Interview – Timfy James and Jermaine ‘J’ Hurley of Hacktivist

Hacktivist (c) Roisin Stewart

Here it is! My first ever face to face interview with an artist for the Moshville Times! Hope you enjoy!

We’re sat in a very cramped dressing room in the deepest depths of the Garage nightclub. There’s nowhere for me to sit so I’m having to tower over Timfy and J. It’s not in the slightest bit awkward!

How’s the tour with Issues going so far guys?

J – Sick, yeah. Really, really good. They’re really good guys aren’t they?

Timfy – They’re really accommodating. We were surprised to learn that they’re as excited to be on tour with us as we are with them.

Any wild parties with them so far?

Timfy – Not yet, but I think tonight will one of those nights. Obviously, we’ve got Slam Dunk the next few days as well so that’ll be pretty leery.

You guys have played as far afield as Russia and Ukraine. Do you have a favourite country you’ve played in?

J – Russia

Timfy – Russia. The fans are crazy out there, man.  We’ve got a strong following  and they’re dedicated, they know all the lyrics.

J – They give us sick gifts as well, like this badge (J points to a hand carved wooden ‘H’ that’s pinned to his jacket) someone made these for us.

Timfy – I also got this (Timfy points to a silver ‘H’ necklace that he’s wearing) They’re at the airport when you land. They’re at the train station when you get the train to either Moscow or St Petersburg. They’re on the train with you and again at the airport when you’re leaving. They’re outside your hotel  where you’re staying. It’s f**king crazy, man. They come and find you when you’re eating. We had a meal in Moscow, the tour  just gone a few weeks and they somehow found out where we were eating in the middle of this huge town.

J – They turned up with a big bottle of Vodka, didn’t they?

Timfy – Two big bottles of Vodka!

J – I was like, thank you very much mate! Yeah, we’ve got a really good connection with Russia. I love it.

Hacktivist - Outside The BoxWhat are the crowds like? Pretty jumpy?

Timfy – Yeah, the crowds are crazy. They know all our stuff. They’re like the us from ten years ago. The scene on the British Isles just used to be so mad. Now it’s so saturated people don’t get that excited about stuff. Although, every time we come to Scotland we get people chanting “Here We F**king Go!” We don’t get that anywhere else.

Is there a lot of mosh pits and crowd surfing at Russian gigs?

J – The most brutal mosh pits. Brutal everything.

Timfy – They get all Cold War on it, man!

Me – What! Like fix bayonets?

Timfy – Haha not quite like that. The new generation are coming out over there. They’re allowed to express themselves. People are allowed to be a lot more colourful than they used to be so they’re grabbing that by the balls. Music is one of the strongest things that they’ve got. Australia’s my second favourite place just because it’s cool that people literally from the other side of the world want you to come play there. We played India too, headlined a stage at a festival there.

So India has a big metal following?

Timfy – Huge. They’re like Russia in that they’re ten years behind us. All they have is Bollywood. They’re force fed Bollywood the minute they come out of the womb, basically and when they listen to metal it feels like they’re revolting against that. The rest of the world is just sick. I’m not a fan of the UK, I mean I live here and the UK fans are great but we’re spoilt for people that come here. The scenes in countries that haven’t had so many of the big music acts are so buoyant, they live for it.

Have you had a chance to properly take in any of the countries you’ve been to or has it been strictly business?

Timfy – We generally have a guide in whatever country we go to and when you’re travelling to the venue or going to get food somewhere they try and point stuff out to you. We’ve never been proper sight seeing. We get the odd day off were we like to go out and see as much as we can and meet people.

Have you ever had the chance to do something truly crazy or memorable in another country?

Timfy – Going back to India, I had my birthday there and after we played the big sixty nine festival, there was an after party in a derelict building. It was on top of a sky scraper looking out over Mumbai. We were all having a party, Sikth were there too and literally the music stopped and almost every single person there started singing happy birthday. They brought a cake out and carried me too. Even though I didn’t know most of these people it was still like hanging with a bunch of friends. Sometimes their is a weird vibe between bands and fans but I didn’t get that with them as they were so welcoming. That was incredible. I’ll never forget that.

You’ve not long re leased “Outside The Box” how have you found the reception to the album so far?

Timfy – Sick. People are so hungry for the music.

J – Really good reception, even the guy from Korn liked it.

Timfy – Yeah, Munky from Korn played our album in his car and Tweeted a photo saying “New Hacktivist album is amazing” One of my guitar idols, a straight g went out of his way to listen to our album without any persuasion. It’s mind blowing.

Being from Milton Keynes,have you ever been to a gig at the National Bowl?

Timfy – Yeah, I live like walking distance from there.

J – I saw Enter Shikari there. That was the first time I ever saw them. It was great. I would love to play there one day.

Timfy – I went to see Kings Of Leon there actually. It’s a small guilty pleasure of mine. Seen Muse and the Foo Fighters there too. One of the really cool things about Milton Keynes is they don’t try and close it off. There’s a lake there and anyone that doesn’t make it into the gig goes to the lake, has some barbecue and listens to the gig from the outside.

J already answered my next question for me, but I’ll ask anyway. Is it an ambition for Hacktivist to play the National Bowl?

J – Yeah, definitely.

Timfy – It should be an ambition for anyone to play there. It’s a rung on the ladder for anyone that lives locally to say they live in Milton Keynes and they’ve also played The Bowl. Definitely something to tick off.

You guys have a really unique sound. It’s awesome. You’ve not had too many run ins with the “It’s Not Metal” Zealots have you?

Timfy – Only one time. It was Sonisphere in France. It was just full of die hard Iron Maiden fans and they weren’t feeling it. That was right in our infancy and it hasn’t happened since. That’s the whole point of music though, you need to make a stir wether it be negative or positive. You’ve got to piss people off for them to go out and be angry about it, for other people to start a fight about it. That’s how you create a spark in the music industry.

As you’re the rapper for the band, J. Do you mind if I ask who your rap influences are?

J – I’ve got loads of influences. I’ve got quite a few. Wiley, Dizzee obviously. N.E.R.D, Korn. Biggie. I take a lot of influences, man. Yellow Wolf, Ritz and Tech 9 too.

Have you ever received any direct feedback from Jay Z or Kanye West regarding your N*ggas In Paris cover?

Timfy – I reckon they’ve heard it.

They’ve not been in touch though?

Timfy – Why would they? That’s old hat to them. I think once a band or artist is established at a certain level they pretty much keep themselves to themselves.

Hacktivist bandAnother direct question for J. Do you freestyle at all?

J – Yeah, I freestyle a little bit.

Will you be doing it tonight?

J – Probably not tonight as it’s not a headline show for us,

Have you ever been in an 8 Mile style rap battle?

J – Yeah, I’ve only had about two or three because I just wanted to be able to say I’ve done it. I prefer to write lyrics though as I want to know that it definitely sounds sick.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a gig?

J – Probably a guy doing a back flip in the pit.

Timfy – The best thing I’ve seen, maybe not the craziest was when we did a tour with Enter Shikari and one of the venues we played there was actually a guy in a wheel chair in the mosh pit. He was f**king fearless! He was inspirational in fact. It showed there’s no boundaries and the word disabled doesn’t have to cap you so long as you have the right mental attitude.

J – Opening the main stage at Reading festival. There was three mosh pits going on at the same time.

Timfy – Second craziest thing for me would be playing Rock Am Ring in front of eighty thousand people.

Last question then I’ll let you guys go get drunk. What does the future hold for Hacktivist?

Timfy – Carnage

J – Bodybags. More tours. More music.

Timfy – More forward thinking. Don’t expect anything as it won’t be what you’re thinking.

J – We always like to elevate, try new things and try better ourselves and shit. We’re always just dabbling in different things and going in different directions.

Timfy – Follow no sheep.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from you guys. Thank you very much for your time today. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Header image by Roisin Stewart

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June 4, 2016 11:25 PM

[…] of nervousness and excitement for this gig. Nervous because pre-gig  was going to be my first ever face to face interview for the Moshville Times. I shouldn’t have worried though, as the guys from Hacktivist were […]