banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

A Dirty Dozen with VOLTAGEHAWK – April 2020

| 5 April 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “East Nashville, TN based Hard Rock band VOLTAGEHAWK has released the official lyric video for “Modern Gasoline.” Created by Jarrad James, “Modern Gasoline” is off of the band’s debut, self-titled EP. Hell-bent on pushing the sonic envelope, East Nashville rockers Voltagehawk quickly set a ground rule that “NO” was not welcome in the creative space.” We get the band to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Jarrad: So, this is an interesting question to answer, because I do little things ALL THE TIME to tie songs together with motifs. Like, on “Modern Gasoline,” which is about a very popular party enhancer, the energy dips and jumps were meant to represent those feelings. The verse pulse is meant to be the heart beating. When I hit the four on the floor beat, that is a direct reference to the disco scene at Studio 54, and then it ramps up double time, and goes right into a drop, which some people may relate to after that party.  When Dan tells me what the song is about, I decide how I am going to tell that story with parts. That was a really fun one.

Chase: There are so many things to say about our latest music. All the different sounds from slide guitar to synths to singing through Spider-Man walkie talkies! Always proud of how we have fun with textures of sound throughout a song.

Dan: “Modern Gasoline” was originally put on the shelf for a few months while we found the right dudes to play it with. The logo that we use for the release is actually our drummer Jarrad’s truck. The bass was dimed the whole time during the tracking of “Modern Gasoline,” which meant that whole hangout lounge of the studio (where we mic’ed the cabs) was off limits unless you wanted to go deaf.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Jarrad: I was raised on a very strict diet of Classic Rock growing up. My dad always had some sort of muscle car, and we would listen to everything LOUD. I distinctly remember sitting in the back of his Mustang, right near the bass woofer, so I probably had a lot of iconic rhythm sections literally pounded into my head. I would air drum to every song, trying to figure out the part. Any drummer my age that says that “In The Air Tonight” didn’t make them want to be a drummer is a liar. The fill doesn’t happen for almost 4 whole minutes. That is the original BDE.

Chase: My parents wanted me and my brother to both play an instrument (they didn’t play at all) my brother played piano and I started on cello around 11. Then I saw a riot girl punk band comprised of crazy 13-14 girls screaming their heads off at the YMCA. I was 13 and I realized I wanted to do whatever that was.

Dan: Not being great at sports, playing music in church and singing in school choirs. I knew I wanted to play music when I was still in elementary school, by middle school I started my first band, we were not very good but it set the tone for the rest of my life.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Jarrad: Hysteria by Def Leppard. They were all over MTV growing up, I thought it was absolutely wild that Rick Allen did all of that with one arm. That album to me is still perfect, and I try to be half as good with twice as many arms.

Chase: Seeing “Too Young To Fall In Love” by Mötley Crüe as a youngin’ made me realize you could do this for a living and I wanted that to be my life!

Dan: The hardcore, punk, metal and rock scene in upstate NY growing up. Local shows made me wanna play. Seeing people lose their shit and let go and watching bands as audiences screamed their lyrics.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Jarrad: Genres more than specific bands. Classic Rock, Golden Oldies, 2000’s Hardcore, Hair Metal and Show Tunes (my mom made we watch every musical ever made).

Chase: Zakk Wylde, Thelonius Monk, John 5, Guthrie Govan, Mr. Bungle and Coheed and Cambria for a lil extra.

Dan: Currently Hans Zimmer and Vangelis, Tom Waits as a writer and over all philosopher, Johnny Greenwood guitar, Nels Cline guitar, and Nintendo game sound tracks.  Also Fugazi, MC5, Marvin Gaye… the list is long and strange.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Jarrad: Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die on vocals/lyrics would be the pinnacle. He has the most versatile voice in loud rock/metal and his lyrics are beyond anything being done in modern music.

Chase: There’s so many, but I’ll always have to go with my hero Mike Patton, he’s just a genius. His approach to music is what I’ve based my whole musical philosophy on, playing something different and not being afraid to push boundaries and take influence from everything, and even change genres mid song.

Dan: Right now Joe Talbot from the band Idles or Killer Mike from Run The Jewels. Because they both know who they are and what they believe, and I think we’re on the same cosmic shit.

6.How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Jarrad: We have jokingly described our sound as Motorheed and Cambria. We still don’t hate that description. Still waiting for some magazine to tell us what we sound like…any takers?

Chase: Motorheed and Cambria. And no not really.

Dan: Voltagehawk music is driving, unbridled controlled chaos. A true comparison of “Modern Gasoline” might be Overkill by Motorhead with desperate crooner vocals on the verse. Or not. We sound like Voltagehawk.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Jarrad: The best thing about being a musician is what we have affectionately described as “riding the hawk”. It’s that feeling you get when you get lost in the groove, hit the jam, and all the parts become a whole unit, and you are magically making a sound bigger, and more important than just your part.

Chase: When I was a kid I was a real loner and I had always wished for that one day when the aliens land or time travel is possible or that magic letter shows up saying that you didn’t have to live in this world. But I realized over time that’s what music was for me, it gave me the ability to create whole worlds I could feel a part of and see that the power is within you all along. Music makes me believe in that.

Dan: Creating, always listening and always being open to inspiration. Sharing a collective imagination with 3 other humans.

8.When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Jarrad: I’m the band dad, so I am constantly refilling the snacks and party favors to keep the kids happy, lol.

Chase: We all cook, haha, but Dan is the chef man, and Wildman Boone is called that for a reason, and both probably the same goes for the singalong, hahaha.

Dan: We all cook, but Chase and I are trained Chefs. Tyler is our resident party planner, with treats and beverages etc, Chase must always fiddle on the guitar and Jarrad is plotting how to take over the world.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Jarrad: My work keeps me pretty close to famous people a lot, so the starstruck thing doesn’t happen often. I did get to spend an evening with a client once, that will be really memorable, Huey Lewis. I mean, c’mon. Dude is an absolute HIT MACHINE.

Chase: Probably meeting Kamasi Washington at Rudy’s Jazz Club in Nashville. He is such a beast on the saxophone and has an incredible band behind him, we saw him at Marathon and then he came and jammed at Rudy’s for like maybe ten people and then hung out with us after it was amazing!

Dan: A few years back I held a restaurant door open for Robert Plant. He shook my hand. I died.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Jarrad: I actually already had my dream job. For about 3 years I was a professional zamboni driver.

Chase: Maybe a food critic on Iron Chef. All of the great things like learning about the history of foods from all around the work but none of the back breaking work of a kitchen anymore… just eating.

Dan: Gypsy Space Pirate.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Jarrad: I probably wouldn’t have gotten so into 3rd wave ska.

Chase: No, I’ve played some horrible shows that definitely made me question my whole life and career but I wouldn’t take them back. Those things are necessary to grow as a person and an artist. You have to eat shit and have hard moments to learn what not to do and why you love it.

Dan: Lots. But if you dedicate your life to something there will always be failures and success. You have to know yourself to truly find contentment through it all. Also just don’t fuckin’ drink too much, don’t take drugs from strangers and you will avoid a lot of “missteps” along the way.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Jarrad: I would honestly go be a part of John Fogerty’s session for “Centerfield,” an otherwise pretty perfect song absolutely ruined by those awful sounding hand claps. I would insist they retrack those. They haunt me.

Chase: Probably Bitches Brew, when Miles Davis was just telling the guys in the band like “Play these 3 chords but don’t play them really.” And the awesome organized chaos that he could create, him and Mingus dude, they are the best.

Dan: That’s a fuckin’ hard question. I think I would want to be a fly on the wall during the making of OK Computer by Radiohead. That record is a huge part of my youth, memories of sneaking out and making out to that record, and my first real interest in effects pedals. Man, I feel like ya boxed me in with this one. Electric Ladyland, Nighthawks at the Diner by Tom Waits.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad