TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015|
Posted by: Niko Demetriou
Where complex time signature changes meet intricate guitar work is where math rock lives. Unfortunately, the genre can be a bit intimidating for someone who hasnt spent four years studying musical composition. Complicated rhythms are on deck, often made more than clear by the bands as they demonstrate their skills to the point where the whole genre can feel like a talent contest. Hawking steps in here to try and sway the public opinion with their own alternative math pop sound. Retaining the constantly changing grooves but adding in some much needed catchy vocal hooks showcase the bands musical talents, but in a much more musically friendly way.
Amidst a tour spanning Canada and Northern America, the band is piecing together their third EP. We heard Hawkings newest single "Books on Tape" and were able to get in contact with the group, picking their heads on their new work and the genre as a whole.
You guys have had your sound described as "Math Pop." I know "Math Rock." What's the difference between "Math Rock" and "Math Pop" to you?
Hawking: Math Rock has a stigma against it that implies a level of pretentiousness among the people who play it. A lot of listeners feel that Math Rock is more about showing off just how obnoxiously complicated and indecipherable you can make a song than it is about making the song good. Math Pop on the other hand is basically exactly what it sounds like a sort of balancing act between Math Rock's complex drums, time changes and interlocking guitar work with a bunch of pop music elements like big vocal hooks and catchy choruses. That's sort of the niche where our music tends to exist and we're very happy with it!
"Math rock/pop" both tie into progressive music. It's hard to capture the feel of prog without leaning towards being pretentious. But you all accomplish that pretty effortlessly. What's the secret to making prog/polyrhythmic "math" music feel genuine?
Hawking: Man, I have no idea honestly. We just kind of do what feels right and hope it works and it seems to be clicking so far, so that's cool! But I guess the secret is to think about it from the perspective of a listener and not just a music nerd. Yeah, that weird revolving 21/16 breakdown you wrote might be really interesting to a music student, but good lord man, give your song a chorus if you want it to have any deeper meaning beyond "we're good at music."
We're premiering "Books On Tape." And the major lyrical hook of the track is "These books on tape will ruin my mind." What are you specifically referring to there?
You know the episode of Dexter's Lab where he tries to learn French by listening to a cassette while he sleeps, and then all he can say the next day is "omelette du fromage?" It's sort of about that, but of course a fair bit darker than a children's cartoon. It's about wanting life to move faster than it is, but not knowing what to do about it, and not having the motivation to try to do anything about it. That's pretty much all I can say without giving too much away.
The guitar work for the track is very unique. Were there specific guitarists that influenced how your guitar sound came out?
The main guitar melody and the dance-y feel to the song are heavily influenced by Two Door Cinema Club; Alan Welsh of the British Math-Pop band Tangled Hair had a huge impact on the way we wrote the bridge.