SLUG Interviews Drew Capener of Parlor Hawk

Posted November 12, 2012 in

Photo: Elise Capener
It’s about time that we hear from one of the best bands to come out of Provo in recent years. 

Parlor Hawk has been quiet since they released the folk-tastic Hoarse and Roaring in 2010 and subsequent touring—but don’t you worry. Behind the curtains, things have been bubbling. They have about 30 new songs written and want to put together a record. After being on Utah’s Northplatte Records, they wanted to move on, and are now attempting to self-release. They aren’t about to cut corners just because are they no longer with a label, though. They want to do it right, and are working on getting the means right now. 


SLUG chatted with Drew Capener, frontman and singer of the band, about the forthcoming album:

SLUG: So you guys have made the decision to leave Northplatte Records. What kind of challenges are you facing to put out a self-released album?

Capener: I Would say the biggest one is financial, just finding the money to record. You know, there are certain connections that you have being a part of a label. For a young band, coming up with the $18,o00, we need to come up with finished product, which is hard. That’s why we have turned to the fans with Kickstarter. 

SLUG: Your first album, Hoarse and Roaring, garnered a lot of success. Where are you hoping your next album takes you?

Capener: We were pleasantly surprised by some of the amazing things we’ve been able to do with Hoarse and Roaring, but we don’t want to be pin-holed as just an indie-folk kind of a band. We are really hoping to have a more rounded, full sound, so this next record is a lot more open-ended. There are some songs that sound more folk-singer-songwriter like the first album, but then there’s a lot more conceptual stuff. As a band, we love the idea of our songs getting a lot bigger than they did on Hoarse and Roaring. It might shock people at first—it sounds pretty different—but I think people are going to like it.

SLUG: You have a bunch of songs written that you are considering for the album. Tell us about them. Any themes or common threads you have noticed?

Capener: I don’t know if there is too much of a common theme, but what I’ve tried to do in writing these songs is really try to sit down and let whatever was “going to come out,” come out, and not try to overthink things. And that’s really how these songs were shaped. Of course, I’d write a song and bring it to the band, and we’d all have our input, but we don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what we are doing; if it feels right, we’re gonna do it. And that’s worked out really well. But I can say, a lot of these songs are more upbeat and positive than our first album. You could say that they’re a little happier. 

SLUG: Provo has been the band’s home base. How has the scene there treated you guys?

Capener: Yeah, I definitely consider Provo our home base. I think we have been treated really well, but it definitely hasn’t come easy. I mean, we’ve had to work really hard to create what we have created, and we are still working very hard. Provo has just motivated us—the people and fans in Provo have never let us stop. So, I don’t think there could have been a better place for us to have a home base because we have had such amazing fans that make us want to create really great music.  


SLUG: You don’t seem to like the way that bands sometimes raise money with Kickstarter just for the sake of raising money. How are you guys using it?

Capener: We wanted to make sure that if we are going to ask people for their money, they know that we aren’t just asking for their money, we are asking them to pre-order our album, and in turn help us out. That has been our message throughout this whole campaign. I think that anytime you start to fundraise, people start thinking, “Oh, they’re just asking for money.” But that’s not what we are doing: We are asking for people to help us out by pre-ordering our album. We have had friends who have run Kickstarters unsuccessfully, but I think letting people know that we are just asking people to buy our album; that has been a success so far. 


SLUG: If you could get all of the donors together in one room, what would you say to them?

Capener: Oh man, in whatever fashion possible, just express how grateful we are for their help. There is absolutely no way we can make this record on our own. I don’t know, I’d just give every one of them a hug. You know, there aren't words to express the help this is. We wouldn’t be able to record a second album without the help of our fans. It’s just beyond words. 

SLUG: What have you been listening to lately?

Capener: I’ve been kind of hibernating ’cause I just had a baby, but I listen to just about everything. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with this record by a band called Poliça. They’re pretty electronic—I love that record. The recent record by Damien Jurado, we are absolutely obsessed with it. And then, of course, I can’t stop listening to Bon Iver’s recent release. I guess some of what we are doing pulls from those records, somewhere in between them. 


Check out the Kickstarter and pre-order this exciting band’s upcoming album HERE.
Photo: Elise Capener Photo: Elise Capener Photo: Elise Capener