H. Hawkline – Interview – 2015

Before being a full-time musician, Huw Evans was radio presenter with Huw Stephens on SC4 and then had his own stint as a radio host for BBC Radio Cyrmu. After a string of brilliant odd pop releases, Huw moved to Los Angeles with his partner Cate Le Bon who also produced his second album, In the Pink of Condition, one of the most underrated albums of the year. H Hawkline brings his live show to Brighton on 24th September at The Basement, co-headlining with Gwenno, so we got in contact to find out more about his music.
Where did you grow up?
Born in Cardiff, wrenched to Prestatyn aged nine.
Do you think were you lived has influenced your music?
We’re all sponges, a front door here, an empty room there, it all goes in, has to come out somewhere.
Was there much of a music scene in Cardiff?
In Prestatyn no not really, but the further west in North Wales you head the more music you hear, Wrexham is maybe the exception in North East Wales. Music was banned in Prestatyn on the second Tuesday of every month from 1996-1997 and that is a true fact. Though sometimes the cross foxes would have the jukebox on very quietly, whispers of Prince would drift like smoke down the high street if the wind was headed in the right direction, to the start of Offa’s Dyke.
What music were you brought up on?
Beatles, Garth Brooks, Queen, Radio Cymru on the kitchen radio, lots of truckers requesting Bryn Fon from phone boxes, news at 10.
Can you remember the first album you owned?
Not really, mostly had hand-me-down compilation tapes from friend’s older brothers, maybe it was The Doors movie soundtrack compilation with Val Kilmer acting his little socks off between the songs, the snake king, lots of thunder.
What was the first instrument you played, and when? Do you have a favourite instrument?
Recorder / corkscrew
When and what made you start performing as H Hawkline?
2008 / money troubles
How would you briefly describe H Hawkline’s ethos?
If it can’t be whistled or hummed it’s no good, if you’re still whistling and humming in three and a half days time, it’s too catchy. It has to lie in the middle somewhere. Whistle me once, more fool you, whistle me twice and I can be very nice if you like.
What affect has your time in LA had on your music?
Chorus affect.
What are your main influences?
Beatles, books, beautiful things.
What inspires your lyrics?
A last minute panic.
How do you approach the writing/recording process?
Hide away initially, and then surround with people who can compensate for my inadequacies.
Do you prefer writing music or playing live?
Both in equal measures, although sometimes live more. I do like going places.
Have you been thinking about your next release?
I’m writing it at the minute. Two songs in I’d say it’s relying a little too much on the black notes of the piano – it’s those longer ones that the pluggers like. I think today I’m going to try upping all the tempos to 120 and scrapping the strings.
What would be your perfect line-up of any three acts for a concert and were would it be put on?
Garth Brooks with the exhumed corpses of Wg Sebald and Serge Gainsbourg as stage props in the house.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to H Hawkline?
Dr Dre / finances.
If you could have made any album ever, which one would it be and why?
The Cleaners From Venus – Blow Away Your Troubles. They recorded it themselves and it sounds really good and the songs are great.
If there is one artist that everyone should listen to, who would it be and why?
Yourself, forget about what everyone else is doing.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Currently right at this minute listening to a playlist of John Lennon demos and rarities on Youtube. You should listen to it too, it’s great! Just type in JOHN LENNON DEMOS it’s the second search result.
What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?
Photoshop, pritstick, ink, and a scanner.
What are your future plans until the end of the year and after?
Weirdly I have a To-do list next to me that I’m working on, I’ll copy it out verbatim:
Sort out design website
Book car for end of the road
Book bigger car for tour with Gwenno
Finish new songs (try upping tempos)
Remember to eat lunch
Record album in November
2016 – Make it big