Two voices coming together to create a distinct, harmonic tapestry will always be powerful. Paper Hawk exemplify this in their songcraft – resting on each other’s beautifully serene vocal cries, before unfurling into something that is both strong and potent. Their alt-folk is sewn together by the delicate brush strokes of their infatuating songwriting and deep-rooted melancholy.
We spoke to one half of Paper Hawk to gain more insight into their musical origins. We talk about how music has helped shape who they are today, playing Glastonbury and more.
Where and when did you first discover your interest in music?
Rebecca: “Music was something I was always drawn to. I don’t remember a certain point in time where I realised I was interested in music, its been more a case of it being the one constant as far back as my memory goes.”
What was the first instrument you learned to play?
“I’d love to say something really cool but I think, like most children, it was the recorder.”
When did you start writing your own songs/music?
“I wrote a lot when I was a child- mostly stories and poems. Bit by bit they started to collide with music. Before I could play any instruments I used to sit and fit my own lyrics to songs I loved. Learning the guitar was the last piece of that puzzle really and from there on out I couldn’t stop writing.”
What would you say has been the highlight so far in your musical career?
“We played two sets at Glastonbury Festival last summer. The first one was supposed to be our warm up set- it was just us and our guitars on a bandstand in The Green Fields and everyone in the crowd was lounging on the ground and enjoying the sun. I can’t even put into words how incredible that experience was- it was everything I love about music and all the reasons that I ever started. There’s something really magical about taking all the barriers down between the music and the audience, and those are the gigs I love watching the most- when you’re surrounded by strangers but just sitting there and all being part of something together. The fact that this time it was us providing the soundtrack was too much to process in that moment. I had to stop and take a photo of the audience because I never wanted to forget how that moment felt.”
What does music mean to you?
“A way to process and understand how you feel about everything around you.”
Where did you play your first gig?
“The Peel in Kingston. I had to use someone else’s ID to get in and I forgot how to play guitar halfway through my set.”
What has been the definitive record that has made the most impact on your life?
“Takk…- Sigur Rós. It blew my mind.”
What is your earliest musical memory?
“Singing “Little Donkey” very loudly at a nativity play.”
Who is your favourite songwriter?
“Just choosing one is impossible. Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, James Taylor, Sam Cooke, Stevie Nicks, Ray Lamontagne, Damien Rice, Samuel Beam… The list just goes on.”
A song lyric that means a lot to me is…
“Oh you’re in my blood like holy wine // You taste so bitter and so sweet // Oh I could drink a case of you darling // And I would still be on my feet” – Joni Mitchell, A Case Of You
A song that describes my current mood/frame of mind at this time is.
“The Gloaming- The Sailor’s Bonnet (live)”