Interview: Haste The Day

I cannot describe how excited I was when I heard that Haste The Day was coming to Belgium for the first time. They had been one of my favourite bands. I was quite disappointed that singer Jimmy Ryan had quit right before the tour and would be replaced. Luckily, replacement Stephen Keech was awesome and a few of my all-time favourite records followed with him doing the vocals. In 2011 – and to my big disappointment – Haste The Day decided to stop.

In the first half of 2014 Haste The Day did a few reunion shows in the U.S., but I didn’t care too much about that; I was in South Africa so what good did that do for us here? A few weeks ago however, the exciting news came that Haste The Day would be recording a new studio album in 2015 if they could raise sufficient funds for it. In ten days they reached the target goal of $65,000. A new album is coming and CULTURESHOCK had a chat about that with guitarist Brennan Chaulk.

CULTURESHOCK: In 2011 Haste The Day played its last show (until the reunion in 2014). Why did they quit? What was the reason you stopped two years earlier?

Brennan: I can’t speak for everyone that was still in the band but timing is everything. I know that when we started the band we talked about how when it stopped being fun and started being a “job” it was time to hang it up.

I decided to leave the band one month before my wedding. We had spent so much of the previous year on tour and overseas, that I wasn’t able to be a part of any planning or preparing. It was my time.

CS: What have been your greatest and your hardest moments with Haste The Day?

Brennan: I met my wife on the road. That has to be the top of the list. I could go on forever about greatest moments. I mean getting to go on our first tour was one of the greatest feelings ever, not to mention touring Europe, South Africa, Central America. We were so blessed throughout the lifespan of Haste The Day.

The hardest times were at the beginning although they were arguably the most exciting times, trying to scrape by for so long financially. Touring for months at a time and barely making ends meet. I remember looking for change on the floor of the van and in between the cushions so I could maybe buy a taco bell burrito in Little rock, Arkansas.

CS: Attack of the Wolf King is the only Haste The Day studio album you didn’t play the guitars and do the backings in. How did the sound change after your departure?

Brennan: I love Attack of the Wolf King. I was so jealous I didn’t get to be a part of it. Scotty (Whelan, guitar and Brennan’s replacement) is such an amazing guitarist and song writer. He and Stephen are such a great duo. So after I left I would say the music changed for the better for sure. Musically I am so excited to be teaming up with them so I can help add what little was missing on AOTWK. If anything AOTWK was missing, it was Mike (Murphy, bass) and my melodies. I am most excited about that part of the writing process.

CS: What are your favourite Haste The Day songs?

Brennan: My favorite songs to play are” Walls and Fear” (When Everything Falls) “68” (Dreamer) “Pressure the Hinges” and “White Collar” (Pressure the Hinges), and I would be lying if I said I didn’t love playing “When Everything Falls” (When Everything Falls). I love listening to “Chorus of Angels” (Pressure the Hinges) and all of “Attack of the Wolf King.”

CS: Haste The Day is planning to record a new album soon. How did you guys decide to go ahead with that after several years?

Brennan: Mike and Stephen were the guys who began the talks of making this happen. I think the wheels started turning after the 10 year reunion shows we played in Mexico City and Indianapolis. They asked if I would be interested in writing the record with the AOTWK line-up. Mike and I had often talked about how we wished we could have written together with this line-up, so to say the least I was ecstatic.

CS: What can we expect from the new album? Which new influences will be in it?

Brennan: That’s the same question I am asking myself right now. We are still in the beginning stage. Ask me this question next month and I will have a better answer for you.

CS: Is this an occasional reunion? Or what exactly are your plans?

Brennan: We are playing it by ear. The more we raise through this crowd funding the more we are able to do with it (more shows in more cities/countries). Right now we are focusing on writing the record and everything else will follow.

CS: You opted for crowd funding for the project. What are the advantages and challenges with that?

Brennan: The advantages are that our fans are in control and that gives us more freedom than ever. Disadvantages would include “what if nobody cares?” and “what happens if we don’t raise enough?” Luckily our fans have been amazing and we are fully funded so I don’t see a disadvantage at this point.

CS: Haste The Day has always had an explicit Christian character. Is that still the case? How does your Christianity shape the band?

Brennan: Our focus has always been and always will be to spread God’s love. We as humans beings let people down all the time. The one thing I can depend on is that God never does. I want to share that with the world and we have been given this platform to do it. I want to take full advantage of this opportunity.

CS: Final question. You can choose any 3 writers (any type of writers, not necessarily musicians) to contribute something lyrical to the album and any 3 artists to make a guest performance. Who would those people be and why? Oh, and one of the six needs to be a guilty pleasure.

Brennan: The three writers would be Dustin Kensrue (Thrice) for his brilliant/unique writing style, Michael Gungor (Gungor) because of his great worshipful lyrics, and Jesse Lacey (Brand New). I love the picture he paints lyrically.

The three artists I would want to give a guest appearance would be Nuno Pereira (A Wilhelm Scream). For Mike and me, A Wilhelm Scream is one of the favourite bands we ever had the pleasure of touring with. Then Bruce Fitzhugh of Living Sacrifice. They have been an early big influence for Haste The Day. I would be so stoked if he was on this record. And then for my guilty pleasure: Elle Goulding. This is where I drop the mic and walk away.

CS: Thanks. We look forward to the new album.