A little more than a year ago, the thought of a local group getting played on the dance floor of any club would have been pure folly. No one could have predicted the rise of Muscle Hawk and their musical conquest of the club scene. Never mind their frequent airplay or their presence at live events and venues; the fact that every track off their debut EP The Speed Of Dark has made the playlists of DJs at Club Edge, W Lounge and the pop-friendly Area 51 is an accomplishment unmatched by other local bands.
Since early 2009, the duo of Greg Bower and Josh Holyoak has been making its way around in style, conquering venues with its electro-thrash show the duo enhanced with multiple equipment upgrades and a multifaceted light show timed to every beat produced onstage. That has turned them into a musical centerpiece featured at major events like Craft Lake City and the Utah Arts Festival. The latter performance garnered so much local attention and so many dance-hapy fans, it damned near became its own event—as close to an outdoor rave downtown Salt Lake City will ever see. In the process, Muscle Hawk has become the most recognized techno act in the state.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunities just come knock on our door with no effort on our part, so we’ve been really lucky that way,” Bower says of their success so far.
Now they’re back to making music, with two new releases arriving this month, the first being a single release for the song “Set Yourself On Fire,” a track inspired by the lights in big cities, the persistence of penguins, the teachings of the Maharishi and analog-induced electrodes. The track plays out with a synth-driven steady tempo, capturing the essence of the duo’s last EP with a hooky chorus and seemingly endless groove, daring you to not get down. Along with the single comes four remixes by DJs and producers from around the globe, including Blue Satellite, Robotaki, Bungelow Bill and Ample Mammal.
Later this month, Muscle Hawk will see the release of their second EP, Super Future. It’s a quick three-track aural experience that makes an awesome companion to the first. It includes two new tracks, the first being “The Rip,” a powerful track that embodies the black-light dance-room vibe reminiscent of their first single, “1982.” The other is “Downstairs Mixup,” which the guys describe as a “funk-disco monster” that’s been acting as the party-starter opening song at recent shows.
“I’m a big fan of trying to stimulate as many of the human senses at a time as you can,” Holyoak says. “It is wonderful to be where we’re at because first, it is weird, and second, we are fortunate to have lots of help from this town.”