Soon after the release of their recent music video for the track ‘In Harmony’, and exactly one month away from the official release of their new album “Tough Love” on Farewell Records, Rotterdam’s heavy hardcore mob HAWSER are back to our pages with a full interview, breaking down the band’s new era, the concept embedded into their new LP, and sharing lots of insights into their local hardcore scene. Read the full thing after the scroll.
ling from the southwestern region of The Netherlands, HAWSER is gearing up for their sophomore full-length release. The album, entitled “TOUGH LOVE” will be available on May 3rd via Farewell Records. Today, the first single ‘In Harmony’ has been released along with a video on the band’s YouTube channel. The video showcases some of Rotterdam’s most iconic parts, the city HAWSER considers their hometown. “TOUGH LOVE” takes HAWSER’s blend of uncompromising groovy hardcore to the next level, infused with their authentic heavy twist. New track ‘In Harmony’ embodies just that, and showcases the band’s incontrovertible growth. Listen below and scroll down to see their upcoming live shows.
Hey there guys! What’s up? How’s the anticipation for the album premiere been like for you recently?
As of yet, the anticipation has been quite nerve-wrecking for me at least. I don’t know. We obviously put more energy into this than anything before, we did a video, etc. We put quite some energy into it and considering this is the first thing we’re putting out with different guitarists than the one we had before it’s rather interesting to see how people will feel about it. We’ve definitely made a huge step and I personally just hope that people will notice that and be able to enjoy the new stuff.
Oh, for sure! “Tough Love” indeed marks your first release featuring two new guitarists. Tell us about the creative process leading up to this release. Was everyone involved in the writing procedure? Also, what affinities brought you together as a band this time?
We knew both Jurriën and Leonard from past bands they’d played in. To be honest, we didn’t know either of them that well before they joined us but we were fairly certain they’d fit in well, which they did.
As for the writing process; it did change a lot. We used to write every single song in the rehearsal room but with this record Leo mostly just recorded riffs or like sort of bases for songs which we’d then touch up in the rehearsal room (if we felt the need to).
Compared to your early days in hardcore, how do you feel you have changed your approach to being in a band?
Just in general my ‘task’ in the band has changed. When I was fifteen and we started HAWSER I was still rather clueless on the dynamic of being in a band. Sure, I went to shows for like two or three years and played in a band for a bit but nothing as serious. Eight months after we started we went on tour for ten days, only having recorded like three demo songs or whatever. Now I’m actively busy with booking shows, I’ve been driving the van quite a lot, and been handling quite some other ‘administrative’ stuff. Besides that I think I profile myself a little less as being part of a band. I don’t know, it used to be the absolute only thing I identified with and what I could be proud of but I have found other things and interests that define me enough to not only show the band, if that makes sense. I try to take myself being in a band a lot less serious, in a good way.
How do you feel your local scene has hanged since you got involved?
Very interesting question. I think nowadays there’s less room for smaller hardcore shows. They just don’t really get visited as much. I think it’s more the extreme amount of supply of other interesting things to do. For instance in the Randstad area, hiphop and the clubscene is just booming. Especially Rotterdam. Unless there’s US/UK bands playing people would just rather go party at a club for a full night. I don’t blame ’em. However, I also feel as if there’s still shows in the South that Martijn is doing that get visited well, and like, Sound Of Revolution has become insane. And there’s an eye for some Dutch bands out there, like 18 MILES, for instance. Their release show sold out a 300 capacity venue. Quite impressive for a local band!
Alright, so back to the record – most of engaging hardcore punk records directly tackle issues of social struggles and carry an unavoidable political context. How do you approach your lyrics?
It’s funny you should say that. I have always seen HAWSER as a personal outlet, lyrically, and almost all my lyrics reflect that, it’s kind of involved from a nihilistic perspective to slowly a more assertive outlook on life. And throughout a lot of all of HAWSER’s songs there’s the reocurring subject of love and loss. However, my favorite track on the new record is definitely the only real political track I’ve ever written; Babylon. Despite always having struggled with authority I more or less found my place but after reading about Aaron Schwartz’s life and death and reading about the attempt of the corporate world (and the government) to privatize and monetize free trade of information (through the worldwide web) I kind of felt a deep disgust for the established government and felt the need to write a track about it.
Given that, is there a clear attitude or philosophy to be heard on your new record? What does ‘Tough Love” mean to you?
It’s definitely full of a lot of self-criticism and especially in regards to past relationships and thing I did wrong in those relationships. I think the title especially reflects the fine line between love and hate in a sense. I’ve personally just been finding that sometimes, despite having the best intentions, for some reason I find a way to turn everything to shit. And then you stick around despite knowing you’re involved in destructive behaviour. Then ultimately, there’s the thirst for becoming something more than that, and breaking the cycle, which you can hear on the last two tracks. I figured I wanted to end the record on an extremely honest but somewhat more positive note.
Do you seek similar emotions in others’ music? Are you a positive or negative lyrics enthusiast?
I’m definitely interested in similar themes in lyrics. And I’d say more interested in negative stuff. I listen to a lot of like 90’s emo and in terms of hardcore I’m also more into the 90’s sound and that era is definitely highlighted by rather darker lyrical content. I must admit the mindset with which I listen to it has changed tho. I used to relate to all that stuff a lot and kind of feel more self-pity whereas these days I approach it with a more proactive outlook on life and try to make the best out of it. There’s too much good vibes to be felt, you just gotta put your head to it.
Photo by David Hup
Alright, so back to HAWSER and your future plans, you have booked a couple of single shows for May. Tell us a bit about these gigs.
We’re doing a couple gigs in honor of the record. Release show in Dordrecht on the 12th is booked by the Northcote crew, who also do Northcote Festival. BROKEN TEETH, GROVE STREET FAMILIES and WRCKG will be playing. The day after, on the 13th, we’ll be playing Revelation Fest which is booked by the Deweerdt brothers, the line up is sick. Some of Europe’s best bands are playing and it’s FIRE & ICE‘s only Belgium show. Then on the 20th we’re doing Dortmund alongside PEACE OF MIND, SLOPE, KEEP THEM SHUT and SECOND SIGHT, who’re also playing their release show. I’m really content with each of these shows considering the people booking them are some of the most hardworking, genuine people out there. And for the Germany show, there’s probably some of Germany’s finest younger bands out there. In general man, I think people should be more proud of the bands we have here in Europe. Definitely check out SLOPE and KEEP THEM SHUT if you haven’t. Some of my favorite Euro bands with the coolest people.
Awesome! Thanks! Will there be more HAWSER shows later down the road in 2017?
We’re definitely looking into a bigger tour to promote the record and there’ll definitely be more shows across Europe down the line but I can’t give anything away right now… Expect a longer run post-summer.
Great! Thanks so much for your time and honest thoughts, Stijn! Feel free to drop your final words and take care! Cheers from Poland!
Thank you too! Shout out to Lowlands Hardcore; 18 MILES, NO TURNING BACK, DEATHTRAP, CORNERED, ABDUCT, RUN LIKE HELL. Hope you all dig our new record and hope y’all catch us live somewhere near to you soon!
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