When you see an artist’s back story being centred around early beginning in Philadelphia based hardcore and punk-rock bands then moving towards more alternative rock and folk based influences as a solo artist where they opened for Brian Fallon and The Gaslight Anthem may not appear the typical type of music that we would feature. However, Blood Harmony Records, Soundly Music and acclaimed Philadelphia-bred singer-songwriter Dave Hause has now developed a wonderful style of truthful and reflective Americana that particularly shines in his forthcoming sixth full-length solo album “Drive It Like It’s Stolen” which was produced by Will Hoge.
The forthcoming album which is the third release on him and his brother’s Blood Harmony Records label, shakes up expectations while at the same time builds off the sound and reputation the celebrated songwriter has established for himself over the past decade or so and presents a new, creative shift in songwriting and scope. Ahead of the release of the album (which is due on 28th April and available pre-order/pre-save HERE ) Dave visited to the UK to preview the record, playing shows in Manchester and at Omeara in London where we headed to speak to Dave all about the new project.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Dave, appreciate it. It looked a lot of fun up in Manchester last night. “Manchester was great fun. It’s been two really fun days of music, Glasgow was great where I played a little record store and then found a pub that was willing to put on a night gig. We tweeted about it at three or something and then by nine o’clock the pub was really full so, it was like a wonderful kind of accidental second show in Glasgow. The plan was to play these shows with my brother as we always do but sadly his father-in-law died suddenly on the Thursday before we left so it went from duo shows to solo shows pretty quickly. It adds a little bit of trepidation, I mean I have done hundreds and hundreds of solo shows but not for a while. I try to avoid it because I like playing with my brother, how it sounds, the company and we write the songs together, so it just feels better. However, in a weird way, playing these new ones and being forced to, people may become a little bit more focused on it because there is just one person up there. I wonder if it will add a little bit of gravity to what’s going on for these first few thousand people that we’re doing this run for.”
With here tonight, for me, I think this place (Omeara) is the best venue in London. “You do?”
One hundred percent. The way it sounds, the light and everything about it is perfect. I don’t know if you know Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons but it’s one of the two venues in London that he is involved with. It’s obviously not the biggest room in London, but it’s a real treat when you get to see shows here because the sound is so good. “That’s great to hear, it felt really good up on stage. The last couple of times that I’ve come through London, our band played at Islington Assembly Hall in September and just before the pandemic where everything locked down, we played at Union Chapel.”
Oh wow! That’s another of my favourite places for shows, it’s absolutely stunning. “So, this is three in a row where I’ve got to play great rooms in London with a lot of personality, sound good and look good. I just feel honoured that they let me play them and I try to meet the moment with something special, let’s see how it goes tonight.”
With playing this record, you have said it will be a different way of playing these shows than you had initially planned with Tim not being here and you were here with the band last year, does stripping it right back, actually allow you to open up in a way and play these songs fully raw with the way that people will get to hear it? “That was the idea, even if Tim had come it would be stripped back because there are strings, horns, loops and a live band on tonnes of the material with a big live rock band on certain songs. There is always I guess an element of trying to test the mettle of songs like are they going to work on a piano or acoustic, which we do before we record it but even with the crowd and the understanding the transmission that happen when it is just one or two people. It will be fun to have done it this way and then eventually come back with a rock band to perform them in a way that is a little closer to the recording. The only thing is, I think the next thing that we’re actually going to do when we next come back is play churches again. We have more material on the horizon that we would like to put out and if that all goes plan it is kind of going to be some surprise material which would be nice to do in the beautiful churches. I guess for me it boils down to trying to stay artistically inspired and a lot of that is in changing it up. That is changing it up for myself, changing it up for the people that support what we do and giving everybody a memorable, exciting night, so we try to move the venues around, the sounds around and the songs around which if they’re sturdy, people tend to respond in kind.” You mentioned that you are already looking ahead beyond “Drive It Like It’s Stolen” and the last record was out in October 2021. When did you start working on this album that’s about to come out? Were they all new songs that you had written after putting the previous project out? “There was only one of those, that one kind of got dug out to the light by Tim and our manager Alex which is a song called “chainsaweyes” and I actually wrote during a “Kick” session with Tim. We did like a rock, Stonesy version of it and I wasn’t sure about it, so we put it into the vault. Tim could see the themes coalescing around the record a little bit sooner than I could and said I think we should go back to that one. We had these weekly meetings, Alex had heard the song and he brought it up too, so we started to work the song. My brother still had a big firm believing in it and he raised a good point that when you cut a song for a record and you leave it out, it casts doubt on a song especially if your name is going on the record. What we ended up doing was taking the production totally different, going for a full string quartet on that song and then I could hear it. When I heard it in that way, I thought this is compelling, this moves me, and I was sold so I think it just needed to go through that journey for me to see that it was ready for people to hear it but that was the only one and everything else was new.
I went back to Nashville for some reason in the summer of 2021, it was between cutting “Blood Harmony” and it coming out where I wrote “Hazard Lights” with Tim and our now, bass player Luke. From there we really wrote for the record in earnest in February of 2022 so we kind of sat on it because we wanted to make sure that we had vinyl in hand so when people bought the record that they would get the record right away. That’s the timeline so, yeah they were pretty separate sessions to when we were working on “Blood Harmony” and there was a good nine or ten months between the writing of the two.” Then at what point did Will (Hoge) get involved as the guy that you wanted to have producing this record? “He did “Blood Harmony” then he produced Tim’s debut record which came out in January. There was a real working shorthand, and I was a little worried because we had made a roots record before which seemed like more of his speciality, where I had a different thing in mind. I had sort of said that, then he was interested and said that he would love to make the next record, so I said well, we had a great time making these, but I’ve got this other idea. He said let’s try it and there is a fearlessness in Will that is very attractive, a sort of kinship that we have of hey, do what you want and make it sound the way you want it to. He was willing to kind of stay out of the way when I needed him to and at other points, he was really helpful in getting me to land the plane with you have got it already or let’s try one little thing. It was just the extension of doing a lot of work together, really him and my engineer knew what I was going for from the demos that I had made where they took it home for me. I’m so glad that we ended up doing it together because it was a new sonic territory for everybody involved.”
In terms of your sound and sonic direction, your earlier stuff is a lot heavier with playing in punk bands essentially and the internet will tell people that you had done things with The Gaslight Anthem. This change for your music towards roots and Americana is very similar in direction to what Brian (Fallon) has done, then Frank Turner over here and even Bruce (Springsteen) to an extent, which I think shows there is a link musically from the heavier sounds having core similarity to Americana. Was there a point that brings about this change to make it more evident in the music that you are putting out? “At the end of the day, I think this has a lot to do with the age of the people that you’re describing. You have people now who are in their late thirties, early to mid-forties that have the same excitement for Tom Petty as they do The Clash, have as many Rancid records as they do Bryan Adams records. All of that stuff is essentially kind of the same thing, it’s just simple chords, melodies and a lot of the stuff that’s attached to it like the politics and shifts in rock music are kind of gone, they’re not as relevant anymore. It doesn’t sound so crazy for a band like The Bouncing Souls to start incorporating Bruce Springsteen into their sound and then Against Me! and Gaslight, Frank and all of those people, we’ve all been doing that for a long time now. Bruce Springsteen and Joe Strummer were doing the same, I think it’s just become more and more of a natural place to pull from and for me it all boils back down to songwriting.”
“I have just as much love for Bad Religion as I do for Indigo Girls, they are both great at writing songs, some are sped up and some of them are not. I love seeing IDLES and love seeing Brandi Carlile, I just have a broad taste and I suspect that most people do. One of the upsides of the dismantling of the record industry or how it has become more disparate is that there is less of that cliquishness which I felt like there was in high school when I was a kid. You can be into Tori Amos and Jane’s Addiction where there is not really a clique attached to it or I don’t think there is from my friends kids who are in high school now. You can like Kendrick Lamar, you can like IDLES and like Metallica where everyone is cool with it, so I just look at that as more ways to paint with, I’m using sound to develop ideas and deliver them to people where I’m trying to make connection and can kind of pull from wherever I want.”
You have toured with Brian and the Gaslight guys, they’re old friends of yours who are from New Jersey where you are from PA. Going back to what you were doing with your bands, did the scenes across the two States overlap quite a lot? “Yeah, they do. New jersey is essentially a big suburb and people from there may take me to task for that but basically anywhere south of Trenton, New Jersey is a suburb of Philadelphia and anywhere north is a suburb of New York City! It’s a giant place where there are lots of kids who go to various schools and have nothing to do so they start bands. Playing in Philly, you can only play so many shows in one city, so you go over the bridge and you are in New Jersey or vice versa so, I think those things all had a way of cross-pollinizing. It was great but it’s so funny because so much of that was so long ago and for me, I don’t remember it a lot of the time until people bring it up for me to talk about, where it is oh yeah, I guess you’re right, that did happen but so seldom does that come up in my daily life, but we just announced a festival.”
Sorry to interrupt but, that’s a perfect lead in, because I was going to ask you about that. I feel like I have spent the last two months speaking about festivals over here so let’s talk about Sing Us Home, which is taking place in May, is that right? “Yes, it’s in May, it’s our own festival in Philadelphia and that’s just a little bit a way from what you described, just a little bit. Drive By Truckers are the headliner, we’ve got Craig Finn on there and Kathleen Edwards from Canada so we’re probably the punkest thing on there and we’re not very punk BUT later in the summer we are playing a festival in Pittsburgh with Alkaline Trio and Gaslight Anthem. It reminded me when I put that up the other day and people were commenting saying this is their dream line-up and I’m like this feels like something that we did like ten or fifteen years ago. We all talk to one another and keep this great fondness but it’s not like we all go on tour together now so, it was funny to see people associate those things together, I guess it’s just how you get jumbled initially. Back to our festival, it’s super exciting and a little bit of a nailbiter where you hope it goes well, we’re trying to dot all the I’s and cross all the t’s but knowing that there will be some things that don’t go right. Hopefully we are trying to bring people together around the things that we think are cool, which is music, good food, our friends and try to make it feel like a family reunion of ours that everybody is invited to in Philadelphia.”
It sounds really cool. I’ve seen you posting videos on Instagram to introduce all the artists which I really like because a lot of people will know Drive By Truckers but there are likely some new names for fans so, I like that you’re going out of your way to do those posts on a Saturday. Obviously, it is your festival which you are invested in, and you want it to do well but it’s great to spread the word to people that are coming to discover the other artists that are playing. “That’s cool that you look that way, at the end of the day, yeah sure we need it to do well but it is more or less something that I think is cool. It’s a place that I think would be cool to play with bands that I like and that I think are cool, then I invited my friend who has had a pierogi shop for twenty years to bring her food there, it’s the brewers that we think are cool in the town as some of our friends that we grew up with have breweries now so we will have them there. We could take money from a big sponsor and make it easy on ourselves but one of the things that I’ve been emboldened by over the last four years, is to just do what I think is cool!”
“I went to see the reunion of The Misfits, where the 76ers play in Philadelphia, it was a fucking arena and it occurred to me that this was a band that I got made fun of for liking as a kid but now there are fifteen thousand people here to see them, so I was right! Furthermore, I read comic books as a kid, I read about the Avengers and X-Men that are now the number one movies that people go to see, everyone goes to see them, which is like another instance of I was right, that is fucking cool! At some point I got made fun of liking comic books or The Misfits because it’s nerdy but over time, that shit falls up to the top and it was the best stuff. On some levels I have just been more and more in my song making life, playing shows and little things like which instrument to play things on or if we are going to do a festival, make it something that I would enjoy going to see and I’ll probably be right. It may not be in the first year but will be over time, it’s about connecting with people and sooner or later, that connection ripples back to you and that is what I’ve seen over and over. I don’t have the biggest or wildest huge career but it’s consistent and I’m bringing challenging things or ideas to people, and they get them and keep coming back which there is something kind of encouraging and heartening about that.” Drive It Like It’s Stolen track listing: Cheap Seats (New Years Day, NYC, 2042) Pedal Down Damn Personal Low chainsaweyes Hazard Lights Drive It Like It’s Stolen lashingout Tarnish The Vulture
“Drive It Like It’s Stolen” is the new album from Dave Hause that will be released through Blood Harmony Records on 28th April which is available to pre-order/pre-save HERE and you can keep up to Dave in the run up to the release through his WEBSITE and on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKTWITTER.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks