Interview by www.musicboxunwinds.co.uk
MBU: How’s Your Process? (Work) was released in July and How’s Your Process? (Play) was released in September. What made the band decide to split it into two releases?
Jonathan Hischke: There were a few reasons why we did that, first was that we ended up with a few more songs than we could fit on a regular length album. It was important to us not to have a relese that was too long, you know? We didn’t want to over do it. We grew up with the attitude that an album should be a certain length. The music we grew up with was before hour long CD’s and four hour streaming albums. We had this idea that we wanted it to be a reasonable length and make sure it could fit onto a vinyl album. We ended up with too many songs and our songs are long, this batch seemed to be longer than most. We tried to figure out a way to make it work and all we could come up with were eight song sequences for a single album and we couldn’t figure out, as a band, what to leave out. That was a difficult thing to decide what to put on and what to leave out. There were some questions about what order things should be in. A suggestion I came up with was to split them up into two album. There were alot of reasons for us doing it that way.
We thought it would be nice to have the release of these albums be over a few months instead of all at the one time, just to extend the life of the albums. We are precious about our time and what we can do with the band, we figured if we could have a few more months of being in people’s conciousness, then all the better (laughs)
MBU: It gives the fans something else to look forward to soon after the first release.
JH: That too, i think really the main part was we didn’t want to be overwhelming with one long album. That exhausts me when someone gives me too much to chew on all at once.
MBU: I couldn’t believe the difference between Work and Play, Play had a darker side ti utm was it deliberate to have two completely different sounds or was it just natural?
JH: They were all created at different times, we hadn’t really thought about it being two separate feelings, but it did end up that way, I feel it too. I think it was more along the lines of we had songs that you could hear as opening songs and closing songs. I remember being on the way to the cafe to meet with the rest of the band and discuss what we were going to do. As part of my pitch about doing it as two six song records, I made a quick tracklisting off the top of my head. I think I came up with the first one, what ended up being the Work side first. When I presented it, I feel like we only changed a couple of things about those tracklistings that I initially came up with. Those just kind of ended up being what it was. I think it was more we had songs we thought would be good to start an album with and to end an album with. It came together pretty quickly when we decided we would have two releases. It wasn’t meant to be a lighter and a darker sides of the coin, even though it ended up that way.
I feel like the second was is more raw and direct, whereas the first one is more atmospheric and catchy. It’s important to us to represent all of it.
MBU: The last track on Play is a track called “Anger”, it’s very different from any of your other songs. What was the writing process like for that and was it strange to kind of take a step back since its mainly just Josh and a piano?
JH: That’s one that Josh brought to the table complete, i remember him sitting down saying “I want to show you this”. He was playing piano, he had the chords, the vocals, the lyrics, everything. Which he tends to do sometimes, he’ll show up with something done, other times he’ll throw out an idea or someone will through out an idea and we’ll work on it as a band, we have a few different ways of doing it. But that one he done and had it in mind from the get go to have it the way it is, with the string section. It was a pleasure to work on it and explore. It came together very quickly, I suppose because he knew the way he wanted it to sound, we each added different little bits and pieces to it. His vocals and the strings are the stars of the show on that one.
MBU: In the new albums it definitely sounds like you’ve became more comfortable as a band, You can all expirement with your own instruments and come together beautifully. Do you think the big gap between Inhibition and the How’s Your Process? albums helped give you more time to settle in?
I think absolutely, we also had alot of time, we all did alot of other music. We finished recording Inhibition by the time Josh got asked to be in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in certain ways it’s like a lifetime ago since we made that record – alot has happened in everyone’s lives. It kind of became a thing our time as a band became more precious because we didn’t have as much. Schedules were a little tighter in getting together so we maybe took advantage of the time better and appreciated it more, worked harder this time round. I think the time off the band and doing other things did help form the new song.
MBU: With you all being session musicians and working within so many genres, do you think that helps gives Dot Hacker such a unique and diverse sound?
JH: I certainly hope so, I feel that is the case. I think its kind of remarkable atleast in this day and age to have a band that is full of musicians, who are professionals this way. Who have careers playing all different types of stuff, I don’t think it happens that much nowadays because I don’t know if there’s that many people who work in the industry in this way, as maybe in the past. It is unique in that way and I hope that it influenced the sound of the band. It’s also interesting because I feel like the band is a kind of place that we can get to do stuff that we want to do and play the way we want to play, rather than adhering to other people’s ideas of what we should be doing or serving someone else’s vision. We get to play what we want to play, I think we take advantage of that. I think we all feel very fortunate to play with so many different people, at the same time it’s nice to have the balance.
MBU: You all have insane schedules, does it feel as if it’s getting in the way or do you like to keep busy?
JH: We like to keep busy but yeah, sometimes it feels overwhelming. Sometimes you don’t want to get out of bed and go play music with people, which is wierd thing to say because that’s what we do, that’s our passion and has been our whole lives. It’s a very fortunate position that we get to do this as much as we do.
MBU: You’re going on tour with Blonde Redhead next week, what can people expect to see/hear and is this the start of many other tours?
JH: We’ve been working on coming up with live renditions of some of these new songs and that’s been the biggest challenge so far, making them portraying the things we want them to portray. Alot of these songs we came up with, the way we rehearsed them and the way they came out recorded are two very different things by the end of the process. We ended up with alot more layers, parts and went different ways than expected. Revisiting them and trying to figure out what to do with them live is always kind of fun and a puzzle to figure out. We’d need five more people on stage to hit the marks but I think it’s a little more raw and rocking than they are on the record but we’ve been working on that and dusting off the old songs too. I think it’s a pretty short set since we’re the supporting act but we’re really anxious about it, we can’t believe how fortunate to get to tour with Blonde Redhead. I don’t know if we could pick a more complimentary band for us to tour with. We are very excited about playing with them and playing for people that might not know us. I hope they can get something out of our set too (laughs).
There’s been alot of interest in some of these facebook pages and people in Europe and we’d love to get there too and play. It’s just trying to find the right opportunity and time too to do it.
MBU: Dot Hacker was already formed when Josh was asked to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers, were any of you worried about the future of Dot Hacker?
JH: Oh yeah, very much. Not that it would ever not be a band, I think that our friendship is such that I can’t really see how it would end. Even if we lived on opposite ends of the world, we would still find a way to do it just cause we’re so close and we enjoy it so much. It was a huge concern when he joined but when he was thinking about joining the band, he didn’t even join right away, he thought it through, he gave it consideration before he said yes. We talked about it quite abit at that time and tried to figure out how he’d be able to do both and he was very confident that he could. He wanted to make sure he could do both bands and so we went with it and I’m glad we did.
MBU: What do the next few months and into 2015 have instore for Dot Hacker?
JH: Well, we’re working right now, we’ve had a little more time than I thought we would so we’re working pretty hard on getting a new batch of songs together. We’ve already started recording some of them and we’re hoping to get some more recorded, as much as we can get done before Josh gets intense with the Chili Peppers’ schedule. We’re just taking advantage of any time we have together in this band right now. Josh is working really hard, he’ll be at a Chili Peppers rehearsal and then run over to ours then go home and work some more. We’re going to play more shows, there’s a few things that just came up today, we’re looking at maybe playing a few more shows and doing this tour and recording . I think we’re going to be playing atleast a song or two brand new ones on the Blonde Redhead tour. Even newer than the ones that are on the new record.
MBU: Anything you’d like to say to those reading to wrap things about?
JH: I’d like to say to you,particularly, that I really appreciate how much you’ve championed our band. As long as I’ve known you, through social media, you’ve always been so supportive, so kind in your words, that really means alot.
MBU: That really means alot, thank you!
JH: There’s bands who reach out and touch alot of people, that people connect to in a big way and that’s great, they belong to alot of people. That’s something really specialy that alot of artists might have. Really, I think, it might be better, instead of reaching out and kinda being alot of people’s sort of favourite band to really reach out to a few people who truly connect and understand the music. There’s a few people around the world, I tend to do all the checking on the social sites, I get to see all those comments being made and there’s a few people that come up over and over saying constructive things about the band and it’s obvious it means alot to them and that is the best thing in the world, to have those people. I want to say that to you, thank you for that.
As far as anything else to finish up the interview, we do hope, we say it all the time and it probably sounds like bullshit at this point, we do really want to come to Europe and play. We’d love to, we’re going to try and figure out a way to do that, hopefully before Josh has to go do the other band. It is important for us to do that. I gues, I’d like to just thank everyone for being interested in what we do. It’s great, it means alot.