We were talking about how the crowd pretty much cheers for anything, so I tried to get him to introduce the next band by yelling the band’s name followed by something totally unintelligible while raising his hands at the same time just to see if the crowd would cheer. He totally did it and I died laughing. I can’t remember if the crowd cheered at our fake mustering of the crowd but I knew I met someone who was special.
Later as we talked I found out that he was this unique phenomenon as a spoken word artist and everyone knew him, except for me. Fast forward a couple of years and he’s progressing as an artist, and here’s my interview with him.
(Bradley Hathaway) My name is Bradley Hathaway and for a living I write songs and tell stories.
You used to do spoken word, but now have incorporated more traditional music, what prompted that change?
The change wasn’t intentional by any means as it just happened one day and my art has been forever different since. I was sitting on the sidewalk in Amsterdam about four or so years ago and words came to me like they always do only they had more melody than before and they asked to be sung and not spoken. From then on that’s about the way it’s gone.
Artistically what are you trying to do with the new recording versus previous material?
Well, I don’t know that I’m necessarily trying to do anything new or different. I always try to write the best songs at the time that my band and I are capable of doing and hopefully with each new project they get better and better. This collection is a bit different in that unlike “A Mouth Full of Dust” the songs are a bit more structured and we didn’t want to make this record sound as raw as the previous because the songs didn’t call for that sort of thing.
Could you tell us a little about the production of this recording?
We recorded it the same way as the other records. We all played together in the studio at the same time and the drums and bass were always kept as they were. Sometimes some of the other instruments were isolated and redone later for a better take and what have you. “She Was Raised By A Man With a Sickness” was done in the first and only take.
I love the idea of doing things as live as possible but we weren’t opposed to having the luxury of redoing things on this album. Josh Antonuccio was once again the producer and engineer but we teamed up with Evan Hodge for the mixing and he brought the good sounds we got in the studio to life.
What can you tell us about the meanings of these songs?
The meaning of the songs are pretty straight forward with the exception of maybe “Carolina”. I’ve always had more story like songs but for “A Thousand Angry Panthers” the narrative is much stronger and more obvious as they are each stories about whatever respective subject matter.
I’d rather let the listener take what they would like from each of the songs but I will say that overall the EP speaks of the ills of the world, the loneliness of man, and a list of other things wrong or broken in the world. And if one were to just stop the third track of the record and not hear “The World is Screaming” he or she would get an unbalanced representation of the album and my worldview as well.
In the end it is apparent that there is at least a comforter through all the disappointments and hardships of life and his name is Jesus of Nazareth.
How do you treat the relationship between faith and art?
Good question and one that I never even consider as I create because the two so naturally go together. My faith in the maker of the heavens and earth permeates every aspect of my life, my art being no different.
As a whole, meaning not in each and every song necessarily, my faith is reflected in my art one way or another. I can’t say my faith is my art or my art is my faith but the intertwining of the two has them awfully close to one another, as they should be.
How were you shaped into the artist that you are today? (Upbringing, family, influences, etc)
I definitely wasn’t groomed to be an artist, that’s for sure. Except that my Uncle was an architect and one of my grandfathers being an engineer, there was really no artistic influence. And even their presence was limited.
My father is a carpenter but he hasn’t always been and for years he wasn’t even around so unless there are some sort of artistic genes that have been passed I wasn’t exposed to art or nurtured to be an artist directly.
I was from an early age given a very large degree of autonomy though. I could play outside or watch tv all I wanted to. I could ride my bike or skate all over town. I was given a scooter at age 14 while everyone else had to be given rides by their mom. I could play sports at school or play video games at home. Eat at the table or eat in my room. So I imagine those types of things have fostered the “individual artistic” spirit that I know have (laughs).
In junior high I discovered heavy music like Korn and Rage Against the Machine but it was the discovery of the underground music scene, punk rock and hardcore, that really turned me on to art I guess. Well, not really art but that gave me an expression that I didn’t have prior. And that punk rock spirit is still with me and is even apparent in my first book of poems in the way that I explained them. I used to love getting seven inches or CD’s where the artist gave background to the lyrics and stuff.
Have you thought about how you’ll be progressing after this?
A lot of artists don’t really know because they might not have as many songs as I do but I tend to know where I’m going a couple years out. The next album will be where Panthers left off for the most part, though the subject matter won’t be quite as heavy and hopefully there will be some lap steel on it.
How can people pick up your latest recording?
They can pick it up at the usual digital spots like itunes and amazon plus through my online merch store they can get it with the packaging. www.bradleyhathaway.storenvy.com