Residents of New Haven, CT Known for their gritty guitar-driven catchy pop tunes, Hawkns are an Indie Pop Rock band that captures the raw, untamed vocal powers of lead vocalist Hawkins French.
Three boys, Ricky, Josh, and Joe Frank, were born into an immigrant household and immediately realised that their lives would be different from everyone else’s. At only four years old, Joe was able to recite whole pieces of music before he ever started playing an instrument.
Even though he didn’t have the money to pay for lessons, Joe learned to play the guitar, piano, bass, and drums on his own by the time he was twelve.
A local recording studio hired the Frank brothers, who were facing foreclosure on their house. Hawkins French, a singer looking to overcome his history of drug abuse, just happened to wander into the studio one day for singing lessons. Hawkns was founded as a result of their admiration for his raw and untamed vocal skills and the sound they developed together as a unit.
The band’s first hit, “Lights Off,” has amassed over 115,000 streams in its first year of existence.
Hawkns draws inspiration from both previous and current transgressive artists in order to produce work that is both traditional and modern.
Head and Heart” was exclusively premiered in an in-depth interview with the band along with a music video, which they also followed up with.
What is your real and official showbiz name?
On the instrumental part of things, our band consists of three brothers Joe (guitar), Josh (drums), and Rick Frank (bass). Hawkins French is on lead vocals and is also the inspiration for where our band name comes from! Collectively we are “Hawkns”.
How long have you been making music and what attracted you to it?
As far as us three brothers go, we’ve been making music probably for 17 years now. We all formed “Hawkns” together for about three years total. Along with our singer Hawk, we all were pretty much inspired to do music because it was a release for us to let out a lot of mental health issues that we all grew up with.
What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
Our first project you could say was just us performing music with friends over the years, some serious and some more for fun and experience. That was back in 2015. However, for our singer Hawkins French, this group is actually the first band he’s ever been in!
Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
Oh man, that’s a tough one! We are inspired by everything. There is no limit to where we get our inspiration from and we really just want to make music that we’ve always wanted to hear.
That’s our goal as a band! To create something that doesn’t exist, that really should right now in the current musical climate. We’ve said this many times before but these days music seems to lack realism because the majority of artists we listen to have limited involvement in their own art, which is kind of a crazy thing if you think about it.
It’s like talking to the CEO of Coca-Cola and finding out he doesn’t know what the drink tastes like! So we like to be the opposite of that and create things that move our listeners and are the missing piece to their personal playlists.
What are your friend’s and parents’ thoughts on your career in singing?
Hawk’s parents have been immensely supportive of us and all of our friends as well. However for us three brothers, our parents haven’t been very supportive since they had their own vision for what they wanted our lives to be. But regardless of how people projected their visions on us, as a whole, we believed in ourselves even though nobody else did.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
Our singer Hawk had issues with addiction growing up early on in his life and since then he’s overcome it and been living clean ever since we started our band. Our brother Ricky had been diagnosed with a very rare muscle disease at a young age which also developed into a lung disease as a side effect.
Despite that he has overcome all of these obstacles and even though we still sometimes have to wear masks at our shows for his protection against Covid, we don’t really mind it! We just thank God that we still have him and all of us can make music together.
As kids we grew up in a very abusive household so trying to have a career in music felt like something that was totally impossible, but once we started to grow as musicians, we knew despite what everyone had told us and all of the trauma and obstacles in our lives, this was something that all of us felt we were called to do.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Name one thing the internet has not impacted! Just like everything else, the music industry now caters to how many numbers we have on social media and your statistics determine your “success” and if you can be signed to a label.
Back in the day you would have a tangible record to sell to people in person and you could only reach an isolated group of people, now a kid in his bedroom with a computer can literally reach an audience worldwide.
A crazy time to be alive right now! Our drummer Josh calls it the “new golden age of the music industry”. An interesting thing to think about though is how the great artists of the past could’ve been affected had they been capable of using social media and seeing some hate comments or something negative, maybe that would’ve affected John Lennon’s day and “Imagine” could’ve been more cynical rather than hopeful. Who knows!
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
Know who you are before you even get into a writing session. We believe the leading cause of writer’s block is related to people who just don’t know who they are yet. We wrote for many artists and sometimes it would be hours of just nothing happening on paper and it was because they had no idea of who they were.
If you know who you are, you will already know instantly what you want to say and get across to your listeners. The concept of writing music is to share life experiences and if you haven’t had enough life to experience you won’t have much to say.
What is your current project about?
The process of creating “Head and Heart” was tough for us as a band, it took a few months to get the vision we had in our heads out into our headphones. We wanted to create something that was true to our story.
We followed up our song with a music video that was filmed at the famed Oakdale Toyota Dome which was a bucket list moment for us! We grew up seeing our very first concerts ever at this venue so it just felt right to do the music video there live in front of our audience as everything sorta comes full circle for us.
What does this song mean to you?
The song is about being crossed between your head and heart in life’s bigger decisions. Feeling lost on your journey. All of the song’s lyrics also are based on real moments from our lives and our journey as a band chasing this crazy dream together even when we felt like giving up at times. The last lyric in the song “keep on running” is meant to leave listeners with a sense of hope.
What are your hobbies?
Hawk is great at basketball and skateboarding, he always says if he had not gotten into the music he would’ve been a basketball player or a pro skater. Josh’s hobbies are filmmaking and studying psychology. Joe loves graphic designing and playing sports. Rick enjoys painting and reading philosophy!
What do you do aside from this profession?
Hawk is a bartender currently. Josh is a music producer, sound engineer, and filmmaker. Joe is a music teacher, music producer, and studio musician. Rick is a business owner and runs his own marketing agency.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Take a lesson from our life story and never quit doing the things you love. We have more new music on the way and we can’t wait to share it with you all!