HAWKWIND's Dave Brock Talks To BraveWords.com – “We’ve Always Been An Alternative Band”

July 17, 2010, 10 years ago

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By Martin Popoff

Grinding UK noiseniks HAWKWIND are maintaining a flight path charted fully 40 years ago, delivering to the thousands of hippie heads who follow them, a new album called Blood Of The Earth. Why Blood Of The Earth, says I.

“Why Blood Of The Earth?” seconds spiritual leader of the band, Dave Brock, 68 years on and still sharp as a tack, or at least as sharp as Hawkwind’s most famous ex-member, Lemmy. “Well, blood of the earth is actually the actual organic waste, the lava that comes out of the earth, is the blood. They always have this thing that oil is the blood of the earth, but it’s not really. It’s the lava. And it’s always red, so hence the title. And some of the tracks relate to it.”

What are the elements of the Hawkwind sound that are emphasized and which ones are perhaps deemphasized on this record?

“Emphasized, really, is the electronics,” continues Brock. “We use a lot of electronic oscillators and things like that, which are quite unusual in a sense, which… high-frequency sounds do make you go a bit wobbly (laughs). And crossovers, oscillators, to get your senses going a bit strange and things like that; a combination of that, and I suppose really sort of good rhythms, solid rhythms pound away, and there we are - that’s pretty much Hawkwind music (laughs).

Is there a particular era or a cluster of two or three albums that this evokes for you, from the past catalog? Does it hearken back to a particular Hawkwind era?

“Not really. We’ve pretty much kept our style going all the way through, all these years. I mean, we’ve been using state-of-the-art gear. We used to use old EMS synthesizers, and obviously now you can get Apple computers where you can call up all the stuff on, really. So we moved on a bit really, instead of using our old audio generators. Well, in fact we still do use them. I mean, I’ve got this big box of audio generators. We do use a combination of new Apple stuff, modern technology, with the old stuff, really.”

“We’ve always been an alternative band,” reflects, Brock, meaning alternative beyond the strange underground pound and sound, into the warped economics the band has always courted. “And we’ve always done a lot of free festivals. We used to run a lot of free festivals ourselves, supplying all the generators and staging and things like that. Funny, we are actually doing one in a few months time, on the Isle of Wight, which is pretty similar to the good old-fashioned festivals that used to go on then. And we’ll try to keep our festivals we run down to a minimum 1000 people, well, thousand, 1500, and that’s it, to make it more approachable where people actually meet up with people and all that, and they can be friends. People bring their kids and all that and kids can run around and have a good time and it’s a nice happy sort of relaxed atmosphere. As was it way back when.”

In closing, discussion of BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and the shared Michael Moorcock connection between the two bands, brings up a meeting of the minds…

“Well funny enough, Blue Oyster Cult - some of Blue Öyster Cult - might be doing our local festival. We’ll be playing with them in a festival in France, I think in July or August. Yeah, Michael Moorcock used to sort of come and recite poetry with us, wrote a few songs with Blue Oyster Cult, as he did with us. So with our science fiction sort of feel, because we were always into sci-fi stuff, We used to read a lot of science fiction books and interpret them into music, really, where the storyline would actually… we would work out verses that would reflect on the book, and then sort of with our light show and our music, we would take people on a trip. It’s like going to the cinema in a way - a bit of escape-ism (laughs).”

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

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