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THE HAWKINS' Johannes Carlsson: "I can’t take responsibility for what will happen when blasting our music. Shit might go down, shit might go sideways, shit might hit the fan."

Interview with Johannes Carlsson from The Hawkins
by Dani Bandolier at 07 November 2020, 2:55 AM

“Silence is a Bomb” is the new release from THE HAWKINS (2013) a swell music group from lovely Arboga, Sweden. Metal Temple writer Dani Bandolier recently caught up with guitarist Johannes Carlsson to talk about the new album, and a few other topics.

All the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark have great bands but Sweden is just jammed with awesome bands, I review them all the time and I know awesome. First thing I have to ask you, why is Sweden so full of excellent bands? Is it really easy to find bandmates there? Is there a national music and arts education in your public education system that encourages this performing arts scene? Are there many resources available like practice halls and recording studios as well as gigs in bars and theatres?

In Sweden we have a great tradition of “Folkbildning”(translates to “Popular education” I think). With its purpose to offer free education for everyone, they support with money, premises and expertise to people that want to start up study circles. Some time in the 1970s, I think, the communities that offer this type of education picked up on a trend that playing in bands started to become a popular thing. So the communities started offering free rehearsal spaces and have been doing that ever since. I’d say that every swedish band has been helped by Folkbildningen.

THE HAWKINS formed in 2013. Have you always had the same 4 blokes in your band?

We started as a quintet, having Ruben Hultman on vocals but pretty quickly became a quartet. And the four of us have always been in the band.

Johannes Carlsson has a theatrical rock tenor. Has he ever sung in musical theatre? Has he ever sung other type of musical genres?

Actually, I haven’t been acting as a singer in any other bands. I don’t really know where you find the musical genre -reference but I guess it comes from the high notes being sung in a certain way. And I guess the vocals can be very expressionalistic from time to time, haha. Interesting to hear though!

Guitarist Johannes Carlsson is a quite talented guitar player (NOTE: if the leads are played by Johannes please change the Interview question to reflect his answer). He has a lyrical lead quality to his guitar lines like Brad Paisley; you never know where he is gonna end up and this is the sound of an axe slinger totally going for it with musical abandon, something I almost never hear. Who are Johannes’s guitar and music influences?

Thank you! I put a lot of time and effort into writing and recording my solos and leads. I love to do licks that impress myself, haha. Early in life I was very influenced by Mattias ‘IA’ Eklundh, which is a great swedish guitarist. I also remember trying to nail a lot of Paul Gilbert licks. But honestly I don’t think that guitarists in general have had a big influence on my solo, more than music in general; Morgan Ågren, The Tallest Man On Earth, Billy Cobham, Propagandhi, Kvelertak ,…. the list is long. And now you’ve made me interested in Brad Paisley, whom I’ve never heard!

Please describe the writing process, who writes the words and who comes up with the music? How much did your producer on “Silence is a Bomb” contribute to the finished songs and recording? By the way lads, I am looking for a psychedelic doom and stoner rock producer, can you recommend someone?

I have been writing all lyrics and most of the music for “Silence is a Bomb”. I have also been recording the album in my studio, acting producer and mixing the album. Mastering has been done by the great Hans Olsson at Svenska Grammofonstudion. I love the whole process of creating music. The magic can be found and created in every phase of production. It is the most amazing thing ever. So hire me! I need jobs!

Where is the band’s favorite places to play in Sweden? In Europe? What other countries outside of Euro Zone have you played?

I’m a big fan of playing summer festivals. Lots of artists, lots of sun. It’s a great time of the year especially in Sweden. In Europe we’ve been playing pretty cool places but I think the best has been in Switzerland, where we have been 2 times. The whole country looks like a fairytale haha.

What is the best music festival I should attend in Sweden and when is it? Will ABBA perform?

We played Malmöfestivalen last year, which made me fall in love in both the city and the festival. Also Malmö has the best falafel in the whole country, so you have to go there! Although I think you might need to crumble the dreams about ABBA playing. Not gonna happen in a million years, haha. But maybe I’m wrong!(Spoiler alert, I’m not).

The next time I visit Restaurang Gamla Stan in Stockholm I rather fancy some wild game. Would you recommend the elk, reindeer, wild boar or moose and why? Should I dine before or after a rousing Djurgårdens IF Ishockeyförening hockey match?

I’d say moose! Great meat and works great as minced as well. I’d recommend: Dine, skip the hockey match, go to a punk concert at Kafé 44, then get fucked up.

If you could pick one song by THE HAWKINS to be in a movie, what song would that be and what movie?

‘All My Birds Are Dead’ should be in Toy Story! I love that movie and I still love that song.

Has THE HAWKINS ever been on Eurovison? Would you participate and what song would you perform?

On the first question I answer: No. On the second question I answer: The short answer is “No”. The long answer is “Hell No”.

My girlfriends say they want me to introduce them to THE HAWKINS music, and I want their clothes to magically fall off while we rock-out. What songs should I make sure they listen to? Will your music negate the need for birth control or should we be even more cautious in this regard? If there are babies 9 months after our love fest of THE HAWKINS music, what should we name them? Both boys and girls names, please.

I can’t take responsibility for what will happen when blasting our music. Shit might go down, shit might go sideways, shit might hit the fan. And who knows, maybe the sheer presence of our music will create a condom through the sound waves interacting with different secretions while you guys are fucking. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Always take precautions by methods based on empirical evidence. This album was just released so we haven’t had the time to make these experiments yet. Names: “Lasse” or “Kongo”

What is next for THE HAWKINS? What are you planning for the rest of 2020 and 2021?

When this plague is over we are gonna tour the globe! We are so excited to get out, meet people and play live! We will also release more music! Both live recordings and studio recordings. So keep an eye on us at @thehawkinsband on Instagram!

Tack så mycket för allting and Rawk On mates!


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Edited 27 January 2023

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