Since Letters To The President released in 2004, Hawk Nelson has been rocking fans across the world. With a great sense of humor, catchy pop/rock songs and powerful ballads, it’s no wonder they’ve made it this far. This Canadian four-piece has four full-length albums to its name, and is currently on the road for the “Awake & Alive Tour” with Skillet, Decyfer Down and The Letter Black. I caught up with Jason at one of the tour stops to ask a few questions. Read on to find out what he had to say about the newest record, and his answers to some of your questions!
What is your favorite song to sing in concert?
Right now my favorite song to since in concert would have to be “The Meaning of Life” or “Live Life Loud” because – well, we do this quite a lot. They’re new songs in our set so they’re still fresh and exciting to play, you know?
What foods do you miss most when you’re on the road?
You know what, it’s almost the opposite. Because I live in a healthy family so when I get on the road I get to eat Wendy’s and stuff and I feel pretty excited. So it’s just the opposite on that one!
What’s your favorite state to drive through?
Well, I do like the mountains so Colorado is always nice. But over here in the Adirondacks is really nice. Like when we were over here in New York a few days ago.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in a band?
Well you see, my dad is a house painter. All my brothers seem to work for him, so I’m probably just end up doing that.
What is your favorite band?
I have a lot of them, but I think my all-time favorite band from when I was in high school is Goldfinger. They’re from Los Angeles.
Where did the inspiration for the “Live Life Loud” music video come from?
I made up the video for Live Life Loud just in my head. I don’t know why, but I always thought it’d be fun to beat up old men. I know, it’s horrible. I’m a horrible person. But it’s still funny though. It’s sad.
Why does the album cover have a pug with glasses on the cover?
That pug is actually my dog, Murphy. It wasn’t even my idea. I was in home in Canada when one of the guys called me. They were like ‘Hey where’s Murphy?’ I’m like, ‘He’s at such and such place in Nashville.’ They were like, ‘Well can we get him ‘cause we want to put him on the record cover.’ I was like, ‘What?’ So we did that and the inside of the record is all 3-D. So that and the glasses kind of go hand in hand. And when you see a cute little dog on the front of the record you go “Awww,” and you’re kind of drawn into it, right?
What is the biggest prank you’ve ever pulled on tour?
The biggest prank was in New York a few years ago. We were on tour with Toby Mac and Audio Adrenaline and those are pretty big acts for us; we were like kids! I was trying to be a nice guy (but I really wasn’t, I was trying to actually be a jerk). I was going to help Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline with his bags. I was like “Hey let me throw them on your bus.” It was opening night of the tour so we didn’t know each other that well. He was like, “No dude, you don’t have to do that.” And I said, “No I will, I just want to help.” So he was like “Alright, it’s that bus right there. Just go throw our bags there.” Bit really our ulterior motives were to grab all the pillows off the bus and hide them in our trailer. So I took all their blankets, all their pillows and stuck them on our trailer. Fortunately for Audio Adrenaline and bad for the crew, he realized he pointed to the wrong bus. I had stolen all the crew guys’ pillows. That was a really rough tour for us for the next three months!
On the new record you have the hymn, “Tis So Sweet.” How did you pick that hymn?
‘Tis so Sweet was just a hymn that really says a lot to me. Growing up with the grandparents singing it to you. I researched the song a little big before we were recording it. I read the story of the lady who wrote the song. She lost her husband and for me on a personal note, If I was to lose someone close to me, the easiest thing would be to give up. But she didn’t give up. She pressed on she really pushed into God. From an outside point of view, it showed a lot of courage; courage that I lack. I want to be more like that person, rather than give up when something goes wrong. That song just really speaks a lot to me, and so we recorded it.
Is The Final Toast about a specific person?
Yes. I wrote that song last year when my grandfather passed away. It’s kind of my job in my family, when a member of my family passes away, I’m the guy that has to sing at the funeral. So rather than writing a somber song, I wrote a song that he would have enjoyed – a celebration of his life.
How was the writing process for this album?
I think we all enjoyed this record – we all enjoyed writing it. I tink of the last few records we’ve recorded we were given like six months to write and record a record. We’ve had these songs for quite a while, it was very stress-free. We recorded in Nashville with a friend of ours and it was an all-around good experience. It brought us closer as a band, we did some bonding and it was a fun process.
It’s been a while since you were a new band, at your first GMA Week and all excited. What would you say to a band that’s going to GMA Week for the first time?
You’ve got to enjoy it. You have to enjoy the attention people want to give you, because there’s going to come a time when people aren’t going to care about you anymore. So enjoy the attention while you can, and soak her up! That would be my advice. And have fun with it.
What’s in the future of Hawk Nelson?
We’re touring this record hard, and we’re writing for the 5th record!
What’s one question you’ve never been asked that you’d want to be asked, and the answer?
Who is my favorite person in Skillet? Oh, I’d have to go with John Cooper. I love that guy!