We were first introduced to London hard-rock newcomers HAWXX several months ago when they announced themselves to the world with anti-Valentines Day anthem Love’s A Bitch. It’s taken us a little while to get this sorted, but we’re delighted to introduce you to this exciting new band, who describe their sound as “tasteful snazz.”
The quartet began when Hannah Staphnill (guitar and backing vocals) was working at Alaska Studio, in south-east London, and Anna Papadimitriou (vocals and guitar) came in to rehearse. As Hannah tells us: “I could hear her through the wall and thought she was f*ing awesome. She sent me a message asking for a jam and basically jumped at it while trying to play it cool.”
The pair then went on the hunt for the rest of their band and recruited Jessica Dann, who’d played in a function band doing late nights in Soho with Anna, on drums, then they found Iman Ahmed (bass and backing vocals) on the Internet.
The band – who originally hail from Greece, Wales, England and Bahrain – are named after the bird of prey (hawk), with the XX symbolising the double female chromosome and their intent to, in their words, shake-up the male-dominated scene. All four of them have worked as session musicians and combine their musical prowess to form a powerhouse of energy and captivating live shows.
As Hannah adds: “So we’ve all worked in music and bands before but we’ve said drunkenly to each other that we all know this particular dynamic is special.”
They fuse heavy metal-laced rock with melodic, engaging vocals lamenting everything from deeply personal topics to the outwardly political or, as they put it: “Songs about getting instantly fired from your job, giving the finger to institutionalised religion and how love is a mighty bitch.” Now working with renowned producer Larry Hibbitt (Hundred Reasons, Marmozets, Nothing But Thieves) they’re all set to unleash their heavy sound upon us.
Our first taste of this is the aforementioned debut single Love’s A Bitch, which they brilliantly released on Valentine’s Day. As Hannah explains: “Yeah we actually came up with the idea to release it on Valentines Day in the recording studio. We were working out how long mixing and mastering would take and it became apparent we were going to miss our initial deadline. But then we got the anti-V-Day idea and all got very excited.
“The response has been great. A few people have said how they don’t normally like heavy rock/metal but love the track, which is awesome – nice to convert people to the dark side. They should expect an emptiness in their soul until they listen to the track.”
It opens up with low-tuned chugging chords intersected by fun little high-pitched licks then drops into a laid-back opening verse led by Anna’s delicious vocals. Chugging chords kick back in and drop into another laid-back verse that builds in intensity, ending on the lines “I’m defensive, You’re obsessive” and a big cry of “I’m invested” over powerful guitars.
That drops into a big singalong chorus of catchy vocals, which drops back into the chugging chords and an edgier verse that ends on a cry of “Fuck this shit, I’ve had enough, Like sucking blood from a stone, But your love’s in my…” Another chorus ends with a little twist of high-pitched guitar, drops into chugging chords then a drawn-out cry of “Fight to the death” is joined by an awesome piercing guitar solo that feeds into a final blast of the chorus. Give it a listen below:
The band tell us their musical influences include the likes of Metallica, Muse and… soundtrack music, which is a little bit different! And when it comes to what inspires their music, Hannah tells us: “Lyrically, the songs are about a range of subjects – from the politically focused to how love is a bitch. There are some that focus on self-empowerment and another one about how the darkness that can affect us all at one time or another – darkness as in mental wellbeing, rather than the band…”
The band’s second single will be out tomorrow (22 May), so keep tuned for that. You can also catch them playing at next weekend’s Camden Rocks Festival and a whole host of gigs through the summer and beyond, including playing at The Black Heart in Camden on 12 June. More info on all their gigs is here.
We’re loving the sound of what we’ve heard from HAWXX so far, and look forward to hearing their second single tomorrow! While Hannah adds: “A group of Hawks is called a kettle – we would love it if you joined us. And we cackle. A lot.”