There are some bands who just blow your mind from the first moment you hear them, either because they offer something incredibly new or because they have an inordinate talent or maybe just because the music just connects with you on some deep level that you can’t quite explain. Whatever the reason, No Hawaii was such a band and when we came to review their CD we couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Since that review it has been more-or-less played daily thanks to a seemingly endless flow of new elements that you can find in the music the longer you listen to it. With that in mind we were not a little thrilled that the band agreed to talk to us and, if the stars align, we may even have the honour of hosting a night with the band in September (more on that very soon).
With ‘Snake My Charms’ available now from Parallell music, fans of sweeping, pyschadelic, beautiful, brutal music need to check this out and while you do, here’s the band to tell you about themselves. You can expect to hear a great more about this amazing band in the future.
Answering the questions in this interview are Erik Ward(Bass)and Gonzo(guitar).
Firstly can you tell us a little about how you came together as a band?
– It all started a shitty day 7 years ago when Smejks and Biggus decided they wanted to play pissed off hardcore punk. After numerous line-up changes in the early days the music took a different direction. Then back in 2007 Erik joined the band and all the pieces fell in place.
I would say that your album is pretty unique, how did you develop your sound as a band?
– It´s combination of many things. First of all we all have very different musical backgrounds, everything from grindcore, Ambient, Hardcore and latin folk music. Also there´s been a strive to really be different, not to sound like another band. Obviously we are very influenced by many artists but it´s our own mix of everything we love about music. Then there is the collaboration with our producer Carlos Sepulveda who helped us fine tune our vision and give it a good kick in the right direction.
How would you describe yourselves to someone who had not heard your music?
-A smart guy once said that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. We prefer to leave the definitions of what we do to our listeners. You guys gave us a great review (thanx btw). So to quote you guys “If you are a fan of Neurosis, Isis, hell, rock music in general, you need this release.” (and you can read that review here – Phil)
You do everything yourselves from recording to touring – does this ever become a struggle or is it worth it to have complete creative control over your band?
– Complete creative control is something that we believe should be in the band; never in the hands of record labels. For us it´s a way of life – to let them in to our creative bubble is not an option. To us music is a way of life and we do it cuz we love it, not to make money. That’s why we have ordinary shitty jobs!
What sort of writing process do No Hawaii employ?
– We jam a lot, try every riff slow, fast, backwards and what-not and then we puzzle together the pieces and see what comes out the other end. Some other times songs write themselves and you just jag and after 15 minutes you have a song. The process of writing is kind of beyond analysis, every song has new elements and new challenges and you really never know how´s it gonna end.
What music influences you as artists?
– oooh long list coming up. Neurosis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Mars Volta, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Breach, Portishead, Radiohead, Boards of Canada, Tool, APC, Skitsystem, His hero is gone, count basie, Can, Kyuss, Desert Sessions, Refused, Fatso Jetson, Ween, Tomahawk, Fever Rey… I could probably go on forever…
When it comes to lyrics I can´t really say cuz non of us writes them but most likely some of the above.
How important is the visual aspect of your releases? Do you do all the artwork yourselves?
– No, the artwork is done by some very talented friends, on the album the cover is made by Kim Larsson, the logo by Ufuk Demir and Edvin Holm made the cover designs. We are very fortunate to have so many talented artists around us.
How difficult was it for NoHawaii to start out in terms of finance, reaching an audience etc?
– Well we are always broke so it´s a struggle. we all have stuff to do on the side to put food on the table. So by that everything becomes a struggle, to find time to record and get off from work for touring. Lately we started working with All systems go! And they are helping us out a lot; but in the end it´s all worth it.
What recording equipment did No Hawaii use and what challenges did you face in the recording of your music?
Well the album was recorded in Music-a-matic and belly of the whale studios on vintage Neve and pacifica consoles with a wide collection of vintage microphones. the mayor challenge for this record was to develop the sound of the drums and bass, they kinda sucked on the Bruce Lee EP and we wanted a more organic and filthy sound, Using live drum takes and stuff like that. also we really dig old amps and effect so we use a lot of fuzzpedals, space echoes and other stuff.
With the music industry somewhat under siege from digital forms (such as I tunes) do you feel that it is much harder for a band to make a career out of music?
– No to us the internet revolution is a good thing. The people who love making music will do it forever, it´s just all the assholes that do it for money that quits. Also it´s a good way for artist to be seen and heard, all good things! To us a career is a non issue, of course we would like to live off our music but not the whole jet-set lifestyle. if you lose touch with your roots you tend to lose a sense of reality and you live in your Mickey mouse world where everybody does as you say and want. that´s usually when band start to suck.
Do you feel that there is too much emphasis in the industry (and press) on bands who make easy money but actually don’t offer anything new, original or exciting to the world of music?
It´s all just repetition of the same crap; I mean if you read an interview with any really good band they all had to fight to get that legendary record made.
What are your goals?
– World domination and just spread the love!
What can we expect from your live performances later in the year?
– A Musical journey through space and time!
Any final words from the band?
Thanks a lot for a great interview.
and if anyone digs our music buy our album, we are really broke!
Peace, love and sabotage//Erik and Gonzo
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT NO HAWAII AT THEIR WEBSITE, HERE