DOWNLOAD COUNTDOWN: Festival chat with Hacktivist

Milton Keynes is represented at this year's Download Festival by Hacktivist, the ten-legged machine promising their usual assault - hardwiring huge, devastating grooves with intelligent and insightful rhyme. And they'll have a monstrous audience in front of them - the band are opening the main stage on Saturday, playing on a bill being topped by Biffy Clyro.

It's nice work if you can get it, and Hacktivist deserve it. Drummer Richard Hawking had the festival chat with Total MK...

Download Festival - what does it mean to you to be playing the spiritual home of heavy rock - again.

It’s going to be a great step up for us actually. Returning to open the main stage on Saturday is a big deal, we’re definitely going to be bringing our A game!

Give us your best - and worst - festival memories, whether as a punter or performer...

One of my best memories was as a performer, we played a festival in Mumbai over in India and it was amazing. We headlined a stage which was made on top of a bus in this big ex-metal factory. A very surreal gig, but it went really well, and it was the first time I’d been out there. We got to stay on for an extra couple of days to see some sights and experience some culture so that and meeting a load of new really nice people made it unforgettable.

The worst experience was having to cut a mainstage slot at another massive UK festival because we were had a load of technical failures. The decision was made after we had set up, sound checked and all warmed up to play so it was a huge anti-climax and a let-down for the fans that were all in front of us waiting to party. We’ve since gone back and played it though, so we’ve made it right thankfully.

Who are the bands that you most want to catch at Download?

Northlane, Moose Blood, System of a Down, Prophets of Rage, Coheed & list is huge to be honest. There are loads of bands who are mates too like Issues, Astroid Boys and The One Hundred, so will be great to watch them do their thing.

What can people expect from your set on the day?

Intensity and energy. We’ve been allocated a 35 min slot to play, so that means we can go extra hard from the first second we start and not run out of steam. It’s going to be a whirlwind set of our most popular tracks, we’ll also be playing our newly released single “2 Rotten” so it will be fun to give it it’s UK debut.

And how to best survive the festival experience - what three items can't you go without? And why?

For Download this year I think the must haves are: waterproof coat, wellies and shorts!

Lastly, tell us what you guys are up to next…

We have more festival gigging in Europe and UK throughout the summer, including a recent booking for Glastonbury, so that will all be amazing. Other than that, we’re now working on new material with our new vocalist now that we’re all back up and running again.


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