Take It Back Photo

What is your quest? What is the average land-speed of a swallow? What is your favorite color?
Quest = To hopefully see you again someday.
Swallow = Hello.
Color = Black. Haven’t I heard these questions somewhere before? Ss this plagiarism, Levi…?

My dear Daniel, there is a heaviness to Atrocities that’s, eh… brooding. What really sucks about interviews is when people ask you to explain and hype up your own music. Guess what? I’d like to you explain and hype up your music. Or, maybe the hype speaks for itself. But there’s a definite change in atmosphere over the Take It Back! catalogue – quite frankly, it seemed abrupt when it happened. To what do you attribute the change?
I’m not really sure if there was a definate moment when it changed. I feel like a lot of the issues discussed on Atrocities are things that have been brooding inside of me for a long time, even during the Can’t Fight Robots era. However, during that era we were just a bunch of kids that were thrown into this whirlwind of touring and writing music, and I don’t know if we were really prepared for anything at that time. I know that it has only been a few years since that album came out, but I feel like as a band we have become more unified about what the world is. I think a lot of people assume that it was the change of a vocalist. That definatly helped things along, but that was not the only factor. When we started touring, none of us had really ever been out of our home town much. When we started touring, we saw, and felt, a lot of things we had never experienced before. I feel like our new music is a result of the disgust that we felt when we looked at the world around us during that time. But through that all, I think I/we saw a lot of beauty in the world too, and a lot of the lyrics reflect the conflict between the beauty in the world, and the awfullness in it. I dont know, I guess there’s a lot of things to be stoked on, but also a lot of things that need to change.

You write the majority of the music for TIB! – as well as a portion of the lyrics. When I last talked to you about Atrocities, you described it as “pissed off” and “raging” and said that, as of now, you’re seeing a similar, perhaps even more angry album, coming out next. Is the music a general reflection of where you’re at in life right now – whether that be your outlook and ideologies about things – or… or what? Where does that channel from? Are the emotions yours? Are they other’s? Both?
Hmm, this is a hard question to answer. I do not want to portray us as this incredibly, irrationally angry band that is angry for the sake of being angry, because that is definately not us. We all have great lives, and are very blessed, and not a lot to be angry about personally. However, I think all of us in the band are fairly aware of our surroundings, and even though our lives are peachy-keen most of the time, others live in hell on earth. So I wouldn’t say the music is a reflection of where I’m at in life, as much as where the world is at in its life. I mean, I guess we are definately angry about the state of the planet, and the state of people’s minds. I think that as time will continue, we will see more things that need to change, and will therefore produce an angrier album. Not to say that any of us are perfect, we just think it’s time to start trying, and stop settling for mediocrity. I once heard a friend of mine say that when you look around at the world, any emotion other than anger is just wrong. So I think that that’s where our music’s emotional state channels from. Simply looking around us and being fed up with the state of things. I mean, other bands definitely fuel the fire. I think there have been a lot of bands that have paved the way for social, political, and spirtual change. Bands that come to mind are bands like Shai Hulud, Verse, Have Heart, and bands like that. So bands like that definatly help us to further investigate our hearts. That was the longest answer ever.

If there was any point and time in your life that you stood on stage and looked at a crowd and were completely overwhelmed by the fact that all these kids are dancing and singing the things that you’ve written, what was it? Do you ever find pride to be an issue? Ever hard to swallow it?
Literally every single night I see anyone singing along to our songs, it feels surreal. I never thought that I would get to this point in my life, I had always hoped, but I never thought it would actually happen. I’d say the most unbelievable time was Cornerstone ’09. I remember in ’08 Deathstar had a circle pit that was 3 poles wide. I said to myself “jeeze that would be awesome if that could ever happen to me”. Well, last year, it did. I would say that moment was probably the most surreal and unbelievable moment of my musical career. As for pride, ha, I almost feel prideful saying that it is not an issue. I guess I just realize that at any moment this thing could all be over with, and I could never see the stage again, and that helps me realize that I really did nothing to get to where we are now. It was all God. He lets kids get into us, and he will take it away when he sees fit. So no, I don’t think pride is much of an issue, I hold onto it all with a very light grip.

Alright, getting personal… If there is a single flaw that you see in yourself that overrides others in your life, what is it? It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to music or the band or anything, but if there is (if you notice) a specific correlation between that flaw and what you write, how does it come out? Do you think music is healing, in a way – an outlet, a confession, of sorts?
For me, playing a show is the most healing, and most damaging thing ever. I have more flaws than could fit on an entire website. A lot of the times, I feel like I am not living up to our music’s lyrics. Most notably New Empires, that song forces me to check myself, and sometimes, I just can’t handle it. That’s why I say it’s healing and damaging at the same time. I think playing music allows me to become a better human being, but not without an immense amount of inner turmoil. I think a lot of the times, at least for me, the music I write is about the person who I want to be, not the person who I am. I guess the lyrics speak to me, just as much as I hope they speak to other people. So in an odd way, it’s more like my way to get me to wise up.

Please list and describe the members of your band, using only one sentence for each person. (Here’s to hoping you don’t get beat up later on.)
Hahaha. Ok, here goes:
Me, Daniel Hawkins – I play guitar – I make no sense.
Josh Huskey – Drums – The creepiest human anyone will ever meet.
Cody Bradley – Guitar – Most extremely genuine human I have ever met.
Devin Henderson – Bass – One of the nicest and most innocent humans I have ever met.
Nick Thomas – Vocals – More to him than meets the eye.

What tour have you guys been on that has blown the others out of the water? Not necessarily in sales or attendance or whatever, but just because it was fun and you enjoyed it? Why? What does your ideal, dream tour look like? Be outrageous and completely ridiculous about the description.
Definitely, hands down, best tour we have ever been on was with Wrench In The Works and The Great Commission. That tour formed extremely strong bonds between us and both of those bands that will never be broken. All of the people in both of those bands have tought me an immense amount about what it means to be a Christian and a leader in the world. I’m not sure that any tour will ever amount to what that tour was. My dream tour would be to go on tour with all of my favorite bands that have broken up. If I could go on tour with Modern Life Is War, Have Heart, Verse, and possibly Gorilla Biscuits, I think my life would be complete. However, as we all know, that will never happen. Ha, I’m sure that’s not as ridiculous as you were hoping. But it would just be incredible to get to watch each of those bands every night.

This is funny: “Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you’re in the wrong house, that’s what it means.” – Henny Youngman. So you’re getting married, and I wish you the opposite the of this quote. You stoked about getting hitched? Am I going to feel like a man when I get married, or will I still feel like a middle-schooler? What is one of your favorite things about your wife-to-be, and on a scale of one to ten, how angry would you be if I posted your phone number online and told all of your TIB! fans to call and congratulate you on your wedding night?
Hahaha. first off, I love you, Levi, more than most people. I am absolutely more stoked than I have ever been for anything in my life ever to get married. I am also, however, more terrified than I have ever been for anything in my life. I don’t think getting married necessarily makes you feel more like a man when it happens… I still feel like I’m 16 most of the time, but I think it definatly forces you to become a man. My favorite thing about my wife to me, is how supportive she is no matter the cost on her end. She will literally go to the ends of the earth to allow me to do God’s will, even if that means to never have a penny to our name as long as we both live. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnd, on a scale of one to ten, probably a zero. I would just turn my phone off, and then listen to all of the voicemails after the honeymoon! It would be a large ego boost for me!

Do you listen to country music? What do you think of Taylor Swift? If you could play any genre of music other than what you already do, what would it be?
Taylor Swift = one of the most played albums in the van. Fearless is absolutely incredible. I don’t know how she wrote that album. Also, I listen to a lot of old country, it may be cliche, but I really do love Johnny Cash. I also like bluegrass a lot, cause it’s really fast, like punk music, even faster sometimes. And if I could play any other genre of music… hmmm. It’d probably be 90’s pop punk, along the lines of the Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, and stuff like that. That stuff can be pissed off and fun at the same time, so I dig it.

What is the best sound in the world?
If I had to classify a best sound in the world, it would definatly be Matt Fox from Shai Hulud’s guitar playing. I do not know how that man writes the riffs that he does. Sometimes I just shake my head in amazement when listening to their albums.

Are you rockin’ edge? What are your thoughts on those three x’s? In reference to “Christian” straight-edge, I’ve talked to a quite a few people that think it is a dumb add-on label to simply living out moral decisions, and I’ve also talked to others that hold fast to it. I understand that a lot of opinions are held by folk that don’t understand the half of it, and I’m not playing devil’s advocate for either side. Just wondering what your thoughts are…?
I do not claim straight edge. However, I have made a vow to myself and to God that I will never touch alchohol at any point in my life. Smoking and drugs are a no brainer. Sex, well, I get married soon, so that’s a no brainer too. I made the vow because I believe in staying as far away from the line as possible, and you can’t become addicted to something that you never try. As for my beliefs on the whole issue… In the secular world, I think that it’s great. It helps people to keep from making idiotic decisions that can affect the rest of their lives. In addition, it gives them something to believe in, and to strive for. I think that’s important, regardless of religious beliefs. As for Christians, I think it depends. I used to claim edge, but stopped because I realized that it was what God called me to, so it was just me following God’s will, which is being a good follower of him. So I just figured that it made more sense to claim God’s name than straight edge. However, I do not think it’s a dumb add-on for sure. I think it’s a great thing that gives people something to strive for. I do however, think it’s important to not allow straight-edge to become your God. I know many people who have done this, and the problem is that it’s putting faith in yourself. And you will always let yourself down. Always. So as long a Christian straight-edge dude relies on God, and not himself, for his strength and purpose, I think it’s great!

Is there a song by someone that resonates inside of you when you hear it? The kind of song that you feel like you’re a part of when you drive around and listen to it and block out the rest of the world? What song is it? Who is it by?
I think there’s a few songs. Number one would probably be No Roses, No Skies by Have Heart. That song details the life of a girl who is told that she is ugly by the world, but is able, through much inner turmoil, to shut them out, and realize that she is beautiful and desired. I think that is one of the greatest problems in our nation. The magazines and media tell girls that have to look a certain way to be loved, and I realize that this is a Christian-owned site, so I won’t use the words that I want to about that ideal. It does nothing but hurt people and creates false ideas of beauty in the minds of men. Another one would be Pave Paradise off of that same album. That song details how I feel about touring perfectly. Ha, I guess I’m kind of a Have Heart fanboy…

If TIB! ended tomorrow, what would you hope to have left behind – both to your fans, and to the other members of your band? What’s the TIB! legacy, and what’s the Daniel Hawkins legacy?
I hope that I can leave behind some spark of hope for the people that hear us. That maybe someone can realize that they were created for more than their selfish lives. For my band, I hope that they can know that I loved them unconditionally, and that I care about what happens to them in the future, and that I cherished the time that we spent together in a band. As for my legacy, I hope that I can be looked at as someone who truly cared for the world around him, and truly wanted what was best for the world. I don’t know, I guess that’s kind of a hard question to answer.

What music would you like played at your funeral?
Definitely Johhny Cash’s version of Hurt. I don’t really know why. But I just feel like it would be a fitting description of the way I feel. Also any song that tells everyone to move on after I’m gone. That’s all I will want in the end.

What are the upcoming plans for Take It Back! – What can we be looking forward to? New tunes? New tours? New anything?
Upcoming plans for us? I don’t know. Definatly new songs, hopefully we can record another album before too long. Things are in a weird state right now with me getting married and everything, but after the honeymoon we hope to be out on tour as much as humanly possible.

I hope that you are having a beautiful day, my dear sir. Is there anything else that you’d like to add to keep the kiddies informed that I didn’t cover? Stoked to see you soon!
Be on the lookout for new things coming from us. I’m very excited about the possibilities ahead of us, and hope that everyone is too! Also, I love you levi, and I love you anyone reading this. Also to anyone reading this – I know we aren’t the same band we were during Can’t Fight Robots, but please don’t hate us because of that. We are staying true to ourselves and our mission, and so even if you don’t like the music, please try to respect that.



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