New week, new band! A team effort from the Welsh(ish) trio, Häxan, whose recent video we featured a few months ago…
Sam: Ah a simple question without a simple answer! We’re always called a “Welsh trio”, and I guess that technically it’s true, as both Jess and I live in Wales. Even though Jess is English, and hasn’t lived here long. Harriet is the most English person I’ve ever met and reminds me how pathetic my accent is on a daily basis. But yes, South Wales.
How did you meet?
Sam: I met H after she posted an ad online looking for a band. She drove to Wales and we just clicked. We were sitting chatting, and the family dog came into the room, stood on her knees, and put his little paw on her hand and that’s what sealed the deal. We met Jess through gigging, and even though she’s not been in the band a massive amount of time, everyone always comments on how much chemistry we all have, on and off stage. We just bounce off each other.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Sam: A long time. Touching on 8 years I think? But we’ve worked our asses off, and after releasing eps and singles, our lovely fans were patiently asking when they could hear an album, and we got there in the end.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Harriet: I don’t think we’ll ever get sick of being asked, but it’s a difficult one to sound out to a drunk guy at a loud gig! We needed to change our band name a couple of years ago to something a little more unique. All we knew is that we wanted something that alluded to the fact we’re female. Sam stumbled across the 1920’s Swedish film “Häxan” which translates to “witch”, but most importantly looks and sounds pretty cool.
What are your influences?
Jess: I think we have a pretty varied collective of influences. We all love classic rock but we each bring different bands and genres outside of that into the mix too. We often get compared to bands like Black Sabbath, Girlschool, Joan Jett etc., and there’s definitely worse comparisons out there!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Harriet: It’s essentially riff-centric straightforward rock and roll. Always a hard-hitting punch to the stomach, and catchy as all hell. We repeat a lot of the hook (be it lyrically or musically) all the way through the song and it just sticks in your head for days. We’re unique in the fact that we’ve got a huge, full sound for a three-piece band. Sam’s insanely powerful vocals usually set us apart from the rest too, layered with plenty of harmonies. She’s got a really distinctive voice (Welsh…) that makes us instantly recognisable.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Sam: No themes as such, although there is a dark vibe flowing through the album tracks, but unintentionally! A lot of the songs are written using minor tonality riffs and chords, and H and Jess just gel, and do such an amazing job of making it sound ballsy and moody and powerful, so it usually ties in with that. The lyrics tend to match. Failing that, I literally come up with a sentence, which turns into the chorus hook, and write the rest of the song around it.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Harriet: Our live show is a DIY clusterfuck of raw energy and love for what we do. We leave it all on stage (literally most of my hair is left behind). No two shows are the same. We don’t have an “act”. We don’t do “bits”. Sometimes we don’t even have a set list! But it works. We banter with the audience and each other like no one else is watching. We have had genuine belly laughs on stage at jokes no one else understands, but they love it anyway. People always comment on how comfortable we look on stage and it’s because we are. It’s our natural habitat and a lot of that is thanks to us doing in the region of 400 shows (and no tours!)
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Harriet: We once played in the Isle of Wight dressed as Theresa May and Donald Trump. I was Trump but most people assumed I was supposed to be an orange Angus Young with “Pussy Grabber” written on my back.
Sam: At the end of the set, there were Christmas carols blaring and a snow machine pumping out a tonne of fake snow. It was April.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Sam: My go to is my Gibson SG, but I also take a Les Paul as a back up. My amp is an Orange Rockerverb mk ii and I love it. H and I are endorsed by Ernie Ball, so they hook us up with strings.
Jess: My favourite bit of kit I use has to be my snare, it’s a Mapex Black Panther Phantom, nothing too flashy but it’s got a hell of a crack to it and never fails to turn some heads. I’ve got a bit of a mix of cymbals too, Zildjian, Meinl, and Istanbul, to get the sound I really want.
Harriet: I use a MusicMan S.U.B with a Markbass Little Mark iii. Love to run through my Dark Glass Vintage Tubes overdrive to give it a bit more grit.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Jess: We have been doing a fair bit of screaming about our upcoming debut album. It’s called White Noise and you can get your paws on it on the 24th July! It’s up for pre-order right now though, along with some tasty merch bundles which you can find at www.haxanofficial.bandcamp.com
A lot of hard work has gone into this, we’re very proud of it. We can’t wait to unleash it on the world, and to be able to play it live for everyone when it’s finally safe to do so.
What are your plans for 2020/2021?
Sam: Well our hope for 2020 is for all of family, friends and fans to get through safe and well. Obviously we hope our debut album, White Noise, does well, as it’s giving us something to focus on during these uncertain times, as we miss gigging and we miss each other. We still, (fingers crossed), have a German tour booked in, as well as an Australian tour. Both scheduled for the end of the year. All being well, we can’t wait for that. 2021 should bring a bit more normality, and we plan on making up for all the shows that were cancelled this year. A tour for the album. And who knows what else!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Sam: Good question! I’d love for us to support The Darkness. So they would be my headliner. If anyone can hook us up with a support slot, wink wink, nudge nudge. And to open, there’s a pretty cool band I’ve heard called Mad Haven who are quite ballsy with their sound. That would be a solid line up!
Jess: What a question! Personally I’d go with us supporting Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics, even though they’re on a little hiatus at the moment. Opening the show would be great to have our friends in Hawxx!
Harriet: I want to support Tenacious D so badly I’d sell a kidney to make it happen. So with that in mind an ideal opener would be Doctor Nut. For fans of elves, wizards and rat baguettes.