The following is an interview between The Hawk In Paris and Ian Zandi. Lead vocalist Dan Haseltine (also of Jars of Clay) was kind enough to respond to a few questions via email about the pop-synth band. Be sure to check out their new single “Frozen Heart”.
IZ: Hello! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Why don’t you start us off by telling us about how The Hawk In Paris was formed? What does the band name mean?
DH: We started The Hawk In Paris as an experiment. Matt Bronleewe and I had set aside some time to collaborate on some songwriting. Having been friends since college, we had both kept an eye on the music we were each making in our respective paths. As we began to write, it became apparent that the chemistry that had birthed many of the early Jars of Clay songs was still potent. We brought in Jeremy Bose after writing a song called, “Curse the Love Songs”. Jeremy had also been a friend since college. We both knew him as an incredibly talented writer and producer, and felt like his instincts for lush synth-based pop music would serve the songs well. Every time we would gather something inspiring would come out of the speakers. After a short while we decided to make it official and give the experiment a name. Matt had stumbled across the cover art for an album by Coleman Hawkins, and we decided to call the band, The Hawk In Paris.
IZ: What is the band’s goal? Is it for artistic expression, spiritual meaning, or something else completely?
DH: We love making music. Since we all have a mutual respect for the various influences we all bring to the creative conversation, we have had little expectation beyond surprising ourselves with a great vibe or a cool noise, or a beautiful song. We don’t really think of ourselves as a band. We love the textures and moods that we can create using electronic and dance music as the base. It is such an innovative genre’ that allows nearly unlimited ways to make great music. We often just follow the mood of the noises or the beats and see how they draw a lyric out of us.
IZ:The Hawk In Paris was recently signed to MP45 Records. Along with that, the band released a new song called “Frozen Heart”. What is the meaning behind that song?
DH:The music of The Hawk In Paris has always orbited around the melancholy shape of love. Our songs have lived in the space where hearts are freshly wounded and broken. Near the outer rings of those broken hearted laments are topics like, unrequited love, or toxic love, or relationships that simply fails to satisfy our need in those moments. “Frozen Heart” is about love that makes us feel invigorated and alive, all the while, destroying us from the inside. It is about the wrong person at the right time.
IZ: MP45 Records focuses on releasing singles rather than albums. Is this because you believe that albums are a dying medium? Perhaps it is simply more practical to release singles?
DH: When we began working together we had all been doing a lot of observing and wondering with regard to the ways music was being consumed or experienced, and we came to recognize that the cycle of releasing albums with nine or ten songs and then touring for a couple years and then doing it all again was becoming a tired paradigm. Since we were not concerned with touring, we decided it would be best to just release more music throughout the year. So we began by releasing the His+Hers EP, and followed it up with the FREAKS EP a few months later. By the time both of those releases were out, we had more songs available for people than if we had released a traditional record album. But we kept getting responses from fans saying how much they loved our music and when would we be releasing the full length LP. So we took the best of the EP’s and added a couple new songs and that was how the FREAKS LP happened. Now, as we have been working on new music and thinking about what is next, we wanted to experiment again with the concept of releasing music throughout the year. MP45 Records seemed like they would have an innovative approach to releasing music, so we signed a two single deal with them.
IZ: Are there any more plans for more music in the future? Will we see a shift in musical direction?
DH: There are always plans for more music. We have the luxury of not spending hours upon hours in some kind of touring vehicle to build resentments or any kind of displeasure being around each other. We have fun, and there is almost no pressure beyond our own desire to create something worth the attention it takes to listen. Musically, we will evolve and innovate. Our roots are our roots, and they will dictate to some extent, the palette we use, or how far from it we will explore.
IZ: Any plans to tour The Hawk In Paris? If so, what would that look like?
DH: We have no plans to tour The Hawk In Paris. We are all fans of live music. And even more, we are fans of spectacle. Live performance has gotten into a stuck place. The major innovations have been left to the groups and artists or dj’s with thicker wallets. Video mapping and visually mind-blowing technologies are rarely available to the musical middle class. I think we would be more excited to tour if we knew we could collaborate with the top minds in the field to build something so immersive and brilliant that people could lose themselves for a few hours…
IZ: What are some things that inspire you the most? (Books, movies, people, music, transparent fluids that 70% of the Earth’s surface, etc)
DH: I am inspired by questions. I don’t have much time for answers these days, nor do I have much time for people who think they have answers to the bigger questions of life. I like the wondering and exploring that mystery allows… it is so much more fun than trying to create from a particular answer. I do feel like we are living in a spectacular point in history. Our world is opening up like a Science Fiction novel. The context for so many dialogues in the fields of medicine, travel, community, and humanity are bound to ideas and concepts that I would never have even dreamt of when I was a child beginning my first piano lessons. It does not take long to find something worth skipping a heartbeat over.