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Justin Hawkins of Hotleg – The Interview

November 22, 2008

After all the success of the Darkness, followed by all the lows of the Darkness, facing rehab, fighting his way back with his new band Hotleg was never going to be easy, the rock and roll train has just started leave with Hotleg aboard and with the release of a new album early in 2009 I felt it was good time to get see what Mr. Hawkins had to say, its awkward because all the questions I want to ask like, what the fuck happened there? How was rehab? How much booze did you drink? Are not really going to go down very well, so, I waited until mid interview to ask him anything remotely interesting, I am taken to the Hotleg dressing room with Justin, shake hands and get down to the questions, he’s in a very strange mood (I think, it could be normal ?) so I started …………………………

James. Hows it all going with Hotleg?
Justin. Yeah it’s been really good so far

James, yeah I caught you at the barfly
Justin, That was only our second show together, well we did play at someone’s wedding as well, and no, it wasn’t stings

James, What was it like coming down from the high of the Darkness?
Justin, mmm dunno, it’s a tough question really, I changed my life around, started again, I think I had to really, and also I left it a long time before I did anything, had to take a step back and not worry about things, I’ve never really given a shit about my career, in the darkness every time I did something and thought I would shoot myself in the foot it was working, doing this kind of rock isn’t the smart thing to do, it was the naughties, for three years no-one knew we existed, then things started to turn round for us, having the time was the best thing.

James, What was it like going from opening at festivals to headliners in 12 months, how did it all feel?
Justin , it was just really busy, whether your playing in the afternoon or at night, you know, it’s the same, the days gone, all the traveling, every day that year we were working, didn’t really have a chance to acknowledge the achievement, the night we won all the Brits, straight after the show party we were on a private jet to Germany to play a TV show the next day,

James, The rise certainly was unreal?
Justin, We were prepared to put the work in, everyday,

James, Who influenced yourself as a teenager?
Justin, ha ha ha, Extreme, get the funk out was a hit at the time, aerosmith / ac/dc / queen / abba, just big songs, you know ….

James, So what point in the darkness did you think, right, that’s it, Ive had a fukinuff?
Justin, I said to people it was only ever going to be 2 albums, it became clearer during the writing of the 2nd album, it was fucked up, didn’t enjoy it, 1st record it was just me doing whatever I wanted, 2nd record I felt pressured to maintain what the darkness had achieved . I wanted to create and move forward but I felt we weren’t moving on really.

James, Did the rock and roll lifestyle hit you early on, or did it develop through your rise?
Justin, No, that was there before, it was, and that’s just me.

James, How does it feel to be gaining media attention with Hotleg?
Justin, It’s not that much, you’re the only interview today,

James, Mentally for you now when you write hotleg material do you think to yourself, I’m not writing Darkness, this is new so make it different ?
Justin, Not sure, I just rely on my instinct, you can’t really go wrong, it’s instinctive and true, that’s all I want really, not over think stuff

James, What can the readers expect from Hotleg live, and on the album?
Justin, mmmmm, just giant rock music, gigantic mega rock (laughs)

James, So the Eurovision thing?
Justin, Move on!

James, Is it true you played all the parts on Hotleg tracks to start of with?
Justin, Yeah, when I was recording the album, I realized that soon I would need a band, although I engineered it, produced it, I wanted to prove to myself I could do that, beyond that it was a good exercise

James, How did you pick the members of the band?
Justin , I was told about Darby the drummer through a mutual friend of ours , he knew Sam , Sams brother had witnessed Petes work , I was quite luck really , it was like a chain of recommendations .

James, What have you noticed about your audiences
Justin, This is a really good crowd for us, what turns the Extreme crowd on is the same as what does us.

James, Hows your tennis?
Justin, I haven’t played enough, I think the last time we played was after coming back from LA

James, Health wise, is everything ok now?
Justin, Yeah, I’m good, there’s a day counter on myspace, its 865, it’s over 2 years

James, Whats next for Hotleg?
Justin, Getting cunted on wine tonight ( laughs ) after this tour we have to do some video shoots for the next single , do some more writing , the album is out on the 9th February ,

James, You gonna use your own studio for the album?
Justin, Yeah although with the drums, cus Darby’s so good, we can hire somewhere nice for three days, Pete, Sam and I will do ours together

James, What’s the story behind the tattoos on your arm?
Justin , Well I uurrrmmm kind of did it this year, going down there, have a day of it, stay in a hotel, and have a second day, when we get busy I’d never have the time to get it finished so I did 3 to 4 days once a month, there’s a dx-7 keyboard / roland 3-30 , american space ship and flowers

James, Where did the Band name come from ? and why singular ?
Justin, If we hadn’t it would have been the same as 10cc’s previous band, I didn’t know that until after (laughs)

Well with the 20 minute slot up, I concluded by wishing him and the band all the best for the future and hope everything goes well and that he keeps healthy .

Afterwards I thought It all seemed very awkward , but on reflection and listening to the interview back he kind of answered everything, although he certainly relaxed more when the rest of the band joined us .

Interview – James Hope

Live Photos of Hotleg at The Academy

Live Photos of Hotleg at the Barfly

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