An Interview With The Hero Dies First

Refusing to  conform to any one  genre or category The Hero Dies First, blend elements of; hardcore, doom, death metal and melodic metal full of heavy breakdowns, to create a driving, lyric led sound that feeds the head, heart and feet. The are set to appear and  a varied bill at St Pauls Worthing on Sunday June 30th and ahead of that gig I caught up with Jon Hawkins  to talk about the bands philosophy, influences, song writing and oh yes,  love of slipknot.

So in 10 words describe The Hero Dies First?

A metal band that can’t decide what their sound is

How did the band form

In 2015, Mikey, Michele and I decided to start something new, having been playing in bands together since we were in our early teens. The Hero moniker stemmed from a project that Mikey, Michele (and briefly Hobit) had put together a few years previously.

You have a huge breadth of influences, is that a deliberate ploy or just your passion showing through, or a reflection of the taste of different members of the band?

Nobody in the band shares the same taste in music, and although we’re a heavy band, most of us don’t listen to super heavy music all the time. From K-Pop to Arena Metal, I think wearing our influences on our sleeves and not trying to fit into a single sound is probably what’s shaped this band the most.

Which is better playing live or recording

Everyone in the band will give you a different answer, for me though, definitely studio.

I can hear 40 years of metal in your sound, from King Crimson to Slayer, from Fields of Nephilim to Lacuna Coil and beyond, what are your influences?

Similar answer as the other question about sound. Everyone’s different. Hobit doesn’t really listen to heavy music, Michele loves everything we listened to in 2004, Matt listens to the kind of bands you’d be scared to show your Nan, and Mikey and myself have an unspoken competition where we listen to artists that are about as far away from this band’s sound as possible.

Honestly though, probably Slipknot.

Best and worst song you have ever heard?

True Survivor (Kung Fury) – David Hasslehoff

Best live band ever seen?

Honestly, probably Slipknot

If you could play on a bill with any act who would your dream choice be?

Honestly, probably Slipknot

Do you write in the rehearsal room or individually, what’s the process?

Every release we’ve ever done has started a different way. With Break Ground, Michele and I wrote a song each, with Rise, Michele wrote the bulk of it, with Enemy at the Gate, I wrote the bulk of it with an additional song from both Matt and Michele, and then on Animus, I wrote both songs. They generally start in demo form and then we build on them pretty dramatically when we’re together. Although technology has made it so easy to knock out great sounding demos at home, there’s zero replacement for the chemistry of being in a room with loud amps. The lyrics are always Mikey’s world, with Michele (and very occasionally myself) chiming in in certain places.

Quickfire questions:-

Fender or Gibson?

Both have been used on our records but, please don’t make us choose.

Slayer or Saxon?


Morast or Faustcoven?


Tool or Silent Screams?

Tool, although Silent Screams are sick live.

Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker?

Like, in a fight? The Wizard’s going down in the first for sure

Plans for 2019?

A little light on the shows, a little heavy on the song writing.

What can we expect from the St Pauls Gig?

New music, a lot of breakdowns, a lot of harmonies.

If you had one piece of advice to give someone setting up a band what would it be?

Don’t follow trends, do exactly what you want to do no matter what else the scene is doing around you.

Best bit of advice you have ever been given?

Art is never finished, it’s simply abandoned. Or, always stand on the right when using an escalator.

Infectious sounds and St Paul’s Worthing presents: Callista, Core of IO, Bleed Again, Seething Akira, The Hero Dies first and Sonnet of the Damned on Sunday June 30th, doors open at 5pm tickets just £4, that’s less than 70p a band, great value, great music, great venue. Tickets available here

Big thanks to Mike Baker for arranging the interview and for doing an amazing Job at St Paul’s

Read more interviews and articles on Womu – a Worthing music blog at

Rob Kelly

Support Live Music: Infectious Sounds & St. Paul’s Worthing in arrangement with Empire Music & Lost Imperium Music

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