With a massive tour only a couple of weeks away, a great sophomore album that has recently hit #5 on the ARIA charts, In Hearts Wake are getting ready for what is easily the biggest year of their career. The band’s humble lead vocalist, Jake Taylor, spoke to us about the reception of ‘Earthwalker’, hitting top ten in the charts and some of his views on our government’s most recent policies.
First of all, I want to say a big congratulations on Earthwalker hitting #5 in the ARIA charts last week. That’s huge for you guys!
Thank you so much, man. It’s monumental, we have everyone to thank for that as so many people rallied behind [the album] to get it into the top ten. It’s just an awesome result!
Knowing that bands like Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction and Northlane have all achieved similar success in the charts, what is that like for you guys to be almost placed alongside those bands in that regard?
It’s a bit of a patting yourself on the back for sure (laughs). It’s nice to be acknowledged is the best way I can describe it. We’ve been working very hard, for as long as Northlane have, if not longer, and coming from a scene with such big names like Parkway Drive, it has been nice not to have to depend on those guys for tours and such. They haven’t given us a ‘get out of jail’ free card or anything like that. We’ve really built this on our own backs, which makes all of the acknowledgment feel like we’ve earned it.
Definitely. It’s great to see that all of the hard work is paying off. I don’t think you guys have ever gone into a tour, let alone a headline tour, with this much anticipation with such a big line-up and a lot of the shows already sold out. What mindset has that put the band in leading up to it?
Yeah, it’s definitely the biggest headline tour we will have done to date. At the same time, we’re just so excited for it and we’d also be just as excited for it if the shows were only half full. We really just want to play these songs. It has been six months since we’ve tracked the album and there’s a lot of anticipation for it. Again, it shows an acknowledgement for all the hard work. Though we’re not too confident nor are we too cocky about it either. It’s just great to see people just as excited for it as we are.
This next question is a bit more political based, but I noticed that you personally were apart of the March in March protests against the Abbott government. Could you explain what you personally wanted to see and get out of that experience?
I think that with any band or individual it’s important to put your money where your mouth is. In this case, it wasn’t money but rather that actions speak louder than words. To be apart of that with all of the people and the community was a big thing. I’ve seen a lot of initiative on social networking feeds and seeing people wanting to get behind the idea of being an activist for change because we’re in a state that’s heavy into politics. It’s just the way things are heading, and lately it’s all about boosting our economical dollar while our home is suffering. Just a small act like joining a rally of 10,000 or so [people] is the least I can do. It shows me that there are those out there wanting to try and make change happen. It isn’t people solely online just ‘trolling’, but they’re actually out there and it was an awesome experience to be apart of.
Of course, especially with the federal budget being released last week. Furthermore, was the incentive behind creating the Earth Invaders video game a good way to raise awareness for how previous environmental protection policies have been more or less thrown out the window by the Abbott government?
Yeah, I mean it is a cheeky way of going about it and I don’t know if it’s the cleverest way to go about things, but in a campaign like ours, it’s dealing with some serious stuff. There’s a lot of kids out there who’ll listen to bands like Midnight Oil and Frenzal Rhomb, who are very active with their political views, and a lot of it will just go over their heads. Not because they don’t believe in it but because they want things to be sugarcoated and to be happy, and just listen to music. So with doing something like Earth Invaders, it’s important for us to keep the fun element to what we do. Because that’s what we are, we like to have fun, like jumping off waterfalls for example (laughs). So that was our way of sharing a message and having some fun with it. It’s important to keep that sense of humour.
Good point, as that way it doesn’t always quite seem all doom and gloom.
Yeah, exactly. Because it isn’t all doom and gloom. We have a chance to do something about it and can try and reverse this doom and gloom, and to be lighthearted and joyous in what we are doing. Rather than being like ‘the end of the world is here’, when it isn’t.
With the strong environmental message in your music, do you think that’s the most prevalent theme because of where you guys grew up and live?
Definitely. That was the seed planted within us from being in that area and it just grew. Visiting the places that we’ve travelled to, a lot of beautiful places for sure, but I feel that we’ve seen the darker side of humanity. A city like Singapore for example, which is just filled with smog and where you don’t see a lot of smiling faces and sunshine. Things like that have inspired us to try and show people not what they’re missing out on, but how not to go.
Tying in with that, at the end of Sacred you say ‘starving children will inherit the wasteland, so what the fuck will money achieve?’ yet when the pre-orders for the album were available, a tree was planted for each bundle sold. Do you think that’s somewhat of a contradiction between the lyrical message and the use of commerce and a monetary method to help out the environment?
Money’s a very tricky thing. Money is in a sense, an evil ‘dark magic’. I call it dark magic because it doesn’t actually exist, we just say it’s there and we put it into a note. When money is used for good you can really make a difference. With that song, it’s really a call out to giant corporations, corporations like Monsanto, and I can’t fit corporate names and corporate leaders into the lyrics so to speak as some people might not know what’s going on. All those endeavours in the lyrics that are sort about by corporations through politics and boosting economic dollar is all just a search for money. Because all they’re going to get for creating their dollar is no world for their children.
That’s very true, man. Money is definitely one of those things that just makes the world go round unfortunately.
That’s right. People will do ridiculous things for money. There’s no long term sight, some can only see the hundred dollar bill in their hand and not beyond that. We need to follow money for the good and be able to create a system and a platform that is based on community. There is one question, there is no one particular answer, but there are many, if that makes any sense?
No, no that does make sense. Finally, with regards to Wildflower, I know that it hits close to home for you, but would you be comfortable with elaborating upon the song’s meaning?
Of course man, I’m totally fine with that. It’s a very, very personal song. A girl, a beautiful girl who I was seeing for a little bit but we basically decided to be friends instead given our travels and everything. Right before she was scheduled to go on a round the world trip, she received news that she had a very rare from of cancer and was told she had nine months to live. All of her friends around her really watched her surrender to the inevitable and in doing so, watched her bloom into a wildflower. I got news of her passing when I was in America touring. It was very full on. We had music for the song and I decided that was my way of not really letting go, but as having a tribute to her and those where the lyrics that came out. It was a lesson to us all that life is precious, that it doesn’t last forever, and unfortunately, it was a very painful reminder.
I’m very sorry to hear that man. Something so real and as serious as cancer is always taken pretty heavily, and even in this music scene with Confession’s most recent song, and Dream On, Dreamer’s drummer going through it last year.
Oh no, you’re all good man, don’t worry about it. And for sure, it definitely hit [Michael] Crafter close to home and I really applaud Crafter for really being heartfelt and feeling so strongly about a message like this, on such a real level too. It does affect everyone, but it’s how we deal with it and how we share it with the world is what really counts.
In Hearts Wake will be touring nationally this May/ June. Dates and details here.
‘Earthwalker’ is out now via UNFD. Read our review here.