Ade Shaw interview (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)

"Classic Space Rock has got to be heavily drum and bass reliant, music with balls"

11/06/2013 @ 12:12
Ade Shaw, an oldtimer on bass and psychedelic space rock artists for years, is Nick Saloman's musical companion and recently found a group of former Hawkwind musicians who go by the name of Hawklords and keep the band's tradition going. Both of these occupations of his will be combined into a promising evening in Kyttaro Club in Athens (Friday, 14 June) and this show provided a good opportunity for discussion.

Ade Shaw (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)Let’s speak for a while about the Hawklords. In most of our minds this group is considered a spin-off of Hawkwind which served to keep the band going on a specific period of time. Can we now consider it as an independent band with its own life?
Hawklords was originally a spin-off of Hawkwind that came about from contractual reasons. Ironically it came about just after my stint in Hawkwind. And of course two of the original members were also founder members of the reformed Hawklords, Harvey Bainbridge and Steve Swindells. When the idea of putting together a band of ex Hawkwind members came about we needed a name that reflected who and what we are and Hawklords seemed an obvious choice. So yes, Hawklords is definitely an independent band with its own life and indeed nothing to do with Dave Brock’s current band.

Ade Shaw (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)What is the current band’s connection with Hawkwind? I don’t mean your CVs, but mostly musically and artistically speaking.
This has been pretty much explained in the previous question. Although we have nothing to do with the current Hawkwind, musically there are very strong connections. We were all in Hawkwind for a reason, namely our musical ability and our love and understanding of Space Rock. I think just about everyone who’s been a member of Hawkwind brought something unique to the band and we are now able to express ourselves in this context with the Hawklords.

You have also released a new album. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
We recorded it last year and it’s called "We Are One". The brief we were working on was basically to try to carry on the tradition started by the original Hawklords album. Whilst still being very much in the Space Rock tradition it’s also a little more subtle and thoughtful than some people might have expected. Its themes are conservation and the global economic crisis as well as more traditional Space Rock themes. We are currently working on the follow up album which should be available in the autumn.

Ade Shaw (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)There have been many bands to follow the legacy of Hawkwind and a huge underground space rock movement. A big difference though, in my opinion, is that Hawkwind underneath all the space layers were still playing rock ‘n’ roll, something most new bands have forgotten. Any thoughts on that?
Yes indeed. The heart of Hawkwind and of course Hawklords has always been rock ’n’ roll. And I agree, a lot of the newer Space Rock bands seem to think it’s just a case of writing a lyric that’s got a space and/or time theme, some swooshing noises and not much else. Classic Space Rock has got to be heavily drum and bass reliant, music with balls. Of course there has to be an esoteric component too but it’s music for the mind and body.

On your concert promotion, in Greece at least, there is a special mention of your light show. Is it a tradition that you follow or do you really think that it is important for someone to experience your live shows visually as well?
Ah yes, Big Dave’s Lighthouse! Dave is an important member of both Hawklords and the Bevis Frond. Both shows have to be seen to be believed, genuinely multi-media experiences. I’ve worked with some very talented lensmen, Barney Bubbles being just one of them, and I have to say Big Dave is up there with the very best. His lights are tailored to each song and really enhance the proceedings. If you haven’t seen his work I suggest you come along on the 14th and prepare to have your mind blown.

Ade Shaw (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)What are the plans for the future of the Hawklords? Are they going to remain a regular touring and recording band or will you only play in special occasions, festivals etc...
Hawklords are a permanent and full time band. We are touring again in the autumn and have a variety of festivals to play before then. And of course, as previously mentioned, we will have another album out this year. The line-up is pretty much settled now but you might expect some surprise appearances from time to time.

Let’s go to Bevis Frond now. It seems that after a hiatus of several years Nick is in full form now releasing in two years a double LP and a triple LP! First of all please tell me how much involved you were in the creative and recording process.
The Frond is of course very much Nick’s project. Whilst there have been many musicians who have passed through the ranks over the years Nick and I have been the constant factors. As for my part in the creative process in the studio, mostly I just play bass and leave the rest up to Nick. I guess we all chip in with ideas from time to time in the studio but the final decisions are Nick’s. Of course he would be the first to give credit to the members of the Frond. Paul Simmons has been a member for 13 years now and is a wonderful musician and a great foil for Nick. Their twin guitar interplay is as good as you will ever hear. And now we have drummer number 6, Dave Pearce, a great drummer and for once we have a one who’s not mad, drunk or a combination of both.

Ade Shaw (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)Was this material gathered through the years between recordings or was it specifically created for the follow-up of "Leaving Of London"?
No, just about all of the songs were written specifically for the new album, "White Numbers". Nick is incredibly prolific as a songwriter, he discards more songs than most writers ever come up with. So writing a new album is never a problem for him.

At least in Greece the reception of "The Leaving Of London" was very good (I guess you witnessed that on your show last year) and I have to say that it also made some listeners discover the Bevis Frond now. How was it received in general? Have you seen new and younger audiences being attracted by your latest releases?
It was very well received indeed. I haven’t seen one review that wasn’t outstanding. And to our surprise and pleasure we have noticed an increase in young people attending our shows. So have the Hawklords I have to say. I think in both instances this might be a reflection of the paucity of really good, original new bands on the scene.

Ade Shaw (Hawklords, Bevis Frond)Since you could have a full live set (and then some!) playing just the new album, how do you make the selections of the songs you will perform?
We always play a selection of songs from whatever the current album is along with old audience favourites and the occasional surprise for aficionados, maybe a lesser known song or two. Plus we seem to have gotten into the habit of doing a cover every tour as an encore. The last tour it was an old Blue Cheer song and the previous tour it was The Gun's "Race With The Devil".

One last personal question. How easy or hard is it to be playing a double bill show and serve as the rhythm provider of both bands?
This is a difficult one to answer as I haven’t done this before. I guess we’ll find out on the 14th. Hopefully it will be fine, I just hope it’s not too hot.

Kostas Sakkalis