Grappa: So lets go. Introduce yourself and Describe your project, what is “Two Hawkes”?
Two Hawkes: “Two Hawkes” is difficult to describe I suppose. All the beat oriented music I write. I like to think of it as psychedelic dance music. It’s all digital, which in some cases would be a hindrance to the overall sound, but I think it fits the kind of atmosphere I like to convey. I try to replicate the sounds I hear around me in the digital realm, then warp them some more.
G: Let’s discuss these things in the real world which you try to interpolate into digital sounds. As you said, sounds you try to replicate; What sorts of things draw your attention and inspire you in this sense?
TH: I think I was reading “Walden” or some similar nature literature at the time and discussing it in class. I engaged my professor in what passes for music for people removed from society — the sounds of passing animals, the wind rustling through the leaves. I have a fairly keen awareness of the sounds around me every day whether I’m conscious of them or not, and I try to engage with my sound world actively as much as possible. When building synth sounds I tend not to try to represent what I’m actually hearing outside, but rather my own interpretation of those sounds.
Glasgow inspires me as well. It’s a small city but with character and a beating heart, and very busy now that spring has finally come to the UK. Apparently it has more parks and green area space proportionate to size than any other city in the UK. They care about preserving nature and living within it. This combination of the industrial city coexisting with these pockets of nature — tamed and overseen but existent nonetheless — is always engaging me to think about sound and place in new way.
G: You are from the US, Connecticut to be specific, currently in Glasgow, Scotland. In being there, you have made connections with people which have lead to various collaborations/projects. Could you tell me a little more about the Artwork for “It Happens In Nature”, and describe to me the importance of working with others creatively around the world?
TH: Well, the artwork was done by the wonderful Joellen Smith;
we just listened to the album together a couple of times and she did some drawings, I quite liked her style — very ‘Lisa Frank on an acid trip’. Anyways, we were just talking the other day about how interesting things happen when you travel and collaborate with people from all over the world. Not only do you learn about other people and culture, but it all informs your own identity, and you learn how to follow different impulses and chase certain ideas.
G: So what kind of plans do you have for the future as far as Two Hawkes is concerned?
TH: Oooo well now well now, many things! I return to the states in June, whereby I will attain some necessary “research” equipment and deck out my studio in a fashion ready for live recording. I look forward to integrating more live instrumentation and pushing Two Hawkes into either a more pop vein or a completely different experimental path. It’ll depend on what other opportunities arise. Ideally I’d like to get a full band together and play the new album for awhile, see how it works on stage as a big production. ‘Two Hawkes’ has served as a nice venue for integrating many of the production and creative techniques I’ve learned while studying over here, but I really yearn to collaborate with other musicians — whether this means a more fully-formed Two Hawkes or something totally different I couldn’t say.
G: Hit me with some of your main influences, artists, musicians, what have you..
TH: Well lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Philip Glass. His 1972 opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ is an otherworldly piece of music. I’m a big fan of this guy Bibio as well. He’s another one-man singer/songwriter/producer/sound designer who writes really warped electro pop. I think he’s on Warp. And I think, whether I admit to it or not, there’s a lot of Porcupine Tree in my music. I became enamored with them many years because of how they engaged with atmosphere and electronics in their music. The keyboardist, Richard Barbeiri, and head guy Steven Wilson, meticulously sculpted synths and ambiences that ebbed and flowed behind all manners of psychedelic grooves. I’ve been influenced by this way of thinking about the characteristics of sound and its amalgamation into a more relate-able (i.e. danceable) context….I’ve also been influenced by the dubstep scene in Glasgow. I think that’s why my new stuff sounds a bit more straightforward beat wise — it’s made for the dance floor. A dorky, poorly lit dance floor, but nonetheless. This city knows how to dance, and it respects electronic music
G: If you could date a celebrity who would it be?
TH: Natalie Portman. Or Meryl Streep. Or the WHOPPR from Wargames. Portman’s def got the goods. Streep would bring experience and I like that. The WHOPPR would let me play Global Thermonuclear War whenever I wanted … or maybe just the once.
G: We agree with you on that WHOPPR steeze. Good looks. Any advice for the kids?
TH: Stay in school, don’t drink from the public pool.