– – – THE BLOGZ – – –
October 7, -Bremerton
I’m a week late writing this . Being on time is hard, especially for imaginary deadlines and updates no one was waiting for. The record is finally coming out, we’re about a month away from its release, and this was our first show of 10 weeks straight of shows. Not 10 weeks of touring, we’re weekend warriors for now We didn’t name the tour, but something like “fall tour for old guys” seems to fit. Doing a traditional style tour just isn’t in the cards right now. I hear people tell me “this is actually a really smart way of doing it.” Maybe they are right, but it feels wrong. Playing shows is better than not playing though, that’s for sure.
First show of tour was Bremerton, WA. I love Bremerton. I’ve never been anywhere except the Manette Saloon and a gas station, and I’ve never seen it during the day. Sometimes the thing that make a place special is the illusion that only places you know are the only places that are there.
We’ve all been working a stupid amount lately. For example, Jeff –“They let me leave (1 hour) early today because I’m already at 60 hours this week.” These shows are all going to be a rush to and back from, and may even be harder than a real tour because there aren’t any days off for 3 months. Just work, drive, show, drive, work. The upside of being in my own bed almost every night is cool, even if its 5am before I get to it. The ride up was quiet, I got real stoned before we left in an attempt to sleep on the bunk I built in the back of van. Jeff passed out on the bench, Shawn handled driving tunes, and Matt kept opening the fucking window sending huge cold gusts through the back of van. It was a short 3 hour drive and we got there just in time to get our newspaper pope hats.
The bill was eclectic, and we had the best spot (middle of 3). We all thought we played fairly well, and the sound on stage was great, but it looked to me like we had managed to clear the room. I was a little bummed, but also a little impressed. It’s been a while since we were too loud/whatever for people and I like thinking we can still be that. Sometimes people just don’t dig what we’re doing. We all mingled with the locals and chainsmoked on the sidewalk giving out bad touring advice. We got scolded for not having a net in the van to hold our gear in place by a very nice, but slightly drunk mom. I assured her we’d be fine and she stumbled off, our record slinging loosely in her left hand.
I drove back to PDX with Matt as my co-pilot while Shawn and Jeff slept in the back. I put on some music but Matt and I mostly talked about life the whole drive. Late night talk and drives are one of my favorite things about tour. Shit can get real deep and very real. It’s great just to listen.
I dropped off Jeff at his car by the freeway-we were really rushed leaving-then Shawn, then Matt. Driving home from Matt’s house I thought about how my days usually start around 5am now, not end, and how strange it is to be on the other side of it again. It was a quick trip, and some long drives, but it feels SO GOOD to be playing shows out of town again and knowing there are more to look forward to. Eugene tonight and Bend tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates on how I was the oldest person at the house show and someone asked who’s dad I am.
Oct 13, -Eugene
House shows are my favorite. People always come, the vibe is usually on point, and its always a great time for all. Eugene is a college town, so its primed for house shows.
The drive up was easy, I got real stoned and passed out while listening to a chill playlist Shawn made. We pick up Jeff right after he got off work, and off we went. The show was hosted by the rad dudes in Spiller. The other bands on the bill were Stoner Control and Floodlight, many thanks to Ferrin and Charley for helping set this up. Eugene has always been a pain the ass to book, and this was an awesome show. Using a sharp eye for couches on porches and notes on front doors we picked out the house from the street. We played in a bedroom that couldn’t have been bigger than 10×14, and there was only 1 PA speaker, diy heaven. We tetris’d gear high along the walls, pushed the drums in a corner, and faced the PA towards the door. The rest of the night we played “how many college kids can we fit in a room with punk bands.” Eh, probably about 15-20 with the rest of the them winding through the hallways.
We were the oldest people there and I felt certain that I was being laughed at by two goth girls sharing a tall can in the front yard. People were so attentive-as soon as Sam (Spiller) said “The first band is starting!” literally every single person went inside and watched. Shit’s wild. We played in the middle spot again, and felt pretty good about the set. Crowd is much more lively than Bremerton. Didn’t sell any merch, but feel really good about being able to do this again.
We load up pretty quickly, thank all the band dudes and head for Burritos. They are quick, and medicore at best. Jeff and I have to work the next day, and sleep on the drive home. Matt drives and Shawn puts on some podcast that just sounds like propaganda (not propagandhi, that would’ve been better). I wake up when we drop Jeff off. Cheap beer and and cheap burritos gave me killer heartburn. No one knows what the plan is for Bend other than getting more Burritos post show.
Oct 14, -Bend
We end up doing this show without Jeff. That government job just won’t let the dude catch a fucking break. We’re all bummed, but the show must go on. I feel guilty for not driving, and take the drive to Bend. I was a little worried about the pass, but there was hardly any snow. Really pretty drive, and we make it in about 3 hours.
The show is hosted by Bend Pyrate Punx, a rad group supporting all ages music and fighting white pride. The hosted us when we played with Full Garage and Hard Sulks. Super cool folks. Show is a a pizzeria in a strip mall. It was late, so all the surrounding business are closed, so its actually a pretty cool spot.
The opening band is a metal band of kids from Madras, the next town over from Bend. They brought back a lot of memories of being in metal bands as kids for us, and looked like they were having a fucking blast. Lots of moshing, wireless guitars, and jumping in unison. Awesome.
Our set list is limited without Jeff, and we have to cut a few mathier songs in favor the straight ahead jams, and aren’t sure how well its going to go over with the crowd. It takes a few songs, but about the third song in, the whole crowd was in. Lots of yelling at (with?) us, more moshing, and I think I saw some kids giving Shawn the Wayne’ world bow?
We sold a ton of merch, and I had the best fucking time playing. I hadn’t heard someone yell “more brutal!” when we asked how it our levels were. Well, ok then! I’m sore today from going so hard, feels great. The last band is a straight-up punk band. Two dudes about our age, just yelling and thrashing through 30 minutes. I don’t know a word they said, or even know if there was a melody, it ruled. Turns out they used to live in PDX and run a house show venue, but moved out to raise families.
I drive back cause I’m feeling mostly sober. Shawn sleeps in the back, and Matt and I have another late night drive and talk. We hauled ass, and made it from the venue to Matt’s house in 2.5 hours. Easily the shortest transit time of these shows yet.
Canada run is next weekend. Super fucking pumped about that. Playing two cities I’ve never been to, and we’re touring with our dudes in Guilt Trap for all three shows. Also really excited to not have to drive 100+ miles after a show. Gonna spend some time today trying to get a TV installed in the van so we can make videogames on the drives.
The music to the video games that I played as a kid has always held a special place in my heart. They were these tiny ear worms that rattled around in my head during that brief time before a person starts buying their own music. Sure, there was always the music on the radio, or my parent’s CD collection to rummage through, but the music on those games felt like it was just for me. We’re talking 8-bit and 16-bit era here. Metroid, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, any of the Mario Bros, Zelda, Mega Man, and too many more to list.
Lately I’ve been trying to teach myself to use this chiptune creator called MilkyTracker (here’s a link if you’re interested. It’s 100% free). I wondered how hard it would be to create an 8-bit version of one of the newer Hague songs called “Dino”. I spent a handful of hours figuring out how to stumble my way through the program and plugged away at it on weekends and in the wee hours before work. Here’s what I ended up with.
The Hague – Dino (chiptune version):
I’m listening to Foxing, drinking black coffee, and writing this post while cars blaze down the rainy street outside. I’m supposed to be working, but lately all I can focus on is Hague. I’m looking over my social media feeds that are clogged with pictures and news of friends in bands on tour, releasing new records, playing overseas, and having an awesome time sharing their art. I miss tour something fierce. It’s been a full two years since we left for anything longer than 5 days on the road, and we want to get out there so bad. It’s taken awhile, but we are about to make another big push, and I can’t wait. We’re ready.
This record has taken double the amount of time it was supposed to take. I just want to release it already and let the world have it and get on the road again. It deserves more than that though. We took several years to write 40 minutes of music, and its taken over a year to make sure that the recording of it turned out exactly how we wanted it to. It’s currently in mastering, and will hopefully see a release in early 2017, almost 2 years after we started recording it. We’re proud of it, and are going to do everything we can to get it exposed to as many people as we possibly can. We don’t expect everyone to like it, we didn’t write it for everyone, we wrote it because we had to.
Since our last release, both Matt and I got married, we went through several guitar players, I graduated college, and we moved practice spaces 3 times. The band wasn’t sitting in the backseat, but it did have to ride shotgun for a while. I’ve been thinking a lot, nonstop really, about feeling and acting like a professional band again. Taking the time with this new record is a huge part of that. Taking our time and making sure that things are as good as they can be with us before releasing the record and touring again is paramount. We could just say fuck it, put the album on bandcamp and head out next month on a last minute tour, but that’s all that would come of it. We’re as motivated as we’ve ever been to make this work. I really don’t care that most of us look like dads now. The music has never been more authentic, and we’ve never been more ready to spend time in a metal deathbox on wheels.
We’re looking for label support seriously for the first time. We’d be thrilled to have help with the band, and I think that with how much we will be touring and the strength of the new record we’d be a great assest. We’ll release the album on vinyl regardless, we’ll tour the country and overseas regardless, we’ll get some PR regardless. If it seems like we’ve been sleeping or regressing, that’s only what is visible on a surface level. We’ve been winding up to come out with guns blazing soon. New Portland can think that we’re old news, but they have no idea how powerful we can be.
Our next show is Oct 24 at The High Water Mark. Here is the facebook link. It’s free, and its a friends show, with several people in the other bands who have played or recorded with us. It’s gonna be a time. We’ll play a lot of the new material, and maybe a throwback jam or two.
Still not sure if these blog posts are too honest and I should internalize stuff more, or if I should just get things out more often and write more of them. Hopefully the latter is true.
Hey all. Jeff here.
Look, I know having a new guy in the band is sometimes rough on the fans. That’s why I wanted to have a heart-to-heart with y’all and let you know the following:
– You don’t have to call me “guitar dad” if you don’t want to, buddy. It’s totally fine. You can call me Jeff, J.D., Jeffro-puffs, Dr. Sassingill, hell.. you can call me the hamburgler if you want, champ. I’m not here to replace your pops.
– You didn’t do anything wrong that caused The Hague to get another guitarist and we still love you more than kittens on Christmas.
Whew, that felt good to get off my chest. If you want to have another rap sesh, we’d love to see you at one of the handful of shows that we have coming up in September and October. We can toss the ball around, work on your pinewood derby car, talk about your favorite alternate guitar tuning, you name it, kiddo.
*tussles hair* now run along, squirt! And don’t forget about these dandy show dates!
Sept 27th @ Valentines
Oct 6th @ Twilight Cafe with Ghost Pines
Oct 14th @ Analog Cafe with Westward
Oct 24th @ High Water Mark with WROWS and SHE
Love and hotdogs,
– The Hague
Ok, we’re gonna really try and be better about updating this site. Here is my usual long-winded update:
We have a Jeff! When I broke my wrist back in January we really needed someone to fill in on the shows so I didn’t have to do them all one-handed. Matt knew Jeff through work (Jeff is also an audio engineer) and he showed up to practice on a few days notice having learned most of our set. It was an odd situation, having someone else play drum parts live that I had written, especially since I was going to all the shows, but it quickly felt just fine. I’ve always believed that the hardest part about being a band is the personal relationship part, not the playing music part. Jeff is exceptional at both, and as my wrist started to rehab we wanted to keep him around full time. So, without futher ado, please welcome Jeff to Hague!
In other news, the recording and mixing of the album is done, and we are sending it off for mastering soon. We’ve been playing most of the songs off it for over a year now, but have been keeping the lid on the recordings. We’re all really proud of how it turned out, and over the next few months we’ll be looking for some label support to help put it out. On that note, we all have a strong desire to tour more, but want to do it more sustainably. Hopefully with some support for the record we can make that possible. The goal right now is to put the album out this coming winter and do some west coast touring, hopefully followed up by some touring overseas, or another full US tour. Words can’t describe how bad I want to be playing in Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and so on.
In a few weeks were going on a mini tour with our BBF’s in Hard Sulks covering Seattle, Spokane, Boise (help us book this!), and Bend. Our summer is going to be pretty quiet show-wise aside from that while we work on writing new songs with Jeff, planning the album relase, and hopefully tour planning as well.
The last few months have been really awesome, and I want to give a shoutout to all the bands, people, and festivals that have made us feel really special over the last few months.
Volume Music Festival
Camp Daze Festival
Black Water Bar
I’m sure I’ve forgotten folks, but some of the night blur together!
We’re hoping that this record brings about a year that will see our touring the most we have since 2014, and putting out lots of media and new material. All of our albums are still free on bandcamp if you don’t have them yet.
See you soon friends!
The record is pretty much finished. My wrist has been broken for 14 weeks. Jeff has been killing it filling in. We played Canada last month. Aside from the $200 we spent on Kokanee it was pretty rad.
Thankfully we are slightly better at playing shows and touring then we are at blogging.
We haven’t updated in a while, not that anyone probably reads this anyway, but, here goes:
We had planned on recording way back in March, as things go we had some personal and medical issues that got in the way of that actually happening and recording has been pushed back until September. I really hate the saying “everything happens for a reason,” and prefer to see things more in the light of “just roll with it.” That has kind of always been what we’ve done anyway, and I think it has worked out thus far. We’ve been able to spend more time working on new songs, and it’s hard to express how much better off I think the songs are for it.
We haven’t spent a long time just writing songs in a really long time, like since before the great exodus of 3/5 of the band leaving after our first US tour. I think the mindset these last couple years has almost been one of “we’re gonna keep going, keep writing, keep playing, just to prove that we can.” It was never about doing it to prove that to other people, but to prove it to ourselves. I think that as we’ve gotten over the insecurity of knowing that The Hague will continue to be thing, there isn’t as much of a rush just to put something out there.
Matt has been with us for 2 years now, and we still have zero recordings with him outside of a few live videos. I think that all of that time is going to show through in this next set of songs. We’ve taken the time to get to know one another, and it goes way beyond just the music. These new songs have been written with just the three of us, and it has been the most involved songwriting process I have ever been a part of. It is all honesty, it’s fucking amazing. We all help with melody, everyone freely suggests changes not only to the structure, but to other people’s parts. Shawn has opened the door to let Matt and I help with lyrics and melody, and I really enjoy being a part of that process as well. The last record was all about everyone’s ideas, but there was like 20 people on that record. The previous records weren’t as collaborative as this one is either. Maybe no one will like it, but I have a really good feeling about it.
The band is in the best place we have ever been in. There isn’t any drama, but we still have a ton of fun. That was the first step, when it has always seemed like the last one before. The music has been challenging, writing these news songs hasn’t been easy, we’ve broken them apart and put them back together countless times. I think we’ve already been working on most of them for well over a year now, and still haven’t played them live. It is more about not wanting to let them “wild” in front of an audience until we are all excited about how they are, not just ok with how they are. That is a new thing for us, and I’m really into it.
We have also wanted to document things more as time goes on. With every tour and every recording I think we walk away wishing that there was more evidence of what just happened, as a lot of it seems to get lost in the shuffle. Shawn is working on putting together a documentary about us. Mostly just to tell the story of how things have been, but also to capture the process of this record. We don’t want to make a “we’re so edgy/important/cool/whatever” documentary. I don’t think we are any of those things, it’s not about us selling ourselves or trying to convince anyone else that they should watch/listen/care about us. Just like the music is, the documentary will be a reflection of where we are right now, how we are feeling about our lives, and stand only as physical evidence of feelings, memories, and experiences. I just want something to look back on whenever this is all over that helps me remember what happened.
I think it is safe to say that we miss touring a lot. We would give anything to be back out there again, but rushing into a tour right now isn’t the right thing to do. As our friends in bands have taken time off without playing shows or releasing new music we’ve learned that there is something to be said for taking the time to make sure things are right. Not to make sure things are perfect, because fuck being perfect, or wanting to be perfect. We just want to feel proud of what we are doing, and not that we are cutting corners just to get it out to people.
I talk to much. I’ve been struggling with that knowledge a lot lately. I wonder if I have always talked to much, or if it is something new. Do I try and not do it, or just say fuck it, this is who I am? Obviously right now, I am going with the latter.
I’ll try and post to this more frequently in the future. Maybe with less rants/ramblings. But probably mostly those.
First off, Matt got married and then went to Europe! He left Shawn and I alone with keys to his house, so we wrote some new songs and drank lot of beer in his basement, but mostly just drank beer. We also have a show on Sunday at Slabtown with LVL UP. Probably our last show ever at that place as its closing down at the end of month most likely.
As mentioned earlier, we have been writing new songs as a three piece. Hot tracks! If the last album was about trying every idea, this is about tones and song structure. We’ll post more about recording and things as it comes closer.
We have shows coming up!
Oct 19-Slabtown with LVL UP
Nov 7-Olympia at the 4th Ave Tavern
Nov 8-Eugene at the Wandering Goat
Nov 14-Richland at Rays Golden Lion
Nov 21-Seattle at Cafe Racer
Nov 22-The Highwater Mark with Bone Cave Ballet and Bangbakc
We’ll also have a few dates in the NW and into Nor Cal with Sun Valley Gun Club in January. Finalizing those dates now.
Finally, we will be doing another big tour in the fall of 2015. Where should we go?
Things are good with us. We’ve all become acclimated to post-tour life again (begrudgingly) and I think this is the most “ok” we’ve ever been after a tour yet. There has been some post-tour depression as there always is, but we’ve all landed on our feet well.
We’ve started writing new songs! I am really excited about this, as we haven’t written anything new in well over a year. Samsara has been out for a few months, but it was done way before it was released. It feels great to be writing, its kinda like taking a shit in a comfortable place after eating taco bell and driving through eastern washington. It’s better once you feel safe enough just let it out.
We are all a bit hesitant on how things would translate as a three piece, but its been great. Honestly. Writing together is fun too. Samsara was a collaboration of friends from all over adding bits and pieces to bits and pieces. It was a rad experience, but I think writing this way is more organic. We just jam, and drink, have a smoke, jam again and somehow a song happens in that space. It can’t be forced, it just slowly reveals itself.
The new stuff is..the same but different? Not really any louder or quieter, or in different moods; but more about the song. We’re leaning away from using so much tapping and abrupt loud/quiet parts in favor of using odd but in-the-pocket grooves. I don’t know, you’ll hear it evenutally. We’re stoked though.
On a personal note:
I saw Rocky Votolato the other night. He has always been one of my favorite songwriters since I played with him back when I was a teenager. His songs were are great then as they are now. In seeing him a handful of times he usually doesn’t say much on stage, but just goes through his set in a very humble and gracious way. This past time was different though. He had his brother Cody (of blood brothers fame) playing electric with him, and spoke to the crowd between almost every song. He talked about how one of his songs is about the struggle of being a musician wondering if things are ever going to break. Wondering if it may be time to throw in the towel and focus on finding a 9-5, or normal gig.
Shawn and I myself have stuggled with this issue a lot, and I’m sure Matt feels the same way in part. This is what we all really want to do, but its a struggle or sure. Honestly I’ve considered walking away from it a few times, and thought of letting school or a career take the lead in my life. When do you make that change? Do you ever? I’m currently about a year out from getting my BA, with plans to get my MBA after that. Matt is about to get married and honey moon in Europe. There are personal goals outside of Hague to be sure. But, sometimes even thinking about them feels like cheating on the band.
It’s hard to say for exactly how long Hague will exist. As far as any of us can see we will keep going hard. Touring as much as time (but mostly money) allow, and continue to put out records. Over the course of 3 records and a few EP’s I think we have 30-40 songs written and recored over the last 5-ish years.
Hague will exist as long as it’s fun. As long as the reward of playing songs and doing shows outweighs the costs on our bodies. Right now we are having a great time.
We play Hivefest at the end of the month (also my birthday show) and then have a mini-tour this August around the NW. In the meantime we are going to keep writing this new record, re-work some of the old material for a 3-piece, and gear up for another west coast/midwest tour this coming winter.
I’ve spent a while trying to find the words to thank everyone for the amazing tour and describe our experience. They are no where to be found. Suffice it to say it was fucking amazing.
All in all, we did over 12,000 miles and saw at least 30 states. We came home not completely broke and don’t hate each other. Oh, and we did it on.our.own. No booking agents, no pr, no label support, just 4 dudes that wanted to do it. I can’t stress enough how much everyone that came to a show, let us crash at their place, fed us, bought merch, shared a beer or a smoke, and gave us time out of their day to let us be a part of it, we are humbled by you. I feel like there are a thousand people to thank, but making a big list just means I’ll forget to add half of them. For reals through, those of you who know are in the know. We love you to pieces. Tour far exceeded any expectations we had and renewed our drive to continue doing this. Thank you to everyone that was a part of it.
In somewhat somber news, Mike Moore has left our ranks. We had a great tour with him and wish him all the best in his future projects. We’re all still friends and there is no bad blood at all. Mike works at Toadhouse Studios (where our last three albums have come from) and is an AMAZING engineer/producer/musician/friend. Go record with him.
That being said, the plan is for Shawn, Matt and I to try things out as a three piece. It’s strange going from 5, to 4, now to 3, but we are going to give it a shot. We’re all pretty optimistic about what is going to come out of this next batch of songwriting and how we are going to play the old material as three. As always, there is no genre or style restrictions on what we write and we’ll continue to write whatever feels good/right/fun. Maybe every record will be different with different musicians and that is the kind of band we’ll be. We’re just gonna keep rolling with the punches.
This tour FELT different from all of the ones in the past. Is it weird to say that I felt like we finally kinda had our act together on the road? There is a line from the Death Cab DVD “Drive well sleep carefully” that says “we put the punk in punctual. I feel like that about tour. I feel like we are starting to learn from past tours, while seeing all the friends we’ve made along the journey. I also really hate growing up, fuck it if that’s a cliched attitude, it’s how I feel.
For now, we are going to lay low until the final(?) Hivefest June 28th here in Portland and debut as a three piece there. It’s going to take some time to figure out how things can work out with only 3 of us.
We have big plans for the future though, one thing that we talked about a lot on tour was how touring once a year isn’t enough. Expect to see us out more often, the road is too good to us, and this is too much fun not to do more often.
I also want to take a minute here and thank Matt (our bassist) for all of his hard work and contributions. It doesn’t need to be gone over in detail, but I want to thank him publicly here.
Sorry for rant, I just might have a good buzz on and be feeling nostalgic and anxious for the future at the same time. I’m gonna go smoke a smoke.
Goodnight, and again-thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’ll be back in a few months strong as ever with new songs and an itching for the road.
PS-Thank you to Devon from Grandhorse for the site update. First, go like his band cause they slay, then get him to build you a rad site (like this one!). Devonrules666