“He did one track… then went off with some famous singer to do another album”: Hawkwind’s collaboration with William Orbit didn’t happen on this album - but they hope it will on the next

(Image credit: Marianne Harris)

The gestation of Hawkwind’s latest album Stories From Time And Space goes back almost a year, when founder and leader Dave Brock told Prog that work was already underway – just as 2023’s The Future Never Waits was about to be released.

“We haven’t actually done anything about space for ages,” guitarist Magnus Martin says of the album’s origins. “So we thought, ‘Let’s actually do some space rock.’ There’s also this amazing book that [music impresario] Rob Godwin has written about space rock and Hawkwind as well, so that’s what got us thinking about actually just doing a space rock album, you know?” 

Brock says of the band’s process: “We constantly write stuff as we go along. We turf out tracks that we don’t think are very good, and then put new ones in that are better. I mean, this is the essence of being an artist.”

As a result, “it’s a totally different album from what we started,” Martin says. “It’s like you do the bulk of it and then doing the last 10 to 20 per cent is the really difficult bit. And then deciding which tracks to ditch and which ones to keep. There’s loads of great stuff in the bin!”

The pair also reveal that their much-vaunted collaboration with super-producer and dance remixer William Orbit – whose credits include Madonna, Blur and Beth Orton – hasn’t taken off as anticipated.

Having rehearsed with Hawkwind in Brock’s Devon studio and appeared with them at the Royal Albert Hall as part of their Evening Of Sonic Destruction in September 2023, his participation on Stories From Time And Space was curtailed when the album’s deadlines proved too tight. “He went off with some famous singer to do another album – an American woman. I can’t say any more than that,” says Brock with a conspiratorial nod.

Orbit’s ideas met with the group’s approval, but things then went quiet at the producer’s end. “He did one track,” recalls Brock. “We’d just send him basically a two-track file. And he overdubbed some stuff on it, and it was certainly great. Then he said, ‘Oh, can you send me the multitrack?’ and we sent the multitrack… and we didn’t hear from him!”

Hawkwind - Stories From Time and Space

(Image credit: Cherry Red)

He continues: “I managed to get hold of him, and he says, ‘I’m really sorry about this, everybody. It’s really been my dream to work with Hawkwind, but unfortunately, I’ve got involved with this other project!’”

“He was really keen and really wanted to get involved,” adds Martin. “It just turned out that the deadline and the amount of work that needed doing meant that it just wasn’t going to happen for this album.”

However, they’re optimistic that the collaborative work will appear on Hawkwind’s next album. “He’s sending stuff backwards and forwards and will send more when he’s got the time,” confirms Brock.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.