Introducing The Hawkins: a story of personal turmoil and reckless rock'n'roll

The Hawkins
(Image credit: The Sign Records)

If the question ‘Things people do after a break-up’ had appeared on 90s TV staple Family Fortunes, ‘Write a concept album’ might have brought the response: ‘If it’s up there I’ll give you the money myself’ from host Les Dennis. But The Hawkins do things a little differently from most. 

One of those bands that’s refreshingly difficult to pigeonhole, on recent mini-album Aftermath they frantically flit from 00s garage rock (in manner of The Datsuns, Hives and Jet) to Coheed And Cambria-esque modern prog, with stop-offs at 90s punk, avant-garde indie and grandiose 70s rock. 

“It has never been a hard thing,” frontman Johannes Carlsson says of the multiple genres they reference. “I think it might have come as a result of the amalgamation of mine and Martin’s [Larsson, bass] punk background, Albin [Grill, drums] NWOBHM and Mikael’s [Thunborg, guitar] metal background. We also found common taste in seventies rock and the twenty-first century bands reviving those older rock genres, such as Graveyard, The Answer and Kill It Kid.” 

There’s a sense of reckless abandon to The Hawkins that points to their Scandinavian roots. Tracks like Fifth Try have a puppydog energy and snarl that echoes fellow countrymen Hardcore Superstar and the aforementioned Hives.

“We all grew up in a very small place,” Johannes says of The Hakwkins’ beginnings. “Maybe not a one-horse-town, but at most a three-horse-town. But it was also a thirty-bands-town. All of us played in bands that had recently broken up. We started a band and became best friends.” 

Nevertheless, dark clouds loomed ahead for Johannes. When a longterm relationship came to a messy end, he opted not to drown in booze, self-pity or chocolate ice cream, and instead he got to work writing the follow-up to 2020’s full length Silence Is A Bomb. The result, Aftermath, is a 20-ish-minute whistle-stop tour through his own turmoil. 

“The mini-album is kind of built like the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief,” he explains. “There is denial in ignoring the signals of destructive relationships. There is anger toward self-profiteering martyrdom and recurring self-hatred. Begging for someone else to help you out of misery. There’s depression as an outcome in almost everything and acceptance in letting go.” 

When the fruit of such labour is as enjoyable as Aftermath, maybe a little more heartache might not be so bad. “[The breakup] was totally worth it! [Writing Aftermath was] very cathartic. I was so frustrated with myself. I kept on fucking things up badly. It still resonates with me, I still fuck things up all the time.” 

With European dates and a brand new album pencilled in for this year, you can look forward to seeing The Hawkins fucking things up near you in 2022.

Rich Chamberlain

Rich Chamberlain has written for Classic Rock,, Total Guitar, Nuts, FourFourTwo, Billboard, Classic Rock Presents The Blues and Classic Rock Presents Country.