If you've been paying attention even just a little bit over the last several years you've probably noticed that Ballard is slowly being transformed into a city of bland, uninspired condominiums. These bland, uninspired condominiums are steadily replacing establishments that were a part of the rich history of Ballard's Scandinavian seafaring community as well as replacing the homes of current and past Ballard residents. Thanks, money, for being awesome and a ruiner all at once.
One person, however, stood up to "The Man" and commercial development in 2006 and refused the attractive offer of lots of dollar bills in the sum of one million dollars so "The Man" wouldn't be able to tear down her home. Edith Macefield was that person and she instantly became an 86 year old bad-ass. Edith has since passed but her home still stands, stoic, awaiting a bit of construction in order to raise the house and add a public space below called Credo Square.
Macefield Festival replaces Reverb Fest which had been suffering from dwindling ticket sales over the years among other issues.
Macefield Festival is happening in Ballard this Sat, Oct. 5th and the line-up is absolutely awesome with Davidson Hart Kingsbury, Vox Mod, Constant Lovers, Young Fresh Fellows and Hounds of the Wild Hunt being just a few of the acts to check out. Learn more about Macefield Festival and buy tickets here.
Oh, speaking of Hounds of the Wild Hunt, I had a chance to catch up with the guys recently and ask them about why they're passionate about Macefield Fest, the upcoming new record from the group and mixtapes.
the mixtape: First off, why did you want to be involved in Macefield Fest? Is it because you're a fan of people standing up to "The Man"?
Hounds of the Wild Hunt: First off, let's just get this out of the way...the Ballard Blocks is one of the ugliest buildings we've ever seen. The prettiest portion of it is the part Edith Macefield carved out of it with her true grit and moxie. We practiced just around the corner for over a year and we'd pass by her house every time we went to Mike's Chili Parlor (represent!) and seeing her house, surrounded by gross (for lack of a better word), was an always welcome pick-me-up. That house reminds you that assholes don't always win. And also, yeah, damn the man.
tm: When we chatted almost 7 months ago ago you said that one of the reasons you decided to dissolve the Whore Moans and transition into Hounds of the Wild Hunt was because you "did that as hard as we could" and the mission statement had been met. What is it exactly, do you think, that Hounds of the Wild Hunt are representing now? Can you foresee another name/sound change at all or is this your final incarnation of a band?
HOTWH: So, you know when your mom took you shopping for clothes, and she always seemed to pick outfits that were too big, and she'd say, "Don't worry, you'll grow into it"? That's us with Hounds of the Wild Hunt; we're trying to build something that we can grow into. We've never really sat down and analyzed what we're trying to accomplish as the Hounds, per se; we just knew that we wanted something more than what the Whore Moans could give us. We're very proud of what we accomplished under that name but there was a point where the very title of the Whore Moans felt like a glass ceiling as far as the kind of songs we wanted to write; with Hounds, we can do anything.
tm: The three of you (Ryan, Jonny, Nick) have been friends for a very long time and have been making music together for most of the friendship. Can you compare working together now to what it was like in the beginning of the musical adventures regarding writing songs and how you go about deciding on who sings on what song, etc...
HOTWH: Being in a band IS a polyamorous relationship. Replace sex with music: Everyone has their own individual needs that require fulfilling; you're permitted to pursue separate relationships outside of the band; and every once in awhile on a Saturday night, you all get together and go fucking nuts and it's AWESOME. And just like any polyamorous relationship, the key to success is communication. When we were younger, stuck down in Tacoma, being in a band was the most important thing in the world to us; we were 3 alienated punk rockers who found each other and all of a sudden, the world made a little more sense. It's been 10 years, hundreds of shows later, thousands of dollars in the hole, and twice that many miles travelled in our trusty old van; we've grown up a little, and we all have our own separate responsibilities outside of the band, but when we get together to write or play music, it still feels important and it's still deeply satisfying (heh).
tm: Why are you called Hounds of the Wild Hunt?
HOTWH: This book. Right here. Only truth you need. The whole thing is full of bad-ass band names.
Rejected contenders: "White Eagle of Zeus." "The White Snake of China." "A Great Many People in Europe." Seriously, if there's one piece of advice we can give to fledgling bands trying to find a name, it's buy MAGICKAL MYSTICAL CREATURES: INVITE THEIR POWER INTO YOUR LIFE. Only truth you need. The whole thing is full of bad-ass band names.
tm: Being that you're good friends and have been for some time can you tell me about a nutty adventure you've experienced together?
HOTWH: San Francisco. Like, a couple of years ago (let's go with five, give or take). We're on a West Coast tour with a couple of off-days in the lovely City by the Bay. Luckily, our buddies (in-the-now-sadly-defunct) Yonderlow are also in Sanny Franny Frisco and are playing a set in a posh house somewhere close to the Mission (think of those cool houses Fog City is known for, like a hipster version of the FULL HOUSE opening credits). Yonderlow is miserable, for reasons of their own, but we show up, they hook us up with a quick acoustic set, and all of a sudden it's a two day party in Shaky Town. We hit said Town the day after and end up at a beach (the only one not made of rocks) somewhere to the west of the City That Knows How. Now, you have to understand that this is when you could only buy liquor at state-run liquor stores in Washington; The Golden Mountain was like a fucking revelation to us. All of a sudden, we're in a Safeway buying steaks for grilling, and there's bottles Knob Creek and Bulleitt Bourbon for $20. Where we would've normally bought beer for the evening, we armed ourselves with a fifth of whiskey per person. Steaks, a beach fire, some guy with a djembe and countless pulls of bourbon later, Jonny and Nikki are the only ones who haven't vomited or hurled themselves into a bed. However, our dauntless heroes are faced with a female friend who needs to make it back home...to the Haight...five miles away. But they are stalwart young gallants and distance is no object. So they start trudging. But she was really drunk, and in her inebriated state, she started to protest that she was being a bad host while they were in her city. Through some combination of whiskey and Catholic guilt, she demanded that they leave her where she stood on the edge of an ominously dark Golden Gate Park. Jonny and Nikki, not having any Catholic guilt themselves, rejected these demands outright and continued to verbally prod her towards home. They're friend, having enough Catholic guilt (and whiskey) to take on two full grown men, continued to protest until she finally wrapped her arms around a re-bar fence of some fucking store-front and began screaming, "NO! Leave me ALONE!" Over and over and over. At this point, Nikki grabbed her and said, "(Name omitted to protect the innocent), it's fine that you're unhappy with the situation. But it's not okay to make it look like we're trying to rape you." That seemed to sober her up, enough anyway to cram her into a cab that was luckily cruising past. That "luckily" was to prove short-lived. Not but one mile into the drive home, Nikki see's their friend engaging in the universal "I-am-gonna-throw-up-a-lot-all-over-everything-in-front-of-me" sign. "Pull over," says Nikki. The cabbie doesn't hear or ignores him. "Pull over, man." Again, the cabbie, for whatever reason, is unable to comply. "PULL OVER RIGHT NOW, SHE'S GONNA FUCKING PUKE!" That does it. The cabbie stops, Nikki reaches across the girl, opens the door, and shoves her upper body out the door, and a torrent of whiskey and Catholic guilt spills into the streets of the Gay Bay. The cabbie looks back toward the puking woman, then toward Nikki and voices a quiet (but earnest) "Thank you." The rest of the ride passed without incident. The gentlemen put their friend to bed and like a couple of pros (DRINKING pros) went and played pool, continuing to get pissed at one of the many local public houses in the neighborhood. This is the least incriminating of all of our "nutty" stories.
tm: Let's talk about your new music! The music video for your brand new song, "A Walk to Remember", is very good and very eerie. The band is sort of "haunting" the main character. What was the inspiration for the video and the tone of it?
HOTWH: The video for "A Walk to Remember" was originally envisioned as us thinking it'd be fun to be perched like gargoyles over our friends while they went through their nightly before-bed routines. It took Trevor and Michelle Campbell, two filmmakers from Los Angeles, to bring that vision to fruition (seriously, go watch their movie, SPRAY PAINT ATLAS). Also, Whitney Dean, the main character, is amazing and a total professional (even though she's not a professional) and we love her like crazy. Our new record is mostly written and "A Walk to Remember" is definitely an indication of what we're willing to try, but really, Jonny's not willing to be roofied again (told you that last story was the least incriminating).
tm: Do you remember making or receiving mixtapes when you were younger? And, I'm talking about actual cassette mixes. If so, tell me about one that stands out.
HOTWH: Well, since Nikki and Jonny are the only one's writing this, so here we go: JONNY: They're already long gone days...but in the days of the chat room, I used to go to the "PUNK" chat rooms and talk to "punx" about "punk" all over the country...mostly I'd try to talk to girls. The days of the chat room were kind of sad. I was probably 14 or 15, but I made friends with this girl that lived in Virginia and we would send tapes back and forth. She sent me one of the best mix tapes I ever got. The Boils. (Early) AFI. Fugazi. The Unseen. Against All Authority. Some cool Rancid B-sides. It ended up being one of those youth-defining soundtracks for me. If that girl's still out there and reading this, I know we were in love and I'm sorry I dumped you over Yahoo Chat!...but e-relationships were in their infancy and so was I.
NIKKI: I remember waiting for "Heroin Is So Passe" to come on 107.7 The End. Like, seriously. If you could get that on a mix tape, as far as my 5th grade private school was concerned, you could shit gold and it wouldn't be as cool. My mother bought me a bunch of blank tapes and there was no way she could monitor the amount of radio I consumed. I GOT "Heroin Is So Passe," and I GOT "Sex and Candy." I also got Modest Mouse performing most of "The Lonesome Crowded West" before anyone I knew (at the time) understood what that meant. I crowd surfed to Our Lady Peace, but I digress. Also, "Heroin Girl," on tape. Yeah, it was the 90's...heroin was fucking HUGE.