Not too long ago we recommended somebody called Howlie to you. After receiving a sincere email revealing personal details and providing context into his music, we checked out his material and fell in love. His intimate acoustic tunes offered a lot of insight into his life and experiences, and combined with simple instrumentals it was easy to binge listen to everything he had created.
We’re very lucky to have had an interview with him! Check out Howlie’s very detailed and wonderful responses below – this is easily one of the best interviews we’ve had yet. Thanks to Howlie for taking the time to answer these questions, and to give us a lot of content too. Cheers mate. Support Howlie here, and enjoy.
Hey Howlie, how’s it going? Hey Sounds Good, it’s going pretty darn good. It’s been a great year for music releases, both for my personal catalog and for some of my favorite artists. I just got a new pad and my recent demos I’ve recorded here sound ace.
What’s the reason behind how you got into music and creating music? 2004 redefined life as I knew it. Up until I was 14, my only real hobbies were playing Nintendo 64 and watching the Rugrats. Once I started developing tangible feelings for girls, I got my first girlfriend and had that hormonal teenage angst we’re all familiar with, but with no outlet to express that energy. Towards the end of that summer, I discovered two of the biggest albums a teenager could hear: Green Day’s American Idiot and blink-182’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. I was floored. Here were two bands that were essentially inside of my head and playing music that my unknowing ears could picture me playing. I wanted to start writing music immediately. I was in my first punk band a little over a year later. It’s been a long road to get from snotty punk rock to lofi 1960’s-inspired acoustic music, but my roots are definitely there.
You’ve released a few tracks this year, is this amounting to an EP or album in the near future? It’s funny you’d say that. From the getgo, I always have these grandiose ideas and plans for whatever project I’m involved with. I get extremely driven and hyped, and when the time comes to really set a plan in stone, I bail. Self-sabotage is what I do best. I really, really want to release a full length, and I really want it to be a cassette; that’s been a dream of mine for a long time. I swear I have about eight different blueprints for album titles and cohesive song sequences. It’s coming, and I want to hold myself to that.
The tracks feature lyrics that are quite personal. Do you find it easy to reveal details and stories close to home? It’s the only way I know how to write. If it didn’t happen to me in some way, then I’m not as invested. If I’m not invested, the song is sincerely lacking something. The opening line of one of the first songs I ever wrote was, “If you’re the one in power, then you’ve got to take initiative,” which was a direct quote from my then-girlfriend during an argument we had. It’s mental that I would do that. My lyrics have gotten me in trouble more often than I would like to admit.
How do you find recording in an intimate “one man and his guitar” setting? Is the lo-fi genre something you wish to stick to for future releases? I absolutely adore that setting. It’s totally, wholly me. I get nervous singing in the studio, or even around my bandmates from other bands. When I’m by myself, I sing and play my absolute best, and I get a profound joy from the sound I have achieved on some of these Howlie recordings, specifically vocally, despite what they lack in polish. That warm, lofi sound is here to stay. It helps carry the loneliness of the compositions in a way that conventional studio techniques can’t for me.
You’ve mentioned that you suffer from anxiety. Does this make it difficult to record songs or to put your music out there on to blogs and websites? Absolutely. This is 100% why I have only ever released EP’s and singles my whole creative life. You’re actually the first music blog I have submitted anything to! In my head, I can hear 100 reasons why I shouldn’t release a certain song, why I shouldn’t perform, why releasing and advertising a full length is a waste of time. I used to act on my ambition when I was a teenager, but now what starts as a promising spark ends up as having zero faith in my ability to capture an audience. It’s depressing, it’s a struggle, but I work with it as best as I can. The current trickle-release of singles works because I don’t release it unless I have the utmost confidence in it’s quality. I’m sitting on 17 songs that I’m genuinely afraid of releasing all at once; if there’s a few duds in there, they’re there forever, and that’s a scary thought. I need every minute to cut the mustard.
What’s next for Howlie? More new tracks, another release, live shows etc I can guarantee more new tracks, as well as a reworked few that I deleted from my website. My vision for the eventual full length is to have the tape accurately capture 14 songs that flow seamlessly through one another. I’ve been working on incorporating song keys that blend well from song to song, as well as 30 second interludes between several songs. I recorded these interludes on an old cassette answering machine to get this shadow box, dream-like sound that takes the listener from one memory to the next. This is all to achieve a solid “Side A, Side B” approach, rather than your typical Track 1, Track 2, etc. The last two years of my life have blown my mind and brought me my all-time highest highs and lowest lows, and I am approaching this album as an extensive, dark autobiography.
Finally, if you could make one final comment to close out this interview, what would it be? If you’ve seen me naked, there is a Howlie song about you. Except for you, mom (hi mom!). Thanks for having me, Sounds Good!