With enough material to put out a supersized album, Adam Hattaway & The Haunters fully committed to their creative surge, which has led them to this, the promotional stage of the 22-song Rooster, set for release on November 19. Before then, however, the New Zealand quartet are looking to prove that two heads are better than one by dropping duel singles, “Riding the River” and “Waiting for the Chill,” which they promise (jokingly, we assume) to be the worst tracks on the double record.
Both singles are available now.
I recently sat down for a brief back-and-forth with Hattaway to discuss their rough-and-rowdiness, getting real with reel-to-reel, and no relation initials.
Americana Highways: The band is set to release a double album, Rooster, on November 19. Does the mega-sized song collection mark a particularly prolific time in the band’s writing? What brought about the 22-song creative sprint?
Adam Hattaway: There’s always material floating around – I think it’s good to over prepare and have say, 17 songs if you’re hoping to come out with a 12-song album. Oddly, I thought we didn’t have enough songs for a single album but when we went to the studio – a place with an amazing vibe, out in the country – we started flying through songs and finishing half-written songs in the studio and before we knew it we were way ahead of schedule. We decided to record as much as we could and in the end were happy with a big, sprawling, rough-and-rowdy double album.
Americana Highways: It has been said that the band found its “sound” with your last album, Woolston, Texas. What was it that clicked during that time, and, how did you take that creative comfort zone and apply it to Rooster?
AH: Just getting better at our craft. We’ve always had quite a wide range of influences but I think after experimenting awhile you find some kinda winning combo – I think we did that with Woolston, Texas and then did it in a different way with Rooster.
Americana Highways: The album feels like a throwback, but at the same time, does not feel out of place in 2021. From a production standpoint, what did you set out to accomplish in the studio that would marry what today’s equipment can do with your great retro vibe?
AH: We just used old equipment – tried to make it as legit as possible, style wise. It’s recorded to 4-track reel-to-reel.
Americana Highways: What are you most proud of with the album?
AH: Some of the songs have a sincerity we hadn’t been able to get across before for fear of being full on CHEESE. Some songs like “I Hardly Exist” and “Bring My Body Back Home” have that.
Americana Highways: When albums land in our laps, we only hear the music. The end result is what we remember, but for you, there is an entire process to writing, recording and promoting a record. What will you remember most in 10 or 20 years about bringing life to Rooster?
AH: Well, we haven’t toured it yet, but I’m sure some of those memories will be etched in the long term.
I just think of the studio and the way the vibe of the album (partly because we tried to choose the right songs for the setting) fits with the vibe of the studio. A big thing I discovered during that recording was jumping in the deep end vocally. I tried improvising the vocal parts a lot, which was very liberating and fun.
Americana Highways: You just put out two singles simultaneously – “Riding The River” and “Waiting for the Chill.” What was it about these songs that you felt would set the stage for what people could expect from the album as a whole?
AH: They’re the worst songs! Just to shock everyone when they then go to hear the rest of the album! All the rest of the album is even BETTER!
Americana Highways: For some bands, song placement is stressful enough when there’s a dozen to choose from. How did you guys go about deciding the order of the 22 you were working with on Rooster?
AH: We put them in alphabetical order and then changed the song titles so our sequencing system wasn’t too obvious…
Americana Highways: What is about writing and recording with a band – this band – that you can’t achieve on your own? How does their creativity fuel your own?
AH: We’re just all on the same wavelength musically, so each member brings the energy and direction to the right place.
Americana Highways: Would you rather have a mega hit that millions upon millions of people adore or a lifetime of songs that a small, but loyal group of followers supports and are inspired by?
AH: MEGA MEGA SMASH HITS!!!! We’re in it for the money, baby!
Americana Highways: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
AH: Definitely. It takes so long to learn from the past, be good to have a heads up for once.
Hey, Americana Highways, we have the same initials. We could be brothers!
To be haunted by Adam Hattaway and the haunters, visit www.adamhattawayandthehaunters.bandcamp.com