Forming from the remnants of former pop-punk outfit Mason City after the unfortunate loss of founding member Connor Matthews, Hazing emerges to channel their feelings of losing a loved one in their debut LP Disconsolate. Regarding to themselves as the “saddest boys in Kansas City,” the emo/punk quintet bring an energy that has a nostalgic feel of early-2000s emo groups such as Brand New, Finch and Senses Fail.
Substream Magazine recently had the opportunity to catch up with vocalist Ed Spaunhorst of Hazing to discuss the history of the band, the general feelings of writing content for Disconsolate and the upcoming plans the group has as 2016 begins to unfold.
Your debut album Disconsolate is set to release early 2016 on InVogue Records. First of all, do you have an official release date set for that?
ED SPAUNHORST: We actually do not yet, we were kind of expecting February, but at this point it’s kind of up in the air.
So nothing totally set in stone yet. Are all the tracks finished for it then?
Oh yeah, we’ve been sitting on them for awhile now. We recorded our whole album in May.
How are you feeling in regards to how the tracks turned out overall?
I love them, I think Ryan [Furlott of Rain City Studios] did a really great job on them. It was a good experience working with him.
Do you have any tracks on there you really gravitate towards in particular?
If I had to pick a favorite I would say “Shelter 2” It’s about a good friend of ours [Connor Matthews] who used to play in a band [Mason City] with us previous to Hazing and he actually passed away a few years back, so it’s kind of about that experience. It kind of means a lot to us.
I remember reading a little bit about that. Just so I have the story clear, was it some of the members were a part of that band, or just friends of them to form Hazing, or how did that work?
Me, Josh [King] our bassist and Brennan [Pittman] our guitarist, we were all three in a band called Mason City and Conner Matthews was also in that band, the guy who that song’s about.
I was reading a previous interview talking about the meaning behind Disconsolate and the overall themes of it. I understand it’s a darker album and touches on some darker themes, can listeners expect more tracks like “Ghost Runner At Home” or is it a little more diverse?
I would like to think it’s a little more diverse. As far as lyric content goes, it’s mostly darker content. A lot of it is just about the experience we just talked about and getting through the death of a loved one.
Would you consider it more a concept record, or does it just touch on darker themes?
It’s definitely not a concept record I would say, just darker themes. There’s more to it than that, that’s not all our songs are about.
I noticed in the history of Hazing, you have shared the stage with bands such as Citizen, Dance Gavin Dance, Hostage Calm, Slaves and You Blew It! Do you have any current plans of doing any shows with bands of that caliber?
Yeah, actually. In March we’ll be playing the So What?! Music Festival. The lineup is sick on that, it’s got Underoath, Turnover, New Found Glory, Bayside, Real Friends. The lineup is totally stacked, we’re really excited for that. We’re also going on tour in the early spring with a band called Dayseeker which is also on InVogue. We’re super stoked for that, very talented guys.
What do you guys do to get prepared for a music festival like So What?!—do you do anything special for them, have you thought about your setlist or what you’re going to do?
Yeah, well, we’ve never played one before obviously. We don’t have anything set in stone for what we do to prepare, we’ve definitely been practicing a lot more. We try to practice about three or four times a week, I think that’s about it. I think we’re only going to get a 20-minute set for So What?!, so we’ve been working on what songs we want to fit into that timeframe, how we’re going to move along as quickly as possible to get the most out of it.
What do you have planned between now and when you play So What?! in March?
That’s a really good question, I think right now we’re pretty much just hanging out. Hanging out, writing music and working.
What’s been your favorite venue to play at?
My favorite venue to play it is actually my friend Tyler’s house, he calls it the Shit Shack. We have a lot of fun every time we play there. It’s really cool because it’s a half-venue, it’s got a cool party environment, it’s usually free. All kinds of people show up.
If you could share the stage with any band, who would it be and why?
It would be Brand New for sure. They’ve always been my favorite band, I’ve followed their career forever and I feel like they could do no wrong.