HACKTIVIST. Heard of em? Probably not as they are real new to the scene, but there is no doubt at all you will in 2013.
Merging a variety of influences and genres that yes, all bands claim to do, but more often than not end up sounding pretty similar to every other band in some way, Hacktivist have managed to inventively carve their own pretty brutal niche from the outset.
Think Djent-Grime-Rap. Add in all out crushing assault and highly charged lyrical themes, and you may get some idea of the output. Actually you won’t, you need to listen to the EP to fully understand.
Their bio quotes them as saying “In a scene saturated by sound-alike bands, the time has come to evolve or be left behind.
Hard-wiring huge, devastating grooves with intelligent and insightful rhyme, Hacktivist are not afraid to split opinion. There’s safety in numbers, but Hacktivist are carving a path of their own” And after seeing them live? You’ll concur.
The lads are on tour in February, so I highly suggest attending one of the 4 currently announced dates listed at the end of our chat..which began by instantly being interrupted…
I met with vocalist Jermaine J Hurley, and guitarist/Vox and Electronics maestro Tim(fy) James recently to ask them some questions, and although lovely friendly chaps, next time I am taking thumb screws and a sippy cup….
Gah, everyone out but the interviewees!
Tim: Lock it, keep the gingers out.
Agreed. Remove the gingers. Right, you guys have released just one E.P. It’s fucking incredible…
Tim: Thanks a lot.
…and it’s very original. In this day and age, that doesn’t really happen often, there’s a situation these days where you’ll get the rap and then rap-metal, but not rap-djent, your name is Hacktivist, obviously an amalgamation of the political and computer hackers…
Tim: Yep, yes technically.
Do you stand for that?
Tim: Erm, I think it’s more ..um.. the reason I came up with the name. I like what they [hackers] do and I like the fact that they can protest and sort of do damage, but with their brains and their intellect and not with weapons and knives and guns and all that sorta stuff.
They’re actually using their brains which is a weapon we’ve been given and born with to do what they think is good,but I just like the whole idea of it all and that they don’t need to go out and kill people to make a stand which most people do nowadays.
So everything you do is…do your lyrics stand for that?
Hacktivist are not political?, I have confused face..
Tim: No, we are political and we like to talk about the things that we think are going on, and the way things are and we just, we don’t preach at all, we’re just passionate about what we do. Like when you sit in the pub and have a conversation with someone and you talk about what you’re passionate about and yer things…
Dave Grohl is always my conversation!
Tim: Exactly, there you go, ok and that’s what we do on stage. If Dave Grohl was a money making scheme that was ripping everyone off then we would, that would be in our lyrics.
Dissin’ my Dave…
Tim: But he’s a legend, so I just wanna say that that’s not what I think he is…that wasn’t bonafide!
He’s awesome..I want to say all nommy…shouldn’t should I. Anyway, who writes the Hacktivist lyrics then? You guys are so young, so why are you so politically motivated in your music?
Tim: Erm, lyric wise, usually me, Jay and Ben and the other vocalist. We sit and go through the…we bring loads of lyrics together, and sorta mix them all together and do it all ourselves. Erm, but we’re not political.
But you guys are so young to feel such rage…
And you’ve got such violence and such aggression in your stage performance…
Tim: Yeah, we’re angry people. haha.
Where does that come from?
Tim: I think we just enjoy it, I think our generation are really waking up to a lot of the shit going on in the world and a lot of the stuff a lot of conspiracies and stuff like that and we don’t go “this is right” and “this is wrong”, but we say, “we think this is this” and we believe in every single word we’re saying. There’s a lot of bands who go up there and talk about girls and how they’ve lost someone and all this stuff.
And they likely never have…
Tim: Yeah, which is , there’s this girl they’ve got all this money and they’ve got all this stuff, and they don’t really know what they’re feeling, but we know these things are happening every single day in our eyes so when we go up there and he [Jay] spits and I’m singing and we’re playing every note, every word that we say is what we feel. So…
How did it get to the situation where you thought about having this particular style of vocal mixed in with metal?
Tim: By accident.
Jermaine: Accident really, yeah. Just mates, just making music.
By accident? How? You were in a studio and all of a sudden the engineer went “oh I quite like that” and you all went “oh, we’ll go for that then”?
Tim: That was me. I’ve got my own studio, and I’d left a metal band A Heart Of A Coward, I left those guys, and I just started, I just started writing some new music. I was out of a band for a while and I just wanted some chill down time and stay away from music a bit, I never actually thought I’d ever be in a band again. Not just, like, we did a lot of touring and stuff, I just got…
Tim: No, I just thought, I kinda thought, I lost a bit of […] and stuff. I think we, I dunno, maybe I just got out of it. Maybe I just wanted to be a part of something different. So, I did have this idea of rapping and writing our style, I was just writing some music and he [Jay] was down in my studio and he said, what are you up to now? So I played him a track and he said awh, let me do some lyrics on this!
Jermaine: And that’s like, with music, with being a grime rapper, I’ve always like rapped over hip hop and drum n bass, dubstep, indie, everything. And it was just, music to me is just a beat, so when he showed me the beat, I was like yeah…lets jump innit!
Tim: Just press record, put it online, and that was it, and now we’re here.
Jermaine: Just record it, it was good. I already had lyrics to kinda fit on it. So I just went *slap*
Tim: So it was an accident, it was sorta just do this and that.
Jermaine: We didn’t really set out “yeah, we’re gonna make a rap metal band”, it just sounded good.
Tim: I think it was probably as simple as if he [Jay] hadn’t come to the studio that day, we might not be sat here now with the band that we’ve got. I might be cleaning toilets somewhere.
Let’s face it…it’s unlikely though isn’t it….
Tim: Now we’re just making them dirty.
(laughs) Wasn’t it one of you guys that gave the O2 Islington’s toilets an actual score? 3 wasn’t it?
Tim: HAHA, How does everybody know about this?
Because I do my fucking research! that’s why! (laughs)
Tim: It was a joke, it really was a joke, I think actually yes, we were just sat in a kebab shop eating a kebab and we got onto the thing of toilets and I said “what would you really rate the toilets at the venue we were at?” and Jay said 3 and a half, and then they…
Was That out of 10?
Tim: Yeah, No Five
Jermaine: It was out of five.
Ooooh out of five! Well Done O2 Islington!
Tim: It was a joke and then the venue actually asked us to write it on the wall in the toilets, which I dunno if that’s cool or not anymore.
How do you think you guys are going to fit into a festival line up? or a larger gig line up? The fact that you really are very different could be a help or hindrance? You’ve got the proggy going, plus the rapping, plus the metal, plus everything else…..
Tim: I think we’ll pretty much fit anywhere. I mean the thing is we’re uniting people with the music, the amount of people that have said erm, yeah, a lot of people who know Jay and mates of him, that would only ever listen to grime and stuff, they turn around and go and shit “I can really listen to this kind of style”, and vice versa, and people go “I can actually listen to rapping and stuff ” and go “oh shit, I actually quite like rapping I normally turn it off on the radio but you guys have opened me up to another area of music” so….
I quite like Eminem…
(Someone has been tapping on the door for minutes and I begin to lose my temper)
STOP TAPPING, YOU’RE NOT COMING IN!
Tim: Open the door, it’s probably one of the band.
(man pokes his head in and just starts staring – saying absolutely nothing)
Tim: What?! Interview man! *exasperated voice*
Dude, Sorry, I need you to go away.. it’s that I haven’t got long with the band so I need to get this sorted. (Guy leaves looking sheepish, still not having said anything) Right, how did you guys meet?
Tim: Well you met Ben…[points at Jay]
Jermaine: Yeah I met Ben at a dubstep rave, and then he kind of introduced me to Tim.
Tim: That was it.
You all met via the guy I just booted out of the dressing room?..oops..
Tim: I dunno if that was Ben or not, was it Ben?
Jermaine: Nah, it wasn’t Ben.
Good job really, same area, same school?
Jermaine: We’re all from Milton Keynes,
Were are you going from here, you guys, are you signed? Are you looking to get signed or stay independent?
Tim: At the moment, we’ve done pretty much everything ourselves, the video for ‘Unlike Us’ and ‘Cold Shoulders’ was filmed by us, all the guys in the band, no-one else exterior, all the music is recorded by us, everything you see and hear is done by us 5 band members and we’re making a massive statement. We’re making a point that you don’t need to have all your money stolen from you by a label that aren’t gonna do anything just to get somewhere, that’s what we’re trying to do but I mean, you do need some people.
James from Hold Tight is incredible, he’s done a wicked job with us and he’s just happy to work with us because he believes in what we do and he’s a bit of a whore for old school rap and stuff but he loves it and he’s brilliant. But at the moment we’re just gonna go through any door we feel right, we’re gonna let everything come to us.
How are you gonna move throughout the UK and get gigs when there are so few emerging rap-grime metal bands? What’s your plan?
Tim: To be honest, it’s doing itself. I know it sounds funny but we’ve just woken up six months later and we’re here. We haven’t really had to go searching for gigs, we haven’t had to go on Facebook and go to any promoters out there, we’ve actually had to struggle to keep up with the demand that’s been asked of us. We’ve only had 6 months as a full band.
Er, so I think we’re just riding it. Honestly, it is that simple.
Dude, I believe it…has that…has that affected your ego? You guys are really really young….
Jermaine: We just love making music.
Tim: Thing is, it’s so cliché to go, “no we’re a band and we just want everyone to have fun cos we’re having fun”. It’s not that we’ve had to, just, I can’t explain it, we’re just here. I mean you get so many people go “this is crap it’s never gonna go anywhere”, ok then just turn around and go out the door, that’s fine, but you know, to turn up tonight and having people screaming the lyrics and beating the crap out of each other was great.
It’s fucking incredible.
Tim: It’s hard to get that nowadays, it’s hard to get people to be so moved that they beat each other up.
How have you managed to…whut..you want people to wanna beat each other up?
Tim: You know what I mean, just get the aggression out, and feel our aggression.
Through your music, you are trying to impart something that is very passionate to you as a belief, not…just…’l well written standard lyrics’.
Tim: Just a movement.
When can both I and fans expect an album?
Tim: Yep, but if I told you you’d be like “oh, I’ll wait for it”, but if I don’t tell you, then you’ll know when it’s coming. The thing is, I think we’re due to go into to go in the studio, I mean we’ve already started writing it anyway. But honestly, we can’t answer that question.
But I do want an answer, or is it that you can’t answer?
Tim: No, honestly, we can’t. So it’s some time in 2013 yeah. We’ve got so much we wanna do and where we wanna go, it’s just not as easy as ‘go in the studio and go lets write the same crap as the E.P’.
Ok, fairly sure you didn’t mean the EP was crap…tell me what you want to be doing in 2013 then…
Tim: We wanna work with a lot of big rappers out there to get them in, DJ’s, that sort of thing and just sorta mix the whole thing up and go even further either one way; either be more heavy, be more electric, or be more rap.
Like who? Who are you specifically seeking out?
Ohhh…Don’t tell me..”you can’t say”...
Jermaine: Dizzee Rascal.
Tim: Anyone that is gonna wanna be a part of it really, we’re just gonna ask anyone, it’d be just nice to get different voices and stuff in there.
Dizzee Rascal? That’s no small fry, are you thinking of being something like a collective then? Where you can bring people in?
Tim: No, We just wanna shock again.
Jermaine: We’re just gonna have a special feature, just a little bonus for our listeners.
Is that a bit dangerous being a young band do you think?, bringing in other artists so early on, taking over your sound…
Tim: We don’t think like that, do we?
Jermaine: We don’t think like that, we take risks
Tim: If we listen to it and we think this is fucking shit hot, then we know we’re doing the right thing cos that’s what happened in day one. Me and him sat in the studio and said this is sick and is gonna go somewhere. Before we’d written the song we wouldn’t have gone “shit, we should do this”, we heard it so if we sit in the studio again, and we hear something completely new and we believe in it then we’ll put it out there, despite what other people might think.
It’s gonna be quite hard in the metal community, metal festivals, to bring in people like Dizzee Rascal, regardless of how heavy you actually are…
Tim: If they can’t hack us, then we’ve already got it wrong if thats what you’re saying. If you’re saying that if we had Dizzee Rascal come on stage with us at Download and how would people react to that or even Bloodstock or Glastonbury or anything like that I think it’d work at Glastonbury alright actually. If they can’t take us, then that’s fine, but we’ll still play, but we believe in it so much that I’m sure everyone else does too.
So why should people buy your E.P? And what have you got planned, tour wise for 2013?
Tim: There’s a possibility for Download and erm possibility for…there’s quite a lot of stuff confirmed in Europe. Erm 2013… just expect a bigger H.
A bigger what? (sniggers)
Tim: H. It’s on our backs, on our necks, it’s everywhere, it’s the Hacktivist H. It’s gonna be bigger. Everywhere.
(still sniggering) Ok, so you’re both pretty much in the dark as to what 2013 holds then to be honest…
Tim: It’s down to the people booking it at the minute, we don’t know anything about 2013, it’s all being planned. Nothings confirmed apart from a couple of things in Europe.
What are the things in Europe? Honestly it’s like blood out of a fucking stone.
Tim: It isn’t, well as I say, it’s all happening so fast we just, it’s just.…
Jermaine: Didn’t we get that one confirm today from ? 17.47….
Are they also things you can’t tell me about?
Tim: No, they’re things I can’t remember.
(ALL START LAUGHING)
Tell me shit you want people to know. I want people to find out about and get really excited about your music, and hear the first EP. So fucking help me out here!
Tim: That is it, that is it honestly.
Jermaine: The E.P. has got a couple of little surprises in there it’s all been re-recorded like, it’s nice, it sounds..
It’s nice? Nice is such a horrible beige word! (laughs)
Tim: It’s an enjoyable CD!
Why should prospective fans buy the E.P. then?
Tim: It’s different, everyone’s looking for something different, everyone’s trying to search for something completely different.
Is that enough? Are people just looking for different?
Tim: I know I am…
People are looking for something that means something to them I think…
Tim: Yeah, they don’t wanna listen to the same old shit every day, they don’t wanna turn on the tv and listen to the same crap, they want something to come online, they want something to come in their ears and be “fucking hell this isn’t something I’ve heard before” or “this is something I wanna follow”, do ya know what I mean?
Or something they can listen to and go, “oh yeah, I can relate to this, I relate to what is going on, I’m waking up to this, oh I’ve just realised this, or this makes me feel like this or this has helped me through this”
Jermaine: It’s also gonna sound much better than if you’ve ripped the track off YouTube.
Tim: Haahaha …yeah.
That’s one thing I absolutely agree with, I can’t fucking stand music thieves, right, I think I’ve gleaned as much out of you guys as I can. Blood and stone springs to mind. Sorry it had to be after your set, you poor guys must be absolutely knackered.
Jermaine: Yeah, I’m shattered man.
It was an incredible set though!
both: Thanks a lot!
Do you guys perform like that, so energetically, on every show?
Jermaine: Yeah I can’t help it, I can’t help performing like that. As soon as I hear the track just play, it sends me crazy.
Tim: Same every time.
Do you whack up on sugar then?
Tim: We have a beer.
Jermaine: We have 2 beers, that’s it, one or two, no more than one or two, and maybe and energy drink or something.
Jermaine: YEAH! But no more than 2 beers man! That’s it.
Do you have any other pre stage rituals?
Anything else you can think of? Because you guys haven’t done loads of tours, and you haven’t done loads of albums I can throw stuff into the mix with…and trying to glean information out of you (actually facepalms) is quite hard..
Tim: (laughs) It is, everyone finds it hard!
Jermaine: This is my first tour as well.
Goddamn it! Right, worst fail so far? Has there even been time to have a fail t this early stage?
Jermaine: Er not that anyone would notice. I spilled beer down my jeans, looked like I’d pissed myself.
What this evening?
Tim: Yeah, this evening.
Jermaine: Didn’t you notice it?
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t tend to stare at the crutches of bands…much.
Tim: (laughs) It’ll be in all the pictures, he’ll have a wet stain.
What I was doing this evening whilst you were playing, was headbanging rather than crotch staring.. Leigh, did you get a photo?
Leigh: He mentioned it on stage, didn’t he?
Tim: Yeah, he said ‘I haven’t pissed myself’.
So that is your worse thing, what are you expecting from the next few years?
Jermaine: Just big gigs. Just more gigs, more countries.
You’re gonna get bigger if tonight’s performance is any indication, how are you gonna deal with everything surrounding that?
Jermaine: I just take it day by…
Tim: I think we’ll just get him a tippee cup. Or one with a lid on it..
(laughs) No, I meant how are you gonna deal with it fame wise, you have families, do you have girlfriends? It could go on the up quite fast..
Jermaine: Yeah, my family know that music means everything to me, like music comes first pretty much, they’ll allow me to do whatever I gotta do.
Tim: My dad was here tonight, he’s obviously travelled down to see us and stuff, he’s supported me all the way through all the bands I’ve been in and everything I’ve done, and he’s just. We were in the guardian and I nearly had a tear when I saw myself. You look at Nicky Minaj and then the next page, there I am in the guardian! Even if I die tomorrow I’ll die happy just being in the guardian.
And you were on the radio as well…Radio One are starting to pick up on heavier rock and metal now..
Tim: Danny P’s got a bit of a soft spot for us, he plays us quite often..
That’s cos you’re original sounding..
Tim: He doesn’t usually say much about bands, I don’t know if you’ve noticed as well, he’ll say a word and then wait for ages and then say another word and he’ll be like ‘This is……………….Hacktivist…..one of my favourite bands of the moment’. (laughs) He’s a good guy though.
You’re getting mainstream exposure already, is that scary?
Tim: Nah, we just wanna take over the world.
How old are you guys?
Tim: I’m 24
Jermaine: I’m 27, December 1st. You?
Tim: Sagittarius…yeah! High five! (actually high fives me and I don’t miss)
When’s your birthday then, Tim?
Tim: January 19th
Who are the delicate ones in the band, who are the easiest to get along with then, are you all real close?
Tim: We’re all pretty easy and we all get along pretty well, and we’re all pretty foul-mouthed and we’re all pretty rowdy when we’ve had a few.
Jermaine: None of us are too serious, we all like to have a joke some of the time innit, it’s fun.
Tim: It comes as it comes and if we get shit then we deal with shit, but yeah, we’re all good mates AND we’re all so different in the way that we all listen to different music, like our drummer is in a folk band as well as this and he’s in a jazz band. He’s also in a function band.
Jazz would make sense with proggy….
Sort of goes that wedding band too…did you say wedding band?
Tim: Well, function band, in fact me and him are part of a band that do whats called Band-e-oke, where we play and people get up and sing.
You’re gonna have to stop that, now.
Tim: Oh I love it.
No, you’re gonna have to stop that, now. Really. Reminds me of The Wedding Singer.
Tim: (laughs) Oh I love it! A bit o’ Toto can’t top that.
What would you sing on karaoke?
Tim: Hold The Line
(Laughs) Nice bit o’ Cash and Nickelback..alright, final words, what have you got to say to the people that were here this evening checking you out?
Jermaine: Er, I just wanna thank everyone, for being there and I wanna thank…no that’s it.
Tim: I wanna thank the guy that nearly knocked his teeth out on the drum kit. That was fun and nearly knocked me out.
Jermaine: And that guy that nearly actually fell on stage.
Tim: That was the guy I meant, I dunno how he got that far in but….
Jermaine: That was cool!
Thank you very much guys, time’s up!
Tim: No problem, Nice to meet you.
Tim: Ok, we’re doing that one, and that one, and a thumb war?
(we bump fists, high five and then he does something with his thumb which confuses me)
No I don’t do that..I don’t know what it is but it looks like a bizarre mating ritual, cheers for an absolutely incredible night of music guys, you could see the crowd really enjoyed it.
Tim: No worries, it’s what we do.
HACKTIVIST’S E.P. Is out Now after a November 2012 Release : http://musicglue.com/hacktivist/ and February tour dates are below.
|Tue 12 Feb||7:00 PM||The Borderline, London||£8.50adv||Tickets|
|Wed 13 Feb||7:30 PM||The Duchess, York||£6.50adv||Tickets|
|Thu 14 Feb||7:00 PM||o2 abc2 glasgow, Glasgow||£7adv||Tickets|
|Fri 15 Feb||7:30 PM||Satans Hollow, Manchester||£6.50adv||Tickets|
[tabgroup][tab title=”Band Members”]
- J Hurley – Vocals
- Ben Marvin – Vocals
- Timfy James – Guitar / Electronics / Vocals
- Josh Gurner – Bass
- Rich Hawking – Drums
[/tab][tab title=”Useful Links”]
[/tab][tab title=”Self Titled EP TrackList “]
Release Date: November 2012.
- Unlike Us
- Cold Shoulders