Everyone loves zombies, right? Their crazy ambling about, eating brains and bumping into stuff always spices up any situation. So there was much excitement when we watched the amazing new video for Leeds-based metal band Chickenhawk’s new single ‘I Hate This, Do You Like It’ with its zombie-heavy content.
We packed up our copy of the necronomicon and some vials of the T-virus, then headed off for a secluded cottage in the middle of the woods. With the doors and windows boarded up we headed down to the cellar for a chat with the band.
Firstly before we start I have to complement you on the amazing video. Where did you find so many zombies?
Thanks! Well, a little black magic and access to a few local cemeteries can do wonders for bolstering a zombie cast. Alternatively, having lots of friends and random extras who love zombie movies and are willing to stand around all day covered in jam helps!
Roach productions and our label Brew did a lot of posting on the internet to see if anybody was interested in being an extra and we had between 200 - 250 over the course of filming.
It must have been an amazing shoot. So who are Chickenhawk? How did you all meet?
Rob and Ryan met when they were just five and followed each other through high school, sixth form, and then to Leeds for university. Stick turned up one day on their couch in a shared house and the following year they ended up living together and messing around with songs in the basement. Matt joined late 2008 as he was at a loose end and Stick wanted to do a Phil Collins and drop the sticks for the frontman role. We'd known Matt for a few years after playing with his old band WhoreWhoresWhores quite a lot.
For our readers who aren’t aware of you how would you describe Chickenhawk?
Errrrrrrr, it's always hard to describe your own music and I think each of us would do so differently. But we play noisy guitar music with riffs and hooks that are loosely based in the ballpark of rock, metal and hardcore punk. We like odd timings and try to be as original as you possibly can within the confines of western music and 12 notes, etc.
Over the many reviews we've had over the years we've been compared to a multitude of different bands, something like 150 different references and generally everybody has their own idea what Chickenhawk sounds like. People should check us out and decide for themselves at http://www.myspace.com/chickenhawk.
Is there a common band you all love?
Probably not, but I think one band that we do all listen to and respect is The Melvins. On tours when we travel together we listen to very little guitar based music to be honest. It's mostly electronic or pop music! There's only so much riff one man can take; Chromeo and Beyonce are definite faves.
According to Wikipedia a "Chickenhawk" is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, yet who actively avoided military service when of age. What things have Chickenhawk managed to avoid?
Death! We had a pretty nasty car crash a few years back on a tour with Matt's old band that was pretty gnarly. We ended up going through the central reservation of the A1 on our side and ultimately finishing up on the hard shoulder of the opposite lane. Other than that we've managed to avoid being asked to leave a venue before we finished a set. Actually I lie that happened in Bournemouth once, I think. We started sound checking and about 30 secs in the landlord burst in the room and demanded that we pack up as we 'obviously are not trained musicians'!
What’s the manifesto for Chickenhawk?
Rock hard, kick a few dicks in with riff power, do things the way we want to and write music that we want to listen to.
In the studio who takes longest to set-up and get ready to record?
Thats probably our guitarist and singer Stick who will sometimes do a few laps around Barnsley town centre between chugs!
Have you played at or visited any festivals this year? If so how did that go?
We got selected to play at Leeds and Reading this year which was loads fun and quite an experience for us all. Last weekend a few of us went down to the Offset festival in Essex. That was a great lineup, especially Kong!
What interesting skills do the members of Chickenhawk have other than musicianship?
Robert and Stick have great patience as they are both teachers. Matt is a graphic designer on the side from his normal job as a print finishing inspector and has been taking care of the lovely artwork for the last ep and general promo materials. Ryan is an IT geek and lives in the internet.
A farmer is on one shore of a river and has with him a fox, a chicken, and a sack of grain. He has a boat that fits one object besides himself. In the presence of the farmer nothing gets eaten, but if left without the farmer, the fox will eat the chicken, and the chicken will eat the grain. How would Chickenhawk tackle this problem to get all three possessions across the river safely?
We'd probably wouldn't. It sounds like too much effort and doesn't involves drums or guitars.
Alternatively, we'd just ask Google it and tell you that:
To start with, you have the chicken, the fox, and the grain on one side.
First, you take the chicken across the river. The fox doesn't want the grain, so it should be safe.
Then, you go back across the river yourself.
Take either the fox or the grain, it doesn't matter which. We'll take the fox.
Now take the chicken back with you to the original side.
Take the grain over to hang out with the fox.
Go back to the side with the chicken.
Take the chicken to the right side, and you're done.
That’s cheating! Thanks for your time guys, before we go, what’s next for Chickenhawk?
The new ep has just been released through Brew, with Zombie mini-epic video as you've already mentioned. Quite a few tour dates through September, October and November in support of this release. We're also currently writing for album number two which we hope will come out at somepoint towards the middle of next year. Busy busy busy!
On that note I make my way back to the TMF offices, rolling down my sleeves to conceal the strange looking bite mark on my arm….