Richard Hawley

We caught up with musician Richard Hawley ahead of his headline gig at the Red Rooster festival.

Red Rooster Festival is coming back to Euston Hall in Suffolk for 2021 for what will be the sixth year running. The festival promises to bring all-new acts and performances, from all different genres like blues, rock and roll, and soul.  

The festival is not only filled with talented artists but also has plenty of activities such as River Swimming, Pedalos, Games & Workshops, and a Kids area.

Headlining this year’s festival is none other than Richard Hawley, a Sheffield-born rock musician. Before the first lockdown, Richard celebrated his ninth album, which skyrocketed to no. 3 on the album’s chart. 

That was a surprise. It’s great though- I’m an older chap now, I’m 54 years old, the world has always been very youth-centric and probably rightfully so, young people have got much more interesting things to say than me. It was a good surprise and last year was mental, like a really mental year but it was good fun.” 

Richard’s career skyrocketed and was travelling on a sold-out tour around Europe just before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. 

“I don’t want to sound smug in any way because I am eternally grateful, I don’t take it for granted. I’ve been around a long time and I do now how quickly audiences can evaporate, things tend to have a sell-by-date in this world and what I do now seems to have quite an extended sell-by-date.”

Richard has been performing since the age of nine and has continued to have such a diverse career in music, creating everything from film music to hit singles. 

I write every day, there’s always something. I tend to write just for pleasure rather than specifically for projects. I don’t like the idea of writing to a deadline, it makes me feel uncomfortable. 

I tend to write songs when I walk the dogs and when I’ve finished the walk I’ve got it. There’s something about putting one foot in front of the other that makes you not think. Your mind just sort of flips into a different space.” 

The lineup for the Red Rooster Festival 27th-29th August

Richard has had plenty of inspiration from artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson and Freddie King but he has taken particular inspiration from his father who was a part of a band during Richard’s youth.  

I come from a family or nurses and steel workers, soldiers and musicians and everybody in the family sang. It wasn’t something they did particularly as a career because people couldn’t really earn that much money off of it. 

Dad taught me how to play the guitar and taught me a lot about music. When a lot of the American musicians used to come over here they’d get in touch with my dad and his band because they really knew what they were doing, but that wasn’t something that would earn him a living 100% of the time so he kind of flipped between that and steel work.” 

For a while, Richard followed in his fathers footsteps and played in bands, first with The Longpigs and then as Pulp’s guitarist. Eventually, though, he decided that a solo career was for him and has been doing so for twenty years. 

I was running out of time. If you play in music, to be around a long, long time, doing what you love is quite hard. It’s hard to put food on the table and play music without compromising, that’s the big key. To do it without compromise is really really tricky. 

I think if all you want out of music is to be a pop star or fame then that’s all you’ll get, which sounds very simple but it’s quite a deep thought if you think about it. Music is everlasting, it’s a live thing that follows us throughout all stages of our lives. 

When I got to thirty I just decided that I wanted to do something that was different. At that point in time I was known for being really raucous but my first album was very mellow and different, it just seemed to be the right time in my life I guess.” 

Although Richard’s music has hit new heights, he maintains that there is no secret to his success. 

I always just intended to play to human beings rather than to the cool kids or people who wear yellow, just human beings really. I don’t feel old, I don’t feel different but I am different i’ve had life experiences good and bad, just stay on the surfboard, you know?” 

Richard himself has never been to Suffolk, though he does have family ties to the county, but is looking forward to new challenges this years Red Rooster festival has to offer. 

My wife was brought up just outside of Diss, we’ve got family members that still live there. Everywhere’s different and all I can say is that I’m really looking forward to it. It’s like everything in life, let’s just see what happens. A lot of my friends have said I’ll really enjoy it. Let’s discuss the possibility of me coming back after the gig!”

Red Rooster Festival comes to Suffolk on the 27 to 29 August 2021, to see Richard and other acts live, visit the website and book your tickets today.

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