Richard Sykes speaks to Chickenhawk's Robert and Ryan ahead of the November 1st release of 'Modern Bodies' on Brew Records.
Hello Chickenhawk, can you introduce yourselves and let us know why you came to Leeds (if not born here) and what made you stay?
Rob: I came to Leeds under the guise of education, riffs broke this attempt fairly early on, although an education in riffs was had, so maybe everything is fine and Phil Anselmo was in fact right when he said he was broken. Other people I think are utter geniuses are Mel Gibson, Brian Wilson and Gary Busey. All of these people in a room imagine the power, imagine the ideas...
Ryan: I play bass. I was at university in Leeds for 4 years. I never went back home to Southport because Leeds had a lot more to offer, job wise and social wise.
You're becoming better known as a band both locally and nationally, but in case there are people who haven't heard you, can you describe in your own words what you sound like?
Rob: Awful question for any band to answer, some useful points may be Loud, Heavy (relative), Noisy but this could describe so much music. If you have an interest in trends and fashion check us out because we are really cool, really fashionable, ultra rad, down with eBay and iPods and want to be your best friend modern bleep bleep.
Ryan: Yeah I hate questions like this, it's nonsense anyway, apart from the bullshit hard sell tactics you have to employ, people interpret language differently so it's kinda pointless. I'd rather not turn somebody off listening to my band because they take away a preconception or prejudice from misinterpreting what they read that I've written somewhere. Especially with the internet today, you can sample most bands with a little bit of investigating. There's no need for over bloated descriptions and genrefication.
Are there any bands that inspired you all to take up music or did you come at it from different directions?
Rob: As a band we all write music in different ways, all of our teenage years we're all submerged in heavy music but different aspects. As a young mosher I listened to Metallica and Pantera, now it's less mosh more symphony. The rest of the band think I'm a total music fascist, it's quality not quantity, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and red sky at night shepherds (pie) (angel) delight.
Ryan: My dad playing me Queen, Fleetwood Mac, T-Rex, Otis Redding, Sting, Genesis and loads more definitely got me fascinated with music. It wasn't until my mid late-late teens that I started playing guitar. The inspiration was loud guitar bands across the board at this point. Nirvana, Green Day, Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene, Radiohead, Deftones, Korn. It was actually the metal/hardcore scene in Leeds that really inspired me on the path I am today. Seeing Tangaroa, Red Stars Parade, DRail and Fail Safe Failed at the Packhorse was a massive eye opener to the concept of musical community and also Heavy, credible, grassroots music.
Do any of you still have full-time jobs or are you now all focused entirely on the band?
Robert: In the past year there has been a 're-aligning of priorities', this has meant most of us now have different jobs that work around the band rather than the band working around jobs.
Ryan: I did work at the University but cutbacks meant my contract wasn't renewed. This happened around 3 months back and to be honest was probably for the best as far as focusing on the band goes. Now I am mostly unemployed with a bit of casual work here and there. I have a very supportive & understanding better half who is essentially paying my rent at the minute.
Your new album is out imminently. How long did it take to record, where did you record it and what was the process like?
Ryan: Too long, too many places, painful.
You've done a couple of videos with Roach and Danny North - are there any plans for any from the new album?
Ryan: There's always plans. However what you learn when being in a band is that things very rarely go to plan.
Touring Europe and the UK with Alexisonfire should be something to look forward to - are there any dates on the tour that especially appeal to you?
Robert: Ninth of November, imagine Keanu Reeves saying that.
Ryan: The first euro date is in Amsterdam. I like Amsterdam.
What's been the best gig you've played and do you have a favourite venue?
Rob: Leeds Festival this year, can I also have Leeds Festival as my favourite venue?
Are there any other bands from Leeds that you would recommend people who like Chickenhawk should listen to?
Rob: Current bands, hmmmm... I like Tangaroa but they haven't played for a while, David Broad is also a very talented chap but he doesn't sound similar to Chickenhawk. I've not seen them live, I don't think they are gigging just yet but I'm sure False Flags will be mega judging on the people involved.
Ryan: The rest of the Brew Roster would be a great place to start. Humanfly, These Monsters, Castrovalva, and Manchester's KONG, who are regularly over this side of the Pennines enough to qualify. Other than that Blacklisters are immense, Massive fan of Pulled apart by Horses and what they are doing in the live arena. Some new ones to watch out for are Black Moth and Canaya. They all have myspaces, if you're unfamiliar use a few brain cells and type em into Google.
And finally, I'd like to say thank you for talking to Leeds Music Scene and finish off with what is hopefully an easy question; why should people buy your new album, 'Modern Bodies'?
Robert: People should buy Modern Bodies because they want to as Billie Piper once said.
Ryan: So I can stop eating cardboard boxes from the skip out the back of Co-Op and maybe get some real food inside me.
THIS IS NOISE HOP