ReverbNation Winner ~ Haster

David Heida

David Heida

We selected alternative metal and hard rock band Haster as our ReverbNation contest winner because we love their hit single Within These Walls. I had a fabulous time interviewing David Heida, the band’s founder and lead guitarist. The rest of Haster includes Patrick Nolan on rhythm guitar and vocals, Jarret Stockmar on vocals, Mondo Salazar on bass and Brian Tew on drums.

I just had to learn more about Within These Walls. David explained: “That’s our newest single. We should have our music video out right around the New Year. We’re just finishing up the editing. This is the song off our new album Let It Go that most people relate to, and it gives us our biggest reaction when we play live. We love playing it, and it fits perfectly with what we’re doing with our imagery and our band’s message. It’s a perfect in-your-face rock song.”

I also love Haster’s single Medicine. It’s softer than most of their music, so I asked David to tell me about this song too. “That is the first single off our new album Let It Go.  It’s the ballad of the record. When we wrote it, we were hoping for it to be a hit. The song translates to everybody. Everyone who hears it has their own reaction to the song. We tried to extend that to the video, the reality of the world and escapism. Medicine, for us, is music.”

What is the Haster story? According to David, “When I started Haster, I had just gotten out of another band. The first person I met was Brian Tew, our drummer, through a mutual friend at work. The biggest hiccup with my previous band was that we could not keep a drummer. With Brian, we glued right away and became instant friends. He’s an insane drummer, which was what I was looking for. We played together for a couple of months. Then, through Craigslist, we found Jarret Stockmar, our lead singer. He perfectly fit the mold. Within a month, we were in the studio recording our first album Searching.”

Haster posingThe original members of Haster spent the next two years playing songs off Searching with another bass player. David explained, “We ended up finding Patrick Nolan through another band, when his band was falling apart. We were able to add that new element of rhythm guitar and his vocals on the new songs we were creating. In the course of playing through our new album Let It Go, we lost our bass player. Right before we went on tour at the end of this summer, we ended up getting the bass player from the local band Stereotype: Mondo Salazar. It’s a great group of guys. We all get along perfectly.”

David believes that Haster works because: “We started a band because we wanted to become friends, and the music comes second. It’s hard to do the business and friendship stuff. That’s what music is. It’s a business, but you want to have fun doing it. You don’t want to think of it as a job, even though it is.”

I love the way Haster mixes storytelling with an edgy rock sound. When I asked David how he would describe Haster’s music, he laughed and told me: “It’s weird, because some people think we’re super heavy and some people think we’re super light. We’re pretty much that all metal band, where we can go super heavy if we’re playing with super heavy bands or we can go softer if we’re playing with an indie crowd. We’re a hybrid of Korn, Breaking Benjamin, A Perfect Circle, Tool and a lot of bands from the early 2000’s. We grew up on the early 2000’s music, so you hear a lot of that in our music.”

David says he’s a product of the grunge movement; Brian was more into classic rock; Jarret was into heavier rock and new metal; Patrick was into industrial type music.  No wonder Haster is a hybrid.

On their website, Haster states that they started as a band, but they’re becoming a movement. What does that mean? David told me, “We try to do as much as we can on every level. Social media is a huge thing for us. We go out to shows, we promote. In a way, our fans give back to us the same energy we give out. It’s motivated us to keep going and pushing ourselves to create the best music. It’s crazy when you arrive before a show and see people waiting outside. We’ve been able to get our music out all over the world. We even sent music to a bus stop in Kenya.”  Haster goes out of their way for their fans and they love them back. Awesome!

Haster - Let It Go coverHaster has mastered social media. David explains, “At any moment, you can talk to any one of us in the band. We’re on Facebook; we’re on Twitter; we’re on Instagram. We answer emails all the time. We send out free sticker packs whenever there’s a holiday. If you ask us for stickers, we’ll give them to you. We want people to share our music, listen to it and enjoy it.”

Haster even records podcasts. “Earlier this year, we started Mind Control Radio, which are podcasts available on iTunes and Amazon and our website. If you email us with questions, we’ll answer them on the show. Our fans are picking up on this. It’s just another way to interact with our fans and let people get to know us outside of the heavy music.”

What advice does David have for other indie bands: “Keep pushing yourself and work social media.  That’s the best and easiest free advertising you can get. I know it’s hard to continually promote the business of being in a band, where you’re not really making any money or seeing anything on a daily basis. If you keep at it, when you finally hit that pay dirt, you’ll see the benefits of all the hard work you’ve done. We’re just now seeing the tip of the iceberg of all the hard work we’ve done, and we’re looking forward to everything that’s coming our way in 2015.”

What’s up next for Haster? “We’ll be releasing our video Within These Walls from Let It Go. Then, we’re going to try and play a bunch of shows. We’ve already started our next record. Hopefully, we’ll release that sometime in 2015.”

I would love to see Haster live in Portland. David, let me know the next time you’re in town.

Amused Now ReverbNation Contest Winners

David Heida plays guitarDavid Heida, Haster

Cynthia Kahn, Founder of Amused Now