who made it down, and especially to the Unicorn for taking a punt on this first night. We will be working with some other venues later this year, but we do very much hope to continue working with the Unicorn in future.

Big announcements for CWL II coming very soon - so watch this space!

Cheers,

DK

P.S. I’m off to Glastonbury this weekend, so should be able to catch some cool bands down there which I’ll post on Insta & FB.

Dave Kirk
Showtime!

So our first show is to tomorrow…!! and it’s been a busy week. Circa Never’s singer sadly has quit the band and they had to pull out with just under a week to go, but after some urgent emails to all my friends we managed to secure a great replacement in Gramma Vedetta, who we had already been in touch with. I caught them at vocalist / guitarist Dan’s own ‘Mandrone Records’ night at the Black Heart a couple of days ago and they take no prisoners! Should be excellent! Also managed to finally see HAWXX live at the same show which was great.

In my other life as frontman of Empty Friend we had a great practice last night getting our set ready, and we’re really looking forward to the gig and to getting on stage - I’ll just have to clear my mind of all of the admin of putting on this show and immerse myself in the music… and enjoy it! There’s nothing like playing a show to a good welcoming crowd, and I’m hoping to see as many of you as possible down at the gig tomorrow night.

I’ve had time to think a bit more about why I started this thing, and I think I get it now. I’ve plugged away at this life of music for 20 years, and the one thing that I think I have missed is being part of a single scene, not just drifting between other awesome traditional scenes (metal, punk, indie, hardcore etc) in which my music never quite fit. I’m hoping that these nights will give Grunge (still the best word for it at the movement, although a very broad and inadequate term - which was inadequate even in the 90s and hated by many of its founding bands) some kind of home in London. I spent too long waiting for this scene to come along, and the decision to just make this thing was long overdue.

Civil War is already starting to pull together lots of different threads and amazing characters on the scene, and if we can run a few great shows and shine a light on these amazing bands, I will consider it a mission accomplished.

See you tomorrow night!

DK

Dave Kirk
New Merch & Gigs Approaching

I’ve been hard at work… and since the last post I have got some new merch ready for our shows, with T-Shirts in black and in white (all the usual sizes), as well as some cool new pin-badges. It’s been funny to see the resurgence of old-school patches and pins for battle-jackets and coats lately, so why not? They’ll go up on this website soon, but drop me an insta message in the time being.

I’ve also been finalising the line-ups for CWL II and CWL III, with the first ready to announce soon after our first show. You will not be disappointed! It’s super exciting to see this come together, we just need you, the fans, to come along and bring the shows to life. I can tell you that CWL II will be at New River Studios in Finsbury / Manor House, and it’s got a great DIY vibe to the place. It reminds me of some of the old 90s grunge videos like ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in the main room, with some great staff, proper fresh munchies-busting Italian pizza and a quirky wee bar, so if you haven’t been, I am sure you’ll like it.

As a teaser, and to check if any of you are reading this, I can also tell you that CWL III will feature Holland’s ‘Black Monsoon’ during their UK tour, which is absolutely awesome. They are the nicest people to deal with, but damn, look out for their live show - serious face-melting energy. It’s gonna take the bloody doors off.

Anyway, make sure you come down to our FIRST SHOW on Saturday 15 June, just over two weeks away, at the Unicorn, to see this ‘Civil War’ thing come to life and start moving…

Cheers,

DK

P.S. I’ll be down at Camden Rocks on the Sunday, wearing the new T-Shirt, so keep an eye out if you want to say hello. Also, I’ve got some great new bands signing up soon, so watch out for announcements!

Dave KirkComment
Civil War I - First Show!

So it’s been a crazy few weeks… but lots to report. Most importantly the first show is finalised – CWL I will take place at the Unicorn in Camden on Saturday 15 June, with a confirmed line up as follows:

Desert Clouds (headline)

Empty Friend

Circa Never

Elbrano

Gutterflower

Really excited to have put this first show together, and lots of bands in the pipeline ready for future gigs, looking at a potential CWL II show in September, and CWL III in December. So many great bands wanting to get involved, and hopefully we will add a few new bands to the collective in the coming weeks.

In other news, had an absolute blast during 10 days in Toronto, Canada, including on 420, which was really cool to be around. It’s a great city, with some awesome venues for grunge and stoner. I managed to catch ‘League of Wolves’ at the amazingly named Bovine Sex Club, and even better still, got tickets to see King Buffalo at the Velvet Underground – they totally blew me away live. Awesome psychedelic/stoner band.

Well, gonna get some dates sorted out for these next shows, so watch this space and thanks for reading.

CWL

Dave Kirk
It's Alive!

So, things are escalating… been super busy with my band, but I’ve also been out and about at some great shows, and been meeting with and hearing from some amazing bands and some lovely people on the scene. The insta post I put out last week summed it up:

“Proof that the underground rock scene in London is alive and well, several bands from our collective are rocking stages in London this weekend - this Friday 29th March Empty Friend are supporting Ethyrfield at The Unicorn Camden Live, Desert Clouds will be headlining for Camden Rocks Presents at Nightclub Kolis and HAWXX will be playing at Camden Assembly all on the same night! The night after, on Saturday 30th our friends CIRCA NEVER will be playing at the Live Circuit fanzine #4 launch party at Roadtrip & The Workshop as well! Get out and support these awesome bands, and say you were there!”

In short, loads of our bands are out and about on the scene, and big things are happening - all this amazing grunge is rearing up out of nowhere.

Also, since then, we have had the following bands join us, who are really exciting:

Dutch Mustard (London)

Elbrano (London)

Gutterflower (Brighton)

This thing keeps on moving, and we’re over 200 real followers on Instagram, which feels like a nice milestone to cross. We’ll be announcing our first show next week too, which I have been arranging behind the scenes, so big announcement to follow soon!

Peace.

DK

Dave Kirk
Making Plans...

We’ve been a bit quiet on the news front lately… but we’ve been super busy behind the scenes, and we’re nearly ready to confirm the date and venue for our very first show - Civil War I . I can’t announce it just yet, but I’ve got the venue and date reserved, and I’ve had confirmations from two bands so far in the collective, another on the way, and possibly an absolutely killer ‘guest’ headliner who I’m hoping to hear from in the coming days. Lots going on!

In the meantime, I’ve also been in touch with a great all-female band called HAWXX, who like the sound of our shows and are keen to play in the future. You should definitely check out their new single ‘Love’s A Bitch’ if you get chance - it’s a straight up banger with a MASSIVE face-melting drop at the end.

Well - big announcements coming soon! Stay tuned!

Cheers,

DK

Dave Kirk
Digging for gold...

We’ve had an incredible response… from bands after we put out a couple of forum posts on Facebook, and I’ve been hard at work listening through the amazing variety of tunes out there (and still have a big back log). Plus - we’ve gone international already! We’ve added:

Desert Clouds (London) - who we’d met last year

Dirty Power (Dublin, Ireland)

Black Monsoon (Deventer, Holland)

It’s exciting to find so many great bands on the same wavelength - just have to line up the venue & gig dates, and we’re on!

DK

PS I’m in discussions with 3 venues, each with its own selling points, so should be able to make an announcement in the next couple of weeks.

Dave Kirk
Get On Board...

So - we’re a couple of weeks in… and I’m stoked to report that we’ve had some early interest from some great bands who are up for backing this project and want to get on board with our shows:

Circa Never (London)

Empty Friend (London)

Neverlanded (London)

Superseed (Bristol)

ANKR (Brighton)

and

Mantra (London) TBC

Brain Ape (London) TBC

I’ve also decided that we should try to get one ‘out of town’ band on each bill when we can. That way we can spread the love a bit, and get some new blood down to London from around the U.K.

Exciting times! Still waiting to hear back from a couple of key venues that I’ve sent proposals too, but I’m hoping that by the summer we will be able to put a show together!

Dave Kirk