Hawksley Workman is a busy man: solo gigs, a new band called Mounties with Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat) and Ryan Dahle (Limblifter), and a venture into theatre with the critically acclaimed The God That Comes.
While he’s featured on the cover of our latest issue, there was a whole lot more that was discussed that we thought we’d share with you in this online exclusive.
Doing music and touring for so long, what made you want to try theatre?
It’s funny, the music business is a beautiful thing but it’s a hard place to be in; it’s changed so much even since I started. I think in the last couple of years I got really restless to do new things, so consequently, The God That Comes was just one of the few seeds I planted outside my regular day job. The other was Mounties, which is a Vancouver band I started with Steve Bays and Ryan Dhale. There are a couple other things too, but The God That Comes in particular has really reawakened my love of performing
I’m sure you must’ve been relieved when the show got such good reviews.
Totally! I don’t think any of us work to get good reviews, but when you get them it’s really nice. I mean, I’ve had my fair share of good ones, but I’ve had my fair share of bad ones too. I sort of feel like with music critics in particular that I must annoy them a little bit. Like, when’s this guy just going to go away? [laughs]
But yeah, I was super relieved that it came out and super relived that it was getting good reviews, because as far as I can tell in the theatre world, if your show doesn’t get good reviews you don’t last very long; there’s just no other outlets. It’s not like television where at least you’re still selling advertising, or with music where it’s like, “Well, the album kind of flopped, but at least we got one of our songs in a car commercial.” In theatre, if you don’t get good reviews it kind of feels like you’re fucked.
What are your thoughts on some people’s reactions towards some of the controversial and suggestive subject matter in the play?
For me, the sex dialogue never really bothers me. I really think we can all benefit from being a little more open and honest about our urges and our instincts. We’re always busy trying to remind ourselves how far in advance we’ve come and how in control of ourselves we are, and I think the play basically tries to say, “You’re not in control, asshole. You are subject to these animal instincts and their yours and you have to understand how to deal with them.”
For me the controversial part in my mind is how pressing this political message is in this play. I mean Christian [Barry] and I were very interested to make that political statement, and I felt it was [relevant] given the times; being critical of people in power is getting more and more dangerous. That’s the kind of sentiment that I think is more [controversial], than the sort of somewhat sensationalized sexualized element of the play. That’s what I think anyway.
I’m a bit mouthy and my wife sometimes says, “Look, you’re going to have to be careful of the things you say”, but I live in my own version of reality and I’ve been lucky to be self employed for a lot of years. I don’t always get to check in with normal life as normal life is considered where I have a boss, or where I have to look a certain way when I go to work. Sometimes I feel like my life gives me a unique sort of way to absorb things.
Check out Hawksley in The God That Comes, January 15-25 at The Citadel Theatre.
Interview by: Brnesh Berhe
Photo credit: Tristan Brand