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Interview: Hostage Calm

Hostage Calm

By: Andrew Katz

Last week I was able to catch up with two of the members of the critically acclaimed avant-garde punk band, Hostage Calm. The CT group have been on the road non-stop for the past year in support of their Run For Cover Records debut self-titled LP. Their hard work seems to be paying off as they've been able to earn supporting slots for Fireworks, Senses Fail and Bouncing Souls. During our interview with HC, which can be found below, vocalist Chris Martin and bassist Tim Casey talked about their song writing process, current tour, and the reasons behind becoming vegetarians.


How has the tour been? What was your favorite stop so far?

Chris Martin: I’d say Philadelphia. We played with The Wonder Years, which was fucking awesome. That was the best show of the tour so far. That was also their record release night which was really special.  Playing someone’s record release show always has an air about it, especially if it’s with a band you really like. It feels different than a regular show. 

Tim Casey: The tour in general has been pretty awesome. There has been a wild cast of characters and everyone has been having fun. It’s been an awesome time. 


What was the inspiration behind your name and how does it associate with your music?

Chris: We got the name from an unreleased Quicksand song. The song was called “Hostage Calm,” and our band name was a tribute to that. They are a huge influence of ours. Our sound has a happy and pleasing feel, but the lyrics and the underlying feel of the band is anxious and maybe a bit uncomfortable. This really speaks to the band name. It’s a band name that defines us, especially from what we’ve all been through together. It’s a unique name. It didn’t pigeon hole us into a specific genre. People don’t hear the name “Hostage Calm” and think of a band that would have a sound to please that name. It’s been a really flexible band name. It’s been a name that captures that anxiety and the trouble we have with complacency. 


You guys were just nominated for 2011's Sexiest Vegetarian by Peta2. Is everyone in the band a vegetarian and what is your reasoning behind being vegetarians?

Chris: I’m sure everyone has their own justification. But for me, it got to a point where I needed to find other options. You don’t have to take a life to eat. You can eat all the things you like to eat, and thanks to science and creativity, there are many other alternatives. It seems unnecessary to take life. You don’t need to kill to eat. Also, due the bad environmental effects of meat production and the other factors, I associated eating meat with something like an excess. Tim and I went vegetarian on July 4th. I love animals, I love my cat, and I am a person who is conscious about the world. Why would I live on such excess? It is unnecessary. 


Is anyone in the band vegan?

Tim: I am actually. 


I really dig the song “Young Professionals.” What was the inspiration behind that song? 

Chris: I think just being 23 and eventually seeing your friends grow up. It’s like you’re having fun with your friends one day, and the next day they are in a suit. It’s like the suit is wearing him. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is an uncomfortable time. The world is really overwhelming, and you are hoping that if you do all the shit that everyone is telling you to do, you will end up with all the shit you need to have. It’s just an anxious time. Also, being that I am somebody who is playing music full time, there is a noticeable difference between some of my friends, like those who went to Manhattan and are trying to make millions. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is a scary time. All of sudden you start to feel a certain way about things you had not previously thought about. It’s a tough time.

Tim: I think that it’s not a condemnation, but rather an examination. There are plenty of parallels. We wrote the album in our senior year at university. There are plenty of parallels between the guy who gets the job right out of school and the guy who goes on tour right out of school. It’s a weird volatile moment.

Chris: There are so many similarities too. We are all struggling to find what we want in the world. We all hope that shit works out. 


Has your fan base changed since getting signed to Run For Cover? And if so, how has it done so? 

Chris: Definitely. We retained a lot of our older fans and acquired newer fans. We’ve become a lot more broad-genre now. People who listen to different music will still check us out. But as opposed to our last record, we were kind of like punk and hardcore. We were a band in the listener’s catalogue that they may have listened too, instead of more of an importance. It’s been a really good relationship. It also put us in a family of bands that we all really like. 


Briefly describe your song writing process. 

Chris: We don’t have a certain process. There is no order. We try to vary it up to keep it fresh. If you take a variety of roots to get to the final product, then you will have a variety of final products. You can tell bands that have a certain set way, and therefore it produces a certain type of sound. If you write all of your guitar parts first and then put lyrics over it, you might notice that you will have very guitar driven stuff. The vocals might be overshadowed. But we take it from many different angles. When we go to the studio, we have the song written out. But we experiment with the song itself, such as the tone of the song. We have most of our ideas set up beforehand. 


What are your plans for the future?  

Chris: Playing music.

Tim: Hell yeah!


Hostage Calm play NYC's Highline Ballroom w/ Bouncing Souls on Jul 6th, Hangar 84 w/ Senses Fail on Jul 15th and Hoboken's Maxwell's w/ Senses Fail July 17th.

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