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

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Image by Daniel Stark

It’s difficult for any band to pin down their aesthetic and sound, let alone if they’re 15-years old and hopped up on hormones. Hakara’s lead guitarist Andrew Green admits they began life as “unimaginative teenagers, a group of 15-year olds wanting for female attention”, but fast-forward seven years, and the now early twenty-somethings have matured into a highly skilled alt. rock band that’s on the cusp of something pretty impressive.

The Newcastle four-piece release their debut EP Divine Intuition this month, but as Andrew admits, it hasn’t always been an easy ride. “Hakara has been through constant changes and we’re always managing to do something wrong, but that’s how you learn I suppose, due to those mistakes we have a steadier idea of how we want to do things and progress as a band.”

Having released several bedroom demos and a live session EP in 2015, Divine Intuition will be their first proper release, with some TLC lavished on the recordings by producer George Collings from In Heart Studios. Andrew explains that the decision to move into a more professional environment to give their music the care and attention it deserved was a considered process for the band. “We’ve never been fully settled with our sound, so spending X amount of money for proper production never seemed viable. Last year we took a big step back from everything and spent a lot of time and effort making sure this is how we wanted to progress; to a point where if we didn’t get it produced correctly it would be a crime.”

this is well-thought out alt. rock, performed with passion and a barely contained aggression which is thrilling to hear in such a young band

It’s this honest introspection that has enabled Hakara to firmly pin their sound down. Andrew talks about swapping six-minute long songs with “loopy instrumentals and off-kilter time signatures” for shorter tracks “that hit hard and fast”, and this reigning in has produced dividends. Borderline, which displays the technical ability of a band like Muse (but with less widdling), feels well-paced, with rollicking guitars that leave room for intricacies. Recent single Sellotape & Superglue has some pleasing swears, endearing accented vocals, a chorus that’s as catchy as hell and a heavy breakdown which induces slow head-nodding; talking of breakdowns, the remarkable Octo-Octave-Opus sounds like every idea in the book has been chucked at it, but still manages to sound cohesive and tight, from the guitar solos to the punchy drums – it’s all over and done with in two and a half minutes making you instantly want to hit ‘repeat’. The EP’s title track has ‘massive hit’ written all over it, showing a maturity that perhaps the band are unaware they possess. Demonstrating a deft command over light and shade, knowing when to belt out at full volume and when to whisper, it’s radio friendly stadium-sized alt. rock that’s barely being done any better on the national stage.

Hakara compare themselves to the likes of Biffy Clyro and Alexisonfire, and their sound is intricate without an ounce of fat on it; this is well-thought out alt. rock, performed with passion and a barely contained aggression which is thrilling to hear in such a young band.

I’m not sure how divine my intuition is, but it’s telling me Hakara are going to be massive.

Hakara release Divine Intuition this month. The band play Little Buildings, Newcastle on Saturday 28th April.


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