Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Serial Hawk – the superb Sludge/Stoner Metal band from Seattle, USA who I featured on here with their excellent new EP – Buried In The Gray back in June 2012.
Serial Hawk have been receiving praise all over the place for their blend of hard hitting Sludge/Stoner Metal which is action packed with heavy riffage from the start.
They were recently interviewed on my good friend Steph's excellent blog – Temple Of Perdition and he told the guys I would be interviewing them soon. Thank fuck the band agreed and now here it is.
Good, thanks for having us!
Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.
Will had been wanting to get this band together for quite some time, had some songs but needed a band. Through a friend he met the bands first drummer, Paul. The two of them started playing and working on songs, played a couple shows and then met Adam who would begin playing bass. The three recorded the demo, played a lot of shows and toured. Paul later moved and we met Justin. A couple months later we recorded our first EP and the three of us have been playing/writing/touring together ever since.
Q3 – How would you describe your sound.
Loud, intense, heartfelt, sincere, raw, roaring...
Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.
There are so many, and honestly that question has answers that can go back as far as what our first experience with music was. We are all shaped very individually by music, from classic rock bands of the 70's that our parents were listening to, over to metal, hardcore and punk, to hip hop, jazz, country, etc. Honestly it's all over the map for all three of us when it comes to music, bands and artists that have directly influenced us.
Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.
We all have regular full time jobs, at the end of the day it's probably what keeps us the most grounded. Will is a web design/dev guy, Justin is a drafter, Adam is a truck driver.
Q6 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.
Yes, absolutely. The support of friends, family, loved ones and peers is an essential part of it.
Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.
It's a group effort, but sometimes one of us has a riff or a specific idea and we'll bring it to the group and it goes from there. Most of the time we work together and collaborate on various ideas and arrangements. We practice at home in our basement so it makes playing any time we want very accessible. We often play together 3-4 times a week, sometimes more.
Q8 – Your recent EP – Buried In The Gray – has received a whole load of praise from the Sludge/Stoner Metal Brotherhood. Bet your pleased with the response so far.
It's a big compliment to know that, it's always really nice when anyone enjoys what you're doing artistically. We're really happy that people are listening and really appreciate the kind words.
Q9 – Your Debut Demo alerted to me how great your band actually is. But Buried In The Gray just blew it out of the water. It was heavier, better written and better produced. Was it a more harder record to make.
Thanks! It wasn't so much about it being harder to make as it was more about it being the right time to make it. We met Justin in November of 2011, played our first show with him one month later, then a month after that we recorded the EP. After our first drummer moved we tried out a couple drummers, it was a difficult process, we had to say no to a lot of great musicians and friends, but we also wanted it to be right and feel right. We had to be patient. We met Justin and he was into what we were doing, pretty soon after everything fell into place for the EP. The potential was there all along, but having the right drummer come in and take things to another level, to bring everything to life was what was really special about that experience.
Q10 – You also got Buried In The Gray released on Vinyl. How did that come about.
From the beginning we knew we wanted the EP to be on vinyl, although going about it led to a few options. In the end the manifesto by our friends in Made in China Records (White Orange, Black Pussy) says it all: "We are a collective of musicians and artists come together to create movement and produce boundary-dissolving music to share with the galaxy. We are committed to the idea that music and art are forever. No one remembers their first download. Most, however, remember their first record purchase or theft. We provide limited run, high quality vinyl and other mediums for people to gawk at and be liberated by." (http://madeinchinarecords.com)
Q11 – How did you get Adam Pike to produce the record as well. He has produced some great bands such as Red Fang, Norska and White Orange.
Adam Pike was the engineer behind the record, we met him through his band White Orange and were really excited by all of the records he had made. He was supportive throughout and made recording really painless. All of us thought highly of the experience we had working with him. Look him up online, he has a huge list of awesome bands he's worked with at Toadhouse Recording Studios in Portland, Oregon. (http://toadhouserecording.com)
Q12 - Is there a scene for bands like yourself to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.
There's a great scene in Seattle for bands, and even more importantly there's a lot of support in bringing the scene together and making shows possible. You really don't have to go very far at all in Seattle to book a show or to find some great bands to play with.
Q13 – Have you toured with anyone famous. If so, who were your fave bands to tour with.
(Laughs) No, we haven't toured with anyone, but I mean for sure we would love to go out on the road with another band, and let's be honest, we dream up stuff like that from time to time, and if it happens one day awesome, but right now it's just us booking the tours ourselves and going from there. If that were to change one day we would gladly welcome it.
Q14 – What is the live Serial Hawk experience like.
For us it's a pretty intense experience, but in the end we hope to give people something that is sincere. We play with everything we have, so for us it's intense, there's emphasis on energy and a saturated presence. When we play live we're almost transformed in a way because of the energy in the moment, we get sucked into this place where we're really entrenched in what we're doing. There's a lot of feeling behind it. We play this music that we care about so much, so there's a lot of emotion involved that's being drawn out from each of us individually. The energy is so much more amplified. We tend to get somewhat lost in the music when we're playing live. We hope the listener feels that and experiences some of that as well.
Q15 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom/Post-Rock/Post-Metal.
The three of us have various collections of music, but some of our favorites at the moment would be Norska, Yob, Lord Dying, Mico de Noche, X Suns, Ancient Warlocks, Samothrace, TAD, Lesbian, Grenades, Smooth Sailing, Akimbo, Sandrider, Helms Alee, .... we listen to a wide variety, not just all things heavy, but mostly.
Q16 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags at home or around the world?
It's great if someone cares enough to listen to your music let alone write about it and share that with an audience. We're grateful for that attention no matter who it comes from or how it's delivered. There's a lot of great people writing and supporting each other locally here in Seattle. Nik Christofferson and the Seattle Rock Guy Blog, our friends at The Stranger and their music blog Line Out, and our friend James Ballinger who runs an awesome zine called The Seattle Passive Aggressive. So there's a lot of local support that features a ton of great bands and people in the area.
Q17 – What is your view of bands and blogs giving away music for free. Lot of bands and people have different perspectives.
I think we're all fairly comfortable with blogs sharing music or bands selling it or giving it away. We know how much time, money and hard work go into an artist creating not only their art but whatever outcome that form of art happens to be in the end. Being mindful of that and respectful to that can only lead to being supportive of each other and that is a huge part of being able to continue that creative process.
Q18 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.
You have the uncertainty of failure but at the same time it is what you make it, so therefore if you go about it in a positive light, with all in, you're bound to receive fruits of your labor. We love making music, we love recording and playing shows. Creating music for others to hear whether that be live and in person, on their stereo across town or on their turntable across the country. Having someone listen to your music and enjoy it is very rewarding.
Q19 – Do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.
We're going on tour in March and we will be going on tour periodically throughout the year. We're writing a lot of new music right now and hope to make a record later this year. We're still ironing out some details regarding where exactly we want to record it and where it will go from there, but the music is coming together and we're really happy with it.
Q20 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans
Thank you for listening and for your support!
Another great interview from an excellent band who I rate very highly indeed. Thanks to the guys for their time. All the best for the future. Let's hope they will release another brilliant record this year.