English prog-metal ensemble Haken proceed their reliably regular output with the discharge of their seventh studio album Fauna, out there through Inside Out on March 3.
Bolstered by the return of keyboardist Pete Jones and an enormous European tour with Between The Buried And Me, the authors of such bombastic and mind-bending cuts as “Cockroach King” and “Initiate” pull no punches on their newest acid journey to the senses.
“Well, firstly, thank you so much for enjoying Fauna,” shared guitarist Richard Henshall in a sitdown with Steel Injection. “We’ve been stuck in this bubble for the last couple of years whilst writing and recording it, and it’s sometimes hard to even be able to gauge whether it’s any good anymore by the end of the whole process. So it’s been great hearing feedback from fellow music lovers and it’s always very promising when people are into what you’ve been doing.”
The return of Jones, who collaborated with Haken in what Henshall affectionately refers to because the demo years, comes as a welcome shot of enthusiasm and creativity to a collective already bursting with the stuff.
“Yeah, it’s really great working with Pete again. He was in the band way back during the demo years, so 2007, 2008 and a little bit before that, just kind of crafting ideas together to record the demos. So we’ve known each other for a long time now, 15 years or so. He went off to study theoretical physics for a bunch of years, so he’s a very clever lad, a lot cleverer than any of us [laughs]. For a start, that kind of added a whole new dimension to the band dynamic,” Henshall shared of Jones, who he additional collaborated with by way of the Nova Collective.
“Over the years he’s matured as a person obviously, but also his musical tastes have broadened. His playing is obviously very proficient, but in terms of his tastes, he’s really expanded into kind of jazz influences and there’s a very strong electronic sound to his playing, which has really added a certain sound to this album, and I hope he’ll carry on on future albums as well.”
Whereas stopping wanting calling Fauna an idea album, the tracks are tethered along with a nod to the animal kingdom, with metaphorical strands connecting the Brits to their spirit animal of alternative, if you’ll.
“I really feel like possibly midway by way of the method of writing the tunes, we got here up with this concept of basing them on the animal kingdom, and we use totally different animals or totally different species as metaphors typically for, you recognize, issues which might be occurring within the human world or private experiences as properly. And it actually proved to be fairly efficient as a result of the animal kingdom is such an imposing and eclectic factor.
“It really reflected the music on the album because it’s all over the place and there’s lots of different colors and moods going on which is very similar to the animal kingdom.” Henshall explains, including that the writing course of, for him personally no less than, took a way more close-to-home flip following the lack of his father.
“However yeah, we use the animals as metaphors and there is a complete bunch of various concepts throughout the album, even private experiences. For instance, my father handed away throughout the means of writing a music. It was very difficult to cope with as a result of he’d been such a supportive determine for me as a musician. However not solely that, he was very supportive of the band.
“He was nearly just like the seventh member of the band throughout the early years of Haken. He would ship out demos that we might made to all corners of the world without cost and ship images of the band. He wrote somewhat bio as properly that he’d ship to everybody and he would by no means cost folks, he’d simply do it without cost.
“Like a true, true prog fan, he had a big long list of all the Haken shows that he’d been to and he’d seen us like over 100 times. He was really dedicated to the cause and he never once wanted to be on the guest list. He’d always pay for the tickets because he wanted to support what we were doing. And he knew that ticket sales meant that we could carry on doing what we’re doing. So yeah, very, very sad when he passed away. So I decided to write this song (‘Eyes of Ebony’) about him and I used the metaphor of the plight of the final male white rhino to kind of tell that story.”
From the riff-heavy opener “Taurus” to the eclectic mashup “The Alphabet of Me” and the cathartic nearer “Eyes of Ebony”, Fauna is Haken at maybe its most dynamic and ferociously courageous. For Henshall himself, the artistic course of was therapeutic in a time the place clouds of grief hovered woefully near dwelling.
“It was very therapeutic, and it was a tricky time. I’ve never dealt with grief on that level before. Just the idea that something’s there and that it, it’s gone the next day and you can never quite get that back. So that was hard to deal with and I felt writing the song was definitely therapeutic and it healed me for sure,” Henshall admits candidly of Fauna, which he compares in scope and ambition to 2013’s The Mountain.
“Yeah, the album for me is very special, like I imagine Fauna will be in ten years time,” Henshall shares of the tenth anniversary of The Mountain. “It was a pivotal second for us. We would simply signed to Inside Out data, so we had plenty of consideration. And I bear in mind we put out ‘Cockroach King,’ and we did a unusual video with it, which actually caught plenty of consideration. And even the likes of Jordan Rudess and Mike Portnoy heard of us at that time. And we’re like, ‘Whoa!’ I bear in mind even seeing a video of Rudess taking part in by way of a bunch of themes from The Mountain. It simply blew my thoughts. Out of the blue we had been thrown into the eye of a few of our heroes, so it was an actual turning level for the band, and it actually began a ball rolling, to be trustworthy.
“I like to think of Fauna almost like a spiritual partner to that album in terms of the way we approached it. It was a very kind of almost, I wouldn’t say loose, but it was very liberal and we didn’t really have much of a filter when it came to writing. We were just like anything goes, you know? It could be as wacky and zany as you like, anything goes. And that really resulted in it being very diverse and varied. And I like to think Mountain has that similar vibe and feeling when you listen to it.”
Catch Haken on tour all through Europe with Between The Buried And Me and Cryptodira earlier than hitting North America on a run of headline dates with particular visitors Arch Echo! Fauna is offered worldwide March 3.
2/21 – Hamburg, GER – Gruenspan
2/22 – Leipzig, GER – Werk 2
2/23 – Berlin, GER – Heimathafen
2/24 – Warsaw, POL – Proxima
2/25 – Prague, CZE – Palac Akropolis
2/26 – Vienna, AUT – Simm Metropolis
2/28 – Budapest, HUN – Durer Kert
3/1 – Munich, GER – Freiheitshalle
3/2 – Karlsruhe, GER – Stadtmitte
3/3 – Aarau, SWI – Kiff Saal
3/4 – Roncade-Treviso, ITA – New AGE
3/5 – Milan, ITA – Alcatraz
3/6 – Lyon, FRA – Ninkasi Kao
3/8 – Barcelona, SPA – Razzmatazz 2
3/9 – Madrid, SPA – Mon
3/10 – Murcia, SPA – Garaje
3/11 Seville, SPA – Customized
3/12 Lisbon, POR – Lisboa ao Vivo
3/13 Porto, POR – Arduous Membership
3/15 Toulouse, FRA – Connexion Dwell
3/16 Nantes, FRA – Ferrailleur
3/17 Paris, FRA – Alhambra
3/19 Esch-sur-Alzette, LUX – Rockhal
3/20 Cologne, GER – Burgerhaus Stollwerck
3/21 Antwerp, BEL – Trix Membership
3/22 Tilburg, NET – 013
3/23 Bristol, UK – SWX
3/24 Manchester, UK – Academy 2
3/25 Glasgow, UK – Storage
3/26 London, UK – Shepherds Bush Empire
North American Tour:
5/3 – Nashville – TBA [Tickets]
5/4 – Cleveland – Home of Blues [Tickets]
5/5 – Toronto – Opera Home [Tickets]
5/6 – Montreal – Corona Theater [Tickets]
5/7 – Quebec Metropolis – Imperial Bell [Tickets]
5/9 – Boston – Paradise [Tickets]
5/10 – Philadelphia – TLA [Tickets]
5/11 – NYC – Le Poisson Rouge [Tickets]
5/12 – DC – The Black Cat [Tickets]
5/13 – Charlotte – Underground [Tickets]
5/14 – Fort Lauderdale – Tradition Room [Tickets]
5/15 – Orlando – The Beacham [Tickets]
5/17 – Atlanta – Terminal West [Tickets]
5/19 – Dallas – Granada Theater [Tickets]
5/20 – Austin – Come and Take it Dwell [Tickets]
5/21 – El Paso – Lowbrow Palace [Tickets]
5/22 – Phoenix – The Nile [Tickets]
5/23 – San Diego – Brick by Brick [Tickets]
5/24 – LA – Regent Theater [Tickets]
5/25 – San Francisco – August Corridor [Tickets]
5/26 – Portland – Hawthorne Theater [Tickets]
5/27 – Seattle – Neptune Theater [Tickets]
5/28 – Vancouver – Rickshaw Theater [Tickets]
5/30 – SLC – Commonwealth Room [Tickets]
5/31 – Denver – Gothic Theater [Tickets]
6/1 – Lawrence – Granada Theater [Tickets]
6/2 – Minneapolis – Fantastic Line [Tickets]
6/3 – Chicago – Harmony Music Corridor [Tickets]