Richard Hawley: 'You can never make an album to be successful, if you try to predict what people want you're onto a loser'
- David Pollock
- 8 October 2019
Sheffield singer-songwriter discusses his return with his eighth studio album Further
Congratulations are taken with modest grace when you say 'well done' to Richard Hawley on the appearance of his eighth and most recent album Further at number three in the UK charts, his highest placing since 2012's Standing at the Sky's Edge. 'Even after all these years, you never take it for granted that folks are still going to be there,' he says. 'They might have moved on, done something else, gotten into other things.'
This time round, says Hawley, the songs just seemed to naturally be upbeat and short. 'A lot of the songs are more aggressive, which I thought might have put people off,' he says. 'You can never make an album to be successful, if you try to predict what people want you're onto a loser.' There was a freshness, he says, about getting back in a room with his band, given that the year's since 2015's Hollow Meadow were spent exploring other avenues.
'I've been lucky in my life that I've been asked to do so many disparate, interesting projects,' he says. 'Pretty much as soon as I finished touring the last album, the phone rang and it was (Sheffield actor and writer) Tony Pitts, he wanted me to write the music for the film Funny Cow; I just threw myself at it, then I ended up acting in it with Maxine (Peake). That was quite funny, I was a bloke in a working man's club playing guitar – it must've taken hours to think of that!'
Further, he says, feels to him like 'a jar of different-coloured glass beads', in that it has no central unifying theme, where past albums might have been seen as a love letter to his home city of Sheffield. He feels no need to represent the place, but singing in his own accent is important to him. 'A lot of things which used to be the domain of the working classes, like rock'n'roll, being a musician, they're slowly being usurped by people who have the money to do this,' he says. 'But you can tell when a voice is authentic – whether the spirit of it is for real or just bullshit.'
Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Tue 15 Oct, and touring.