Richard Hawley talks his musical opening in London, Pulp, Arctic Monkeys and The Leadmill

Beyond the musical Standing on the edge of the sky Speaking to Richard Hawley, opening in London this weekend. NME The show featured current regime, new material and working with Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Self-Stem.

Standing on the edge of the sky. For depicting Holly’s classic songs as “a love letter to Sheffield and an ode to the famous Park Hill estate” (a brutal residential area that has gone through various periods of decay and regeneration) because It “charts the hopes and dreams of three generations. Over six tumultuous decades.”

Directed by Robert Hastie, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, and with a book by Chris Bush, the show has completed a successful run at the Steel City’s Crucible Theater and transfers to London’s National Theater this week.

“It’s very interesting stuff,” Holly said. NME. “The big test will be how well it travels. Like Henderson’s Relish and local beer, it probably won’t make it that far south! I hope it does, and it’s great that the National Theater gave it a chance. is given

“For me it’s always been about trying to do that, and it’s not about the money or the success, it’s about making sure that those people’s voices are heard. The people who lived on Park Hill were basically forgotten. Left to rot and then forced out.

The Mercury-nominated singer-songwriter said the success of the show in Sheffield had seen new and old residents of the Park Hill estate meet. “The show brought a lot more understanding to the situation, and that was a good thing,” Holly said. “My grandparents were actually born in the area where the slums were demolished to build Park Hill. My grandparents were queuing to get the keys to the flat, but didn’t get one.

“It adds quite a deep resonance. It intrigued me because I thought it was such a dumb idea to make a musical about it that I had to at least engage with it. As soon as I got into it, realized it was a great idea so just threw myself into it. This is the result.”

After initially finding the idea of ​​his songs musical to be “ridiculous”, Hawley then came around and credited his songs to the “real genius” of Hastie and Bush.

“I wasn’t too precious about anything and I thought it would be interesting to see what another creative team would do with the songs,” he said. “I was involved, but Chris and the others contributed more than I did.”

He continued: “There are certain rules that I set. I said, ‘No fucking jazz hands and no fucking wafting’. I also said, ‘If you pull a punch with the story and the story Try to soften it from reality then I will go’. To their credit, the creative team has not done that. There is no cowardice and the story is really raw and true.

“I didn’t want to make it a political bandwagon or point a finger. You get to the moral just by telling the story.”

Holly was even allowed to work “a few gags” and some local humor into the script to give it “a unique flavor”.

“It was basically just something funny I’d heard over the years on the streets of Sheffield, in pubs, bars and bus stops.” “If I hear people say something interesting, I always write it down. Chris adds a few of them with his wit. It’s very real, if you can say that, of a fucking musical. About! The thing is, I actually hate music. I never thought I’d actually be in this position, but it works.

when NME Last spoke to Holly, she teased that there was some interest in turning. Standing on the edge of the sky Is this something that’s still on the cards in a movie?

“Yes, there are many things in it,” he replied. “That’s what I’ve been doing a lot during the lockdown. I’ve been asked to do a lot of work in the film and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I can’t tell you what I’m working on. Doing it because I had to sign non-disclosure documents and stuff, which is a shame, but it’s interesting.

With him leaving the musical’s stage work to the cast, could we see him make a cameo in an eventual film?

“We’ll see…” he replied.

Richard Hawley, 2019

Speaking of hometown pride, Hawley has also been a vocal supporter in the battle to save iconic Sheffield venue The Leadmill – playing several gigs there to help raise money and awareness.

Opposing the new owners and arguing that the staff who built the venue for years should be allowed to operate it under the same name, Holley said. NME: “It doesn’t take a genius to build it – it’s our cave or hacienda. It’s as important as those places. It’s not just a Sheffield thing because it’s on the circuit to play bands and it’s a great venue. It’s going so well.

“The disturbing thing is that if it was a failed business, I would understand that someone would take it over. What angers me is that I’m not surprised that the greedy are under them. Buy land from. If they throw away. [the venue staff] Moved out and changed it to flats, it would be an absolute tragedy but a little easier to accept. The reality is that what they’ve basically done is bought the land out from under them, issued them an eviction notice, and are going to steal their business. This is highly unethical to me.

“If I was running a venue, or even a chip shop, I’d think, ‘Wait a minute, if they get away with them, who’s next?’ It’s just wrong.”

He continued: “It’s a wonderful and unique place in the UK. There’s nowhere like it, and I think it’s wrong that we should lose it in its current form. There’s no way that London’s No big corporate company could run it the way it’s run now. I think they got fired up because they underestimated the power of the people of Sheffield and a lot of people won’t go again.

Crediting Ledmill for “giving me a platform in person to learn my shit”, Holly noted that he is “the most played musician out there by the biggest margin” – since he was a teenager. performing there under a different guise than

Reflecting the mood of the rest of the team at The Leadmill, Hawley said he was “not giving up” in his quest to save her.

“I’m a terrier, me,” he said. “I’m a steelworker’s son and we’re tough as hell. I’m not one to back down when I believe I’m right, but it’s not a question of believing I’m right or wrong. Anyone with a heart or brain can see that this is messed up.

“It’s taken over 40 years to make it what it is. At many points it looked like it was going to close when they hit lean times but they worked to survive and now it’s a It’s a thriving business. It employs over 100 people, all very lovely people, and it delivers. I hope to God that the last time I play in December isn’t the last time I’m on the doorstep. I step.

Hawley’s gigs at The Leadmill in December saw him joined on stage by fellow Sheffield artist Jarvis Cocker, and Rebecca Taylor (aka Self-Stem). Having previously invited Taylor as a special guest on his 2015 album ‘Hollow Meadows’, and said they would be open to a future collaboration.

“Rebecca is amazing,” Holly said NME. “You can throw anything at her and she’ll perform it so well – like she’s been singing it for years.

“We keep talking about doing something together. I love it; I think we’d be interesting. We’re great and she’s the right laugh. I admire her courage in what she does. . To do that fearlessly is a rare thing these days. I appreciate it a lot.”

Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker on stage at the Lead Mill in Sheffield
Richard Hawley and Jarvis Cocker on stage at the Lead Mill in Sheffield on August 9. Credit: Tom Sunderland

As for Cocker, Holly’s next scheduled live dates are supporting Pulp at their summer reunion shows in Sheffield and Dublin.

Asked if he was likely to join them on stage again, he replied: “We’ll have to wait and see. There’s no point in me quitting the game now!

“I’ve been part of the whole Pulp family for decades. My first band, Tree Bound Story, played a gig with Pulp at a small church when I was still a teenager – which was a long time ago – and I played with Jarvis, Candida. know who [Doyle, keys]Nick [Banks, drums] And Steve [Mackey, bass] All my adult life. Steve isn’t involved this time, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be in the future. Steve and I went to children’s school together and met back then.

“Our paths are intertwined throughout our lives, so it feels right for me to open up to them.”

And does he think Pulp might record more new material this time around?

“I have to be very careful because I’m not a spokesperson for the band and technically I was never in the group, I was a live guitarist who played on a few tracks on ‘We Love Life,'” he said. “It would be inappropriate for me to speak for them, I’m sorry.”

Richard Hawley, 2019

Holly also said there were “no plans yet” to join the Arctic Monkeys on stage again at their upcoming Sheffield dates, but praised their 2021 album ‘The Car’.

“I love what they do, because they do what a band should do which is spread out and be discovered,” he said. “You can’t make the same record over and over again. I love what they do and they’re mates.

After previously working together on Arctic Monkeys’ 2012 B-side ‘You And Me’, Holly was skeptical that they would collaborate again. “It can’t be,” he said. “I’m happy with what we did. Lightning might not strike twice and it might be pointless to go back, but if it happens again I’m sure it will be interesting.

Meanwhile, Hawley said he was “itching” to get back into the studio this year to work on the follow-up to 2019 album ‘Further’.

“I’m going to have to stop playing live for a while and record some of the songs I have,” he revealed. “I dont know [what it will sound like] Not yet and not until I’m there. I don’t want to limit it by saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to happen’.

He continued: “I have lyrics and chords. I deliberately avoided writing songs during the lockdown because I didn’t want to write a lockdown record. We still have to live with COVID but I hoped The world will be fine, and in many cases we are. I don’t know what I fear most; I don’t know if I fear Covid more. Given a choice, which would you have? ?It’s a tough one. I believe these crooks are doing the country long-term damage.

“It just boggles my mind – how people can be so county, and get away with it. Politicians, nobody seems to be held accountable these days. I find it a bit disturbing, and I believe Everyone does. They’re very clever people, the Tories. That’s why they’re the oldest political party in the world. They’re very resourceful and scary.”

Holly added: “Usually something happens. [anger] On my record, so we’ll see.

Standing on Sky’s Edge will be at the National Theater in London from February 9 to March 25. Visit here. For tickets and more information.

Read full article here

Related Articles

Latest Posts