Tag Archives: Hacktivist


Hacktivist band photo

HACKTIVIST (from l-r): Richard Hawking (drums), Josh Gurner (bass), Jot Maxi (rapping/unclean vocals), Tim “Timfy James” Beazley (guitars/clean vocals), Jermaine “J” Hurley (rapping)


One band who have made quite an impact on the British rock scene in recent years are Milton Keynes five-piece Hacktivist.

They have amassed a legion of followers up and down the UK with a sound that blends dark, distorted metal grooves with politically-charged rapped vocals.

Their debut album, ‘Outside the Box’, was well received, they have been tipped for bigger things by much of the music press, and even played a set at this summer’s Glastonbury festival.

Whilst preparing for their eagerly-anticipated headliner at Nottingham’s Macmillan Fest earlier this month, drummer Richard Hawking chatted with me about what has surely been an unbelievable couple of years for the band.

How did the band form initially?

The band formed initially out of a solo project which was being developed by our guitarist Tim. He had been in a band called Heart of a Coward, and after he parted ways with them, he just kept on writing stuff which he then uploaded onto Soundcloud.

It got some attention, especially from “J”, one of our vocalists. He came down to the studio and added some vocals, it was kind of like a jamming session, and it sort of grew from there.

Some more stuff then got put up onto YouTube, getting us more attention, and after that, it became more of a full-on line-up.

How did the name Hacktivist come about?

It came out of the internet thing, it was the name of the Soundcloud profile, and it’s also the mentality behind the whole Anonymous thing.

We all admire what they’re doing, because of their non-violent approach, and using skills to try and make a lot of stuff out there better.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Well usually, a song would often either come out of a lyrical concept, with us being inspired by the subject matter, or it will come out of a guitar riff, which serves as a jumping off point.

Obviously with our style of music, a lot of the rhythms are all very much in sync, so once we’ve got that basic riff or rhythm, then a lot of things will fall on top of that.

That’s kind of how it goes, really.

Jot Maxi recently joined the band. How has it been for him being the new guy?

For him, it’s definitely been a steep learning curve, because at the stage when he joined, we had a couple of gigs, a small-ish festival in the UK, a small festival over in Europe, and then it was basically playing the main stage at Download.

He’s smashed it though, as he is an accomplished MC in his own right and has been for years, so yeah, to be honest, his style, approach and attitude has gelled really well with those of the other band members.

You recently played with Korn. How was that as an experience?

Well, we’re all big fans of Korn, for a few in the band, they were teenage inspirations, so for them, as well as the rest of us, playing with Korn was a huge moment.

We’d actually supported them on their European tour a few years back, and that was great. We also got to play the Brixton Academy for the first time with them, and that was obviously a massive event for us.

They were great guys, really nice and totally approachable, and it was fantastic to see them put on a wicked show night after night.

The band’s debut album, ‘Outside the Box’, released last year, was well received. Did any of you expect the reaction that it got?

I dunno. I guess we didn’t really think so much about we expected from it. I mean we had been doing stuff for a fair while by that point, so we knew what kind of fan base we had.

I supposed that moulded our expectations a little, but yeah, we all knew that it was as close to perfection as possible, because we had had a lot of time in which to go over everything.

Obviously, it’s been great to see how well it has been received.

What is your opinion of the current state of the British music industry?

Industry-wise, it’s okay. I mean we’re a signed band, so obviously, there’s advantages that come from that. Also, to a very high extent now, you can do more or less everything yourself, and that’s been something a lot of bands have been doing for years.

So yeah, it kind of depends on how you are looked after as a participant of the industry. If you’re in a group of people who don’t care so much, and it’s all about the money for them, then you might have a rough time.

However, if you’re involved with people who genuinely believe in what you are doing and want to promote your music and stuff, there are still plenty of labels out there willing to help.

I would say universally, in terms of finances, it’s not in the best state, so really, as a band, unless you’re number one or played often on Radio 1, it’s very much weighted on making your money through relentless touring, but even some of that is down to how much merch you can shift.

What are the band’s plans for the near future?

Writing, a lot of writing.

Another album, maybe?

That’s what we would like to push towards, but we haven’t yet decided if it’s going to be that or a couple of releases, because again, that sort of comes back to the environment the music industry is in right now.

Lots of people are just releasing continuous EPs, so that could be the way to go, or it may be a full-length album after all, depending on how much material we can come up with at once.

Basically, as we’re now “gig-ready“, smashing out a load of shows, and everything is nice and comfy, it’s time to get some new material written and done.

What is your long-term aim?

To just keep on contributing, because we’ve always been trying to put out material, not just to focus on being relevant, but to try and say something with merit, you know.

I think, no matter what we do, we try to contribute as much as we can, to make it as good as possible, and to encourage people to maybe see the bigger picture more, question everything they know.


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.hacktivist.uk.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Hacktivistband

TWITTER: twitter.com/HacktivistUK

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/hacktivistuk

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com


MACMILLAN FEST 2017 – Nottingham, 02/09/2017

Macmillan Fest 2017 poster


PHOTOS of The Treatment by CALLUM GROVE

As the summer festival season drew to a close for another year, a corner of the centre of Nottingham was taken over by the Macmillan Fest, which was now in its eighth year raising money and awareness for the great cause that is Macmillan Cancer Support, and has become a fixture of the city’s rock music calendar.

This was my second time covering it for this site, and in terms of the weather on the day, there was no comparison to the first.

Last year, the festival took place under grey skies and torrential rain, but this year, it was blue skies and glorious sunshine all the way.

With the opening bands kicking off their sets around half past one, I got to the press accreditation tent, situated around the back of the legendary venue that is Rock City, as the clock struck 1pm.

Having got my wristband and press pass, I made my way into the Black Cherry Lounge, an adjacent nightclub that was doubling for the day as a press and band preparation area.

There, you could see roadies shifting equipment about, vocalists undertaking rigorous singing exercises, and musicians making final tweaks to their instruments before they ventured on stage.

With my first interview of the day, with Welsh post-hardcore quartet Holding Absence, under my belt, it was time to head over to the Rescue Rooms, which was playing host to the majority of the day’s sets, with the building holding three of the stages. It lacks the prestige of its neighbour, but is a great venue nonetheless.

Opening up the place’s main stage were local metal five-piece Centurion. They had earned that spot on the bill after winning the festival’s Battle of the Bands competition back in June, and judging by their live performance, it was easy to see how they had won.

Centurion gig photo

The set was delivered with much feistiness, whether it was coming from the strong vocals and stage presence of frontwoman Esme Knight, or the band’s sound, much influenced by the classic metal of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and “The Big Four”.

It must have been daunting for them to be the opening act, what with being handed the task of warming up the crowd, who at this point in proceedings, had yet to really get into the swing of things, but after seeing the band perform such a confident set, actively involving themselves with the audience, it seems to have been taken with relish.

Directly upstairs from this, another band native to Nottingham were playing another strong set.

Say The Word are classed as a pop-punk outfit, but their sound is not stereotypical of the genre, with the quartet also taking influence from the likes of the Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen.

Say The Word band photo

With more of a compact space, the crowd were able to get up, close and personal with the band members, who all performed with high energy, which by its conclusion, had left them, and much of the patrons, covered in sweat.

Currently enjoying a rising reputation, this was probably the last time you would have had the opportunity to see them play such an intimate stage.

After that, I decided to cool down by taking a little stroll outside around the back of the Rescue Rooms, where there were stalls offering free samples of whisky, charity head shaves, clothing and other merchandise, as well as a barbecue and a raffle (with a cuddly Chewbacca as one of the main prizes).

Then, it was back to the Black Cherry Lounge to conduct some interviews, which you will be able to see on this site shortly.

All of the bands I chatted with, including locals Skies In Motion and Beckon Lane, Lincoln outfit Borders, and one of the headliners, Hacktivist, who had recently supported Korn, were comprised of nice, down-to-earth guys. You could tell that they were there to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause, rather than using the festival as an opportunity to inflate their egos.

One of these were metalcore five-piece Our Hollow, Our Home, who were performing a stone’s throw away in the basement of Rock City, and their set will be looked back on by the people who were there to see them as one of the highlights of the day.

Our Hollow, Our Home band photo

The Southampton quintet certainly knew how to work the crowd, with heavy sounds that made you feel as if there was an earthquake going on, and the frontman actively encouraging the crowd to form a moshpit, which gradually grew from just a few die-hard fans at the front, to, by the set’s conclusion, pretty much the entire room, creating an electric atmosphere.

On my way to the Rescue Rooms to see one of the main draws, heavy rock five-piece The Treatment, I bumped into a devout fan of theirs who told me that this would be the 13th time he had seen them live.

Having not seen them play in the flesh once, I thought they must put on a great show if they’re good enough to have been seen that many times, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Treatment gig photo 1

The Cambridge outfit are now at the stage where they can attract a devoted following wherever they play, and this was made clear with the almighty roar, more akin to that experienced at a football match, the crowd gave when they emerged onto stage.

They started playing at full throttle, and even towards the end of their hour-and-a-bit set, not one of the band members showed any signs of slowing down, performing with energy in abundance.

The Treatment gig photo 2

The quintet’s enthusiasm was matched by the audience, who were eagerly singing along, word for word, to the lyrics, even to the tracks from their most recent album ‘Generation Me’, as well as bobbing their heads to a sound that was a mix of classic rock, heavy metal and punk.

The Treatment gig photo 4

The Treatment really do know how to work a crowd, with frontman Mitch Emms issuing rallying cries in between an intense vocal delivery, and the guitarists, comprising of two brothers, treating them to some great riffery.

The Treatment gig photo 3

I would highly recommend seeing this band at your earliest opportunity, because in this age of Autotune, much choreography and where image is seen as more important than talent, it was refreshing to see something where real rock ‘n’ roll played by gifted musicians took centre stage.

Some have said in the recent past that rock is dead, but judging from what I saw across the stages, these people must have a defeatist attitude, because if you look beyond the mainstream and delve just a little into the underground, you will pleasantly find that it is actually in very rude health.

My review can’t end without me acknowledging everyone who selflessly gave up their free time and worked incredibly hard in order to make sure such a substantial event ran like clockwork, and that as much money and awareness as possible was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, a great charity that helps people unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a terrible illness that has devastated the lives of many people over the years.

















HACKTIVIST – ‘Outside The Box’ (4/5)


Hacktivist Cover


Having burst onto the scene in 2012 with their self-titled debut EP, Hacktivist’s first full-length studio album has been eagerly anticipated.

Well, now the wait is over and on listening, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The sound is mostly a blend of heavy metal and grime, with the heavy guitar riffs of Tim ‘Timfy James’ Beazley in harmony with the raps of vocalist Jermaine ‘J’ Hurley.

It shouldn’t work so well, but it does.

The Milton Keynes band is a young, openly political outfit, something that seems to be relatively rare in the music industry these days.

The frank lyrics act as an indicator to this, the majority of the tracks act as a criticism of governments and the super-wealthy.

‘False Idols’ attacks politicians who say they want to make a real difference, but in reality, are no different to their peers, while ‘No Way Back’ accuses those with wealth and power of destroying the world with their greed and corruption.

With this, Hacktivist issue a rallying cry to the listener to get out there and start a revolution, resulting in the ousting of the elite.

Other subjects are touched upon, ‘Deceive and Decay’ criticises reality TV contestants for searching for instant fame and fortune.

Tracks such as ‘Hate’ and ‘Outside The Box’ act as a thank you from the band to their fans for sticking with them, even when others said they would never make it.

Overall, it is a strong debut from a talented group, and will definitely appeal to those who are disgruntled with the modern world and where it is heading.

TOP TRACK: ‘Elevate’