A Chat With In Hearts Wake

Words by Angela Christian-Wilkes.

Angela had a great chat with Jake from In Hearts Wake about their new album, their past and of course, their funny tour stories. 

Congratulations on the success of Divination. It’s been a very busy few months for you guys, so stepping back and looking from the outside in, how does it feel to know your music is out there and people are loving it?

It’s awesome! It’s awesome to create something in the bedroom, and have it grow and share it with everyone. Sometimes you do forget, but it’s really, really good. Honestly changing people’s lives – that sounds way too naïve – but you know, people are influenced by it and they like what they’re hearing, and hopefully get something more than just a song that gets stuck in their head.

So you recorded the album in America?

Yep, we recorded it in Michigan. Central America, USA, right in the middle on the border of Canada.

Did the change of setting influence your approach to writing in any way?

Michigan is quite industrial, to be honest, so there isn’t a lot of nature and things like that. We were mainly in a room everyday. We’d wake up, half an hour to eat and shower, then we’d get driven to the city, then we’d be there until the night, come back, eat, go to sleep, do it all over again. So, to be quite honest, we didn’t get to see that much of what was out there in the world, and most of the songs were already written. It was good that we were so far from our comfort zone though. Some of the boys have girlfriends and families and their jobs, away from any distractions, so that definitely helped us focus. That element was really good. But as far as the culture of America goes, it didn’t really influence us.

What music were you listening to when you started writing the album?

Ooh, thinking back now. We wrote it over the course of a year, so definitely lots of artists that were listening to over the course of that. A lot changes in a year. It’s hard to pinpoint one, to be quite honest. We listen to all different music. Some of us listen to Flume, another guy listens to classical, so lots of different elements to bring it all together. Volumes were a band that came out around the time we were writing. It didn’t exactly influence our writing but we love what that band did. That’s a tricky question.

Each track off Divination is based around a tarot card. Was the plan to do this, and what brought about the focus on tarot cards?

Originally, when we went into the studio, we already knew this plan was going to happen. When we started writing each song, it wasn’t there quite yet. It was at the end of the music, being created in the lyrics, the intertwining of it all, that I sort of got this idea, my mum being a tarot reader. I guess I got inspired- I got inspired through her, that I could evolve each song around a tarot card, the essence of it. So, it’s all different stories each song, and each song relates to a tarot card. So yeah, it came into effect the last few months leading up to the studio, and it just evolved more from that, and it really got to channel those cards and bring out lines and parts that would emulate them more.

You’re going on a national tour very soon. What for you, makes a great show for both the band and the punters?

So we’re doing the Survival tour, starts next week. I guess what I would love is just- honestly doesn’t matter about attendance too much – it’s all about the people that come are there for the music, and they’re there to sing along, bop their heads, and be left with a feeling of joy and happiness, that they enjoyed themselves. And if they’re enjoying themselves – whether it 50 or 400 – well, we’re going to enjoy ourselves as well. So I think that’s the main thing; for everyone to have a good time.

On your recent tour with Northlane, you toured regional parts of Australia. What was the response like in these towns?

On these shows we hit towns that, I think, about 80% of them don’t get shows, unless it’s like a Parkway regional sick summer tour. So a lot of those towns – I don’t want to say neglected, because it’s obviously hard for bands to get out there – but they were very very stoked on us, appearing in their towns. Whether the kids knew about the bands before the shows were booked, I’m not sure, but they definitely made an effort to learn words, to check out both In Hearts Wake and Endless Heights, and of course Northlane. Responses were awesome.

It was not what we were expecting, which was a tumbleweed and a few horses in the desert. The minimum turn out was like, 80 or 90 in some middle-of-nowhere towns; the bigger shows were like 150 to 200 kids, which is fantastic, I reckon.

Your hometown, Byron Bay, is a pretty small community. Did you experience anything similar as kids, and did this influence how you approached the shows?

I think it depends what small town you’re from. I guess that the town we’re a part of, ByronBay, the locals are very strong and prideful about ByronBay because it’s such a beautiful place. We get tens of thousands of tourists that bus along through, throughout year. Some treat the place like shit, to be honest. Others are just like “Wow, no way! You live here, like you actually live here?! This is the promised land,” basically.

What it does for a band like us, I guess… it was tricky at first. When you have a big hardcore scene, people think that once a month there is a show and you can’t play every month, obviously. And travelling to the nearest city is three hours away. So when big tours would come through we wouldn’t get the local support in Brisbane, because we’re not from Brisbane, so that was tough. We did a lot of travelling and it made us appreciate, I guess, going to the city, see all the chaos and what happens in a city, and be able to be away from it in this beautiful area, and have the natural elements inspire us. We create video clips as you’ve probably seen and do something a little bit different.

Do you have any funny or odd tour stories?

We do funny things, I guess. We don’t really play pranks on any bands or anything like that. We’re generally a pretty safe band to tour with!

As far as fun goes, on that tour we just did, the Worldeater tour, the regional tour, I asked our tour manager to find a nature spot every day. Something new, something fresh. So we would be at the shows asking kids “Hey, do you know where we can swim?” You know, in the middle of summer, you’re out in the desert, it gets pretty hot. So we found local waterholes and we would take Northlane.

That was one of the best tours because of that innocent mentality of being somewhere new everyday, whether it was swimming or finding a massive crater in Mount Gambier. It was things like that and that’s what makes the best tours the best.

Yeah, you want to see things as well… 

That’s right. You don’t just want to see the inside of a van and the inside of a venue and your accommodation. You wanna live a little, you know? It makes it all so much more memorable and enjoyable.

Do you think if you went back to America, or you toured internationally, you would do the same thing again?

Definitely. 100%. See as much as possible. Not tire ourselves out, but I think nature is actually quite relaxing, it’s not like going to Disneyland and going on a million rollercoasters. Which would be fun, but it would be spending money, getting exhausted from being out all day. Whereas just going to a waterfall where a local has pointed you in the right direction, not guaranteed and it’s something quite special.

The Australian hardcore scene comes across as incredibly tight knit. What do you love about the scene?

It’s tightknit, as you say, it’s definitely apparent. I guess there’s just no real beef in Australia. I mean, over the years, I don’t know whether it’s real or not but I’ve seen and heard of all kinds of conflict in bands; this guy not liking this guy. I guess America is much larger than Australia, but Australia has this very harmonious way of accepting bands for trying new things. And even if you don’t like the music of a band, per se, you’re still allowed to love the guys and love them for what they’re trying to do. You know what I mean? You don’t have this, “If you’re Christian, we’re not friends”, or “You’re straightedge,” you know what I’m talking? It’s very accepting and it’s very humble in that approach. It’s an awesome thing that Australia has.

I didn’t know that, but I know it now!

Yeah! At least in the bands that we have toured with, so I only speak from experience. You know, UNFD bands, even unsigned bands, everyone’s just so friendly, so friendly. Happy.

Finally for my last question, you started in the industry at a young age. Do you have any advice to hand down to young musicians following in your footsteps?

Well… We all started playing music quite young. And none of us were just born with the talent of Beethoven. We just saw love for the music and wanted to cultivate a talent. And the biggest thing I could pass down to anyone is don’t be disheartened by not being able to play your favourite song the first time on a guitar. Stick with it. And if you don’t think you’ll be able to do it, go seek the guidance of a teacher. Where there’s a rule there’s a way, basically.

Stick to it and pick up an instrument and get creative, because music is really there to get something out, to get out a passion and voice and a feel. Every kid should have that opportunity.

Check out Divination by In Hearts Wake.