If surf, sand and sunshine translated into a music genre, Mad Hawkes would be it. Growing up in the South Bay of Los Angeles, she’s had an overwhelming amount of musical influence absorption, which is obvious as it radiates through her single, ‘Fantasy.’ ‘Fantasy’ premiered on Consequence of Sound back in January – shimmering with West Coast harmonies, like stars just beginning to break through the early dusk light. The song is everything you could ever want in a summer-vibe anthem, and just listening to the tune will make you want to cruise along the coast, with sunglasses on and the windows down. Fans of Tennis, Karen O and Amy Winehouse are guaranteed to love it, but I’m willing to bet the single is something fans of any genre are easily going to get behind.
Not to mention the track is totally badass. Mad Hawkes owns up to her faults and embraces her personality in lyrics like, “I’ll never not give a fuck” and “Count on me / to be the example of don’t.” Don’t get me wrong, though – there’s nothing bad about having your own way of handling things, and it’s totally okay to experience high’s and low’s. Mad Hawkes might be outlining some negative views she has about herself in the track, but that doesn’t stop her from staying grounded and maintaining her confidence!
I chatted with Mad Hawkes about her upbringing, musical influences and self-expression – and frankly, it made me fall in love with her even more.
Jonelle: You grew up on the beach – surfing, drinking 40’s, even driving a Volkswagen Squareback. Was this the inspiration behind your making music, and how ‘baberock’ came to be?
Mad Hawkes: The environment I grew up in definitely catered towards creativity. Most of my friends were in bands, so it was only natural that at some point I would find my way to an instrument. In high school, there was usually someone walking around with a guitar, playing on the strand. We used to give the local homeless guy on the pier money to buy us and himself a 40, and we’d post up and play music until curfew. But the guy at the liquor store got smart, so our brilliant beer plan didn’t last long. I heard a friend use the term ‘baberock’ to describe this girl band, and I loved it. It was a word that was tossed around sort of as a joke, or how you’d describe a female artist’s style when you couldn’t find the words. To me, it means a feminine force in music, or in the arts in general.
J: Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up? Do they fit into your ‘baberock’ definition?
MH: Growing up I was listening to whatever my mom was playing in the house, which was a lot of Blondie, No Doubt, Alanis Morissette, Etta James, Amy Winehouse, etc. All of these ladies would most definitely fit under Baberock. They’re all badass women who have something to say, and as far as I can tell, never gave a shit whether or not we liked it. I love that. I love how unapologetic and honest music resonates and shakes you up a bit. Super inspiring.
J: How do you stay true to yourself and your style with so many other emerging artists in the California music scene?
MH: Honestly, its really effing hard. I just try to maintain a bit of tunnel vision, focus on what I have going on in front of me, while still respecting all of the other artists around me. It’s a crazy push-pull at all times, and very easy to get caught up and distracted from what’s actually important.
J: Your single, ‘Fantasy,’ was just released in January – and you have a new EP coming out this friday. Any plans towards touring, or is there anywhere specific you want to play?
MH: I plan to tour, but currently have no tour planned. I’m working on setting up a west coast run right now.
J: Finally, do you have any advice for listeners who might be struggling with their confidence or self-expression?
MH: I always find that my confidence is at an all-time low is when I am comparing myself to others. It’s one of the most harmful things we can do to ourselves. Just focus on what’s going on in your own life and staying true to your own morals and values – then confidence and self-expression will come naturally. At a certain point you realize it’s just life. There’s no point in holding back.