His Name Is Alive Interview

Written by Jesse Edwards on Mon, 9 Feb 1998 12:35:24 -0500.


I have just joined the 4-AD mailing list, though I have been a 4AD fan for many years. I have always been hesitant to join mailing lists because of the major amounts of spam usually received. With that, I would like to add a bit of productiveness to the list and post an interview I did with Warren of HNIA just a few days ago. It was conducted right after a show in Ann Arbor , MI with Velour100(Trey Many - Guitar\Writing) and Outrageous Cherry(Very Very Cool) The interview is targeted for a magazine from Toledo, OH that my friends and I put together called Quirk! I haven't written an introduction yet so if you do not know who HNIA is, then it might not make sense ... I was just kind of proud how well the interview turned out and wanted to share it with others who might appreciate it ... I would appreciate any comments or criticisms sent to me directly ... So here goes the cut and paste ...

Warren: Start out with an easy one, because after we play for a while I feel I kind of bang my head around like a boxer and can?t think very straight afterwards.

Quirk! Okay. Explain your musical background.

Warren: That?s very easy. When I was young we would go to Canada to my grandpa?s house. And he always played in a band and he always had instruments at his house and he taught me and my brothers country western, polkas, and waltzes. The bands he was into pretty much stopped playing music in the 50?s, so his song book was somewhat limited as far as current material, and as a child I was not really aware what was going on in the world of music. So in his big songbook there were a few rock and roll songs from the 50?s and those were the ones I liked. I didn?t like those country westerns and polkas. That wasn?t cool. Rock and Roll is what the kids really dig. I have been listening to those for years.

Quirk! Beatles songs?

Warren: Before the Beatles ? Like there was Elvis, Fats Domino stuff like that ... That was my first rock-a-billy phase.

Quirk! I would say that by listening to early His Name Is Alive albums that you went through a metal or hard rock phase.

Warren: That came a little bit later ? For many years I played in a band called Elvis Hitler, which was sort of punk rock and rock-a-billy. And there was like 3 or 4 albums.

Quirk! What label was that on?

Warren: A label called Restless, which was a division of Enigma.

Quirk! What do you think is probably the biggest misconception of His Name Is Alive?

Warren: It?s hard to say. A lot of people kind of take it real serious. We don?t necessarily take it real serious, which is ironic. Most the time I think big bands are more serious than people take them.

Quirk! I can understand that. It?s just kind of crazy that you make really high-quality recordings using a 4-track in your home. Do you still record with just a 4-track?

Warren: ... No.

Quirk! Oh, you upgraded?

Warren: ... No ... We have all kinds of stuff ... One of the things we record with is a reel-to-reel wire recorder. They had those in the 30?s. It has kind of an old-time sound.

Quirk! Cool ? Kind of gives you a vintage sound ... Yet, I would say that it seems like you recorded in a professional studio.

Warren: It?s a real mixture of trying to have fun, not be professional. At the same time, on the surface, make a living.

Quirk! So, is music your full-time job then?

Warren: Yes, not everyone in the band. A lot of times I?ll record other bands.

Quirk! Which brings me to my next question. What are some of the other bands that you have recorded and produced in your studio?

Warren: A recent one is a band called Run-On?s. I just did a remix for them.

Quirk! Liqourice?

Warren: Liqourice, Godzuki.

Quirk! Why do you think that His Name Is Alive is the area?s best-kept secret?

Warren: Because we aren?t really trying that hard. We aren?t on a big promotional kick. I think we have a good relationship with our record company where they don?t underestimate how many little kids are gonna buy our records. So we started doing our own thing and we made it this far.

Quirk! Do you hope people will feel a certain way when they listen to your music?

Warren: No. There are certain ideas that I got in there and sometimes they mean something to me; sometimes I feel certain things. For most part, there is no real message. Different people hear different things, which means different things to different people.

Quirk! How widespread is your fan base, and what is show attendance like?

Warren: Usually Michigan isn?t really good. Tonight worked out real good. In any big city we do really well. London, New York, Chicago.

Quirk! How has His Name Is Alive?s music changed over the years, and how has the response been to those changes?

Warren: There has not really ever been that many people buying His Name Is Alive albums where I have been afraid of alienating that audience. We can only go up. Since we are at the bottom. So as far as specific changes, it?s just gradually developing. Different moods. I am smarter now. Well maybe not ... It?s just natural progression. A lot of bands come up with one idea and stick with it for as long as they can, like MC5 or something, and somewhere down the line someone tries to change it and everything goes wrong.

Quirk! How has His Name Is Alive, in your opinion, found success while recording with equipment such as 4-tracks?

Warren: I don?t really think that we have found success. We kind of have our own kind of area in which we can do this. But like, for instance, there was a song we did for a soundtrack album, Jerry Maguire ? Great movie ... NO! But that song was recorded on a 4-track, and now that album has sold 900,000 copies. I have been trying to do a little research to find out what?s the highest selling record ever with songs recorded on a 4-track.

Quirk! You could possibly get in the Guiness book.

Warren: I think there might be a record in there somewhere.

Quirk! The theme of ?home? ... Home is in Your Head, Livonia, I Can?t Live at Home in this World Anymore ?

Warren: Home this, home that.

Quirk! We hear it on every record. What does it mean to you?

Warren: I think a lot of it stems from not really working outside of my house. I live in the same house I grew up in ... I was born a mile and a half down away from my house. I spend a good portion of my day there. Roughly 20 hours or more a day there ... I am very aware of that?

Quirk! In a good way? Bad way?

Warren: Both. I think anybody, though, like just people who work at home, like business people with offices in there home ? are just very aware of that.

Quirk! When can we expect the new album?

Warren: I made an edit tonight that I think is good. I think it?s done. I am supposed to mail it out on Monday, so maybe in the summertime. But its not really a summertime album, it is more winter. We started last January and finished this January.

Quirk! Do you have any ideas for the title yet?

Warren: No ... Home this, home that...

Quirk! What style can we expect the new album to sound like?

Warren: Top Secret.

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