Thrash Hits

January 24th, 2012

Interview: Hawk Eyes on name-changing, denim jackets, and how their new album isn’t at all like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Hawk Eyes 2012 promo photo Thrash Hits

Hands up anyone out there who until now didn’t know that Hawk Eyes is the name that Chickenhawk now operate under? Well, if you’ve got your hand up, you’re a massive idiot – they changed their name back in March 2011, and you’ve had plenty of time to get used to it by now. Hawk Eyes bloody well haven’t taken their foot off since then though, as since that aforementioned name-change, they’ve toured all over the bloody place, found time to record a new album (by the name of Ideas, with a March 26 release date), and then blown even their own expectations out of the water when their PledgeMusic pre-orders for the new record practically obliterating their target in less than a week.

With all that in mind, we caught up with their guitarist, Rob Stephens, and their drummer, Matt Reid, to find out how 2012 is treating them so far.

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Has it been hard “re-establishing” yourselves after the name change?
Rob Stevens: Its always going to be hard getting the news out to everyone but as time has gone on, people have started to adjust to it pretty easily.

So why’d you call the new album Ideas then?
Rob: Ideas represents the whole process, from writing to recording sometimes we all had terrible terrible Ideas, occasionally we had brilliant Ideas. Plus Modern Bodies 2: The Wrath of Khan wasn’t as catchy as we hoped.

How does Ideas differ from Modern Bodies (the band’s first album, when they were still Chickenhawk)?
Rob: Well, apart from this being the first full album with Matt on drums, it’s more diverse. We’ve dug deeper and established our sound better across this record. Whereas the first album was pretty much a relentless assault from start to finish, this record offers another complex listen but with much more refined peaks of intensity. Paul [Astick, guitar and vocals] has also reigned in his screaming and we discovered he can actually sing believe it or not.

Hawk Eyes Ideas album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

Why go down the PledgeMusic route?
Rob: It just seemed like a nice way of offering more than one or two pre-orders for the new album, giving a much wider selection for people to choose from all in one place.

You’ve mentioned how surprised you’ve been with the response to the PledgeMusic approach – what sort of take-up were you expecting?
Rob: Well you never presume everything will run smoothly, we hoped we would get interest in our new album of course but nothing like what we’ve seen over the last week. Very happy campers we are.

What’s the story behind those Denim jackets you’ve got on the PledgeMusic offers?
Rob: We had a lot of T-shirts left over with the old band name on, and some friends that run a clothing line called The Sick Kids offered to make some Jackets from the leftover hawk logo shirts. Voila!

‘Headstrung’ by Hawk Eyes” coming out on Fierce Panda Records

What is your favourite track on the new album and why?
Matt Reid: My personal favourite would have to be either one of the ‘face-strippers’ on the album like ‘Milkhog’ or ‘You Deserve A Medal’– just for pure idiotic complexity and heaviness. It would have to ‘Milkhog’ – its just too stupid.

How did you guys hook up with Fierce Panda Records to release it?
Rob: On a dating website. We hooked up for a date. We didn’t really fancy each other but then when we discovered what each of us did, we realised that its not all just about looks and handsome faces. We’re moving in together in the summer.

So what are your plans for the rest of 2012?
Rob: We have a couple of release shows for the new album both in London and Leeds. All details can be found on our sites floating around the internet. We hope to play some more festivals this year and theres a couple of dates we’re really excited about but cannot announce yet, so watch this space.

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Ideas, the new album from Hawk Eyes, is due out on Fierce Panda on 26 March 2012. Look out for a review of it here on Thrash Hits in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, why not go have a gander at the band’s official website, or give them a little ‘Like’ over on Facebook?

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