Exclusive Premier + Interview: Hadean – On Fading
On Fading is a complex and beautiful record, and you can listen to the whole thing right here.
A few weeks ago I lost my shit over “Inertia” a track from sax-heavy Massachusetts sextet Hadean. That track was the first taste of On Fading, an album we’re pleased as punch to premier here at the Toilet ov Hell. Additionally, I had a chance to speak with Hadean guitarist David Parnelle about the band, writing music, and being a Big Jazz Boy. Jam On Fading and read our conversation below.
Thanks for talking with me today David. A couple of weeks ago you sent me “Inertia” from your upcoming album On Fading and it kinda blew me away. This may be an introduction for folks to Hadean so please tell the nice folks at the Toilet ov Hell how you came together.
David: No problem, thanks for the interview and the promotion you’ve done for us. As far as how the band started I answered a Craigslist ad that our vocalist Zak had posted. He was going to high school with our drummer Brian and they wanted to start a metal band. So I met up with them in September 2012 and we started jamming as a three piece. We practiced for nine months or so and wrote two tracks that would become our demo. We had a lot of trouble finding musicians to play with because of the small town we live in. Luckily, Brian’s brother had a friend who played bass and he joined the following summer. After that, I met Dan and Andrew at college and asked them to join on keys and sax. We didn’t finalize our lineup until this past November.
Your latest record On Fading (which is fantastic, btw), doesn’t quite sound like anything else out there. There are elements of jazz, prog, and even something not totally unlike “easy listening”. And it all works together. What was your vision with this band and with this record? What did you set out to accomplish?
As far as a vision goes, we just try to write music that we enjoy and that pushes us to be better composers and players. With “On Fading” we just wanted to write an album that encompassed all of the different styles of music we love, whether it be classical music, jazz, progressive/art rock, etc. We never really plan what we’re going to write in advance but I think that all of our records show a progression and reflect where we’re at musically.
We also never really sit on the music we write, we’ve put out a recording every year we’ve been active, and I think that helps add to the “natural” feel of the music.
I can hear an influence of Kayo Dot in your work. Who are the musicians and composers that most inspire the band?
Kayo Dot is the band I always namedrop when someone asks who we sound like, though I think we have a different approach. As far as influences go, I listen to a lot of classical/contemporary classical music and contemporary jazz. Some specific names I can give you are Gustav Mahler, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Marius Neset, & Phronesis. As far as the classical stuff goes, I’m drawn to music that has a sense of place I guess. When you have these huge pieces of music it’s like a whole other world.
As far as the jazz stuff goes, I like the freedom and virtuosity that comes with it, but it isn’t self indulgent or sound like a technique exercise, like a lot of technical metal sounds like. As far as the other guys in the band Andrew listens to a lot of jazz and classical, he’s also really into black metal. Dan is into film scores and electronic music, Brian is a big post-rock guy, Zack likes a lot of death metal and tech death, and Billy is into punk/rock/metal. So as a group we draw from a really huge pool of influences. But when I’m writing I try not to listen to music at all.
What is your writing process like? How do you compose and arrange these songs?
As far as the writing has gone for every release so far: I’ll bring in a sketch of a song, such as chord progressions and a basic form. We’ll jam on whatever was brought in as a group and then input it into a notation program (Finale, Sibelius, etc.) Once it’s in the program we do a lot of fine tuning. Everyone writes their own parts, except for a few places on the record where I wrote a part for someone else. Everything that’s presented is up for debate and can be changed by anyone, there’s never really any bruised egos or anything, which makes things a lot easier. After the initial jam most things are written in a notation program and sent to other members of the band. We rehearse our parts on our own and then play through the new version of the song at practice. That’s not to say we don’t make edits during practice. We also jam sections a lot to see what sort of variations we can make to them/develop them. Basically, we notate everything and do a lot of fine tuning on our computers, but most of the main ideas were written on our instruments.
I think there’s a great happy medium between the spontaneous composition that comes from playing/improvising and the deliberate editing that comes with notation and more “traditional” composition. Plus, when the songs are as long and involved as ours are, it’s nice to have something to read so that you know exactly how many times to go through each section, etc.
That’s very interesting. In regards to the instrumentation, Andrew’s saxophone seems to be the element that guides this record along from passage to passage. The album at times has the sensation of a balloon inflating and deflating. The saxophone is so much more prominent with On Fading than with your previous album Ataraxia. Was this by design?
On Ataraxia, Andrew and Dan weren’t members of the band yet. I wrote a horn section to augment some of the parts on that EP and asked some music students to play on it. For this record Dan and Andrew are full members and were writing with us from pretty much the beginning of the composition process. Another big change we made with this album was the fact that I only recorded one guitar track for about 95% of the record. I wanted there to be as much space in the mix and orchestration wise for everyone to be heard and have their place. I think that every instrument really has its moment in the sun so to speak, while still working well in the ensemble.
I like the balloon analogy, we really wanted to write dynamic tracks that have quiet moments and loud ones, while still having the quiet sections be interesting musically. I also think that dynamic shift happens across the whole tracklist, we wanted the album to work on a track by track basis and have strong individuals pieces, but have there be a more complete experience if you listen beginning to end.
I think you’ve accomplished that goal. So what’s next for Hadean?
Well we’ve already started writing new material, we have 9 tracks in various stages of completion. But we’ll be taking a year off from recording because we want our next LP to be a proper post-metal/post-rock release and be 70+ minutes. Other than that we’re just trying to get on more gigs and hopefully start touring. So if anyone wants us to come to their town we’d love to get on the road ASAP. It’ll basically be more of the same, write, rehearse, play shows, record. We just want to do all of those things on a grander scale.
Are there any bands you’d like to give a little dap to?
Sure, our friends in Monoliths will be putting out an LP soon. And everyone should check out Starkweather, those guys are great and I’ve been lucky enough to not only play a gig with them but ask them for advice.
Are you a big jazz boy or a little jazz boy?
I was a “big jazz boy”, I’m hoping you were as well
The only genre of music I know anything about is straightedge hardcore. Shockingly, I too was a big jazz boy. I hope that doesn’t invalidate your results.
Not at all.
Any last things you’d like to say to the world?
I guess just check out our album and tell your friends about it. Also, thanks for the interview and hosting our album on your site, it’s a big deal for a band of our size.
On Fading drops September 16th. Pick it up Hadean’s Bandcamp. Keep up with Hadean on Facebook and tell ’em the Toilet sends her love.