“I don’t think I have the great confidence to be this political songwriter, but there have been so many great bands over the years in punk rock, like Strike Anywhere, Propagandhi, Anti-Flag. Bands like that that are so eloquent and say all the right things. This is me in a way trying my best to stand next to them, but I don’t know if I could fully achieve that.”
Hesitation Wounds have something to say, it’s just taken them a while to find the time to say it. Between Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amore, Jay Weinberg of Slipknot, Neeraj Kane and Stephen ‘Scuba’ LaCour, finding just the week to get together and create took until Summer 2015. But once they were together, they looked around and found the media-driven, politically evolving world seeping into their lyrics.
“The four of us all ended up having some free time towards the end of last summer,” explains Jeremy. “Jay, our drummer happened to be coming up to California so we just figured we should use that time wisely. We just got some rehearsal space and made a record in about a week, started recording it that weekend, but the actual recording process actually took a couple months because Raj happened to break his arm in a motorcycle accident, so it took some time to get guitars done. It started as a quick process and ended up taking a couple months.
“Jay was going to be hardest to get locked down, so we just had him quickly record drums after we finished writing the songs, three or four songs a day at the beginning of the week and he was recording drums by I believe Friday and got them done in one day.”
It was once the ground was laid on several of these tracks that the outside world really started to influence them. “Raj, our guitar player, had a couple ideas and after those were used up we just talked about what we were listening to or what we were trying to achieve in this record and people were all just throwing out ideas and it all just came together.”
But what was it they were hoping to achieve? “We recorded a 7″ in 2012, and that was written in sort of the same way on the spot. We all talked about different influences we would like to put in the band. Older bands such as Deadguy or Unbroken, things like that. We just hashed up those ideas, and from a lyrical standpoint I wanted to focus on a social commentary as well as a personal outlet.”
One such piece of commentary is ‘Operatic’, looking at the mass media witch hunts that seem to occur almost daily at times. Thanks to the internet, this is happening with astounding regularity. “I’m personally not a big fan of it,” admits Jeremy. “It almost feels like in this day and age when a news story breaks, there’s not a lot of information readily available and it feels like the public demand not only an answer but a punishment in about 60 minutes, and when those things aren’t achieved it only makes the situation worse. It’s frightful because, sure, there’s a lot of situations that are very bad, but you don’t know that for sure until all those things are out there. That’s a scary thing because it can happen to anybody.”
“In Touché, I used this a little bit to write some political songs but I don’t consider myself a political spokesperson by any means,” he continues. “When we were writing this record there was a few things that were really under my skin and I needed to sort of get my feelings out. The song ‘Hands Up’ is about gun control in the US and how people use race. The typical story is if a deranged white kid pulls a gun and kills people then he’s this poor deranged kid; if there’s any sort of shooting involving a person of colour, it’s immediately a violent crime. It seems that there’s always excuses made for white people and it’s upsetting to see how our government does nothing about it. They try and people try, but it’ll never actually happen because people are just very stuck in their ways.
“‘Standing True’ is about how the US has gotten really suspicious with immigration involving refugees, or the Mexican borders and all sorts of things. In the old days the US could be this place where people could come and start a new life, and now it’s got a whole other set of problems and it’s just upsetting to see it happen.”
The way political tides are shifting in the world today feel at times odd, at others scary; from immigration approaches both sides of the Atlantic, to the aforementioned media landscape revolving crime and race, it’s increasingly common for people to speak out and speak up, whether it’s in person, or online. Jeremy repeatedly notes that he isn’t a political spokesperson by any means, but ‘Awake For Everything’ still remains an album full of targets that deserve discussion. Spokespeople or not, the band are adding their voice to these conversations, and shining a light on important issues in their own way.
The world hasn’t seen much from Hesitation Wounds yet, but even with just ‘Teeth’ out there at the time of discussion, fans are already eager for more. “It was hard to decide which ones we want to put up because there’s so many we are excited about, but [the response] seems really positive. The song we chose really reflects the background of each member pretty thoroughly and it seemed the right one to choose.”
The album is due soon, but the band’s plans relies on a serendipity of sorts between four opposing schedules. “It’s hard to say what kind of future there is for Hesitation Wounds for the rest of the year other than releasing the album,” notes Jeremy. “Jay will be on tour with Slipknot for the rest of the year, Touché has an album coming out the end of this year. Our bass player Stephen is having his first child in June and Raj is a full time school teacher here in Los Angeles. So, it’s hard to get us all in a room but if there’s a chance to tour and it makes sense for all of us we will do it.”
For a while, at least, Hesitation Wounds will live solely through their album. “I hope it’s a cathartic experience. I hope people hear some of the things we are trying to say, or if you like the sound of an extra aggressive, catchy record, whatever it is, I hope you’re into it. It’s very different to anything I have ever released, and I know I stand behind it.”
They may not be political spokesmen, but Hesitation Wounds are nonetheless chipping into some really big conversations, and putting it all out there in the music.
Taken from the May issue of Upset, out now. Order your copy here. Hesitation Wounds’ album ‘Awake For Everything’ is out now.