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Presenting: HAQ123

HAQ123 sounds like a computer virus, generated to summon chaos and disarray on all of your systems. Which is kind of an apt name if you listen to the music, and then find out who made it! Because the unholy racket comprised of weird noises, harsh buzzing bass, otherworldly, demonic vocals, and stomping drums is played by kids! Milly (11) on vocals and Zac (12) on drums are assisted by Zac’s dad on bass. One really has to hear it to believe it. I have listened to it several times and I still don’t believe it when I hear Milly bellowing her evil lyrics while the rest of the band goes completely ape shit. This can’t be real right? Oh wait, let’s just ask them…

Hi guys, how have you been doing? And especially in these times: how have you been holding up during the current pandemic?

Millie – Good –  I have been able to play and train with my football team most of the way through but that has now had to stop. At the start of the pandemic me and my mum started up a face mask making company that kept us really busy. I have been going on some walks with my family, doing some artwork on my iPad, learning keyboards with my music teacher and making music that is very different to Haq on garageband. PS4 is also keeping me busy – Need for Speed and Rocket League.

Zac – Lots of practicing on my drums, playing with my football team, loads of family bike rides mainly along the canals around Birmingham and doing the mountain bike tracks in the forests at Cannock Chase. When the weather was good we went out and played football and frisbee. I was able to keep in touch with my mates over lockdown by playing PS4 online games. Did a bit of reading too.

Dave – I took the first 9 weeks of lockdown off work and did much of the above with Zac, fitted a new bathroom in our house and destroyed and rebuilt Zac’s bedroom. I mixed and released our third album that came out in April then we all recorded and released the fourth one just recently. Apart from that it has been work as normal and the kids have been back at school since September.

How is life for a bunch of musicians in these times of no shows?

Z – I am missing doing shows but it does give us time to write new stuff.

M – Its ok but its a bit boring.

D- Same – we were looking forward to doing a gig with local legends Einstellung on mine and Zac’s birthday weekend in November but that just got cancelled last week due to Covid. Just keeping fingers crossed that we’ll be able to get back into it sooner rather than later.

Can you tell me how Haq123 came to be?

M – I was round at Zac and Dave’s house and we were doing some bottle flipping. I asked if we could go in their music room and have a jam. We did it and that day became a band.

Z – We recorded a few of the early jams and put them on Youtube – they are still there. Its alright for a band just starting out but we look really young.

I was especially amazed about the age of Millie and Zac! And they have been at it for quite a while too! How can you explain these kids being into this kind of heavy music so young already?

D – If I’m being honest with you, Zac usually listens to grime and hip hop stuff and Millie mainly seems to be into trap.Neither of them are particularly into heavy music – except for the stuff we do in the band. We have been gigging regularly since 2017 and have played some pretty renowned festivals such as Supersonic, Supernormal and the first ever World Metal Congress event so things like that definitely give them a sense of achievement. The kids seem to enjoy watching the other bands in a live environment. It always makes me smile when Zac leans over and tells me “They’re not as heavy as us”.

Kids – What do you like about playing heavy?

Z – Its fun to play this style because it is very loud and I get to  bash the drums really hard. I also play in a band at school but it is not as much fun because I don’t get to play in such a crazy way as the music we do is much softer.

M – Its in our blood- we are from Birmingham. It is good beacause it is different to what people expect from us.

Dave, what is your role in the band, aside from being the bass player?

Cat herder in chief, van driver, gig organiser, musical equipment provider, parcel poster,  general dogsbody. I also get a lot of help from my wife and Millie’s parents with regards to doing the merch, setting up gear at gigs, spreading the word about the band, etc.

Millie – Dave is the glue.

Millie and Zac: what are your favorite bands at the moment?

M – Prodigy, Young Knives, Big Lad, both kinds of trap music – hip hop and dance versions.

Z – JB Scofield, AJ Tracy and also Big Lad who have amazing drummer called Henri and weve played with them a few times.

What are the reactions of other kids your age when they hear the unholy racket you make?

M – Surprised and a bit shocked at how loud and heavy we are.

Z – From behind my drum kit I can sometimes see that their faces often look confused at first then they usually get into it.

What are the pros and cons of being in a band with your dad?

Z – Pros are….there is none. Not really, we can practice whenever we want in our music room.

Cons – He tries to make you practice to try new stuff every minute of the day.

D – I can confirm that this is 100% true. If it were up to me we would probably be on our 10th album by now.

M – I’m not in a band with my dad, even though people often think it… Dave is my godfather though.

Who did the artwork, and what were they thinking?! 🙂 

Z – We usually do combined artwork from all of us. Wacky, messy, creepy, weird, unusual, lots of skulls.

M – My favourite thing we did was for the third album when we got loads of paint out and splattered it around to make the backgrounds.

D – The artwork is very important to us, especially as there only seems to be a minimal amount going on in that sphere at school these days. Most of the artwork is a collaboration between the three of us. I try to get Zac and Millie to do as much as possible then try to smash it all together playful but sinister fashion. That’s not really a problem for me as pretty much every piece of art I did at school was met with a comment from my teacher Herbie Hancock (not that one) “It’s a bit macabre Kavanagh” even if it was just a drawing of some foliage. We like to have something a bit different from usual metal cover but still i keeping with that kind of vibe. If you look on our bandcamp page on a PC or laptop you can see that each track on every album has its own artwork. We have also done a few videos that are animated with our own drawings.

How do you usually write songs?

D – Usually Zac and I will work on a new song together first. I have realised over the years that he doesnt particularly like being told exactly what to play so these days he has a lot more freedom. I’ll just give him a general idea of the type of beat and  tempo and leave rest to him. It always ends up better than anything I could have thought of.

Millie has now started playing a fair bit of keys in the band. When Zac and I have got the bare bones of a new song together I will go through it with her a few times before we all try it at full volume with drums. It is a pretty recent development but things are going very well.

On our first album many of the lyrics were words that Millie had made up on the spot while we were playing but recently  lyrics have mainly been down to me due to time constraints. The kids have homework, after school clubs, football teams, instrument lessons so when we have the chance to get together we just like to make a proper racket. We have written the words for a few songs together though when we have had the chance. It is always more fun to do it this way as some very original and leftfield ideas can come into play. Just before doing this interview we were working on a new song that will consist only of words ending in -ify. There are going to be some very good words in this song.

Would you like to tell us anything else?

Z&M – Football, Brawl Stars, PS4, Among Us.

D – If you want to check us out then go to where you can download everything for free. We are already deep into preparations for our fifth album and will hope to have it ready for early next year. Hopefully see you at a gig sometime soon!

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