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A Dirty Dozen with JOHANNES CARLSSON from THE HAWKINS – July 2021


According to a recent press release: “A rock band inside a kitchen during a house fire. An ironic soundtrack to the apocalypse. Lyrically Hyde, sonically Jekyll. With a splendid mix of swing, energy, and punk ’n’ roll, Sweden’s The Hawkins delivers rock music at its finest. Combining high-flying, infectious melodies with exploding energy and dynamic songwriting into one vibrant soundscape. Blending the best of many worlds, The Hawkins could be described as an encyclopedia of rock. In 2021 The Hawkins is releasing Aftermath. A 6-track mini-album that deals with the aftermath of tattered relationships, anger in between panic attacks, hearing yourself hoping for someone else to save you and finally giving up. With a dark yet humoristic energy The Hawkins goes from plastic jazz to cleithrophobic film music, via bubblegum pop and Rolling Stones -hardcore. Hurtful and fun.” We get Johannes to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Turncoat Killer” is the second single from our upcoming mini-album Aftermath. It is a pretty angry song. Very gonzoesque, no room for discussion. Nothing I recommend in life, but it feels nice to have it be a representation of that kind of narrow-minded burst of anger that can come over and make you take it out on things and people around you.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I always loved music as a kid. Always singing at home and performing from time to time. growing older I started playing guitar and learning about harmony and getting to understand harmony patterns in popular music became a big fascination for me. I got into writing and therefore I wanted to record so my parents got me a 16-track Phonic FireWire Mixer (I still have it and it still works!). That meant a lot to me. Since then there was no going back. Writing, recording, and producing music has been pretty much everything in life.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

No, no one in particular but many in general!

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I think probably Emil Svanängen (Loney Dear) or Lina Högström (Skator). But it’s so much about chemistry, right now I am writing and recording an album with Oskar Cederblad (Kungen Jazz) and our chemistry is phenomenal.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I enjoy finding new music that is interesting, listening to Swedish podcast Via Lascaris. Also hanging out with friends! Haha might sound like a no-brainer, but I recently came to deep realization to how my life gets better through making friends with new people. It feels so good. Life is good now!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Funny, busy rock with depressing lyrics. Haha, good question. I don’t think I have ever had a comparison that I’ve cringed over, but with the previous album so many journalists wanted to mention The Darkness because of our name being the surname to two of the members in The Darkness. That’s weird.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Martin is a great cook. He has a big interest in developing new tastes and exploring different cuisines. Albin brings the beer, or the whisky and coke. I probably owe Albin 15.000 SEK in just beer that he has been kind of serving throughout the years. I don’t think any of us is a big fan of cracking out the acoustic guitar, but if it had to be someone it would be Mikael.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I think it was 2 years ago when I met Jozé Gonzales at Svenska Grammofonstudion, Gothenburg.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Creating music that makes you feel colours and gives you a sense of connection to not only sound, but nature as a whole is the best thing and what I want to do. If I wouldn’t not be able to work with music, I would probably like to do forefront science in astrophysics.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

People rarely ask about production details, both technical and artistic. A longer discussion of those things is well appreciated. All questions where you realize the interviewer has just sent a standard interview questionnaire and haven’t even cared to listen to what we are to talk about.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

A few shitty gigs, but they are worth it though. But most probably some bad decisions in production of our recent stuff.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I think probably Klappar och slag by Oskar Linnros or Satan i Gatan by Veronica Maggio. Two amazing albums that have meant a whole lot of inspiration regarding song form, production choices and harmonization.



Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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