Although this was released back in December last year, Like A Hawk reached out to me on twitter, so we thought we would have a chat with lead singer/guitarist archie:
Can you tell us a bit about the band? Where are you from and how did you all meet?
We started in the small Northern Irish town of Limavady in Northern Ireland. There’s a population of only around 12,000-13,000 people there, but there are a lot of cool musicians in the area. I’d been in various bands for years including a punk rock band called where I was the drummer and a few rock bands playing guitar/singing. My younger brother Ryan, who plays drums in Like A Hawk, actually started out as a guitar player and I was the drummer, and someways along the line we swapped. We each played in different bands and never together for a few years, and then we started jamming one day in our house and thought, “Why aren’t we doing something together.” So we wrote a few songs and played a few gigs with various bass players as a 3-piece and the show was on the road. A few years later we moved to Belfast for work/university and our old mate from Limavady, Johnny (aka Cheddar) joined us on 2nd guitar. We then met Ciaran (bass) through an online ad and we all clicked immediately and got straight to playing gigs at open mic nights and battle of the band competitions, and eventually we were supporting some amazing bands in and around Northern Ireland.
How did you decide on the name Like A Hawk?
The name was actually a phrase that I remember from school. I wasn’t the best or most well-behaved student, and I remember distinctly my primary 4 teacher saying, “I need to watch you like a hawk!” God knows what I was up to, but when Ryan and I were thinking about names it just popped into my head. It’s a pretty cool name I think, it’s rock and roll and evokes the imagination.
If you had to use one word to sum up each band member, what would you say?
This is a difficult one! I would say:
Archie (Lead Vox/Guitar): Pessimist
Ryan (Drums): Solid
Ciaran (Bass): Vagabond
Johnny (Guitar): Sarcastic
Back in December last year, you released your debut EP, Release The Hawk. What does this EP mean to you, as a band?
This E.P was such hard work to put together, and it’s our first ever proper release, so it means a whole lot to us! We did the entire thing ourselves, and had very little experience or knowledge of how it all worked, so putting it together was a challenge, but also incredibly rewarding. Most of the songs on Release The Hawk have been rolling around for a few years at gigs/practice/demos, but we never had the money to go to a studio, or the equipment to do it ourselves. We finally felt we had the proper kit to put something together ourselves and it turned out not half bad! The songs are fun, hopefully catchy and just good-time rock music, and that’s really what we’re all about. It felt so good to finally get a proper release out, and now we’ve done it we’re hopefully on the right track!
What song stands out as a favorite?
For me, the opener My Disgrace would be a personal favourite. I wrote that song a few years ago about when I started going bald. It’s a worrying time for a man, but when you finally get the courage to bite the bullet and shave the head, it’s so liberating! The song’s really about the initial anxiety and embarrassment some men face when the hair starts to go south, but it’s essentially an anthem to all the baldy’s out there that it’s ok, and some people even find it sexy (or so I’m told). We always dedicate that one live to any chrome dome’s in the audience. I’m not sure about the other guys but I imagine we probably all have different favourites. We’ve all definitely got very differing and eclectic tastes! Ciaran’s more a funk kinda guy, Ryan more modern/alternative rock, Cheddar’s a straight metalhead, and I’m a blues/classic rock chap!
Did you have any help with the writing and producing process for the EP?
No, the whole thing was recorded literally in Ryan’s living room, and the songs were written by Ryan and myself. He lives with his girlfriend in a small flat in Belfast, so her head was absolutely tortured! We recorded drums, guitars, bass, vocals and did all the mixing/mastering right there in his living room. It was hard work at times, and me and Ryan nearly had a few bust ups (brotherly love…) but in the end we were happy with the finished product. I wouldn’t even dare attempt to count how many cans of beer were consumed during the whole process. It would be in the hundreds.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced making your new music? How did you overcome them?
The gear we had was the biggest challenge. I’m not too bad at using digital audio software like Logic Pro or Pro-Tools, so that was pretty smooth most of the time, but we really were on a tight budget. One of the audio interfaces we were using at the start is so old, I think I might have had it for 10-12 years. We used mostly cheap microphones and often found some strange noises in the background when we were listening back to the drum tracks and had to do the entire thing again. Those were the times when Ryan wanted to throw me out the window. Eventually we got into a kind of rhythm (pardon the pun…) and things started going smoother and smoother. We learned mic placement, noise suppression techniques and tricks along the way that helped us get there in the end.
Are there any plans to play live, when it is safe to do so?
We’re definitely a live band. We’d been playing gigs for years before we put anything out, so that’s really where we cut our teeth. As soon as possible, we’ll be out there playing as often and as loud as we can! I’m literally itching to get back on stage again and I know the boys are the same! That first chord will be an all encompassing joy!
What is next for the band?
When the restrictions eased a bit last year before Christmas, we actually managed to get drums recorded for 5 brand new songs, so we were very lucky! So that will be a new E.P that we’ll put out this year! How we’re gonna record it is reliant on the Northern Irish restrictions as we can’t get together, but hopefully we’ll find a work around and get it out sooner rather than later. The songs sounded awesome when we played them in rehearsal last year and Ryan’s drumming has stepped up a level. It should be a good’n!
How have you all been keeping busy during lockdown?
I’ve been studying for an undergraduate degree in Belfast, and musically just writing and putting down demos to work on with the lads as soon as we can get together. The other lads work full-time and play games. Ryan’s been writing a lot of great material too that we’ll work on in the near future. Apart from that there hasn’t been much to get up to apart from drink beer and listen to rock and roll for me.
Where can we find out more about you?
You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you can hear the full E.P on Spotify, Apple Music and most other streaming platforms worldwide! We’d really appreciate if folks would check it out and give us a like or follow!
Anything else you would like to tell us?
Thank you Ted for taking the time to listen to us, and I hope you enjoyed our stuff! We really appreciate the support from you guys! Keep an eye on our socials everyone for news about our upcoming E.P. It’s gonna be a beast! See you at a gig soon!
We hope to see you at a gigs soon as well. In the meantime, why not check out Like A Hawk on your preferred music service. I’d like to thank Archie for taking the time to chat to us and wish him all the best for the next EP, when it is released.