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Rock & Pop: Richard Hawley

Richard HawleyRichard Hawley is a British guitarist (Pulp, Longpigs, All Saints) turned singer-songwriter. His debut mini- album, Prize Bingo, is out now on Setanta.

When did you discover you could sing and what promoted you to do something about it?
I could always hum along cleaning the pots. But after the Longpigs split I thought it was about time I stopped washing the pots and crack on with writing and recording.

You grew up in industrial northern city of Sheffield - do you still have strong ties there? How has growing up there affected your personality and your music?
I've lived there all my life. My mum, dad, sister, wife and kids all live there. I was born opposite a graveyard, next to a butchers and a taxidermist!

Much of the music industry is rooted in London. Would you ever re-locate here? Do you think there's a certain pressure to live here because of the hub of the music industry is here?
NO. Not if you want to hold on to your soul? Don't be ashamed of where you're from no matter how small and provincial. Perspective is bonus!

How do you find audiences here compared to up north? Do you find the so-called north-south divide applies to gig-goers?
Not at all. Music should and does (hopefully) transcend all that bollocks!

Many new bands have difficulties finding gigs in London because of the costs involved but you've secured a record deal and good support slots - do you put this down to experience and contacts in the industry?
I think it's easier for me cos I've got a story, having played with famous bands. However I won't be along for much longer if I'm shit! I don't count the 'industry' as a friend. My friends have faces and lives!

You've recently supported Frank Black at the Astoria. Was it daunting playing to a large venue for your first UK tour?
Actually I was pretty relaxed. I find it hard to talk between songs, but despite that I think it went down pretty well.

You've played in front of 100 people at the Monarch. Do you find smaller venues more accommodating for your music? Favourite London venues?
I like playing anywhere that will have me. Small gigs tend to be more vibey but have crap PA's. As for venues, I'd say the Forum, Dingwalls and the Astoria are pretty good.

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