Sludge, noise, stoner, psychedelic, hard rock, eagle metal… the list of labels that can be used to describe this band goes on and on, but it really doesn’t matter. HAG’s new record “Fear Of Man” is a fine example of solid, dynamic and resonating album full of infectious hooks and dense riffage. Showcasing the band’s taste for diverse and thoughtful songwriting, this groovin’ metal record is both massive and catchy. See how hard it burns and scrolll down to read their newest interview, conducted exclusively for IDIOTEQ.
Fear Of Man was released on January ]8th through DNAWOT Records.
Last heard on record in 2010 with their self-titled EP on Noisestar Music, after five years out in the wilderness, the newly formed DNAWOT Records is pleased to announce the release of the debut album from Anglo-Hungarian-Swedish “Eagle-Metal” outfit HAG.
Teaming up once again with Part Chimp’s Tim Cedar at South London’s Dropout Studios, Fear Of Man crawls out over nine hefty chunks of grinding, booze-fuelled stabs of rock‘n’roll at its most primal. An obvious love affair with the likes of Melvins, Harvey Milk and High On Fire resonates strongly throughout as they wear those influences proudly on their collective sleeves; from the opening menace and to-the-death-fight of title track ‘Fear Of Man’, to the feverish and relentless bouts of ferocity on ‘Kingdom-O’ and ‘White Lion’. HAG makes no bones about their love of breaking them. From guitarist/singer Ian Baigent’s burning vocals, to the unwavering, watertight rhythms that bump proverbial uglies between the bass of Robin Freeman and drums of Tamas Kiss, HAG drag alarming amounts of pleasure from the unceremonious fucking of eardrums.
Answers by Ian Baigent (IB), Robin Freeman (RF) and Tamas Kiss (TK).
Hey there guys! First of all, for anyone unfamiliar with your work, can you start by giving us a little background on how you started HAG?
IB: It’s all Robins fault. I was sliding into middle age quite nicely when he dragged me back to the light kicking and screaming, after some re-conditioning I came to my senses and now have panic attacks whenever I have to deal with grown ups.
RF: Me and Tamas was in a band called El Topo and when that came to an end we carried on writing and rehearsing as a two piece but after a while we wanted to get a guitar player, vocalist involved and I called up Ian who normally plays bass but used play guitar for a band called Operators way way back and I really liked his style when I saw them play.
He was a bit hesitant in the beginning but eventually found his stride and blossomed into the magnificent Heavy metal flower that he is today.
Considering the fact that you’re no rookies, how have you guys evolved?
IB: Hell yeah I ain’t no rookie, over 20 years and going strong. I think that when you let go of the concept of ‘Fame’ you evolve and become richer (spiritually) I remember being a young man thinking “Fuck, I got to get famous” I was so naive, it’s such a freak occurrence for someone to become famous in a big way and I hate television for programming kids into thinking that they can ‘Make it’ by doing some bullshit talent show.
RF: My waistline seemed to have evolved quite a bit lately… I think it’s easier to do this now as we are very upfront with each other and there is no ego bullshit or dramas, we don’t have time or energy for that.
Ok guys, so what took you so long to release your swampy, groovy and psychedelic debut full length “Fear Of Man”?
IB: It’s hard to function sometimes when you have a family and a job. I would love to be more pro active but fuck me when you work a 10 hour job then go to band practice then get home sleep for a few hours then repeat… It takes its toll.
RF: We had a lot of ideas floating around that eventually shaped the songs on the album. There is a ton of different versions of each tracks recorded. There was moments when it got a bit frustrating that it was taking so long but we kept chipping away at it and after awhile I stopped caring about time as long as things came out in a way that we were all happy with.
Lyrics-wise, what’s the concept of this new opus?
IB: I have no inner pain to release or the desire to touch the soul of an anxious teen,
However I do have a healthy amount of cynicism for everyone. The concept was not intentional
But when I listened to the album for the first time I realised there was a lot of social observation in the lyrics and a lot of it was about stupid men.
How did you interpret your old sound and previous inspirations in this new sound?
IB: I’ve never considered Hag having an old sound but the album certainly has a psychedelic feel to it in places which is a new experience for me and I credit Scott Harding for the excellent mix but I don’t think we’re be heading down the true psychedelic path as I have a short attention span for guitar riffs.
RF: The sound on this album is a bit more thought out and polished then the EP we did in 2010 but the energy is the same.
We were more rehearsed and already had clear ideas what we wanted to do going into the studio. When listening back to the stuff we have recorded I always find things that I would do different if we did it again but it’s normally details that I will keep in mind for future recording sessions.
Are there any writers who have exerted an especially strong influence on your work?
IB: Buzz Osborne, Matt Pike and John Reis in terms of guitar playing, Captain Beefheart and Tom waits for lyrics.
Ok, so now that you’ve finally released it, is this the right moment to hit the road? Do you travel a lot? How does travelling affect your writing?
IB: Playing as many shows possible and with the right bands is a priority right now, I like playing outside of London so we plan to travel up and down the UK a lot this year.
RF: Yes more shows are being planned this year. We always play new songs live before we consider them finished.
TK: Yes hopefully we will gig outside London a lot, and some European dates will be added too..
By the way, do you have a particular writing routine? Should we expect another release from you guys no sooner that the winter of 2020/2021? :)
IB: Ha Ha… We already have several albums worth of material but we are extremely fussy about what gets out, again it’s all a question of Money and time.
RF: Normally one of us bring in a riff or rhythm an everyone add and take away bits, then we jam it for a while before doing a rough recording that we sit on for a while and if it still sounds good listening back after a bit we keep working on it.
I would like to record again this year and yes, hopefully it will be finished before 2020…
TK: Yeah, we already have hours of jams and ideas for our future album, infact we already have some songs written so I think it will be done around 2020.
Ok guys, so what other future projects do you have? At what are you working at the moment?
IB: I have another band called Montana Pete, the polar opposite of HAG.
RF: I am planning a jukebox musical about Phil Collins life
TK: I’m playing in drums in Bad Guys. At the moment I am working on my Merc, the fuel pump is fucking around again.so hard to access it. Also I have to re-wire some ignition parts as the engine cuts out all of a sudden.
Thanks so much for chat! Take care and feel free to add you final words.
IB: Give us a gig in your hometown.
TK: You’re welcome. Please send us your bank account details and a copy of your house keys. Also please make a note when you’re not in the house so we can come around to look for things.
RF: What you think is the point is not the point at all but only the beginning of the sharpness