Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane. With the release of their brand new album Ark earlier this year, we caught up with vocalist Jake Taylor to find out more about the symbolism and important issues they hope to highlight throughout this album.
It has been a few years since we last saw In Hearts Wake here in New Zealand, What are you most looking forward to about playing to your kiwi fans once again?
We’ve played in New Zealand twice before, but it definitely has been a while! My family predominantly live in Wellington, which as a result means I’ve been there many times over the years, but being able to play a show there is a whole other experience, so we’re very excited. We’re also going to do one headline show in Christchurch on this run, so it’ll be three shows all up, we can’t wait!
Awesome! We’re preparing ourselves to hear some of the new tracks from Ark, Can you tell us about the concept behind the album and the importance of the environmental issues you highlight throughout the record?
The concept of Ark looks at our planet as a ship or a vessel. Because if you look at the earth, we essentially exist in a vast ocean and this planet is a vessel that holds all life and everything we’ve ever known to exist. So we really wanted to draw attention to the agility of our planet and just how powerful it is to be human beings of many different cultures and civilisation. We wanted to acknowledge that we need to steer and man this ship together because without it, all life ceases to exist..
Can you talk us through the symbolism of the album artwork?
The circle represents the ship that exists in the ocean, then those characters around the outside of the circle are ‘Ark’ written in twelve different languages. We went with a whole array of languages from Persian to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tibetan, as we wanted to touch on all of the different cultures that exist on this planet, because we as human beings have created this storm and we need to learn to stick together and steer this ship as one.
What initially sparked your passion for the environment?
We were quite blessed to grow up and live in an incredibly beautiful area called Byron Bay, surrounded by beaches and nature, which we’ve always really appreciated. But that passion and responsibility of wanting to make an impact only started to form when we began touring the world in 2011. Seeing other parts of the world, as a band, really opened our eyes up to just how out of balance a lot of cities and places are in terms of their access to nature and we really wanted to connect with those people and our planet because it made us realise just how much we need it.
Does any of your political and economical drive influence your songwriting process?
It definitely has an effect on the lyrics, because they’re co-related. Musically, Ben who is our main writer, will write from a place of feeling and I connect that with the lyrics, so you can see a theme coming through lyrically for sure. I guess you could call it political, but I don’t know if it sits on the left or the right, or in the middle. I think it’s more of an encompassing view of a better world for all, which for me is more powerful, above politics.
Musically, who were some of your influences when working on this record?
I’ve been influenced by so many artists in the past, but I wasn’t really listening to too much metal music when writing this record. I was in a whole other world with touring, performing and going through all of those experiences. But I think if there was any influence, it would be Slipknot, because we got to tour with them last year and it was just incredible to see the energy they bring to a live show, so I think more than anything it was that energy that inspired me.
Is there any particular message you’re hoping fans take away from listening to this album?
I’m hoping that people take away many messages, but one in particular being – water is life. We need to respect and acknowledge water. In many parts of the world it is becoming more expensive than oil and we know it’s more valuable than gold, it really is, because without it, we die. There’s all kinds of water wars starting all over the world which I think is something we’re going to see pop up more and more as it becomes more valuable and scarce, so we want to get the message across that we need to look after this planet together, as human beings, free of race and religion.
What was it like working with Will Putney [producer] and what experience did he bring to the table?
He is fantastic! He’s worked on a number of records for the heavy music genre, so he really knows and believes in it. If he hears an idea that he doesn’t like he will let you know, so it was really nice to work with someone so competent and decisive when it came to getting things done. It was a whole new experience for us and we’re thrilled with the result.
From another viewpoint, you also highlight the male-dominance in heavy music with your fantastic video for Nomad. Can you tell us about that concept and how the video came about?
We have a number of amazing women that come to our shows and let lose and express themselves freely, but there’s also a large number that don’t feel they’re able to due to past experiences of being groped, touched inappropriately, or a fear of that from stories from their friends. So in this video we wanted to created a safe, female-friendly space and share that with the world to acknowledge that if something ever does happen, it is okay to speak out and share your story, because we want everyone to feel welcome in the mosh pit at our shows.
Speaking of music videos, you always seem to have such theatrical visuals, with a great emphasis on storytelling and the themes you explore throughout your songs, how creatively involved are you in the initial and overall process of your videos?
I’m heavily involved, usually a bit too involved! I’ve produced a whole lot of them and I got to co-direct our last video for Passage which is very cinematic. So I’m very involved to the point where I think it would be hard for me to step back because I have such a strong vision for how I want them to look and be represented, as that representation of our music is very important to us.
IN HEARTS WAKE – HEADLINE SHOW:
BLUE SMOKE, CHRISTCHURCH – THURSDAY AUGUST 24
NORTHLANE CITIZENS OF NEW ZEALAND TOUR – SUPPORT
SAN FRAN, WELLINGTON – FRIDAY AUGUST 25
KINGS ARMS, AUCKLAND – SATURDAY AUGUST 26