Hawk ended 2014 with a bang, with the release of their gorgeous single, 'Hush', and the hauntingly beautiful video that accompanied it. Graced with a sound that transcends genres, some people have pegged them as Noir Folk, and with their latest video 'Clock Hands', it's not hard to see why. However, it's clear that HAWK are a band heading towards big things, and with their Clock Hands EP due for release on February 23rd, we thought it was about time we sat down with Julie, the voice behind the band, to see what makes HAWK tick.
CM: As a band, how would you describe HAWK to newcomers?
Hawk: We're guitar indie, with flares of folk and punk, and we're a big fan of detail.
CM: There's a lot of noise online with new bands, how do you keep what you do fresh, excited and intriguing for new listeners?
Hawk: We try to keep developing our sound. It's been almost a joke to see the contrast of adjectives used to describe us in the last year, but it's testament to how much we've tried to change it up and inject all of our influences into our sound. Although I do think we're getting more of an identity for ourselves, we're never going to want to release the exact same kind of record twice. Working with James Byrne has been a really good way to offer something a bit different. He's directed two video projects for us now, and he's really brought the songs to life.
CM: Julie, you're from Ireland - how have you found being a musician writing, recording and playing in London compared to back home?
Hawk: I've really only experienced living in the music scene in London, but we catch glimpses of the Irish scene when we tour. The music scene here can be really competitive and almost overpopulated at times. On one hand this definitely influences how much work you put in, but sometimes audiences can become a bit desensitized. There's a definitely a fashion to appear laid back and unmoved at a gig. Back in Ireland I feel like audiences are more connected to the live experience in a really positive way.
CM: Reading and Leeds recently came under fire for having a very male line-up this year, do you feel there's true equality in the music scene?
Hawk: Not yet, no. We're certainly getting somewhere, but we're still seeing 'female' or 'female fronted' acts as a novelty. Having a more balanced line-ups would be great, but it wouldn't fix the inequality at its source. When girls and boys are encouraged to have the same attitudes towards playing music, and starting bands, and listening to whatever they want, then I hope this will trickle up through the industry and on the line-ups, but it's a slow process.
CM: Is there a theme to your music?
Hawk: All of our songs are quite personal, exploring different headspaces and microcosms of emotion. That sounds a bit grim, but I think there is an overarching positive theme to all our songs. Something like, 'don't be afraid to take shit into your own hands, but also, don't be an asshole about it'.
CM: Specifically, what is the EP about would you say?
Hawk: All the tracks on the EP touch on the subject of 'time', hence the title. It's such a subjective, human part of life. Whether it's trying to stop to appreciate every detail of a single moment, or conjuring up someone from the past from fragmented memories, or the feeling that the world is spinning so fast that you'll never find a way to catch up with everyone else.
CM: We're living in crazy times, do you as a band have a message and do you think more bands need to convey one?
Hawk: We have plenty of things that we stand for and oppose as artists, and we're not shy about exploring injustices and personal dilemma. But our message is definitely a positive one. Our songs are mostly about empowerment, about making choice, and taking control of a situation. But I don't think a band needs to have a world-changing message in order to make an important impact. If a band's message is that I should probably be dancing right about now, then that's important enough for me!
CM: What's in store for HAWK after the EP release?
Hawk: We're constantly writing, so we'll probably be looking at another release within the end of the year. We've got a tour in Ireland coming up in April which is always awesome. And there are still loads of parts of the UK we've not yet played, so we'll be doing a fair few trips out of London by the summer.
Swinton herself is an ex-boarding school pupil.