With their new EP, She Knows, set for release next month, Hawk aim to create “a single piece of work, with an arc both in terms of sound and lyrics.” With the band having recently re-located to Berlin, we caught up with front-woman Julie following a recent return to the UK for a jam-packed gig at The Victoria in Dalston.
Of the themes running throughout the new EP, she explains:
“It starts off pretty batshit-angry and goes on a bit of a roller-coaster from disbelief and sadness to proactive positivity. In terms of themes, there are a quite a few tracks written from a female point of view about everyday scenarios like being followed on the street or dealing with body image. There are some more political tracks too, like ‘Static’ which is about some of the hollow rhetoric we heard during the Irish Marriage Equality referendum in 2014.”
Recent single, the hauntingly beautiful and poignant offering ‘Take It Away’ was written, as Julie mentions, as a reaction to a friend being followed home after a night out.
“There was basically a discussion on social media after my friend was followed home, and a lot of people commented to offer their support and or disgust. But a good chunk of the responses jumped straight into offering her advice and outright telling her she shouldn’t have been where she was, on her own, at that time. This kind of remark is really common and is often meant well, but it can derail the conversation away from the real issue of consent and teaching boys not to grow into this kind of behaviour. It’s not an uncommon story, which is where my exasperation comes from. The track is about wanting a reality where the streets are equally safe for men and women, but written from an emotional point of view of knowing we are miles away from that kind of world.”
With the EP filled with powerful creations about society’s expectations of women, we spoke to Julie about her duty as a woman to speak out on issues of inequality.
“Now that these issues are on my radar more than ever, I do feel a duty to speak out. Though, while I’m generally the lyrics-writer and the voice of the band, all four of us totally stand by our messages and talk about them at length. I used to (and still do!) listen to women like Corin Tucker and be so in awe of how they could tear down societal issues. But I’m becoming much more comfortable in the idea that I can own my own perspective too, and bringing this into our music has been totally empowering and brought us so much closer as a band and as friends.”
And, the closeness of Hawk as a band, and friends, is really reflected in their decision to move – together – from London to Berlin, and continue their work as artists there.
“We have been going to a lot of shows here, and our impression is that there is a really exciting live scene and a serious amount of respect for artists. There are quite a few venues that charge ‘pay what you want’ on the door, and I have seen loads of people casually drop a tenner in the hat even though there’s no obligation. As a musician that gives me good feelings! As to actually making a living, I feel like it’s definitely more viable here as the cost of living is lower than London. I’ve met a lot of people here who only have to work a few of days a week and have loads of spare time to put into getting their projects off the ground.”
Living together, it’s also come in handy that they have similar musical tastes…
“We’ve all recently collectively fallen in love with Buke and Gase. Really dynamic music with amazing energy! I’m also totally obsessed with Scrounge who played with us at the Victoria.”
Following the gig at The Victoria, Hawk have also recently announced their ‘Big Giant Head Tour’ coming up at the end of March, with Irish bands BARQ and Harbouring Oceans.
“We basically wanted to put on a tour that was less about one act and more about bringing diverse music to our different audiences. The idea is that we’ll be swapping the headline slot every night and treating it as a kind of travelling mini circus of music!”
Catch Hawk Live:
3rd March – Schokoladen, Berlin (with Bikini Jesus)
22nd March – The Hope & Ruin – Brighton
23rd March – The Waiting Room – London
30th March – Cyprus Avenue – Cork, Ireland
31st March – Connolly’s of Leap – Leap, Ireland
1st April – Pumphouse – Kilkenny, Ireland
2nd April – Central Arts – Waterford, Ireland
5th April – Roisin Dubh – Galway, Ireland
6th April – Whelan’s – Dublin, Ireland