Interviews

Interview: Chadwick Johnson (Hundredth/Hope Into Humanity)

After reviewing his band’s latest album Let Go, and throwing a fundraiser for his organization Hope Into Humanity, it was time to sit down with Chadwick Johnson to ask him some questions. Read below about how his luggage got stolen on tour, about Hundredth tracking demos on tour and about the future plans of Hope Into Humanity.

This is the second-last show of the tour. How has this second European tour been so far?

Good, a lot better than the first time we came over here. The shows have been better and people knew about us more. We’re on tour with awesome bands; Vanna and The Greenery are great. It’s definitely one of the best tours we’ve been on so far. There’ve been a couple of crap things that happened… In Scotland someone broke into our trailer and stole my and our drummers luggage. So it’s kind of funny… what I’m wearing now is all I have. Luckily we still have our passports and laptops and they only took clothes. I don’t really care, luckily Primark exists and we were able to get some cheap stuff there.

The shows are definitely different than in The States. You have the obvious language difference, but also the vibe and culture of hardcore is much more appreciated – especially in mainland Europe. The UK is a lot similar to the US; there are so many shows there that people are a little more choosy about which shows they’re gonna go to. It’s more a rarity that shows come through here, so when they do people get excited and want to support music. They go to a show for a band, while in the US people go to shows to see friends. Which is cool too, because it is a social hangout. But I feel that in Europe they take the music more serious.

You have released Let Go in the summer of 2011. Are you already planning and writing its follow-up record?

It’s a little soon, but we’ve been demoing some songs on this tour. Our guitarist has been laying down some tracks and they’re actually really cool. I don’t know if we’re gonna do a full length record next, or maybe a 7″; something to touch on some issues, rather than releasing a whole record.

In another interview I read that your approach to the recording process of “Let Go” was quite different from “When We Will Surrender.” Can you shortly explain how you recorded “Let Go,” and if you’re planning to use the same approach for its follow-up?

When We Will Surrender was the first album we ever recorded; we had the songs down, and some vocals still needed to be worked out. On the new record we had live recordings of us playing the songs instrumentally and I had demos of me doing vocals over the songs. Everything was really organized on the second record. We recorded Let Go at the same studio as When We Will Surrender, but we had a different engineer; his name was Taylor Voeltz. After we got the drums done, we recorded the majority of the rest ourselves. We just started going in there at night and like listening to it and like changing things. There were only three of us in the studio – drummer [Matt Koontz], guitarist [Alex Blackwell] and me – and we had total creative control. We were able to look into the record, try things out and try to put melodies over parts. We could track everything down ourselves, and it’s pretty much self-produced, so it was the best possible thing we could come out with. It was just cool, it’s cool to be able to have that much hands-on control on your own record, whereas the first one we had an engineer who was kinda like coaching us with stuff. I don’t know, we might go to a producer [for the next record] or we might not, I’m not really sure. I’d like to keep it as DIY as possible because no one will ever change our sound, unless we wanna change our sound.

Name three records that inspired you through the years?

I think Thursday, Full Collapse, I love that record. I’m just gonna stick to Verse, Agression, and Shai Hulud‘s first record Hearts Once Nourished with Hope and Compassion. That’s a rad record, I love it lyrically and artistically. Those records mean a lot to me. I’m not even gonna get to other genres ’cause then you have classic bands coming in like The Smiths, The Cure, and Joy Division, but that’s probably not the ones readers wanna hear about, haha.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in a band?

Honestly, I don’t really know at this point. Probably something like journalism or maybe music production. Something still music related.

In the meantime you started non-profit organization Hope Into Humanity. It’s 2012; you still have hope in humanity?

Yes, absolutely. Our definition of hope is inspiring people to help other people like we are helping other people. Regardless of my religion, or my political stand I believe that there’s something bigger than that, there’s the actual fact that we’re all humans, and we’re all the same. We can sit around and wait for a messiah to come or whatever we may believe, but there’s nothing bad about trying to reach world peace ourselves. When people get involved, I don’t want them to get involved for religious reasons, I want them to get involved because they’re human and its our human responsibility to take care of other people, to treat people with love and respect. It’s the basis of the whole thing.

How did the idea and organization come about?

I just woke up one day with the idea, told our drummer and me, him and the guy that does our merch for us now [Michael Dean Wheatley, who also shot the video for ‘Hurt’] pretty much started it up. One of our friends took care of the business aspect of it, and it was pretty much just us four. It’s been really cool so far, and it’s definitely in its beginning stage, so we’re still trying to get the word out about it.

The goal of the first project, “The Water Cause,” is to raise 20.000 dollars in 90 days to provide 1.000 people with clean drinking water. Once the 20.000 dollars is raised, what are the next steps?

Through an organization called Charity Water, we’re gonna sponsor a well project and it’ll be for a health clinic or a school. This will give a thousand people access to clean water, and this project costs 20,000 dollars. After we give them that, it takes up to 18 months for them to finish the project and they’ll make GPS coordinates of where the well is. Hopefully we’ll be able to put “Hope Into Humanity” on the well, they’ll send us pictures and we’ll make a little video about the people in that village. After this project, I’m not sure if we want to stay focused on the water cause or if we want to move to another thing.

Where is “The Water Cause” you’re financing located?

The organization Charity Water allots it to wherever they decide the water is needed most at that time. 80% of their projects are run in South Saharan Africa, so our money will most probably go there, but they also do water projects in South America.

What are future goals for Hope Into Humanity?

We’ve talked about doing some other projects, but we want to focus on the water cause totally right now. We know where we want to go with it, we want to have an alternative means of fund raising, and we want other people to fundraise, like Legends Arising did. We just want other people to take action, so it’s like a vehicle that influences other people to take action and give them means to fund raise to give to us, so we can give it to the cause. That’s where we wanna go, and we know what our mission is, but for now we want focus on the water cause and not get too far ahead of ourselves. Balancing this, a band, and other stuff we have going on, we wanna give ourselves space to do it, but for now we just want to focus on the water cause. It’s the basic necessity to do anything. You need water to live, to get sex trafficked… And God, I hope you don’t get sex trafficked, it’s an equally bad problem, but right now it’s about water.

Anything you still like to add?

Questions, question, question. Free your mind.

Photo 1 & 3 by © Dasha Veselovskaya
Photo 2 & 4 by © BartxJansen • www.bartx.nl

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