Band Spotlight: Hacktivist [Leeds Festival 2016]

Before hitting the Pit Stage at Leeds Festival we caught up with Ben (vocals) and Tim (Guitar, Vocals, Producer, good walker…) from Hacktivist for a chat about all music, life, […]

Before hitting the Pit Stage at Leeds Festival we caught up with Ben (vocals) and Tim (Guitar, Vocals, Producer, good walker…) from Hacktivist for a chat about all music, life, self-belief and Relentless Energy drink. Shit got deep…


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Soundsphere: I’m here at Leeds Festival with Hacktivist, just give us a quick intro of who you are and what you do?

Ben: This is Ben, I’m the vocalist.

Tim: My names Tim and I play guitar and sing.

Ben: He produces as well.

Tim: And I walk. I can walk.

SS: I’m not too bad at walking myself…

Tim: Yeah, most people have got it down by sort of twenty, twenty-five.


SS: So, how are you guys doing? How’s your day going so far?

T: I just got here and I’m muddy already. I’m just going to leave these [shoes] here.

SS: How does it feel to be back at Leeds?

B: Good, yeah. We’re actually going to play the set today. Last year we had some problems, which was horrific so this year we’re ready for anything.

T: Yeah, we’re Reading for everything.

SS: Probably not the best term to use at Leeds…

T: You guys aren’t against each other though are you?

SS: No, we love both festivals. We’re all brothers here.

T: So far Reading has been the best, but that’s the only one that has been so far. So it wins by default.

B: Yesterday was awesome. So today should be awesome.

SS: You released the track ‘Hate’ back in March, what was the inspiration behind that track?

B: It was kind of just a general fuck you to anyone that fucks us really.

T: The hook was actually from one of J’s [Hurley – Hactivist, vocalist] grime tracks beforehand and its always been one of my favourites. The beauty about what we do is we can do whatever we want. I think the more musical endeavours we all have and the more it mixes, I think that’s stronger. Rather than sitting there like “ah, fuck”…

SS: I think that’s one of the best thing about Hacktivist, the fact that you can bring other genres in to the mix and do something which is your own. There is no one else out there that is like you guys. Was that always the intention?

T: Yes and no.

B: I think, we didn’t want to do something that sounded like anyone else. But, I think the actual sound that has come out of it wasn’t intentional. I think that has just evolved.

T: Yeah, we wanted to do something different. Definitely. We have been in bands most of our lifes and it gets a bit stale.

B: If we put a track out and people were like “Oh, it’s alright, I neither like it or dislike it” then you are doing it wrong, for us in my mind anyway.

SS: What’s motivating you guys outside of music at the moment?

T: Life. Just being alive. Every single day is a blessing. To be able to be part of the world the way that we are and not just a fucking random nine to fiver that no one else cares or gives a shit about. We get messages on a day to day basis saying “you make my life better”, “You’ve helped me through depression”, ”You’ve helped me through anxiety”. Even, “[In] my war-torn country, we’ve gone against the people we hate and people we don’t believe in shouting your lyrics at them” and stuff like that. We’re just helping people and it’s sick, because, at the end of the day, music just helps me and helps us as people and keeps us from doing other shit. Well, what is there to do that’s better than this? So, that’s what motivates me really. It gets me up every single day. It doesn’t matter how ill you are or whatever, music just seems to make you forget.

SS: And what about you, Ben?

T: Can you beat that?

B: Relentless [energy drink]

SS: So, how do you feel about the reception for ‘Outside The Box’? I know as a fan myself that it did feel like we were waiting a while for that record.

T: We were too.

B: A while? That’s quite good. We haven’t heard “a while” yet. [laughs]

SS: Yeah, I was being polite…

T: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t know. It’s gone down really well. If it had come out any earlier than it did, then it wouldn’t have been as good as it was. ‘Cuz it would have been rushed. A lot of metal bands will just go out there and be like “riff, cool, yeah? Next – riff, cool. Rah rah, rah – sweet. Break down – wicked”. We don’t make music like that. If we just make generic stuff then we are going against everything Hacktivist stands for.

B: It does take a long time to write a song…

T: We’re like scientists of music and they don’t come up with cures just like that.

B: We will come back to it ten, fifteen times. The end song is so far removed from the demo.

SS: So, it’s a complete evolution for each song.

T: We basically just draw like a storyboard like they do in films like proper little film stars. [Laughs] We don’t actually do that but it’s just like “Version One”, “Version Two.555999poohead” and shit like that. That’s what it’s all called until it makes a song.

SS: You guys have come pretty far in the last few years, what’s the biggest lessons you’ve learned about life being in a band and life in general?

T: For me, not to give up. ‘Cuz I think a lot of people in bands, they start it and get frustrated because they aren’t going anywhere and that’s where bands just fucking quit or whatever. But, sometimes, we [Hacktivist] can be like, “what can we offer? We’re not like Killswitch Engage, we’re not like blah, blah, blah, blah. But, if you believe in your own stuff, and you truly believe in it then I’m sure you will get somewhere with it because most people that don’t believe in it, and those that want to write music like everyone else’s “‘cuz there good” – They don’t believe in it. They don’t believe in their music, they believe in someone else’s music. But if you believe [that] what you are doing is different and you believe in what you’re doing, then you will go somewhere. Because that’s what it’s about. But, if you want to be like someone else [then] you’re not believing in your music, it’s not you. We’re getting deep today, phew! [laughs]

SS: Yeah, this is quite a heavy interview, I wasn’t ready for this.

B: Relentless

T: Relentless


Photographs by Benjamin E. Gladstone Photography'

About Benjamin Gladstone

Photographer / Editor / Journalist