Welsh trio Haxan hit the ground running when live music started up again a few months ago. They’ve pretty much been on the road continuously taking in all parts of the UK as well as reaching out into the continent. Gary Trueman chatted to Sam, Harriet and Jess after yet another blistering performance, this time at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. Subjects covered included trips to Sweden and Germany, new music and which band member Danny DeVito would play in any forthcoming movie.
You’ve been really busy since lockdown playing a lot of gigs all over.
“It’s probably the busiest we’ve ever been. It’s lovely. We’ve never had a winter like this one coming up that’s for sure. It’s pretty mental.”
Earlier this year we saw you at Road To Ruin festival and you’ve done a few other fests too. You went to Europe to, taking in Germany and Sweden. You went to Sweden first so what was that like?
“Sweden was amazing. It was the first time we’d played there. It was boiling, it was very different weather, fucking roasting! We were in Malmo which is right in the south. It was a fantastic festival because the whole city becomes a part of the event with about 30 odd stages. Where ever you go there is music. It’s not just a rock festival although we were on the rock stage. There’s dance music and folk music and country music, all sorts of different stages. The atmosphere was incredible. And as a taster of Sweden it sucked us all in. We’ve been spoiled going to places like Denmark, Belgium and Germany where everyone speaks English. Sweden was the same but maybe there was just a little bit more of a language barrier so they weren’t getting the banter in between songs but they made up for it during them.”
You say you loved Sweden so did you get a chance to see any of it outside of a hotel room and the stage area?
“We did a little bit because we went there the day before. So that night we just sampled the festival and what it had to offer because it had so many stages. Then we were pretty pumped up for our set so after we stayed up until like three in the morning. We were the last ones around apart from some police guy. We loved it and all we’ve had since is people saying come back to Sweden. We sold all of our merch too which was so unexpected. Everyone wanted t-shirts and CDs.”
What did you find was the biggest difference in Sweden to Wales? What was the biggest culture shock?
“Probably how expensive coffee was. And finding out how much we rely on coffee. We were spoilt with really beautiful coffee from a little local coffee shop. We developed a bit of a taste for it. We kind of spent about a hundred quid on coffees! Culture shock wise all positives. Everyone is really up for enjoying themselves and are really open to listen to stuff they might not normally. They just want to go for it. It’s harder to get people to come out and see bands here in the UK. It was quite a young crowd too compared to what we’re used to.”
You did Germany too. What was that like? You had a few issues didn’t you?
“Well we were flying and it all started with Harriet locking her keys in her car at six in the morning. So we abandoned the car. The flight was on time and then we rented a car from the airport. We drove five kilometres and it broke down. After four hours and about 50 phone calls to people who didn’t speak English somebody finally recovered us. They bundled us in a recovery truck with three other German families. The promoter was ringing me saying you’re going to miss your slot where are you and we didn’t know. We finally managed to sort a car and got to the festival, missed our slot so another band swapped with us. We had ten minutes to get on. No sound check, no line check, they introduced us and – no guitar! Because we over ran trying to fix the guitar we managed to play three songs and then we ran out of time. But the next day we had a really great day. We need to give a shout out to the accommodation which was great. We played two dates. The Friday is the one we don’t talk about, the Saturday went really well. There were a couple of the same bands on at both festivals too so it was nice to show them that we do actually know what we’re doing. Sometimes shit just goes south and now it’s all part of the story.”
You’ve got a trip out to Australia coming up haven’t you? That’ll be nice and warm during the UK winter.
“We are. We’re playing on a rock cruise with Suzi Quattro.”
At least everything went wrong all at once in Germany so the boat should stay afloat!
“Fingers crossed. We were supposed to play it two years ago but Covid hit. We’re really looking forward to it. Last time we did it we played with Foreigner and had a ball. We made some great friends from that trip. They remembered all of us.”
How long are you going to be in Australia?
“It’s about two weeks with travel peak summer time in Australia. That’ll be a bit of a crash back down when we do get back for Sam. She’s probably cold 90% of her life. You’d have thought she would have gotten used to it by now coming from Wales, but no. She’s dreading opening her heating bills this winter because it’s never turned off.”
Moving on you put out the White Noise album a couple of years ago which was very well received. Have you got anything in the pipeline new music wise?
“We’ve been writing but we need this down time after Australia to get together and put everything we can into it because we’ve been so busy with gigs. We’ve been writing and jamming with each other via the internet. It’s just getting into a room now after Australia so we can solidify some things and record an EP. We’re excited for that. The ideas we’ve been bouncing around takes some stuff from White Noise but it’s probably a little bit heavier.”
One of the things that Haxan are known for are your harmonies. Are those going to stay as prominent in the new songs?
“We’re not sure because there are so many on the recordings we’ve done and there are only three of us so it’s hard to replicate that. We will have harmonies in there but to the same extent as the album we’re not sure. We’ll see what happens. If the song feels like it needs it then potentially yes. But if we can get away with it without so it’s easier to replicate live then that’s more what we’re about.”
We’ve talked about how you’ve been out in Europe and you’re going to Australia. Are there any countries that you haven’t played yet that you’d like to visit? Would each of you like to pick a country?
Jess: “Well, all of the ones we haven’t been to. It’s really cool to have the opportunity to be able to do it and I’d love to do it more. But I would love to do the Monsters Of Rock cruise in Miami. That’s probably my dream festival.”
Harriet: “I was going to say the States but America is a very tricky market. An easy win would be Japan.”
Sam: “I was going to say Japan. I’ve tried to crack that and was speaking to a promoter before Covid and then communication just broke down. But Japan for me too would be such a unique thing for us to go there and experience.”
So now Sam has stolen Japan from you where are you going to choose Harriet? It won’t be a cold country will it? Sam won’t like that.
Harriet: “Well one place is a little bit cold sometimes. I’d like to leave it a little while but I’d like to do something in Ukraine. They have a huge music scene there and the music coming out of that country has been brilliant for a long time. Mainly metal which is the kind of stuff I’m more into.”
If in a few years time someone decides to make a movie of Haxan who would each of you want to play you in the film?
Sam: “Dolly Parton, because we’re similar heights. I’m pretty sure she’s small. *checks phone* Oooh! we’re exactly the same height!”
Harriet: “Danny DeVito, maybe in different wigs.”
Jess: “I don’t know. Who’s ginger?
Harriet: “I know, Isla Fisher.”
Sam: “So this cast, I want to see a mock up of this film now. Dolly Parton, Danny DeVito and Isla Fisher as Haxan. And as a plot twist they’d all have to wear our clothes.”
Harriet: Haha, Danny DeVito trying to get into pink spandex.”
Sam: “This is going to be really good. We can’t wait for the film now.”