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17 January 2017

Life Is Like A Box Of Records: Hawk

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Known for creating powerful and dreamy soundscapes, alt indie rock band Hawk have kindly shared the records that mean the most to them. 

The band’s new album She Knows is out 17th March 2017, and you can stream their latest release ‘Take It Away’ here.

‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’ – Steely Dan

I can 100% thank / blame my family for the amount of music I was exposed to growing up. Both my parents are huge music fans, and my dad plays guitar and sings in a chamber choir. I have very early memories of dancing along at trad sessions in pubs, playing my grandad’s old piano, and strumming my dad’s guitar while he made the chord shapes. This song is one that absolutely sends my back to the backseat of my parents’ car, maybe about eight years old, probably on the way to or from my granny’s house in Limerick. My dad would do the harmonies (he’s very good at that) and sing the percussion parts (he’s also very good that), while tapping along on the steering wheel… And me and my brother hated it. Anytime Steely Dan was on we’d moan, and whinge, and protest, but I think Dad was certain we’d appreciate it someday. And I guess I do now. These days I will not say no to a bit of Steely Dan.

‘King Psychotic Size’ – Skunk Anansie

So I have to confess, I probably haven’t heard this song in well over ten years, but when I tried to pick a song that encapsulates my very early experiences of ‘mosher’ music, this is one that sums it up. I was twelve or thirteen. It was the last days of tapes, and I would copy my favourite bits from radio shows and my brother’s CD collection. I remember spending ages sitting on my bedroom floor making the artwork for this one out of magazine cut-outs and black and white pictures printed off the internet. I found this track on a compilation CD that came free with Kerrang. Probably stole the CD just long enough to make the tape, and then put it back in his room; mission accomplished. I just remember feeling totally intimidated and in awe of Skin’s vocal – it’s so raw and aggressive, but it has these gorgeous pop tendencies too which I could relate to. I nearly cried when I found the track again this week – it’s not on their Spotify or Wikipedia, but I remembered enough of the lyrics to track it down eventually, thank you Google.

‘Roland’ – Interpol

There were a few years whereby if my brother liked a band, I would automatically like that band. I did have my own collection of (albeit much shittier) music, but in general if Liam suggested I listened to something, I was all over it, with a genuine thirst to know what I’d been missing out on. For me this song just sums up a totally guilt-free feeling of knowing that I was almost certainly listening to something that nobody I hung out with was listening too. That’s a feeling I’d definitely be mildly ashamed of these days, but when you’re 14 that is a truly unbeatable high. It helps that Paul Banks has such an infectiously nonchalant, monotone voice on this album. No fucks given.

‘When I Come Around’ – Green Day

I was obsessed with Green Day for years. But by the time I finally got permission to go to Dublin to see Green Day I’d already missed them three or four times. It was the American Idiot Tour, but they were still playing a lot of their old tracks (they hadn’t quite entered the emo territory where I would soon leave them to their new fans, no ill-feelings). Ireland was last on their tour schedule, and my mum, genius that she is, kept finding downloads of every show they were playing on the road, and burning them onto CDs for me. After two months of listening to shows from Rio, Germany, and the States, I knew the entire set back to front. And I had accepted with a heavy heart that ‘When I Come Around’ (my then all-time favourite song) was not going to make an appearance. So you can imagine my hysteria when I heard the opening riff at the Dublin show. I felt elated and betrayed all at once, literally grabbing strangers by the shoulders shouting “They weren’t supposed to play this!” That was a really, really good gig.

‘Just Like A Woman’ – Bob Dylan

This song has an enormous place in my heart. As do a lot of Bob Dylan songs. He’s become kind of a mad uncle in my family, particularly since my mum’s sister passed away when I was 16. She was not just a Bob Dylan fan. She was part of his community. Over the years she travelled, chasing his tours, and made it to around 200 of his concerts, making friends all over the world. She always had amazing stories and souvenirs when she came to visit. When she passed away we listened to more and more Bob Dylan at home, and kept going to his concerts. This song brings her character to life for me, and always reminds me of the amazing friendship between her and my mum.

‘Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)’ – Arcade Fire 

This was one of about six CDs I had with me on a holiday in Spain where we spent a lot of days on buses getting from one city to another, me with my disc-man keeping me company. We were on an eight hour bus ride to San Sebastien and, apart from the driver, I was the only person awake when I started noticing hundreds and hundreds of Wind Turbines dotting the rocky landscape, some enormous and up close, some tiny and barely visible on the mountains. Four about two hours, I fought the urge to wake anybody else up, watching these ghostly windmills turning as we meandered along the valley. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom and loneliness that could have been broken at any point. I gave up on trying to explain it to people when we got to San Sebastien.

‘Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above’ – CSS

Once upon a time there was one club night in Galway where you could dance to indie music, and myself and my very good friend Helene took full advantage right up until its last days. It was the only place you could go where you could hear The Hives, The Gossip, and Electric Six, sometimes some System of a Down, and maybe even some Linkin Park depending on who was DJing. There were nights where it was literally just the two of us on the dancefloor. There were nights when people got kicked out for trying to start a mosh-pit (no one ever suspects the five foot females). This was one of a handful of songs that would have us immediately magnetised together on the dancefloor, taking up as much space as possible, and throwing some very future-thinking shapes. Perfect dancing music.

The Woods’ – Sleater Kinney

WTF is this?!

I was late to the Riot Grrrl table. I was in my last year at uni and this album was already five years old when I first heard it. I was completely thrown. I couldn’t even tell if I liked it at first – I just knew I had to hear more. And before long I was completely hooked. It was the year I started really forming plans about what I wanted to do with my life, the kind of person I wanted to be, and the thoughts I didn’t want to waste time on anymore. Specifically it reminds me of cycling along the canal to lectures on really cold mornings, mouthing along to the lyrics, and trying to resist actually singing out loud. The occasional squeak would get through, but honestly I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs. Frighten a few duck, y’know?

‘Queen Of Hearts’ – Fucked Up

I lived in Montreal for a summer when I was twenty, sharing an apartment with two really good friends of mine. It was hot and humid, we had a couch on the balcony, made elaborate breakfasts, drank beer and watched storms. Coming from a small place, I had never had a chance to introduce myself to so many people for the first time. Each time I met someone new, I felt like I was learning more about myself. I’m still close to handful of people I met that summer, and I know we share the same feeling. It was a really important time in our lives. Later a bunch of us met in London for a Fucked Up gig, and ever since I’ve tried to catch them any time they’re in London. They remind me of that summer – moshing at a Fucked Up gig is probably among the healthiest things you can do with your time.  

‘Nice Guy Eddie’ – Sleeper

You can really figure out who your real friends are when you’re stuck in a Ford Focus with them for like eight days. This song reminds me of being on the road with the band. We have Matt to thank for most of the playlists we listen to on the road, and it’s difficult to pick one track that sends me back there, but this one does it to great effect. It reminds me of the giddiness before a sound check, infuriating car games, or just being sad that it’s over when we’re on the journey back home. 

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