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Dave Hause is the Jack Kerouac of music

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Dave Hause follows in the footsteps of great American icons like Jack Kerouac and James Dean; he is truly a rebel on the road. Chasing the daunting hope of success and happiness while respectfully and wholeheartedly rejecting the societal norms and pitfalls of contemporary music.

Photo by Jen Maler

Photo by Jen Maler

Constantly on the road and constantly inspired by everything he hears, as a teenager Dave found his niche for playing music through punk bands in his hometown of Philadelphia. After years of playing with acts such as The Loved Ones and Paint It Black, Dave branched off in order to start recording solo albums. He released his second solo album last year entitled Devour, which solidified his singer/songwriter role.

This is what Dave had to say.

Photo by Mike Drzal

Photo by Mike Drzal

What was the first song that really made you fall in love with music?

Oh yaaa, that was probably “All These Zombies” by a band called The Hooters in Philadelphia. I had listened to lots of music as a kid but around the age of eight I discovered The Hooters. They were a local Philadelphia pop band that had some national success and due to their catchiness and their ubiquity around Philadelphia I was very very taken with them, and that was probably the first time.

Having played in a lot of bands and currently being on a successful solo run, do you prefer playing with a band or solo?

I prefer the freedom to do both. I recorded the record the way it was supposed to sound, that is with a mostly full band, there will be shows that we do that way but for now the idea was just to get to as many places and sing the songs as intimate a way as close to the way I wrote them originally. It’s kind of nice to have that freedom to do both. I really do get bored easily and its good to stay challenged.

Do you think it’s easier to write when you’re by yourself or in a band?

That depends on the alchemy of the band. I do like the challenge of writing songs on my own, I wrote all these songs by myself and I feel good about the way they turned out. It is sometimes nice to have someone to collaborate with, to bounce ideas back and forth. But sometimes it does water down the view, it can have either effect, it just really depends on who you’re collaborating with. Sometimes you get something that’s greater than expected and sometimes you get a really hokey line that your friend was demanding end up in the song. It really just depends.

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What do you think about when you’re writing songs? Do you have to be sad to write a sad song?

Nooo, no, no, no, certainly not, no I think that you don’t necessarily have to be caught up in that specific emotion to do the craft of writing. You can tap into that kind of thing, the craft of it is something you learn as you go along. You figure out what works and what doesn’t for you and you’re always studying other song writing and paying attention. You don’t have to be sad or angry to write a sad or angry song, you don’t have to be happy to write a happy song. You just have to know how to write.

What kind of music influences the stuff that you write?

Oh all kinds of music, everything from Slayer to Neko Case, to Kanye West. I listen to all kinds of music, there’s no specific genre or band that would win out over others.  I just love music and I’m always inspired by it.

How does Ottawa compare to anywhere else in the world that you have played?

1557671_606736902731664_2069970338_nI like Ottawa. It’s got a beautiful falafel restaurant called King Shwarma, it’s my favourite falafel in the entire world. There’s a red paste, it’s a hot paste that they put on the falafel that makes me wild. I’m looking very forward to having that King Shwarma when I get there. That alone is a reason to get to Ottawa, not to mention all the other lovely things about it.

In your opinion what is the most important part of writing an album?

Just songwriting to me. It’s very important to pay attention to all kinds of details but I do think that if you have great production and great players and terrible songs, the record can’t be saved. You can have shit production and a terrible studio and an engineer that’s half asleep and if you have great songs they will cut through and people can relate to that.

What has been your best experience recording in a studio?

Ya, this experience was the best one yet. I was dealing with people that are very very good at what they do and it was a real joy and pleasure to work with all of them. They all played expertly and recorded expertly and had great suggestions. It was very painless to actually make the record. The songwriting process was a lot more difficult and a lot harder and a lot more emotionally taxing but the record making, the recording of it was a joy. Very very good experience.

Why do you say that the songwriting process was much more difficult?

Well it’s a heavy record. There’s a lot of themes of loss and frustration, it was hard to come up with a silver lining for the record. I was really trying to figure out where I come from and where I’m at and where I’m trying to go. In order to do that I did a lot of mining of deep wells of emotional… troubling stuff that I went through in life. It was nice to get into the studio and have it just go without a whole lot of hitches.

Did you figure it out? Where you’re going, who you are.

For now were going to Halifax, then we’ll be in Ottawa ha ha. That’s as much as I’ve figured out. But no, it was cathartic to write, it always is. I’m happy with the way Devour turned out. I’m excited to be playing the songs for whoever’s coming out to these shows, there’s been audiences who are appreciating the work kind of all over the world, which is a trip and I’m honoured to have that happening. That’s not lost on me, it’s really exciting.

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This is not your first tour with Matthew Goud as Northcote and I understand that you have been friends for years, what makes you guys get along so well?

We have similar backgrounds. Despite [the fact that] we grew up in very different parts of the world, he’s from Saskatchewan and I’m from Philadelphia but we both came up listening to a lot of the same songwriters and we both got influenced by punk rock and kind of cut our teeth learning to play music in punk bands. We both were raised religiously and for the most part rejected it or at least are super critical of a lot of the things that we were taught. And were both pretty committed to what we do in a really singular way. We both do a lot of solo work, without bands we just get out and do it with a guitar or whatever. We’re sort of singer/songwriters playing in a rock vein. We like lots of melody, we like a lot of the same soul music, a lot of the same punk music. Matt’s a great guy, he’s very good-natured and we like to have a goof, sit around and have laughs and things. That friendship started when we did a cross Canadian tour in 2009 and here we are flash forward- we’re both two records in and doing it again in a way that we can really measure a lot of growth, and that’s exciting. It’s cool to be doing it together.

You have had a successful career as a musician, are you happy with where you are now?

That’s an interesting question because I think the odd thing about “are you happy with where you are,” is that you need to find contentedness and balance to not drive yourself crazy, but in order to do what we do, you have to have a pretty high level of ambition. You have to set goals, you try to meet those goals and then you set higher goals. For instance, if we sell a show out in a particular venue we go up to a bigger size, or if you sell X amount of records you want to sell a little more the next time you put one out. So yes, I feel very fortunate to do this kind of work. I feel very fortunate to have an audience, but I’m looking to always expand that. You do want continued success in what you do just because it is the straw that stirs the whole drink, its what puts gas in the tank and gets us to Halifax or Ottawa or London or wherever, Tokyo. It’s part of the equation.

The past few years vinyl has been making a screamin’ come back, how do you feel about the resurgence of vinyl?

Well I don’t feel anyway about it other than its nice that people want a recorded piece of music in their hands because it does help things. But I’m not a purist about vinyl this or mp3 that or whatever. To me a song usually stirs a feeling and the fidelity of the recording is important. Its good to get it on a good format and hear it the way that we sort of intended, in the studio, but im not doing any special jumping jacks over vinyl. It’s cool. It’s cool that people like it.

What are your plans for 2014? What do you want to do this year?

Well 2014, that’s the one were in right? The plan is we gotta do this tour, this tour goes clear till April 7th, so that’s a big chunk there and then back to Europe for festivals, and then just heavy touring. I’m writing already the next two records, I would like to get in the studio maybe this year to do some work on at least one of them, but really it just depends on how much touring we can do. I’d like to do some full band work on this record. Ya so a lot of festivals in summer season than some more North American work in the fall. You know just touring, making music, same thing really year in year out is what the goal is, keep the creativity going and get music to the crowds.

What do you love about music?

Everything.

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Don’t miss Dave Hause in Ottawa on Sunday February 2nd with Northcote.

Interview and words by Griffin Elliot

Pictures taken from the Internet

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