An Interview With Hauk
Band Photo: Hauk (?)
Californa based Heathen metallers Hauk, whose name is drawn from their vocalist and guitarist Hauk, released their latest EP "To Hear The Trumpets Call" in May of 2008. The album featured two new songs as well as a remix and a re-record of an earlier track. The band's front man talked with Metalunderground about a wide range of subjects including the sound of the EP, different aspects of Heathenism, and the band's upcoming shows.
xFiruath: When did you first seriously get into music and what made you want to be a musician?
Hauk: I was in fourth grade when I first heard Guns N Roses, and decided then and there that I wanted to be a musician. I played saxophone in high school, playing in various rock/punk bands, and went to college to study music. I learned guitar, bass, piano, percussion, and dozens of other instruments along the way. I guess my desire was always to create, to write music, to write songs. I've never been satisfied with mastering one instrument. I'm constantly learning new ones and writing more and more music.
xFiruath: Tell me about how Hauk came about. How did all the members get together and form the band?
Hauk: Chris Dooly (drums) and I were playing in a band called Mythreal. That band imploded right as my ex and I broke up, and I basically decided to go off and do something completely different to recover. I basically went in the studio and recorded an acoustic "therapy" album, which I released as a solo project. I started getting calls to do gigs and requests for a full band, so I brought in Chris and my friend Duke (keyboards). We played as a three piece for awhile, brought in fiddles, cellos, and other instruments before we found Boyd (guitar and bass) and settled as a four piece. It's sort of a solo project and sort of a band at the same time.
xFiruath: How would you describe the sound of Hauk to a metal fan who had never heard your music before?
Hauk: That's a tough one. We're equal parts thrash/power metal, folk, and Celtic, but with a dash of punk, rock, and a 6 pack of Guinness.
xFiruath: What's different about the new tracks on "To Hear The Trumpets Call" from your previous releases and what changed with the re-mixed and re-recorded tracks?
Hauk: This one is our most straightforward album in terms of instruments. It's pretty standard guitar/drums/keys. Our previous albums had tons of fiddles, flutes, pipes, accordions, oboes, etc. “Lamentation” was originally on my first solo album "Love Songs, Lamentations, and Lifthrasir." I rewrote it once we started playing as a three piece. It's been through many arrangements, everything from solo acoustic guitar to full orchestration. As for the remix of “Raven Wings,” we basically stripped out the fiddles and Uilleann pipes to have a thrashier metal version.
xFiruath: Now that your latest EP is out what are Hauk's plans for the future? Any upcoming show dates or plans for a full length album?
Hauk: Our next gig is February 14th in San Jose. We're headlining Pantheacon, a 4 day Pagan festival. After that, we have a few local shows in the works and a possible tour this summer. Nothing confirmed yet though. We have started work on a new album. Not sure what direction it's going to take, part of me wants to go very acoustic with this one, more of a Hauk and Boyd album, simplify the songs down to just me on acoustic guitar and Boyd laying down the leads. But then again, we also have a few ass kicking thrash numbers that we haven't recorded yet. It'll definitely be a diverse album, that's for sure.
xFiruath: If you'll permit me I'd like to ask a more religious oriented question. I've always heard the Germanic neopagan religious faith to be labeled as "Asatru" but in most of your press releases and online writings you refer to it as "Heathenism." Is there a difference between the two or are they just two words for the same faith?
Hauk: Yes and No. To draw a parallel, Catholics and Lutherans and Evangelicals are all Christians, but they're not the same. The word Heathen comes from the root Heath, meaning country land. When Europe was being Christianized, the word Heathen meant anyone who lived out in the country side, and kept to their religion and way of life when the city folk became Christians. Asatru is Icelandic and means Troth to the Aesir. It is specifically for people who are sworn to the Aesir, one of the Norse Pantheons of tribal Deities. There is also Vanatru, true to the Vanir, Theodism, varying forms of tribal practice, usually Saxon, Irminism, continental Germanic religion, Odinism, Forn Sidr, and a few other different branches, but we're all Heathens. As for labelling myself, I am Asatru, but my music does deal with some secular issues like depression, alcoholism, ex girlfriends, motorcycles, so I don't like to label it Asatru.
xFiruath: What has been your favorite show or venue that you've played at so far?
Hauk: That's a tough one. Boyd and I played an acoustic set at a NeoPagan/Wiccan gathering up in the Angeles National Forest last May. We were half way through our acoustic version of Raven Wings when we realized the audience was almost entirely female, naked, and really, really enjoying the music. Definitely one of our most memorable performances. Pantheacon is always a blast too, we've done that one a few years now, there's always something crazy happening, whether it be the kegger in our hotel room afterwards, or Chris getting blotty with Absinthe. This year should be interesting...
xFiruath: What do you think are the best and worst things about the metal scene today?
Hauk: Worst thing? I think most new bands are more concerned with technique than with actually saying anything. It's nice and all to play really, really fast, but it's kinda silly if you don't have anything to say with your playing. Personally, I think of myself as the Bob Dylan of Heathen music. I'm not the best singer, but Odin has given me the right words to sing. Best thing? That sweet feeling when you get a thousand heads banging from the sheer joy of heavy metal!
xFiruath: When you aren't playing music what is your favorite album to listen to and what do you like about it?
Hauk: Tough one. My iPod has over 6000 songs on it from almost every genre. All time favorites? Manowar’s "Louder than Hell." New Model Army's "High." Anything by Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash. Hillary Hahn playing Bach, solo works or with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Anything by Tristania, Levellers, Sentenced, Skyclad, the list goes on. What do I like best about them? They all have something to say that's worth listening to.
xFiruath: On your dream tour, who would you play with and where would you go?
Hauk: Depends on if it were an acoustic tour or electric. Electric, Skyclad, New Model Army, and Tyr. Acoustic, Justin Sullivan, Kristy Hanson, Josh Ritter, and Willie Nelson. Or Johnny Cash and Stan Rogers if we can raise the dead. Same for Sentenced, they broke up a few years back. If we ever got big enough to do a Haukstock, the roster would probably be pretty diverse. I'd love to do a concert with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. All in good time.
xFiruath: That's all my questions, so do you have any parting words for the fans?
Hauk: Stay True! Heed the call of the old Gods. Odin told me there's No Mercy for the Slain, die fighting, fight and ye shall rise again!
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