Haster‘s come a long way since releasing their latest album Let It Go earlier this year. Along with several other awards the alt metal/rock band from Orange County won the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands and recently opened the Uproar Festival in Irvine, California. As talented, personable, and approachable guys Haster has already developed a dedicated following, and finds new fans wherever they go. The band took a few minutes after their set to talk with By the Barricade about their successes and future goals. The full interview transcripts that follow.
David Heida – Lead Guitars, Acoustic Guitars
Patrick Nolan – Rhythm Guitars, Vocals
Jarret Stockmar – Vocals
Brian Tew – Drums
Mondo Salazar – Bass
By the Barricade: My first encounter with you guys happened outside this venue in the form of a demo CD. You have had quite a journey to get here today. What was the process for getting the spot on the Ernie Ball stage today?
David Heida: Ernie Ball has a contest online where you can have your fans go on their site and vote for you and through that they spread the word. From that we ended up winning. We have done Warped Tour and other shows before but this is the one where our number got called and we were able to play. This is the biggest show we have done so far.
By the Barricade: You have had quite a few achievements and award nominations, what has been your biggest challenge as a band?
David Heida: Maybe trying to do everything at once. We want to do everything we can but it comes down to money.
Jarret Stockmar: Prioritizing.
David Heida: We all have jobs and we all have lives and we all have to balance everything all together just to set band time.
Brian Tew: We have a thousand things to do and we want to do it in a day and you can’t. It takes years and years to chip away at it.
By the Barricade: Do you have regular band time set aside?
Brian Tew: Two or three times a week we try to get together. We just started a podcast and I do that once a week called Mind Control Radio. That brings us all together.
By the Barricade: You guys were the first band we featured on our site just before the release of Let it Go. What influenced the naming of that album?
Jarret Stockmar: Lyrically it is all over the CD. I think it was my mood at the time, letting things go. Taking things too seriously can get in the way you have to let it go and roll with the punches. It is the theme of the CD too. It took us 2 years to make the thing and we were in and out of the studio recording 2 or 3 songs at a time as we could afford it and as they were done. Finally when it was done, it was like, “Let it go.” It can come down to sitting at the computer saying, “Let’s change this. Let’s do this.” And in every aspect emotionally and putting it out, it was just time to Let it Go.
David Heida: You can try to make everything perfect but you can only do so much.
By the Barricade: What is the writing process like for Haster?
Brian Tew: It usually starts with a guitar riff and then we will keep jamming it a thousand times and we will do a scratch recording at someone’s house and we will take that back, change it a bunch and then work on it some more. We will get a solid base and then we will take it in to our producer and then it changes completely again.
By the Barricade: Do the lyrics come last?
Jarret Stockmar: I will be doing melody work. I am freestyling nonsense over it to figure out where the song is going to go melody wise. To figure out where the scream is going to be, that has been the process. Then I solidify the lyrics. They change so much that there is no point in trying to work on them until all of the recordings of the music are done. I have an idea of where it is going to go and what it is going to be and I will have lines written but it is always changing. Otherwise you are going to write the song 30 times and that is annoying.
By the Barricade: When By the Barricade last interviewed you, your goal was to play in front of new crowds. Is there a place where you have found support that surprised you?
All: Up north.
David Heida: We toured throughout the whole summer and when we got to Washington and Oregon it was like night and day from California. We are an independent band you are always struggling to do stuff. Those were the shows where we made the most money, we sold the most merch. It is crazy because you get locked into the LA, Orange County scene a little bit and when you get out it is a culture shock. You think wait, “We don’t get treated like shit and we actually get free meals?” For us we joke that our goal is that we don’t want to headline anymore. We could probably headline most places in Orange County but we want to open for other people. That is where we get the new fans, where we get bigger exposure. Otherwise we are not advancing.
Jarret Stockmar: There is no point headlining in California.
Brian Tew: We are tired of playing for our friends.
By the Barricade: You guys are very personable so I’m sure that fans become friends.
David Heida: Yes, Twitter goes crazy whenever we post something. It is the best thing.
Jarret Stockmar: Oh yeah, that is what it is all about really. Especially when you go north they are very aware of it. There were some nights when there weren’t that many people there and the bands were apologetic. They said, “We’re sorry we didn’t bring more people. Next time you come through we will definitely be blasting it.” When you play with bands that do tour in their hometown, they understand how it is. They are all about spreading the love. If they come down here we try to do the same thing. We bring our people to see them.
David Heida: The craziest thing that happens when we play out of state is that our biggest new fans are the band members of other bands. They are the ones who have already checked out our music, listened to us and have already become the fans.
Brian Tew: They are the biggest music fans too.
David Heida: We are the same way. We love seeing new bands because it gives us inspiration and new exposure for our own stuff.
By the Barricade: Where do you hope to go next?
Brian Tew: I think we are trying to get back up north in January. We will probably do a couple weekend ones before the end of the year up to San Fran and a couple college towns during school.
David Heida: We are trying to get to the east coast but it’s hard.
Brian Tew: We are also trying to record and we are also trying to do everything.
All: * Laughing
By the Barricade: This is a pretty big line up, but if you could create a dream lineup to play with, who would make the list?
Patrick Nolan: Slipknot, Nothing More.
Jarret Stockmar: Deftones, Nickelback.
David Heida: We open!
Jarret Stockmar: Rage Against the Machine. Let’s bring them back. Come on. Chevelle.
David Heida: All the bands that influence us.
Brian Tew: I want to open for anyone. I don’t care if it’s Coldplay. You are still going to make fans.
By the Barricade: When you aren’t playing music, who or what do you listen to?
Brian Tew: Right now I think it is Nothing More for all of us.
David Heida: The new Slipknot.
Mondo: Two songs are out. Hit repeat.
David Heida: Chevelle is one of my favorite artists and the new album is awesome.
Brian Tew: Deftones, Muse.
Patrick Nolan: Finding new bands. There are bands that we grew up with. We are going to always listen to Korn, I’ll listen to Godsmack. We are going to listen to that. We need to see what other people are doing.
Jarret Stockmar: I’m always listening to stuff this guy sends me, riffs and stuff. He sends me stuff all the time and it is actually kind of annoying.
Mondo Salazar: Take a week off man.
By the Barricade: Anything else you would like to tell the readers of By the Barricade?
Jarret Stockmar: We will send you stickers.
Brian Tew: Come to OC shows.
David Heida: Come out to shows and we will sign whatever you want and we will do whatever we can.
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