INTERVIEW: Hawk Eyes | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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2015 looks set to be the year of the riff, if Hawk Eyes have anything to do with it. Perhaps the most sonically ambitious, insanely inventive rock band in the UK right now, the Leeds behemoths release their third studio album, Everything Is Fine this February. An utter monster of a record, Hawk Eyes began writing Everything Is Fine back in 2012, finding time between their day jobs, home responsibilities, festival slots and supporting the likes of System Of A Down to record the rock opus. “When you have something gestating for 24 months, there are points where you look at each other and think, ‘what is happening here?!'” explains Hawk Eyes’ vocalist and guitarist Paul Astick. “It does test friendships, and it’s been an absolute nightmare at some points, but that’s how we function! There’s been times when we’ve had to prioritise other things in our lives and it becomes difficult, but we strongly believe in the music we’re creating. We wouldn’t be able to function in our other lives unless we had this little gang we’ve created. It’s the modern way now, everyone does ten thousand things at once, but I think you can hear exactly how much effort has gone into Everything Is Fine.”

One listen to Everything Is Fine and that effort is staggeringly apparent: twelve tracks of soaring, visceral rock with riffs so mind-blowing you’ll be left dumbstruck, each track laden with intricacies that unveil a new secret upon each listen. If Hawk Eyes’ previous effort, 2012’s Ideas, was epic, then Everything Is Fine sees them traversing the stratosphere. “A lot of guitar bands are coming into fashion right now, everyone is repackaging what has been done before,” says Astick. “What we try and do is blend our different influences and make it sound different to what everyone else is playing. We don’t believe in treading over the same ground. Writing was quite the laborious process – a lot of it was done when we went to SXSW in March 2013 and I managed to blag us a huge rehearsal room. Meatloaf, the actual Meatloaf was in the room next door! Being the bores we are, we decided to rehearse rather than party every night, and we came up with the embryos of the songs on Everything Is Fine in those three days. We then spent months listening back, adding new bits, before laying down the skeletons of each song in the recording studio, rearranging, recording new guitar parts, working out the lyrics… it’s a very measured, arduous process!”

“We strongly believe in the music we’re creating”

While this methodical approach to rawk riffery doesn’t seem so very ‘rock ‘n’ roll’, it’s helped Hawk Eyes avoid the pitfalls of any rock clichés so far. With the band not attached to any label and releasing the new album via Pledge Music, Hawk Eyes are still very much an independent band. It’s very unlikely then, that we’ll ever see them exhibit the same level of rock extravagance as previous tour mates System Of A Down. “We did that whole tour in a transit van with seven people in it, driving back and forth across Europe doing 14-15 hour drives. We’d turn up at these arenas and System Of A Down would have six sleeper buses and eleven articulated lorries, and we’d be in our van with equipment falling out every time we opened the door! But we got a lot of respect from the band and the crew for that. In fact, at one point when we were on stage, I turned and saw Serj and John from SOAD singing along and playing air drums. These guys had actually listened to us…at least somebody somewhere is listening to us!”

Hawk Eyes release Everything Is Fine on Monday 9th February. They play The Cluny, Newcastle on Thursday 19th February.

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