Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
If there's one positive thing I can say about the internet, it is how easy it is to discover new music. In late 2019 I discovered Haunt through theShadow Kingdom Records YouTube page, the video was for the song "Mind Freeze." I was instantly blown away. Immediately afterwards I went to Bandcamp and pre-ordered the CD. The rest is history.
That's why the internet can be beneficial when it comes to music. The fact that you can discover a band, fall in love, and instantly order their merch. We are always discovering new music, but sometimes it's hard to swim through all of the bullshit and find an artist that connects with you. Haunt have become one of those bands for me. I really respect the level of passion, determination, ambition and drive that Trevor William Church possesses--not to mention his exceptional songwriting capabilities. I was lucky enough to conduct an interview with Haunt's mastermind on New Years Eve of 2020 and it is as follows:
Voiceless Apparition: So first I wanted to discuss your relationship with heavy metal. When did your initial love for the genre begin?
Trevor William Church: I got my first heavy metal albums in 1987. I was really into Metallica. They had been in some skateboard magazines and at that time I was obsessed with skateboarding. After that I kind of just found out about other bands.
VA: Bit of a loaded question, but what does heavy metal means to you?
TWC: Heavy Metal has always had a certain underground vibe that I’ve always found in the skateboarding community as a kid. Way before skateparks were built in every town. It has a rebellious nature to it but also can have a lot of depth.
VA: You're known for being a major supporter of the underground scene, always spotlighting new and up-and-coming bands. That's something that I admire greatly. How important is it to support these bands, especially during times like these?
TWC: I feel like the new generation of kids are missing out on a lot of things. I found myself by going out to shows and expressing myself in the underground culture. It’s so mainstream these days and a lot of the music is just stale especially the new generation of rap music. It’s really important to spread the word of new bands so they can survive and influence younger crowds. It’s basically the circle of life for music. We are kind of losing the battle but at the same time music is alive and well. Streaming has made things a lot less fun. Being a kid and going to the record shop and just grabbing an album blindly is dead. So, I think it’s crucial to keep that “mixtape” experience happen through social media and get small bands some exposure so they can continue.
VA: Where do you find the time and inspiration to continue to continue to keep creating such an influx of stellar material?
TWC: I just really love the creative process of writing songs. It gives me a real high to complete songs. Like I climbed a mountain or something. Or if we go back to my youth doing a 360 flip down some stairs. I have guitars all over my home and since I mainly focus on my own music and not learning others I just constantly create.
VA: So what's currently going on with your label, Church Recordings?
TWC: I’m wrapping up my next album Beautiful Distraction, which is the strangest album I’ve ever done because I let the fans go through my throw away songs on Facebook live and with the help of the fans, four songs were picked that way. It was challenging because generally I focus on new material for albums. I wrote only two new songs for it and then I felt like that songs released on the split 7” albums needed more ears since they are sold out and a lot of people can’t spin it on their record player. Also, I drummed on a couple albums, produced, engineered and mixed Oath’s Computer Warrior and Saber’s Without Warning. As far as 2021 goes I’ll be mainly focusing on Haunt and Hysteria.
VA: Now to switch gears. The lyrics for Haunt are quite personal, with a mystical-edge to them as well. Have you ever written a song that was so close to you that you never released it due to it being too personal?
TWC: I think I’ve basically put my heart on my sleeve and have given everyone who I am as a person. I have a no song left behind policy as well so even if it’s something I may not be totally in love with I still release it. People have such different tastes.
VA: In the nearly 3-and-a-half years of existence, Haunt have created a massive buzz. This band has really had a major impact on people, including myself. What do you attribute to this success? (Besides the fact that you are a stellar songwriter.)
TWC: I think Beastmaker really helped get things moving. I had some eyes and ears on what I was already doing but I think Haunt just kind of has its own thing and the song "Luminous Eyes" just spoke to a lot of people. Also, I teamed up with Tim from Shadow Kingdom Records and he really pushed the project and we used to speak on the phone for hours about what we can do better on the next album. There is always the progressive side of my brain. I’m constantly searching for progress. Either in my playing. My vocals. My song structure style. It’s an evolution. Also the DIY recordings which I think with Beautiful Distraction I’ve hit my peak on production.
VA: What is one goal that you have as a musician?
TWC: To stay true to my heart. I have to focus on what it is I’m trying to get across and not worry about genre specifics and continue my musical growth and experiences.
VA: As you mentioned above, you are currently working on the next Haunt album entitled Beautiful Distraction. Any updates and a possible release date?
TWC: Album is done and will be released February 5th.
VA: I'd also like to discuss the writing process this time around. As you've said, the album has two new songs and six re-recorded/rearranged songs. Why take this route this time around?
TWC: Haha I kind of answered these already. These aren’t re-recorded songs though. They are all new songs to the world. They were songs I had but wasn’t feeling were strong and the fans helped sort through it on Facebook live and that’s pretty much the premise of this one. I probably won’t do anything like this again because for me I’m fixated on new music all the time. Going back in time is hard.
VA: What's next for Haunt after Beautiful Distraction is released?
TWC: I’m already upgrading my studio. I do this with every release. Since everything is DIY every album I do I make sure to invest in better gear. Recording equipment is very expensive so it’s evolving. I’ve got a lot of new songs that need to get finished. So i think by fall I’ll have the next album completed.
VA: What are your biggest hopes for in 2021?
TWC: I hope that all of our problems in 2020 get solved and everyone can get back to life as it was before.
VA: For the readers out there, could you talk about some of the other projects you are currently a part of?
TWC: Hysteria is gonna be on display for 2021, we are working on the next album. Our plans got sidelined in 2020 because we had plans to tour our debut album and that got smacked down. Jake Nunn, and Mike Smith of Hellfire are in the project. Jake is the songwriter and I’m basically the engineer, producer, and bass player. John Tucker, who was in Haunt, recently left the band to focus on other things played guitar on the debut but I’m not sure of the plans for album #2. Either way I’m excited to get that done. The riffs are insane. Also, I’m gonna continue drumming in Oath.
VA: What is your proudest moment as a person, and a musician?
TWC: When my son Rex was born it really brought me to life. I’m so proud to be a Dad. Musically I’m just stoked to be a speck on the map. To be able to do this day in and day out is a huge blessing and I never lose track of that. I have amazing fans and a great support system.
VA: Where should the readers go to support your art by buying physical media?
TWC: Hauntthenation.bandcamp.com is the main one, but follow hauntthenation on Instagram. I post all kinds of news of my other projects on there.
VA: What's next for you?
TWC: Write more songs. Get better on all the instruments I try to play. Just get better in general at all life’s complexities.
VA: Any last words for all of the faithful readers out there?
TWC: Thanks to all the fans and to all my friends and family for your continued support. Support the underground music scene.
Thanks again to Trevor William Church for taking the time to chat! If you aren't familiar with his work, Vioeless Apparition highly recommends Haunt's Jan. 2020 album Mind Freeze--in fact, it was his album of the year for 2020.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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