[Interview] Exclusive interview with Haken

Dear readers, we have the opportunity to interview one of the top bands in the Prog scene in recent years, with top record releases and a new album coming in 2023. Please welcome Haken.

Hi how are you?

β€œDoing great, mate! We’re all prepping individually for some upcoming shows and really
excited about hitting the road again.

You are one of today’s leading Prog bands, where did your passion for this genre come from?

β€œI would say in the beginning it was our mutual appreciation of Dream Theater that opened up the possibilities for what was possible in making rock music and being in a band… It’s no secret they were always a huge inspiration for us. These days it’s more about pushing our own creative boundaries, providing entertainment and above all having fun creating the best songs we can make.”

You have released some great albums over the years, which one represents you most and which one do you feel most connected to?

β€œThat’s a tough one to answer because I feel each album has its own personality. There’s no doubt ‘The Mountain’ was a defining one for us, a turning point in our career and remains a fan favorite for many, but I think with our latest, ‘Fauna’ we offer a wider picture of what we’re about. It’s incredibly eclectic.”

We announced on our webzine the release of your new full-length “Fauna” in 2023, what can you tell us about this new work?

β€œ‘Fauna’ is our first album since ‘The Mountain’ that doesn’t follow a narrative. Each song can stand alone and has its own identity. That being said, we looked to the Animal Kingdom to inspire the music and lyrics this time, and with each song represented by its own unique spirit animal, this gave it a loose concept to tie the songs together. As I mentioned, it’s musically quite a dense listening experience, loads of details to unpack and will require repeated plays to fully appreciate.”

Your music is very elaborate as are your lyrics, what themes do the tracks on the new album deal with?

β€œEach song was inspired by something that we found interesting about the animal kingdom, but more importantly what that might say about us as humankind. The album starts with references to forced emigration and the strength of people in numbers. Nightingale is a piece about the creative process itself with an ode to John Keats and Hans Christian Anderson works of the same name. Sempiternal Beings is a song inspired by a species of Jellyfish that has an eternal life cycle by the ability to regenerate its cells, so it provided an opportunity to touch on the topic of reincarnation. We even have a song about heartbreak, or more accurately; cannibalism. That one was a first for us!”

You are a band that has always had an intense live activity with highly appreciated performances, what are your plans for the new album?

β€œWe have a busy touring and festival schedule lined up to support this release, so we are excited to give these songs the live treatment they deserve this year. In the spirit of remaining ethical, no live animals are expected to join us on stage. Don’t expect us to dress up as animals either!”

Are more singles and videos from the new album planned?

β€œThere is one more to come on Valentine’s Day. Every song is so different that I feel none of them really define the album experience as a whole. They are a necessity for marketing, playlists and introducing ourselves to potential fans though. The video side of it is really the fun part.”

The band has been active for several years, how has your sound evolved over time?

β€œI was listening back to ‘Aquarius’ in the car recently and it did strike me how much more attention to detail we pay in the writing and recording process these days. There are some things on that record that wouldn’t pass the quality control we impose on ourselves these days but on the other hand that’s what also makes those earlier records sound honest and appealing to listen to.”

What advice would you give to young artists entering the music scene with a more elaborate genre such as yours?

β€œI would say that even if you think you’ve got the hit records and the virtuoso chops, nothing in this business is certain and prog/metal is especially niche. It takes time and perseverance to build the following and the catalog to make a lasting career. I would always recommend having a side hustle for income. Your families will thank you for it! Remain humble and patient but always have a 5 year plan to manifest for yourself.”

The last question, as usual, I leave you free to address any topic not mentioned in the previous questions.

β€œWe’d like to draw your attention to the fantastic artwork for ‘Fauna’ and all the related singles created by Dan Goldsworthy. The physical media vinyl and CD packaging is really something to behold. The Easter eggs found within only add to the listening experience beyond what streaming services offer their listeners. The topic is a subjective one and we love and appreciate everyone who checks us out, no matter which format, but this one has certainly been created with the physical format listening experience in mind. Don’t miss our live shows this year throughout Europe and North America, with other territories soon to be announced! www.hakenmusic.com/tour for tickets!”

I thank Haken for their availability, and on behalf of the Progressive Rock Journal I wish them all the best for the release of the new album and the continuation of their artistic career.

Pre-order the new album “Fauna” here: https://haken.lnk.to/Fauna

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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