H. Hawkline tells us about the influences behind new album ‘Milk for Flowers’

Today, Welsh musician H. Hawkline released his fifth album, Milk for Flowers, and like his previous two records, it was produced by his longtime friend and collaborator, Cate Le Bon. While he calls his music “strange pop,” this is his least obtuse record to date — still decidedly odd but in a charming way and nothing a Bowie fan wouldn’t understand. If you are a Cate Le Bon fan and don’t know H. Hawkline, Milk for Flowers is a good way to remedy that. Listen below.

We asked Huw Evans, who is H. Hawkline, to make us a list of influences behind the album, and those include Yoko Ono, Neil Young, Jane Birkin, ’70s films (made and unmade), George Harrison, and more. Check out his list and insightful thoughts about it below.


Yoko Ono – Inner Space (LP)

One of my favourite albums, “I’m a battleship, frozen by my mother’s anger. Anchored in the North Pole sea” is the best opening lyric to any album, ever. There’s no one better than Yoko Ono when it comes to lyrics, cold slabs of concrete are fixed in place with warm cement and grouted with living moss.

Jane Birkin – Di Doo Dah (LP)

Jane Birken’s first proper solo album, Melody Nelson’s laid-back older sister, Serge and Vannier on arrangements, no idea why this isn’t revered in the same way. I was listening to this album a lot when writing the songs. I listen to this album a lot now. I will listen to this album a lot next week.

Neil Young – Ambulance Blues

No one writes good bad lyrics like my best friend, Neil Young. Neil and I drive around together in my car all the time, he makes me laugh and cry in equal measure.

Grief triggers an obsessive muscle in my brain, I will focus in on a certain thing and shut everything else out, it can be incredibly annoying. A few years ago I lost a friend and fell down a rabbithole of watching interviews with Paul McCartney talking about John Lennon dying. It became a problem, I would tell everyone (as if they didn’t know) how sad it was for Paul that John had died, they would look at me and nod “Yes Huw, it was very sad for Paul.” I would cry watching videos on YouTube, I started thinking I was Paul McCartney and that I had lost John Lennon, it lasted a couple of months. It was easier than thinking about Mel. More recently, this happened again and my obsession this time was Neil Young. I couldn’t listen to anything else and felt like he was talking to me directly in every song (apart from ‘A Man Needs a Maid’, what was he thinking?). My favourite thing about Neil is his occasional use of very plain, bordering on bad lyrics, when he just says what he wants to say and forgets about poetry. “You’re all just pissing in the wind, you don’t know it but you are, and there ain’t nothing like a friend, who can tell you you’re just pissing in the wind”. The Picasso of lyricists.

George Harrison – “Behind That Locked Door”

Man from Liverpool makes country music his own: “Why are you still crying? Your pain is now through, please forget those teardrops, let me take them from you.” Pete Drake’s steel playing is perfect, All Things Must Pass is another lifer record for me.

Blue Gene Tyranny – “Next Time Might Be Your Time”

The perfect pop song, I would agree to never play guitar again if it meant I could say that I had written the guitar line in this song. When we were recording we would often reference this song when coming up with parts “maybe try something a bit Blue Gene-y”.

Alex Dingley – “Lovely Life to Leave”

Alex is a dear friend of mind and writing this I’m realising that I haven’t spoken to him in too long a time. A painfully honest declaration of love and yearning, reading something I write about the song will never do it justice, it’s all there in the song and the performance.

The Last Picture Show (film by Peter Bogdanovich)

A friend of mine recommended this to me whilst the world was shutting down and it was the perfect accompaniment to the early stages of enforced isolation. I love how the themes and mood of the early ’70s are placed in the repressive and naïve settings of the early fifties. It’s like living out the fantasy of going back to being a teenager but with all the knowledge you have as an adult. Roger Ebert wrote this in a review when it came out “It is about a town with no reason to exist, and people with no reason to live there. The only hope is in transgression.” I think this is why it worked so well as a lockdown film.

David Hockney ‘My Parents and Myself’

I was on tour with Devendra Banhart and I went to see a David Hockney exhibition with the tour manager and all around wonderful man, Luckey Remington. My life was in a pretty strange place at the time, the soil had come away from my feet and the weather was always the same. I saw this painting and nearly fell over, a lifetime of love painted with a guilty brush. Hockney is only half there and even then, appears as a reflection, a double absence. His mother is the only person making eye contact, nobody looks happy or maybe they all do? I think about this painting a lot.

David Hockney. My Parents and Myself, 1976. Copyright David Hockney. Photo: Richard Schmidt, Collection: The David Hockney Foundation

David Hockney. My Parents and Myself, 1976. Copyright David Hockney. Photo: Richard Schmidt, Collection: The David Hockney Foundation


Christopher Reid – A Scattering

A collection of poems written before, during and after his wife’s death. I read it during a time when I wasn’t really speaking to anyone about anything, it felt like I was reading a pop-up book, every poem would slowly rise off the page like a paper cathedral.

Christopher Reid – A Scattering


Jodorowsky’s Dune

An inspiration for this record and any creative endeavour I have. By any means necessary. Embrace the chaos!