MUSIC INTERVIEW: Hacktivist
Grime is undoubtedly one of the most popular and fastest growing genres of the 21st century, partner that with metal music – and you get Hacktivist. The only band in the genre. Their sophomore record Hyperdialect is bursting with rage, riffs and bars that will make you want to riot. We spoke to the band about the new record, performing live, and some of the awesome features this record hosts.
Would it be a fair statement to say that you guys are more p*ssed off in this record than the debut?
Jot Maxi: Well I have a very furious delivery style, especially talking about some of the things we address as a band, plus James has a very technical and no nonsense way of playing [guitar] and this is the first album with both him and I as part of the band’s line-up, so it’s definitely got some new flavours. Otherwise I’m confident that through this evolution we have stayed true to the original Hacktivist formula. I often say that with the first album [Outside the Box] H locked on to it’s targets, and with this album [Hyperdialect] we’re launching missiles at those targets, whilst at the same time locking on to some new ones in the process! It’s definitely a weapon.
James, your riffs slap in this record from start to finish, which guitarists do you take influence from?
James Hewitt: My influences growing up were the usuals you would hear from a shred wannabe – EVH, Vai and Bettencourt (amongst countless others). There are definitely a few subtle nods to those guys on this album, see if you can find them! These days, with the emergence of so many self-producing artists, boundaries are being pushed like never before. People like Buster Odeholm and Calle Thomer (Vildhjarta, Humanity’s Last Breath, Stoort Neer) – everything they touch turns to gold. Such unique and creative musicians! Whether on purpose or by subconscious, I know their music influences my writing.
What is the lyric you are most proud of in this record?
Jot: That’s difficult! Erm, I usually go out of my way to write with quite a complex rhyming pattern or flow structure, so when I find myself being proud of a more simple and catchy lyric I know it’s probably good. One that comes to mind is “Born in the same city as punk and grime, when I combine them it’s lightning and thunder time!” from the chorus of track entitled Lifeform. I know J Hurley would also say some of his favourite lyrics are on that track too. But I genuinely have lines I love in every track on there, and I’m not just saying that.
What was the thought process behind choosing Kid Bookie and Aaron Matts for the feature slots in this LP?
James: We played a festival with Betraying The Martyrs a couple of years back (6k Fest in Belgium) and a few of us ended up staying in touch. When we were writing the track Hyperdialect we knew this section needed something heavy on it and Aaron felt like the perfect man for the job!
Do you think the genre of grime-metal has the potential to become as popular as other rap/metal genres such as Nu-Metal?
Jot: As far as I know we are the only band that mixes grime style rap with contemporary metal, or at least we were the first – if there are others now I’d love to hear them! So I think it’s more a case of us fitting under the bracket of nu-metal or rap-metal whilst being known as the band that brings the grime style flows to the table, rather than us paving the way for a new genre. After all it was never us that labelled ourselves as grime-metal or grime-djent, I think that comes from listeners trying to categorise us!
Which track from the new record do you think is going to go off the most live?
James: For me I’m torn between Anti Emcees and Lifeform. Maybe I’ll say Anti Emcees, because of that blast beat section and the drop after… people there for the pit will be all about that.
Jot: I’m very interested to see what the crowd does when we play Planet Zero.
What messages do you want listeners to take from this record?
Jot: Not to compare themselves to everyone else. There’s always a better way to go so keep looking for it and stand up for what is right, even if you’re standing alone. We can always try to find the light shining in the darkness, if you learn how to find the positive in bad situations then there’s not much that will ever be able to fully crush you. Sorry! I can’t help but find an opportunity for an epic speech ahaha!
Lastly, should fans expect you guys to announce a headline UK tour anytime soon?
James: Absolutely! Cannot wait to get out and play shows again.
Jot: Yeah we’re just ready and waiting to jump into action for UK and EU tours as soon as we see the green light! Watch this space, we’ll see you there soon.
Hacktivist‘s new album Hyperdialect is out now via UNFD, available to stream or purchase HERE.
Hacktivist will play a special one-off album release show, set to take place at London’s Signature Brew on 29th July 2021. Tickets are on sale HERE.
See Hacktivist live later this year at Bloodstock and Slam Dunk Festival.