Hannah is playing guitar for new London band Infraction and used to play in Desolated for a short time too. I have noticed her at the Rucktion mosh pits swinging her legs and arms keeping the dudes away from her personal zone. She is clearly not taking any bullshit from anybody. Lets find out what is she doing and how is her life.
R: How is your current situation with Covid 19 around us and living in isolation? How do you guys cope with the isolation? How do you spend time? Any day routine you try to follow not to get mad?
H: I’m not currently working, living the furlough life! Ferg’s still working so things are still pretty normal for him, so he’s been the main one going to the shops etc. I think I’m coping with it quite well, although living with Ferg has made it a lot easier. During the week, I do try to keep to a bit of a routine and I have a workout program I’m doing – for me it helps separate out the week days from the weekends to stop it all blurring into one.
R: Can you introduce yourself? How old are? Where you from? Where do you currently live and what is your occupation?
H: Sure, my name is Hannah and I’m 28! I grew up in Portsmouth on the south coast and moved to London about 5 and a half years ago. I currently live in North West London with my boyfriend Ferg, who I met not long after moving up here. I’ve worked for Jamie Oliver for the last 8 and a half years; started out in the UK restaurants and now work for the International team.
R: What is your earliest memory from your childhood? Do you have any siblings?
H: I remember going to the hospital with my Dad just after my little brother, Connor, had been born, he was a bit too early so my mum had to stay in the hospital. It was really cold and it was snowing. After we’d been we played board games at home.
R: Do you remember time when you discovered hardcore? What bands were the first one blowing your mind out?
H: Yeah, when I was in my first band I became friends with a guy called Ben Drew who was the local promoter in Portsmouth. I remember the first bands he showed me were Irate, Broken Oath, Shattered Realm and the Southbound split with Ninebar, Kartel and Diction. Shout out to Ben because I don’t think I could have had a better introduction to hardcore! I remember listening to Broken Oath and thinking “this is amazing, and girls play this too” – I’d been playing guitar for a few years by this point, none of my friends either played an instrument or listened to the same music, so I felt a bit like I was the odd one out.
R: Currently you are playing guitar with Infraction, London based hardcore band with members of Idle Hands, Ex Protect Ya Neck, Hellbent Diehard and John Kata has been singing in numerous bands too. Tell us more about how you guys came together and what was the driving force behind getting the new band rolling? I believe you played with other bands before. Can you tell us about your previous bands too?
H: So it was John and Adam who were the driving force behind starting the band really. It all began when Proven were on a break, and they started writing some tracks together. When Proven wasn’t going to pick back up they started to reach out to people. John asked me at a show if I was interested in joining a band as he knew I played guitar, and sent the demos over to me to listen to. I was a bit nervous to say yes initially as it had been about 8 years since I’d played properly, but I couldn’t have joined a band with a better bunch of guys to be honest, they’ve all become brothers to me and I’m very grateful that I was asked.
Well really I’ve only ever been in one other band, which was when I was 14. It was my first band, and to be honest it was pretty awful! However, I did fill in on bass for Desolated at the 2010 Ghostfest. It was their first year playing it and were opening the main stage, it was fun!
R: Do you still feel nervous before getting on stage in front of people? How do you overcome the nervousness? Avoiding eye contact, getting a drink, or getting cuddle from Ferg?
H: Ha ha, yeah! Infraction’s first show was the first I’d played in 9 years, so I was very nervous and I think that was natural. I think once we start playing shows more regularly (once the Corona has passed) will help, but a drink and a hug from Ferg is always good as well.
R: How do you feel about the whole Brexit situation? Why do you think so many people voted for Tories in the last election confirming Brexit and putting the final nail to any hope to remain? Did you go vote? Why do you think Labour failed so much in the last election? Jeremy Corbyn is in my view strong, honest leader, but he simply is too nice to play nasty card what in my opinion contributed towards the defeat.
H: Personally, I’m not happy about the outcome, but everyone has an opinion on it. It will be something that I will pay attention to and how it will affect us.
I did vote, but in my opinion I didn’t feel that Labour’s campaign was clear enough on their stance on Brexit. Against the Tories “get Brexit done” approach, it appeared weaker. With this, the Tories backhand tactics to try ruin their campaign and Corbyn and other “pledges” they made; they knew what they had to say to get people to vote for them.
R: As a foreigner living in London I was always interested about the views of British people on us. Trying to understand what might be behind the national “hate” against European Union, the driving force behind it and view on many of the visible minorities living in United Kingdom like Polish, Romanians or Asians. It might be more visible in smaller communities and smaller cities, not so much London as London has always been full of people from all around the world, but on a another note the “real white” British might feel here like minority. Might those factors have impact on the vote? Just simply having enough of the foreigners coming to UK? The topic of foreigners and taking the country back was a big part of the propaganda.
H: Yeah I definitely agree that these views are more felt outside of London, and if you looked at the map of how each constituency voted after the last election, you’d have seen this having an impact on the vote. The vast majority of London was red, then the majority of everything outside was blue. I did keep an eye on my hometown at the last election and it was really sad to see.
Growing up and living in Portsmouth for most my life, I’m almost certain that there are people who hold these “hate” views – but I never witnessed it.
R: What do you currently love to listen to in your player? What bands are making your bones to move? Do you mosh in the bedroom with Ferg at times choreographing the mosh moves or is he retired from the mosh pit. I do see you there often going nuts along the big tough guys. That takes loads of courage or I don’t care attitude haha.
H: At the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of; Easy Money, Burning Skies, Eyes Of The Lord, Drain, new Downpresser record, Mindforce, 100 Demons, Never Ending Game and a hip hop artist called Loyle Carner to lighten it up a bit ha ha.
Aha, no bedroom moshing and Ferg is more selective now – as am I! Ha ha, thanks. Now, I have to be a bit more careful with my knee, but if I wana go in the pit then I just go for it. When I first started going to shows, it was a bit of a combo of courage and “I don’t care” – girls are a minority at hardcore shows in general, let alone going in the pit.
R: What are the plans for Infraction? Do you have any goals? How is the writing process in a band? Who is the person, who leads the band, taking decisions and the direction? Is it group talk or there is a natural leader behind the force? What are your lyrics about?
H: Play as many shows as we can once they can start happening again! For a new band, going through a pandemic has put us in a tricky situation to be honest. Our demo came out just over 6 months ago now and we’ve played 2 shows to date. But just as covid hit, we had a string of really strong shows confirmed from March-June that would have really helped us establish ourselves, and they’ve all been postponed/cancelled. That also means that we have very limited content/live footage/ photos etc to post on social to keep our accounts active and for people to be aware of us whilst there are no shows happening. Hopefully once we are back to as much normality as possible, it would be great to do a tour over in mainland Europe.
Saying all of that, we are currently in the process of writing a new EP. Writing in a lockdown has been interesting for sure! We’ve been having weekly video calls and we all have home setups to be able to play and record easily. Adam’s nickname is ‘riff master general’ and seems to pull them out his arse ha ha, but we all have ideas to bring to the table and talk them through to agree. We haven’t yet decided on when the EP will come out yet, but we have announced it on our Instagram and Facebook page – we’re just going by the situation currently.
John writes all the lyrics for Infraction; the lyrics in our demo ‘No Excuses For Failure’ are about external issues he had seen that were bugging him and calling them out. An example of this is the song ‘No Excuses’, which was calling out those who blame everyone and everything else for what’s going wrong around them but never take any personal responsibility. Everyone experiences “bad luck” from time-to-time, but when it’s a constant in your life, maybe it’s time to look inward. The upcoming release is more internally focussed; his battle with mental health, an acceptance of dying alone etc.
R: What or who is making your blood boil? How do you cope with stress in your life? What helps you to get grounded?
H: I find exercising a good way to keep grounded/ clear my head, focusing on what I’m doing means I’m not thinking about what else is going on. But obviously, going to a show! It can be a great stress release; singing along, going in the pit and just hanging out with friends.
R: As a lady in the dungeon full of men around you, how do you look at the jokes and men testosterone in the practice room? Do the guys in the band have to put their jokes and temper on a leash when you are around?
H: I don’t look at them in a particular way, or think that the guys say different things around me. Apart from Adam, I knew all the guys before joining the band so it wasn’t like they had to get to know me and tread carefully. Plus there’s no ego’s in this band so no one’s ever competing to be top dog.
Most of the jokes and banter in the practise room are generally either gaming related, about one of us, or that no one in this band seems to be able to write in a standard time signature. It’s all really just a continuation of our group chat online, we chat on almost a daily basis and it’s not always just “band chat”.
The only person that’s really got any kind of temper in the practise room is me! When we ‘re going through new material, if there’s something I’m not picking up quickly I get stressed, which leads to me getting angry. I try and not let it show too much.
R: Often feminism is viewed among the ordinary men negatively thinking its all about females not shaving legs and privates and hating men all around the world. Not looking behind the stereotypes and seeing feminism as equal rights, equal pay and equal treatment of women in the world, giving them the voice they are often denied by men in power. Were you ever interested in the feminism topics and spreading the knowledge though the band? Have you experienced discrimination because you are female?
H: I have experienced it unfortunately. It was when I was working as a waitress, the restaurant manager thought the tattoo on my forearm was inappropriate and was told to wear long sleeves. But not long after a couple of chefs were hired who both had full sleeves and where they worked in the kitchen, customers had to walk past them – so they were seen just as much as me. In the end I asked the manager why having my tattoo on show was inappropriate but the chefs weren’t and questioned if it was because I was a girl.
In a way, I kinda feel like playing guitar in the band is a way of spreading knowledge of female equality. It can have an air of masculinity to it and it really shouldn’t because it’s not just something that men do, and that’s what I want to show.
R: Noticed from your facebook profile you have been doing body building or is it weight lifting? Damn, I am sure you can lift Ferg above your head for breakfast with finger in your nose. How have you become involved with such heavy sport? Are you still doing it? What was the heaviest weight you lifted above your head so far?
H: Hahahaha, I can’t do that unfortunately. When I was younger, I always enjoyed watching the Strongman competitions and Olympic weightlifting when they were shown on TV.
I really got into going to the gym and focusing on weight lifting when I went through a shitty breakup. I’d just moved to London, started at a new restaurant and didn’t know many people. Going to the gym was “me” time, because I was focusing on the lifts I was doing – I wasn’t thinking about other things that were going on.
I started Olympic weightlifting when I signed up to a new gym, I saw a poster on the noticeboard. Unfortunately, I’m not doing the Olympic lifting anymore, I couldn’t afford to keep going to the club, but I do still practice the movements I learnt.
R: What kind of movies do you like to watch? Do you have your favorite movie?
H: Most of the time when I watch a film it’ll be a light hearten comedy type, but I do also enjoy action / gangster films. Ferg and I do have a list of films that I’ve not seen that I probably should have, which we’re slowly getting through. Snatch / Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels are films that I could go back to and watch again and again.
R: How different was it for you to move from a relatively small town to cosmopolitan London? Was there anything you couldn’t get used to for a long time since you moved here? What do you like about London?
H: Before I moved to London, I had been coming up to visit friends and for shows for a few years, so I was quite used to it by the time I moved here.
I’d never planned to move to London, I ended up moving here through work; sometimes I’d have these moments standing in Soho and thinking “how have I ended up working in central London?” but I’m really glad I did!
I like that there is always something going on or to do. A lot of friends at home have this perception that everything in London is wildly expensive, which it can be, but I think Ferg and I are pretty good at showing them London that doesn’t blow the budget. Plus, the public transport; as much as I moan when there’s a problem, it’s great to be able to jump on a tube rather than driving everywhere which I had to do living at home.
R: I have to ask you, but you dont have to answer this, but I cannot resist to ask anyway. What annoys you on Ferg? Let me explain the angle I am coming from. He is such a sweet guy, but I am sure he has some tiny little darker side or at least I am imagining him having some kink or habit which is annoying when knowing him better. Does he has one or two of those? And I will be perfectly fine if you say: “Yes he has, but not telling you”, haha.
H: Hahahahahahaha, amazing. He is a very sweet guy, I definitely lucked out when I met him. All I’m going to say is don’t sit at a red light for too long in front of him on the road!
R: Because I am tricky bastard, I have ask Ferg and John Kata some questions about Hannah to keep the world balance in the world.
Do you remember what you thought of Hannah when your path crossed for the first time? Be honest!
Ferg: When I first saw Hannah I was working the Rucktion Records distro at a First Blood Show at the underworld and I saw this very attractive girl talking to a group of friends of mine. I wanted to be introduced to this stunner but couldn’t leave the distro. Luckily my friend later asked if Hannah could sit down behind the distro and I grabbed my chance to introduce myself. We chatted all night and the rest is history. Not sure I watched any bands that night. The thing that really stood out was how easy it was to talk to her and how genuine she seemed.
John: The first time I met Hannah was at The Unicorn and her leg was in a cast. Ferg (her boyfriend) introduced me to her and at first she just seemed quiet but friendly enough.
R: What are her most annoying rituals or habits?
Ferg: All I can really say is do not leave any open containers of liquid anywhere near her, somehow she will find a way of knocking it over.
John: She’s a perfectionist, which is obviously a great quality, but she definitely gets stressed if she can’t get something right.
R: What do you love about her?
Ferg: It’s very hard to pin point specific things I love about her because I love everything about her (except my answer for number 2 hahaha).
But I can tell you she has change my life and changed my views on relationships. I thought relationships were meant to be hard work but ours is just so easy and fun. She is definitely my better half though, I don’t think anyone will question that hahaha!
John: She’s organised. Which is massive for our band given as it’s a bunch of reprobates otherwise. I also love that she steers clear of all the usual “scene” bullshit. She’s here because she loves the music and isn’t interested in stupid “beefs” that constantly crop up.
R: What is her catch phrase ?
Ferg: That’s a tough one….. I think I’ll have to go with “I want a dog”.
John: I don’t think she really has one. Although everyone in Infraction has seemingly adopted one of “Fuck Adam” hahaha.