Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jason Iversen - guitar, lead vocals
Matt Iversen - bass, guitar, vocals
Nathan Bena - lead guitar, keys
Bobby Stevens - drums, percussion
For starters, what bands were you a part of prior to your current project? How long has the band been around?
(Jason) - I first started playing with my brother Matt and now brother-in-law Ed in about 1998 or '99. After meeting Bobby, we morphed into the band Resdeus (pronounced rays-day-us). After a rotating door of members over the years, Bobby and I would play for that band about 13 years together. Eventually, we needed a change so we ended that band and started Hail the Pilot. We were kicking around the idea for awhile before actually committing to it.
We've actually been playing together for almost two years but after playing a few shows, we made the decision to put our live shows on hold while we recorded our album. We wanted to put all of our focus on the recording and then take what we had done in the studio to the stage. It took us just over a year recording it
(Bobby) I was in two or three different bands before meeting Jason. But nothing really serious.
(Nathan) Before joining Hail the Pilot I played in two gigging bands. I played guitar in the punk rock band Offtrak here in Tacoma. Before that, I played bass in a band called the Usual Nons out of Portland OR.
(Matt) Jason and Bob and I were in a band called ResDeus. I had left for a time but then returned when we started Hail the Pilot
(Jason) Thankfully Hail the Pilot was our first choice. It's really hard to find a name that isn't taken these days. first off, I wanted a name that was easy to remember, sounded cool and wasn't taken. The meaning of it, on the other hand, has a lot to do with my past experiences playing with other people. Anyone who has played in a band recognizes how difficult it is to keep a band together. It's a lot like a marriage. It's easy at first but takes a lot of work keep it going. I feel as if there are two ways you can look this. Either it's coincidence to find other musicians that fit both musically and personality-wise (lucky), or you see it as God-thing. Like it was meant to be. We see it as the latter. God being the pilot and our recognition that we are just along for the ride.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
(Jason) As of now, I write the basic rhythm guitar and lyrics of the songs and then the guys write their parts to it. There's a lot of collaboration once we all start working on it together. It's not uncommon for things to change considerably after a song "cooks" for a while. But I'm hoping to try some different writing methods in the future.
The theme of the songs tends to be pretty introspective. Basically, my life experiences smashed through the filter of my perspective and faith. It's like journaling or a cathartic process. It's almost like capturing a moment in a photograph, but better. I want people to be able to put there own meaning on the songs and to make it their own. There are songs that I grew up listening to that I had no idea what they were about, but I put my own personal meanings to them. And meanings can change over time. A good example of this is "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel. You could ask a hundred people what that song is about and get a hundred different answers. It's arguably just as relevant today as it was the day it was written.
I think the topics should change over time to avoid becoming stale, but my method probably won't change too much.
Which bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
(Jason) Right now for me it's Radiohead for their sound textures and atmosphere and Atoms for Peace for their hypnotic rhythms. I could go on and on and add another 10 bands to this but these two stick out to me at the moment
(Bobby) A lot of bands out there have inspired me in my drumming. Radiohead, Muse, Tool, Dave Matthews Band and a bunch more.
(Matt) Jason will tell you Radiohead and they're certainly a big inspiration, but he and I grew up listening to Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, guys like that. And there are bands like Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Band of Horses, and Dave Matthews. All of these bands have had quite an effect on us growing up.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
(Jason) I've wanted to be in a band for as long as I remember but I think for me it was Dave Matthews Band. When I was learning the guitar, I really got into them and they ended up being the first real concert that I saw. I remember the tickets were only $25 and they weren't really known too much around Seattle at the time. My mind was blown and I've never recovered.
(Bobby) The first time that I saw Radiohead live I knew I wanted to write the kind of music we do now.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
(Jason) I don't have anything in particular. I just avoid talking too much to save my voice and drink a lot of water. I'm kinda boring that way.
(Bobby) I stretch my legs arms and hands a ton before every show.
(Nathan) I like to be calm, I’ll take a walk, play guitar, listen to music, and we pray. We’re thankful for every opportunity that we have to play music together.
(Matt) At our age, stretching would probably be a really good idea before any show. But as far as just preparing myself mentally, I guess you always want to find that balance of being aware and focused, but not tight or overly amped. You want to be able to enjoy ourselves up there and be able to flow with the music and trusting that in all those hours of practice you put into these songs, your fingers, as well as your voice, will remember where to go.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
(Jason) Definitely recording this album. It took over a year of writing and recording and I couldn't be more proud of what we've done. When we started the process, we all agreed to put everything we had into it and see it to the end. It took a lot of discipline but I think it shows.
(Bobby) the biggest highlight for me so far has been the studio and writing process for the album. It's been so cool to write with my brothers.
(Nathan) Hearing "In Circles" on a radio show.
(Matt) definitely recording the album.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
(Jason) Current bands/artists would be Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, Ben Harper, and Band of Horses. Any of those bands would be my dream come true. There are other bands for sure but they are my definite top three. If I were to go into the past I would have to put R.E.M into that mix.
(Bobby) Definitely, Radiohead because I think we would have a lot in common musically.
(Nathan) Anyone really. Of course, you want to play with similar artists to give fans a show that feels like a complete experience. Getting on the road is a major goal
(Matt) It would be really cool to tour with Ben Harper and those guys.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
(Jason) Our album "Divider" releases April 10th! If you are interested go to our website www.hailthepilot.com and sign up for our email list for more updates. Thank you!