Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Johannes Carlsson Of The Hawkins

Artwork for ‘The Aftermath.’ Courtesy of Earshot Media.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Showcasing a surefire scramble of swing and good-old energetic rock ‘n’ roll, Swedish garage rockers The Hawkins followed up 2020’s ‘Silence Is A Bomb’ with a conceptual mini-album ‘The Aftermath,’ which distinctly focuses on the destructive aftermath of past relationships.

‘The Aftermath’ – widely praised for the singles “Fifth Try,” “Jim & Kate” and “Svääng” – was recorded at Shiitake Sounds and mixed by band lead vocalist/guitarist Johannes Carlsson and mastered by Hans Olsson.

Comparable in sound to bands like At The Drive-In, latter-day Taking Back Sunday and Biffy Clyro, The Hawkins also include guitarist/backing vocalist Mikael Thunborg, bassist/backing vocalist Martin Larsson and drummer/backing vocalist Albin Grill.

The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Carlsson about ‘The Aftermath’ and more.

Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?

Johannes Carlsson – Really hard question, but interesting! How can I be proud of a place of where I’m from? I guess if I’ve been a part of building the place, I might have a mandate to be proud about it, but I haven’t really built any part of our society, at least it feels so now, just thinking about the question! (Laughs) However, if talking about music and the Swedish music scene, I could say I am proud of being part of Folkbildning of musicians in this country. The impact it has had on almost every band in Sweden is truly beautiful and astonishing.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music? 

Johannes Carlsson – That I decide – within the realms of my illusion of freewill – how I want it to be. What direction it takes. Being the creator is the most exciting thing.

Music Bugle – What was your goal for your conceptual mini-album ‘The Aftermath’?

Johannes Carlsson – We wanted to do something that was short, but felt like a complete story. The theme of ‘Aftermath’ is kind of like the five stages of grief, but in the context of a relationship falling apart. There is denial in ignoring the signals of destructive relationships. There is anger toward self-profiteering martyrdom and recurring self-hatred from constantly fucking things up. Bargaining and begging for someone else to help you out of misery. Depression as an outcome in almost everything and acceptance in letting go.

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?

Johannes Carlsson – I am listening to ‘A Lantern And A Bell’ by Loney Dear, ‘…Like Clockwork’ by Queens Of The Stone Age and ‘SE MIG’ by Veronica Maggio.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Johannes Carlsson – It has felt pretty hopeless from time to time and we have been pretty broke as well. I am personally broke, the band as well, but I’ve written beautiful music during the pandemic! I’m vaccinated and I feel excited and hopeful about the future! Woo hoo!

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break? 

Johannes Carlsson – To the toilet. No one disturbs me there. It’s a great place. Very underestimated for solitary meditation.

Music Bugle – What do you hope for as 2022 begins? 

Johannes Carlsson – That I have more money and continue to feel as great as I do now. It’s a positive synergistic time for me right now and I just feel so alive, I create exciting new music and feel warm connections with new and old friends. May it stay gold.

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Johannes Carlsson – Don’t think I have a quote more than just a strong will and love for creating music.

Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment? 

Johannes Carlsson – I remember I was super proud when I won a Snowboard Big Air competition when I was 11. Still have the backpack I won!

Music Bugle – What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you?

Johannes Carlsson – I can sometimes be very cold toward people I love. I don’t know if people are surprised by that, but it is something that makes me dislike myself, at least.  

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