BLS: Your new album The Waking Sleep is populated with playfully energetic songs. Emotionally what was the difference in your creative process?
KH: It was a deeper more personal process. It combined the production of more recent experiences I have had creating music for TV and using some of those tools and ways to create a personal album.
BLS: What do you enjoy the most about the new album The Waking Sleep?
KH: For me it’s just that it is enjoyable to listen to. I wanted to create a record that I could listen to and enjoy and one that I wouldn’t be sick of by the time I finished recording it. A lot of that comes from creating the music, the movements and the arrangements for the music. It was the energy and the dynamics that was compelling to me. Knowing that it was compelling to me, hopefully it will be compelling to others as well.
BLS: You have said that the new album has a global view. What do you think has broadened your topical prospective?
KH: There is a lot going on all over the world, not just in our country and we are in a time where global events really affect how we live our lives. It affects our own personal stories and emotionally what we are feeling. I know that these systems weigh heavily upon me and outside of my own personal relationships I think about these things a lot. A lot of people are affected by it. So I was trying to see what those feelings were and write about them.
BLS: In the last year and a half, you have experienced an explosion of commercial exposure, from the use of your music in TV and Movies as well as a national commercial spot. How has this affected your artistic experience?
KH: I’m still creating music the same way and that’s from my gut. I’m always influenced by the music I’m listening to. In terms of having particular songs get attention for a certain placement, that’s just a reminder to me of the kind of songs that people connect to. It inspires me to create more of that type of music. The energy that it brings to my career is good.
BLS: The Waking Sleep is the second album that you’ve produced with Cason Cooley. What is it about his particular creative process that affects your music?
KH: He is a producer that is really easy to work with because he’s very sensitive to the process of each individual artist. He’s willing to work different ways depending on the artists’ strengths and weaknesses. With me he recognizes that I’m good at starting tracks and making them on my own because I’m very hands on in producing a song from sound. What he’s found is really helpful for me is to let me do those things on my own and then he comes along and defines it, tightens it up, and emphasizes whatever elements are working best. Almost like what a great editor will do for a writer. I feel like he’s humble enough and confident enough as a producer to not have to be heavy handed in what he does. He’s really just an enhancer of whomever he works with, bringing out the best in people.
BLS: You've been involved the past few years with the Ten Out of Tenn. Tour. Tell us what it’s all about?
KH: Basically its ten solo artists from Nashville that get together once and a while and head out on tour. The lineup changes here and there but it’s meant to showcase the music that coming out of Nashville that’s doesn’t fit in the country music genera. The point is to show that there is other good music coming out of Nashville. It has the whole strength in numbers vibe about it and is a very collaborative thing. The show is set up that each artist plays two songs of their own and then we’re all each others bands. Singing along and playing with each other. So it’s very collaborative and very high energy. It’s fun because we all have our own fans out there and they end up at the same place. We get the chance to introduce them to other artists. So we all like it for that reason.
BLS: You can play many instruments and showcase these abilities on the new album. Is there any instrument that you currently can’t play that you would like to learn?
KH: I would love to learn to play stringed instruments like the cello or the violin. I have always really loved the sound of those instruments and would love to learn how to play them.
BLS: You have been an advocate for several community outreach programs including the water project. What future influence would you like to have on your fans through this work and your music?
KH: There is something with this record that is aligning with that idea in regards to what it’s saying lyrically, to encourage people to do those sorts of things (getting involved). For me personally, I’m encouraging myself to be more involved and to do something when I see that a change needs to be made. If you see something that needs a change, that you do something about it. Speak up for yourself. I’m saying those things to myself just as much to anybody else. That’s where it starts, with me encouraging myself to live creatively and heartfully. My involvement raising money for the water wells in Africa has been going on for several years now. A lot of my fans endorse me and have helped me raise money; it’s probably one of the best things about doing what I do and that’s making a difference.
BLS: By the Light of the Stereo is based in Portland Oregon and I know that you’ve been through here a few times recently. Is there a certain thing about Portland that you really like?
KH: I love Portland so much. I find myself in your little neighborhoods, with your little groceries and local restaurants. The food is amazing. It’s so beautiful and the vibe is so laid back. It makes you want to live their. I always look forward to stopping in Portland. One place we really like is the food carts. We’ve been there a few times after shows and any town that’s got stuff like that is doing something right.
BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?
KH: Some of these bands have been heard of more than others but here you go:
Matthew Perryman Jones