Hornet are a Heavy Metal band from London. Last year they released their debut album ‘Skies Are Falling’ which received national reviews and airplay. Hornet is made up of Joe Thompson (Vocals), Tollef Rikje-Pearson (Guitar), Max Thompson (Bass), and Alex Burt (Drums). In this article they guide us through ‘Skies Are Falling’ and tell us how a bit about how each track came together, and their initial thoughts on the track.
Skies Are Falling
Joe (Vocals): “When the guys first played me the music to ‘Skies Are Falling’ my initial thought was something a bit sinister… especially in the pre-chorus riff. From that I actually got influence from the ‘buried alive’ scene out of ‘Kill Bill’, and that’s what the song is about, being buried alive.”
Max (Bass): “I wrote ‘Skies Are Falling’ in my head, all the music, like most of our songs. As soon as I sent my ideas across to the guys and they just felt the power of the song.”
Tollef (Guitar): “When Max sent me the idea to what was to become ‘Skies Are Falling’ I immediately thought it was great and then when we first played it together I remember all of us being struck by that great opening guitar riff, which was the basis of the song. It was actually one of the last written for the album and for me, one of our best.”
Down To The Bone
Tollef (Guitar): “‘Down To The Bone’ was written a couple of years ago when we were recording some demos. We had spare studio time so thought it was ideal to work on new music. Max had the initial ideas recorded so we started putting the song together. The final song was actually composed in a studio in Hertfordshire, so a totally different vibe to where and how we usually write.”
Max (Bass): “As a band, we like to write music in different environments to draw inspiration from, we were in an old derelict barn which had been converted into a studio, it had great vibes. The song has evolved so much since then, it started out completely different and it’s changed and changed very slightly through the years until we all thought it was the right feel. In fact, it’s a staple of our live set to this day.”
Joe (Vocals): “I had a lot of fun writing the lyrics to this song. I was sort of playing around with the idea of two different worlds that both wanted the same person, almost like twins wanting the same guy (laughs)! It’s a fun song and it comes across that way on the album and in the set.”
Second Hand Smoke
Max (Bass): “‘Second Hand Smoke’ was a song I had written very quickly and had brought into rehearsal. I thought it was a throwaway, something that wouldn’t last long. It just really took a life of its own. It’s the most popular song with our fans, especially live.”
Tollef (Guitar): “When the song first came to rehearsal, if I remember correctly, I actually played it wrong, but was like ‘this is how I play’ (laughs) and then suggested opening the song with the bass. Alex suggested the gradual build up as the song picks up into the chorus, which definitely makes the song what it is.”
Joe (Vocals): “Another song I had a lot of fun writing. Two of my friends had actually ended up sleeping with the same girl and the idea for the song came from that, ‘sloppy seconds’ if you like (laughs)! It’s actually one of my proudest pieces of lyric writing to date.”
State Of Emergency
Tollef (Guitar): “We were packing up our equipment. I was upstairs packing up my room and I heard Max jamming this riff downstairs and it was like, “Damn! That’s sick!” So next rehearsal we hammered it out in about an hour, got the bones of the song together and then Alex messed around with the rhythm. When writing a song, everyone tries to act as a producer as well as a songwriter to really get the best out of each other; I feel this is our approach to every song.”
Joe (Vocals): “Walking along the seafront in the early hours of the morning I smelt this nasty stench, almost like a damp bonfire. Following it, I came to the scene of Hastings Pier completely up in flames. The sight of it instantly had my brain ticking over for lyrics. I quickly scribbled some down, I had my spiral notebook on me, and when I arrived at rehearsal there was a brilliant riff already written for me, it seemed to slot right in!”
Tollef (Guitar): “The initial idea for ‘Under Pressure’ was written in my head. I heard the lick, the riff, the melody, the whole thing. As soon as the riff came, the first verse came, then I wrote the bridge, and then I wrote the chorus.”
Max (Bass): “‘Under Pressure’ is one of the only Hornet songs that I didn’t put a huge amount of input in to. Obviously like all of the songs I wrote all my bass parts but it was actually Alex who shaped this song into what it is. That’s the beauty of being in this band; each person brings their own perspective and takes it some place you might not. Usually I decide the direction of the music but for this song Alex was very firm in saying he decided. It was his idea for the overall structure and rhythm, something which changed the song massively, for the better.”
Tollef (Guitar): “The basis of the song ‘Bite Down’ originally came from an original demo I had which we never used. Nobody seemed to like it well enough at the time. So I kept refining it and refining it. Then one day I had the idea of singing about hair of the dog and something jumped out at me which led on to Joe’s theme for the lyrics.”
Joe (Vocals): “Tollef’s idea for this song made the lyrics come quite quickly and naturally. The idea of ‘Biting the dog’ sent my head instantly running with ideas.”
I’m Gonna Be The Man
Tollef (Guitar): “I came up with the main guitar part with my guitar tutor and good friend, Stuart Bligh. I then wrote the melody line for the chorus for Joe to put words over but at the time Joe wasn’t sure on lyrics but had a theme of people who try to stop you being successful and try to put you down. I remembered that Max had a whole set of lyrics for that theme from a song that he had a long, long time ago to completely different music that was never used, a song that we had sort of forgotten about and I found them in a box and I was like, ‘oh, wow these lyrics are perfect’.”
Max (Bass): “I can’t stand authority figures, and people who try to push you around or get in your way. I wanted to write about the people who’ve told me I’d never amount to anything, it’s a big ‘f*ck you’ to all those people. When I’m The Man, these people will still be getting up at half 5 for a shower and buying a bird bath on a Sunday afternoon or some sh*t.”
Max (Bass): “I wrote ‘Drive On’ while on the road in Europe. The whole song was written in my head, the whole thing. Once we loaded in to our next venue, I just had to play it to make sure it worked and it was all there. I think most of the time when you write songs that are great, you know it. It’s probably the song I enjoy performing the most. With this song it was a matter of giving the guys parts to play because the vision I had was complete.”
Tollef (Guitar): “It’s got a sick vibe to it – a simplistic but fast riff but I also think the song has a modern sound to it. ‘Sweet Lips’ was another great idea that just came to me, but once I showed the guys, it was Joe who suggested that I played the riff with power chords instead of single notes to make it suitable for Hornet. I penned all the lyrics for this song basing it on early experiences with gorgeous women.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll Riot
Max (Bass): “I wrote ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Riot’ at a soundcheck on stage in The Borderline, London. There was something about being on that stage for the very first time, where some of my favourite bands had played back when they were playing smaller club shows like us, it just felt so magical. I thought it had real energy and just sums up the message that we’re trying to put across as a band.”
Joe (Vocals): “With a title to work with and a high octane riff I actually wrote this song in a matter of minutes. It’s almost as if the riff is so frantic I wanted something down there and then to shout down the mic and rip the place down.”
Tollef (Guitar): “I suggested the title of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Riot’ when Joe was putting ideas together for lyrics. I saw the name when watching TV. It was a title for a show and I just thought “fu*k, that’d make a great song title’.”
Storm The Gates
Tollef (Guitar): “There was a point in my life that was really dark. A lot of things were colliding at one time: my personal life, frustration, I had that feeling like ‘doesn’t anyone understand that we’re just trying to do something real here?’ I wanted to pave the way for something new and wonderful and that’s where I found the inspiration for the music to ‘Storm The Gates’.”
Joe (Vocals): “I’ve always been heavily into Greek mythology and there was something about this song that really reminded me of that when I first heard it. Probably the beauty and calm of all the history, suddenly crashing into a full blown bloody battle. I derived ideas from a particular tale when I wrote the lyrics for the song, I won’t tell you which one though (laughs)!”
Max (Bass): “This was the last song that we wrote for ‘Skies Are Falling’. We wanted a really great song that was totally different to all of our other songs, but would still rip your head off when it got to the chorus, we achieved that.”
Video: Hornet ‘Drive On’
Hornet will be recording a new EP this summer! They are offering fans a chance to pre-order the release now via PledgeMusic. PledgeMusic is a site that allows fans to gain a closer experience with the music whilst it is being made – it helps fans to directly support bands through the recoding process.
Frontman Joe Thompson explains “We have a close relationship with our fans and like the fact that they can be involved in the making of the record with us and not just listen to it. Times have changed, I think it’s an important thing nowadays as people like to follow their favourite bands online and like to have a closer relationship with the band and the music”.
Hornet are giving fans access to an exclusive blog, where they will talk about the record, show them videos, photos, demos and more as they write, rehearse and record the songs. As a bonus, there will be prizes given away to one or more lucky fans for every 20% of the band’s target hit such as VIP tickets to their headline show at The Barfly, Camden on 29th May, signed merchandise and more. The sooner you pre-order, the more chances you have to win.
“The ‘Pledge-only’ EP launch show is unlike any show we’ve done before as our fans will decide the set list, hear the new songs played live for the very first time, get a signed setlist from the night and gain early entry to the venue and receive their photo with us. I think it’s going to be something really special” says Joe.
Hornet are also offering exciting one-off extras only available through PledgeMusic such as a studio experience, the chance to have your name mentioned in a song and tickets to a private acoustic show.