EMQ’s with VOLTAGEHAWK
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Nashville based Hard Rock band Voltagehawk. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Jarrad James: My name is Jarrad James, I play drums and am the band dad in Voltagehawk. This project actually started as a jam session. I was new to the Nashville rock scene and didn’t have a project, but I had tons of friends that seemed pretty disenchanted with all of the bands they were in. So, it started almost as a therapy session, a place where you could come and get away with stuff, play things out of your genre, break all the rules with no judgements, and no bullshit band infighting. It led to gathering pretty stellar dudes on the same page, and we started just doing what came natural, jamming genres together and writing bangers.
Chase Arocha: I’m Chase, I play lead guitar! Jarrad started it with some people, that lead to jamming with Dan. Then Tyler was asked to start playing with them. I filled in on bass for Tyler at one of their gigs and he told them I played guitar, so they asked me to join!
How did you come up with your band name?
Jarrad: I actually came up with this before starting the band, which was meant to just be a place for all my buddies in other bands to come jam and work on different genred fun things, then ended up being the main project. It started as an homage to some of my favourites that had the “something cool, something animal” name motif: Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Wolfmother. I also wanted our records in the same bin with Van Halen. I also wanted to pay homage to the main musical influence, which is the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 soundtrack, which plays AC/DC in the opening credits…so, High Voltage Rock and Roll. Tony Hawk. Voltagehawk. Those games, and the music in them, changed a lot of dudes’ lives and musical journeys.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Jarrad: USA. Much like everything else, we import everything and export not a whole lot, haha. We are trying to change that. At least we can be like a coveted American Muscle Car.
Chase: U.S.A. And at one point it was the biggest and best thing in Metal/Rock. Things have slowed down in recent years, but there are still incredible bands putting out music. It’s just more of a search than it used to be.
Dan Fenton: (Vocals/Guitar) ‘Merica, Both scenes need a big ole kick in the ass. I am tired of hearing the same old shit. That said the underground is looking promising. Bands like Howling Giant, Idles…
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
Jarrad: Our latest release is our lyric video for our debut single “Modern Gasoline”.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Jarrad: Hans Zimmer and Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtracks, Motorhead, Coheed and Cambria, Fugazi, Mastodon…and not always sonically.
Chase: Mike Patton, Ray Lynch, John 5, Zakk Wylde, Charles Mingus, just to name a few!
Dan: Movies. I think cinema and childhood trauma have fuelled me to write more than anything else. I love film scores and classical music. Hans Zimmer and Vangelis have been hugely influential on me the last few years.
What first got you into music?
Jarrad: It was either the drum fill for In In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins, or the intro to Money For Nothin’ by Dire Straits. Hard tie.
Chase: I had just moved to a super small town in central Florida at 13 and went to the YMCA. These girls were playing in a riot girl punk band on the gym floor screaming their heads off also around my age. I realized I wanted to do that.
Dan: A need to find myself at a very young age, amid a myriad of struggles. Music gave me purpose, drive and an overall desire to feel.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Jarrad: Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die on vocals/lyrics would be the pinnacle. He has the most versatile voice in loud rock/metal and his lyrics are beyond anything being done in modern music.
Chase: Reggie Watts and Tyler the Creator
Dan: IDLES, and Killer Mike from Run The Jewels. I love those artists and I love that they speak their minds and talk about real shit that matters.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Jarrad: I’m gonna go with the backyard favourite, Bonnaroo. It’s the wildest party, man. And always has great, even if few, metal and loud rock acts. It’s on our bucket list for sure.
Chase: Wacken seems like the coolest thing in rock and metal music right now. Great bands and tons of people!
Dan: I would love to play a festival in Japan. The Japanese seem like they really love rock music. I would gladly play in Europe and the UK again. I love the people of Europe.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Jarrad: We get a lot of weird bird themed gifts. Which we love.
Chase: Someone came up with an insanely realistic sketch drawing of me playing that they had drawn while watching the show.
Dan: A wedding proposal. I didn’t accept.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Jarrad: Memento Mori.
Chase: Love yourself.
Dan: Love yourself.
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Chase: Shawn Lane, one of the greatest players of all time taken too soon and plagued with health problems when he was alive, but he was absolutely incredible.
Dan: Anthony Bourdain.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Chase: When I was a kid, I was a loner who was bullied a lot. I always wished to be in a different world away from reality just to not feel so outcast. Music became that, it is a therapy, also a conversation creator, whether it’s jamming with others or just now having a skill to feel like you can share with the world. You can now have something to empower yourself with and realize that you were never an outcast at all.
Dan: Everything. Lost sleep, lousy pay. Just kidding. I love creating overall. Being in a family.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Jarrad: I wish we could get people more on board with streaming. A lot of people seem to forget that all of the great label catalog streaming revenue provides great opportunities for upcoming bands. Lots of musicians are biting the hand that feeds and it drives me crazy.
Chase: Taking more chances on what we show to the mainstream. I believe that more people would be into the avant-garde artist or more genres of music in general if we literally just showed it to them more. Put more advertising behind Hiatus Kaiyote and you will get more like them.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Jarrad: “I Get Wet” by Andrew WK. Party hard, man.
Chase: “California” by Mr. Bungle
Dan: “Nighthawks at the Diner” by Tom Waits. It’s fun and I can see every song and where he is in my mind’s eye. He’s an amazing writer
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Jarrad: All good in different settings. I try to play vinyl in my truck, but I just can’t get it to work. CD’s make GREAT coasters.
Chase: Who cares as long as people listen to music.
Dan: Doesn’t matter. If a song is good, it’s good on all platforms. I prefer vinyl myself but that’s, just personal preference.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Jarrad: Opening for Beasto Blanco featuring Chuck Garric of Alice Cooper’s band, and Alice’s daughter Calico. He is an absolute bad ass and she is an incredible stage performer!
Chase: Probably the Exit/In. It’s just a place with such history and it feels great to be a part of that.
Dan: I would say my favourite gig was at The Basement in Nashville with our friends Goodbye June. It was a special night.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Jarrad: I’d go back to driving Zamboni.
Chase: I’d be a psychiatrist.
Dan: Gypsy Space Pirate.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Jarrad: Keith Buckley, Jimmy Iovine, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Joe Rogan, and Joe Exotic aka The Tiger King.
Chase: Rob Zombie, Patrice O’Neil, Frank Zappa, Wayne Static, Sarah Silverman.
Dan: Tom Waits, Allen Ginsberg, Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Bourdain, Carl Sagan.
What’s next for the band?
Jarrad: We are all very, very ready to release our first full length album. We are headed to mastering with a new 13 song epic titled “Electric Thunder” We are very much looking forward to playing these songs for people live on tour in the Spring.
We already have another EP on deck, a group of songs that just work together, potentially called Hard Work. That one may feel best as a live recording, more raw power. And we have two singles that are going to be released together, probably as a 45. We are excited to track those because we are going to let those live in a more synthy new wave world. We are also about 7 songs into writing Record 3…which has some bangers already, but we are still getting to know her…we’ll keep you posted. Come see us live. We have no patience and will probably slip those songs into the set too.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jarrad: Follow us on Instagram, we are on there the most. We released our first album globally thru The Orchard, so it’s everywhere!
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Jarrad: Wikipedia says it’s a cake-like biscuit.
Chase: A tiny, tiny cake!!!
Dan: A biscy!
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