In Hearts Wake

In Hearts Wake – Badlands

‘Our generation’s decisions will impact the planet – both positively and negatively – more drastically than arguably any other before us, so the need for people to be conscious of the systems that control us and how they affect us on a human level is huge. These issues affect all of us, whether we like it or not. Our choice is whether or not to be conscious, whether or not to fight back.’

The above quote is taken from ‘In Hearts Wake’ bio and listening to this band it’s instantly clear there is a power and purpose behind their music. Founded in 2006 the Australian metalcore band has released two EP’s and in February, they released details of their secret third album, ‘Skydancer’, recorded in the same sessions as 2014’s award winning ‘Earthwalker’. The album was voted No #1 by Triple J’s Short.Fast.Loud program and Rolling Stone said of the record, ‘Skydancer sees the Byron Bay quintet take another confident stride towards the throne of Australia’s heavy music scene’

In June the band announced the Badlands Regional Tour and NQ Music Press’ Eli Birchall spoke to the very genial frontman Jake Taylor in the middle of the evening and in the middle of their North American tour in Canada (but quite early here in Australia!).

In Hearts Wake have had a huge year, your third Album Skydancer debuted at No 2 on the ARIA charts and it marks the second top ten debut in twelve months for the band. You’re in the middle of a huge tour, how are you all going?

Very, very, well. Very busy. So yeah, I mean two top five records actually, the other one was number five and this was number two. It’s an indication of the hard work we’ve put in, but we’re not just shooting for numbers, we’re really wanting, to see, and to share our music with as much of the world as we can. Yeah, it’s been busy and we’ve just launched, really in the last year, our international focus, it’s been Australia up until the end of last year. Here we are now in Canada. This is the third tour we’ve done in North America and there will be a fourth one later in the year as well.

Looking over the bands history, it seems there has always been a strong message regarding our generation’s impact on the planet and in your own words ‘veers strongly between the personal and the political’. I believe the band and yourself drew on some very personal material to create the track ‘Cottonmouth’?

That one has got a little of bit of venom that’s for sure.

I did notice..

I don’t want to say that it’s the most positively constructive criticism. It was more a window into.. my experience of the medical and nursing home system, at the time when I was visiting one constantly. I don’t want to generalise, but a lot of people have their five to ten pills they take a day. Different colours and you’ll find that, perhaps, there are things that help their condition, and there will be side effects from that and the next one will try to counteract, and then the next one.. It’s basically a domino effect. At the end of the day, the medical profession are all encouraged and they get, they definitely get paid a commission on basically, for what they prescribe… It’ quite an evil trade that’s happening and ‘Cottonmouth’ is that story, done in quite a venomous way and it’s symbolising with the Cottonmouth snake, which is a deadly viper. People say, the white cotton of the mouth, that’s how it looks, like a cotton ball, is the last thing you’ll see before you die. Powerful song for us, but quite heavy and dark at the same time.

In Hearts Wake doesn’t shy away from the issues that plague the modern world and your lead single ‘Breakaway’ is described as ‘encapsulating the harsh realities of man’s inhumanity to man’. Was it a conscious decision at the start to write about the bigger themes that we’re all facing?

We’re definitely conscious about it, but we’re not like we have to do this for every single song for the rest of our career. If I’m going to sit in my room and write words for something, I’m not going to shoot in the dark for something that I’m not passionate about, let’s put it that way. I feel that if it’s going to be dealing with anything, with music, or spreading anything, then it may as well be things of substance or quality, or what we think is quality, and these are important messages that we want to get out there.

Listening to your music, you’re songs have so many technical layers, how has it been realising the vision of the album in live performances?

I would say definitely successfully. Live music is always going to have that live feel, no matter what. We don’t have to change riffs or compromise what we do, we make it all work.

The contrast between your voice and Kyle’s (bass/vocals) feels like it helps build the spell and the story, behind some of your songs. Was it always an aim to have the two voices bouncing off each other?

We’ve got two voices and both voices need to be heard, it’s just a natural to and fro and I feel on these two records it’s a lot more working together. You know, it’s the light and dark, which is in everyone’s life, its ways of bringing that forward with lyrics and highlighting certain points in different ways, you can paint a song in so many different ways. It’s nice to have multiple voices.

Based in Byron Bay which is such a beautiful part of the world, do you feel that your physical surrounds have had any influence on your music or in the creative process?

Definitely. I’m not sure about the process, because, I mean good music is good music, I guess we’re in a digital age in that perspective. But when it comes to lyrics and concepts, one hundred percent, just the contrast of where we live, to where we play. Even without consciously realising it, I think hang on a second, I’m in a city, it’s dirty or it’s stinky, it’s chaotic, lots of negative things. Then you go back home from the venue and it’s the opposite, its tranquil, its natural, its peaceful, which I guess we relate to a lot more than we do cities, because, we have that upbringing. Everybody’s different. That’s definitely rubbed off in terms of concept, of what we have to protect and what we have to share so people don’t lose sight of where we came from.

If you like peaceful and green you’re going to do well up here.

It’s awesome up there. We’ve been to Mossman Gorge and… there’s this huge one.. what’s it called?? There’s this one gorge man that’s incredible, it pumps, massive but can’t grab it off the top of my tongue.. (We spent the next minute trying to figure out which swimming spot it was. Alas, no luck.)

In Hearts Wake is going to be playing at The Jack in Cairns on the 24th September is there anything you would like to tell your Cairns fans?

We haven’t played in Cairns very often, two or three times total. This tour is going to be very heavily ‘Badlands’ themed, western vibe and it’s not just us reciting our songs, we’re going to put on a show and do something a bit different that we haven’t done before. If regional areas complain about not getting tours, then this is your time to come out and enjoy it.

Thanks very much for much for talking to NQ Music Press, travel safe.

All good Eli, thanks dude.

Eli Birchall

In Hearts Wake Play The Venue in Townsville on Fri the 25th Sept and The Jack in Cairns on Thurs the 24th Sept.

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