An Interview With The Arizona Rock Band, POST HOC About Their Brand New Album, ‘Wilderness, The Villain’ and More!
Posted On 12 Jul 2019
Get to know the Phoenix, Arizona-based rock band, Post Hoc!
They just released a full album called “Wilderness, the Villain” on June 15th. Post Hoc spent 2 years writing this collection and almost 2 months in the studio with Cory Spotts (Greeley Estates, Job For A Cowboy, Bless The Fall) recording it. They had Mike Kalajian (Circa Survive, Emmure, The Dear Hunter) master it.
They are primarily inspired by the progressive emo bands of the 2000’s and the heavy metal bands of the 80’s and 90’s. Post Hoc previously released “Daffidols” an EP in 2017.
The band is made up of Nathaniel Shrake (Vocals & Guitars), Curtis Kennedy (Drums), Gonzalo Hidalgo (Guitars), Aaron Nelson (Guitars) and Steven Freund (Bass & Vocals).
Purchase “Wilderness, the Villain” Here: http://smarturl.it/ifkx11
Check out their music video for the track “Thin Wrists” Here: https://youtu.be/_NLg5hlx25g
Connect With Post Hoc Here:
Learn more about Post Hoc in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Today we are still recovering from our release show that happened this past Saturday night, but are hitting the studio this evening to continue rehearsing for a show we have this weekend with fellow Phoenix band, Troubled Minds. Being that we live in Phoenix and it’s July, practices always occur at night as the studio is simply too hot during the day, given the apathy of the studio’s AC unit.
Now that we are into the 6th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them?
2019 has been a year of returns after dedicating much of 2018 to developing as artists and performers. From September to February, we dedicated almost all of our time as a band to the writing of “Wilderness, the Villain” without pause for live performances. We wanted to dedicated as much time and energy into the music itself. That then led into a March and April that was spent in the studio. This process was our first in a professional studio with an experienced engineer and producer in Cory Spotts. It was here that we were able to refine the broad brush strokes that were developed over the previous 6 months, learning how to lean into the concept of creating an album designed with the intention of being greater than the sum of its pieces. Now that the record is completed and its release has come to fruition, we’re excited to start playing shows regularly again to properly share the things that we have learned through the hard work of the past year plus.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
To answer the final question first, everything has surprised me about this journey. It all started back when I was still in the Marine Corps in 2016, when I began sending songs back and forth between myself and Curtis Kennedy (drums) who was living in Phoenix at the time. When I got out of the service, I returned to Phoenix where I am from, and Curtis and I began the process of recruiting Aaron, Steven, and Gonzalo to actualize our vision. A large part of this vision was a dedication to hard work, and enjoying the process of creativity more than the results. At the end of the day, no matter what people thought of what we were doing, we were to continue doing it because it is the process of writing and performing music that is most rewarding to us all. Regarding the name Post Hoc, the name means “after the event”. We each have our own “event”, and thus will mean something different for everyone uniquely.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
Phoenix is a city overflowing with talent but burdened with it’s size. Its a city that is built for the vehicle, spanning 15,000 square miles, with many venues spread all across the metropolitan area. Recent development of the Phoenix downtown area has show great optimism though as the city has begun to truly develop a sense of identity over the past decade or so. We have each been inspired by the great Phoenix bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Captain Squeegee, Jared and the Mill, The Gin Blossoms, etc, but have also been influenced by the up and coming acts such as Holy Fawn, Fairy Bones, Bear Ghost, Etc. The latter have given been terrific examples on how to navigate the obstacles of developing a brand and electrifying audiences on stage.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
As a band, we are are around 30 years old with families and full time jobs, but we try our best find that time, whether its for simple cookouts or going to concerts together. Typically we turn it into a big get together of all the families, so it is typically a large shindig when we can make it happen. Most of the time though, we dedicate as much of the free time that we can invest into the band in rehearsing. This is where 95% of our interactions occur: the studio, as this is where we each speak the same language.
Congrats on just releasing your newest album, “Wilderness, the Villain”! What was it like making this collection? Did the process surprise you guys at all?
We approach wilderness with the intention of creating something where the whole was greater than the sum of its pieces. Because of this, we put great emphasis on song transitions, emotional transitions, and the overarching ambiance of the record. We wanted to create an ambient fever dream that was equally ambiguous with its lyrics and storytelling. To me personally, it is a testament to persistence and not giving up. Many times during the writing process its easy to get discouraged, but we always had faith in each other, reminding ourselves that if we put in the work and the effort it would pay off. Any I’ll tell you what, hearing it all come together for the first time felt euphoric to say the least. This album is a testament to my friends and this beautiful thing called perseverance.
While it’s hard to pick favorites, can you pick out a few songs on “Wilderness, the Villain” and talk about how they were formed and got to be on this collection?
“The Lobby of the Westward Ho” is a personal favorite of mine, as it was originally an extended intro to a completely other song, when one day it just clicked that the intro was the best part of the song, and that it should stand alone as its own song. At the time, i was also giving guitar lessons at a historic building downtown called “The Westward Ho”, which features a gorgeous lobby with a Victorian style ceiling that always struck me as Gothic and interesting, thus it’s correlation to the odd song “The Lobby of the Westward Ho.”
The final song on the album “Tacitus Kilgore” was the final song written for the record, acting as a bookend to the emotionally charged record. Brand New has always been one of my favorite bands, and I wanted to implement something similar to the song “If you ever want attention all you have to do is die”, which capped off the full band element of Deja Entendu. While writing the song, a few of us were playing Red Dead Redemption 2, and thus came about the lyrical story of a bank robbery gone wrong.
Generally, how do you guys go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Our first EP Daffodils was constructed mostly as older acoustic songs translated to the full band. This record was entirely different in that these songs were written collectively. While everyone had their niche, such as myself writing lyrics, Steven and Aaron would often come to the rest of us with a cool bass line or riff and we would build off of it together in the studio. Lyrically, the songs were primarily constructed by stitching unrelated notes together to create new meanings and interpretations that begs the listener to construct their own meaning and interpretation. None of it should be taken too literally, as I try my best to lean into the ambiguity of each of the song lyrics.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Although the hours practicing and writing and fun in their own ways,w the stage will forever be where its at. Performing live is an opportunity to share in the emotion of music with people, embracing the fact that whatever happens on stage will never again happen exactly as it will on that specific evening, and there is something magical about that.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this group? What has been a favorite show of yours in the past?
This Friday (7/5/2019) we will be at The Trunk Space in Downtown Phoenix. After that, we will be in the beginning stages of putting together a west coast run hopefully next spring, with some more local dates happening before then. Our favorite show so far has either been opening for The Spill Canvas and Punchline last fall, or our release show for Wilderness this past weekend. The Spill Canvas show was incredible because their fan-base brought substantial energy to the show, while it was also surreal as they were one of my favorite groups in high school. It was one of those moments where you have to pause for a moment and just appreciate the road that we’ve been on. It was also pretty cool being able to hang out with them a bit before the show and pick their brains a bit about touring and playing at such a high level for so long.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
As a group we’ve always tried to stay away from current events and/or politics. More or less, we’re just trying to translate our emotions into something that we can share with people while not taking ourselves all too seriously.We play not because we’re trying to escape anything in particular, but because we get great joy out of the process itself. To us, music is the means to its own end. Everything else is just gravy.
What musicians have really been inspiring you since you first started making music?
As a group we all come from varied influences, but to name a few: Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, Circa Survice, The Mars Volta, Metallica, Dance Gavin Dance, The Decemberists, Say Anything, The Arctic Monkeys, Pink Floyd, etc.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away
from your songs?
It’s my hope that when someone listens to Post Hoc that they can relate to some of the emotions being conveyed. Sometimes it’s nice to relate, even if and especially when those emotions aren’t exactly happy. I hope it gives people the impression that it’s okay to feel those things, and that other people are feeling the same way. I also hope that it gets the blood flowing as well, because to this day it increasing the MPH of my car on the freeway, for better or worse.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about this group?
As a group, we promise to be genuine if nothing else. And thank you so much for anyone who has ever listened to us or joined us for a live performance, as it is the process of sharing the music that makes it all worth while.