Vancouver alternative rock band HAWKING have earned the reputation of being on of their scene's hardest working bands, and with the recent release of their new album, Diverge on top of near non-stop touring and a desire to give back to their local music scene, there's no questioning why. Having just returned from from a two month long North American tour, the band is already gearing up for more festival dates later this summer in support of Diverge. We recently caught up with the band to discuss the album and plans for the rest of this summer - read the interview below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about HAWKING for any readers who might not be familiar?
Four Canadian boys playing Alt Rock that’s progressive but also prudently listenable. Our goal is to be there for people who dig the refinement and presentation of Rock or Pop, but also appreciate sheer technical ability. Strong melodies, effective storytelling and memorable choruses are big for us, but we’re also influenced by modern progressive bands like Animals As Leaders,
Intervals, Plini, Polyphia, and CHON as well.
How do you feel your hometown of Vancouver and your local music scene have affected you as artists and as a band?
I took a moment to start typing my answer so I could word my thoughts diplomatically, and I think that sums it up in a certain sense. The location itself is inspiring, with endless nature to learn from and a creative atmosphere if you look in the right places. But it was, at least when we were getting into it, a very politically charged and cliquey scene where there was often more discussion about how to foster a thriving music economy than actual participation in the music community. There are a lot of opportunities here, but that seems to be only if you fit a certain image. I think that drove us to be a bit more contrarian than most, and to experiment and play devil’s advocate. We wanted to create our own scene and our own movement. Diverge is meant to be the start of that.
What would you like to be able to bring to your local scene?
A venue with a thoughtful and compassionate music scene built around it. An all-ages room with a proper stage, good sound, a comfortable backstage and greenroom, ample parking and competent staff who take care of their talent—not another bar that treats live music like a warmup act for the DJ that goes on at 10:30 when people actually start to roll into the club. The 4 of us talk quite often about how someday if we get tired of touring and making records together, the dream would be to open up such a space and help our scene grow in meaningful, longlasting ways.
Earlier this year, you released your debut album, Diverge. It being the first full length that listeners will hear from you, did you have any major goals in mind?
I think we just wanted to see what the four of us could accomplish on our own. We were very driven to innovate and stand out and play lots of cool riffs, but in a way that’s attractive to the 99% who don’t actually enjoy musical self-indulgence. Subtlety, balance and compromise were the real lessons in the making of Diverge. At the end of the day, I think we figured trying to pioneer our own sub-genre would be a fun bonus challenge alongside trying to succeed as an independent band.
How do you feel you’ve grown with the writing and recording of the songs on Diverge?
Teamwork, mutual respect and a third thing probably.
In support of Diverge, you guys hit the road earlier this year for nearly a two month long North American tour. What were some of the best moments while you were out on the road?
We made it over the US border without being strip-searched or having our bus torn apart by dogs looking for electric lettuce, so that was cool. Honestly, we hadn’t been to the US since Trump got in so we didn’t know what to expect. Turns out the Walmarts got nicer, everything else got shittier.
Anyways, we played The Viper Room in LA. That was pretty surreal, because everyone told us it must’ve been surreal, so it was surreal I guess. We didn’t really know much about the history going in, but River Phoenix died there, so apparently it’s pretty famous. The whole staff are the ones who deserve fame though, because they really run a tight ship. One of the best venues on the strip. Lots of love their way!
You also have some shows coming up later this summer! What can fans expect from these performances?
Electric Love Music Fest on July 29th with the homies Calling All Captains, Chase Your Words, Chief State and more! That’ll be a banger. August 11th we’re at Five Acre Shaker in Port Alberni, BC. We played that fest 2 years ago, but this year we’re co-headlining which is super cool. Expect the same as all our other shows—loud stuff and a wild light show. Several other summer announcements are coming down the pipeline as well!
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of the year?
Lots in the works, like tours and music videos and contests and new merch and developments with our video podcast The Hawkening.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Hug your mum and don’t trust the government. Follow our socials and check out Diverge on Spotify or wherever you listen to music!