Part grime, part hop hop, part metal. The world has never seen a beast quiet like Hacktivist before. A band cauterised together by their differences, stacking their sensibilities on top of one another to create a socially conscious, unique and woke AF outfit.

It didn’t take long for much of the known world to grab a hold of the UK lads, sending them far and wide for headline shows and festival spots – all before they’d even dropped their debut album. Now, since the release of Outside The Box earlier in the year, the band will be returning to Australia with Enter Shikari for a tour of head banging and home truths.

We caught up with bassist Josh Gurner, who was enjoying some hard-earned downtime before hitting the road again.

 

 
The Neversphere: Josh man, what’s up?

Josh Gurner: I’m in my kitchen, having just woken up, making myself a coffee and rolling a cigarette…

The Neversphere: Looking through your tour schedule it’s like, festival after festival after festival, this must be a are moment of downtime for you guys…

Josh: [Laughs] It’s been crazy 5 years in total but the last year in particular has been real sweet. We finally got the debut album out, so we’ve been touring that as best we can. Also we just came back from Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK, which is always an honour play.

The Neversphere: No doubt it’s been such a crazy year since your debut Outside The Box came out. You had a big rep before hand though, almost the magnitude of a band with two full-length albums under their belt.

Josh: Totally. We took a very unique path as a band I think. We all came from playing in bands or artistic groups before, and none of us had ever experienced anything like this. I kind of place it down to the internet. If the internet finds something it likes, it sends it across the world in ways that simply weren’t possible 10 years ago.

That kind of dropped us in the deep end a bit. We spent a long time trying to play catch up. I mean, we were doing headline tours and only had 4 songs. We struggled to get the balance right between touring and recording.

The Neversphere: You mentioned before the old fashioned way of doing things. Back in the day the debut album was a milestone for bands in terms of getting noticed and being taken seriously…you already had both of those covered. Did that almost take away from the special moment?

Josh: It’s hard to tell, I guess. It’s basically a real defining moment. When you make your first album, you’re really proud…You’ve done a few hometown headline gigs, maybe a few in neighbouring towns. At least that’s how it’s always been in the past…

For us, we’d already been on headline tours around Australia, Russia, India… We’d played main stage at Reading and Leeds… and with the debut album being such a big moment… I agree, yeah, it was a bit like ‘well, we’ve kind of done all of this…’ It was almost like ‘here’s the memoirs of the last couple of years.’

The Neversphere: Now that the smoke has cleared from Outside The Box, do you fans get what you were trying to do with the record?

Josh: Well, I think the best feedback we’ve had is just playing gigs! Seeing how quickly people have soaked in the music and the lyrics. We were in Europe, over towards the east, when the album came out. Within two days there were people in Poland singing all these lyrics back to us in English.

It was incredible that people got to connect with it so early… Or it got leaked months before [Laughs]. But I think we did a pretty good job of stopping leaks. As far I know…

The Neversphere You guys were last here in 2014…

Josh: Yeah, that was for Soundwave!

The Neversphere: I hope we left you with fond memories?

Josh: Oh absolutely, we can’t wait to get back down there. It’s a proper little family vibe with Shikari, all of their crew, all of their guys… They’ve been with us since day one pretty much.. they’re kind of like big brothers.

The Neversphere: I feel like they’re the kind of band who would go out of their way to help you by sharing some of their hard-earned wisdom.

Josh: Oh yeah, definitely. We kind of got spoiled. We did our first two big tours with Shikari and we were warned at the time ‘Don’t get too comfortable, lads. Not every band treats their supports as good as this.’

I won’t name and names, but you go out with big American bands and it’s like ‘Wait, hold on… Why is no one offering to share anything, or offering to come out for a little game of something.’ Everyone kind of keeps to themselves. Enter Shikari spoiled us by being great to us on those first tours. It’s always a pleasure to go out with them.

The Neversphere: So the tour kicks off in a matter of weeks now. Talk me through how you’re going to crush us with your show…

Josh: Well, to start, we’ve got a whole album worth of music we’ve not played there yet. The live show just keeps getting tighter and better. I know we’re not out playing a headline set, but for this one we’ll be cherry picking the tracks with the best energy, the most ‘vibey’ ones.

 

 

The Neversphere: I have to ask. You waited a while before dropping the debut, I imagine you’re already itching to write some new music?

Josh: Oh yeah, absolutely. We’re keen to not fall into the same pitfalls of touring too much and not writing. We’ve got a bit of a better method set out and our second album is already underway! We’ve got some great sounding demos.

It’s always evolving. We have so many different things we draw upon, so every song has the potential to go in a totally different direction depending on who’s pitching ideas at the time. As the album’s called, Outside The Box, we try to do things a little bit different.

The Neversphere: I feel as though for a band as socially alert as Hacktivist, the world is literally throwing things at you to write music about…

Josh: Oh man, you couldn’t even write what’s been going on in the UK over the past couple of months…[Laughs]

The Neversphere: I fear you won’t be too stoked with what our government is doing over here in that case.

Josh: Well, I’ve seen and heard things on the BBC but it’ll be nice to speak to some actual Australians… I like to speak to the people before I make any decisions. We find that all over the world we go to places with awesome people and shitty governments.

It’s about meeting the people, keeping them inspired and share the feeling that it doesn’t always have to be this shit.

The Neversphere: Well, I couldn’t pick a better note to end the interview on! Thanks, Josh.

Josh: [Laughs] Thank you, man.
 

Hacktivist Australian Tour Dates
Supporting Enter Shikari
Tickets available now

Monday, September 19th
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: Live Nation

Tuesday, September 20th
The Triffid, Brisbane
Tickets: Live Nation

Wednesday, September 21st
The Metro Theatre, Sydney
Tickets: Live Nation

Thursday, September 22nd
The Gov, Adelaide (All Ages)
Tickets: Live Nation

Saturday, September 24th
Metropolis, Fremantle
Tickets: Live Nation