Photo Credit: Daley Hake
When he’s not listening to Blink-182 or tweeting about James Harden, Jason Hawk Harris is neck deep in his music. A kid with a punk past, it’s easy to hear the influences but at the end of the day he’s a Texas boy at heart and it shows. His Americountry sound is as entertaining as it is invigorating. Which is likely why he impressed the folks at Bloodshot Records. They’ll be releasing his next LP this year, but before that – we talked to Jason about having that label push, short fuses, and more.:
Kendra: If you had a biopic the soundtrack would most definitely have Queen all over it as you’ve noted Freddie Mercury played a part in changing your life, but what artist or artists guided you towards the Americana scene?
Jason Hawk Harris: I think the biggest influence in regards to injecting the Americana/country bug into my life was my Uncle. He was a local singer-songwriter in Houston who died of aids in 1990. I never got to meet him, but the recordings live on in our family. My favorite line of his is “I’m drinking you out of my system / and my blood’s turned to alcohol / my friends and my job, I don’t miss ‘em / and life don’t mean nothin at all.”
Kendra: You’ve been dreaming of a record deal for years. So when all the papers were finally signed with Bloodshot Records, what did you do to celebrate?
Jason Hawk Harris: Truth be told, I’m still celebrating. Any time we’re out and about and decide we wanna get a nice dinner we just say “record deal!” to justify it. However, more formally, we had a get together with some close friends and family at a bar here in Pasadena.
Kendra: Now you have a new LP coming out through them soon. How do you feel it’s shaping up compared to Formaldehyde, Tobacco, and Tulips? Do you feel having that label presence will take some pressure felt when you were doing things on a more indie level?
Jason Hawk Harris: I’ve been working on this record for two years. So I’ve had a chance to give it the fine-toothed comb treatment, and really get it how I want it. It’s not perfect, but I worked my butt off on it, and I’m very happy with the result. As far as taking the pressure off, Bloodshot has done that and then some.
Not to say there’s not still lots of work to do. In some ways, everything I’ve done before now has been prep, and this is where the real work begins, but financially they’ve certainly helped ease the burden, as well as from a production standpoint. They’ve been doing this a long time, and it’s clear they know what they’re doing when it comes to putting records out.
Kendra: Listening to songs like “I’m Afraid” it’s clear you have a rockabilly spirit. Will we hear more of that on your upcoming release?
Jason Hawk Harris: Interesting! I think of that song more as Gospel, but I see your point. Growing up I listened to a lot of punk and rock and roll, so that is definitely engraved in my musical DNA. There will always be rock. You will definitely hear more of that on the LP.
Kendra: In “Tell Me I’m Good for You” you sing, “I’ve got a short fuse.” What’s a music-centric pet peeve that lights that short fuse of yours more than anything?
Jason Hawk Harris: My biggest pet peeve is when people write music to please an algorithm. Personally, I think it’s ruining the music of some otherwise very talented artists. What’s worse is that I don’t think it’s something people do intentionally, but something that is being bred in the younger generation as good quality. In all actuality, having that algorithmic quality in your music makes it crap, artistically speaking.
Kendra: Another thing that may, is the traffic of LA. You moved to there from Houston. Why LA and not say, Austin?
Jason Hawk Harris: I like the geography of LA, beach on one side of the city, mountains on the other. I like the weather, of course. But more than anything, that’s just where the opportunity was for me personally. I went to music school there. The traffic is brutal, but honestly? You get used to it. I do love Austin though and always relish the opportunity to visit my homeland.
Kendra: Other than the new record, what’s coming up for you in 2019?
Jason Hawk Harris: Lots of touring, and hopefully I’ll be back in the studio before the end of the year.