10 Minutes With... Paul Astick

After a year which saw Hawk Eyes finally complete work on their new album and support Iron Maiden in Italy, frontman Paul Astick reveals his highlights of the past 12 months and the band’s plans to play in space…

Hello Paul, how did you spend last New Year’s Eve?

“Hello. Last year my girlfriend and I went for a Mexican and then went home. We were asleep by 11.30 in order to miss the arbitrary fireworks.”

What were you ambitions for the year?

“My ambition for 2014 was to finish this album [Everything Is Fine] and still be friends with my band mates.”

You played with Iron Maiden in Italy this summer. What was that day like?

“It was very hot. In retrospect I should have worn more sun tan lotion on my face. We turned up in our transit which had crossed the alps steadily and parked next to the night liners and artics – that’s my favourite bit about doing these gigs – the sheer absurdity. We didn’t meet Maiden but we did have a minor interaction with Opeth, who took their sofa out of the dressing room and sat outside on it. I love playing on big stages; there’e more room for activities.”

Tell us about the recording of Everything Is Fine.

“It was another saga, started in March 2013 and only completed in November 2014. But that’s ‘how’, how they say, ‘we roll’. If it was done any quicker it wouldn’t be any better. [Producer] Andy Hawkins really got involved from the outset on this one and tried valiantly to tame us – and he succeeded in some respects! There were points all of us had to walk away and put it down for a few weeks. Reflection and patience are the greatest tools we use when recording. If we are bored after ten listens then why expect someone who hasn’t been involve in its creation to stay interested. This album was sculpted rather than recorded.”

What can we expect from the album?

“I think this record is more focused and direct than previous releases and we really concentrated on clarity and punch, in terms of sonics and hooks. If it’s not catchy, ‘What’s it doing in there? Get it out!’. That’s what our front of house man Giles always says. He’s the man on the front cover of our album by the way.”

Why does the start of the single Die Trying sound like the Dogtanian theme?

“Because his spirit inhabits the fingers of Robert Stephens and he speaks to us through melody. On this occasion, he wanted Robert to let the world know of his influence upon our creativity. Hence we put his theme song into Die Trying. Also Dogtanian seems the kind of anthropomorphic French dog royalist to want to die trying to protect his king.”

The video for the song is pretty creepy – can you explain the storyline?

“No. I have no idea.”

What’s been your most memorable show of the year?

“Absolutely Rock In Idro with Iron Maiden. It was a privilege to get a gig like that and they really had a top team looking after us. The crowd was amazing too – they just loved it all.”

What’s been your personal highlight?

“This interview.”

Thanks. What’s been the worst album sleeve you’ve seen this year?

“I just bought Andy Hawkins The Magic Of Klaus Wunderlich album for Christmas. I don’t listen to much music post-1996, so I don’t have anything current that is bad.”

What’s your favourite riff of 2014?

“St Vincent’s riff at the end of Huey Newton. I like her riffs. She’s very good at them.”

Describe the perfect Astick Christmas…

“Mum will watch the Christmas Shoes staring Rob Lowe. Dad will offer everyone drink constantly. Brother and I will sleep until 11. Standard.”

What five songs would you pick for a New Years Eve party playlist?

“I’d start with Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl. Next would be All For Love by Bryan Adams, Sting and Rod Stewart. Then I’d play Toto’s Rosanna, The B-52s’ Love Shack, then finish with Appalachian Chain by Scissorfight.”

What are Hawk Eyes plans for next year?

“We want to be the first band in space. That’s a New Year’s Resolution, too.”

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press.