2014 Artist Survey: Torn Hawk

Luke Wyatt on the Ice Bucket Challenge, Grimes Grief, Dire Straits, and Grieving for a Stranger

Jan 12, 2015 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman's Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Luke Wyatt (aka Torn Hawk).

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band? 

Putting the real Grimes on that missing Malaysian Airlines flight. The one who refused the "ice bucket challenge" is a reptilian impostor.

What was the low point of 2014 for you? 

I was about to eat this piece of very special cheesecake and my phone rang and in the confusion the cake fell sort of close to the toilet (I was eating in the bathroom, don't ask). That was the worst!

U2's new album was downloaded for free into millions of users' iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

I found the U2 thing annoying as did most people I know. But I think those guys are at this point so oblivious that they didn't anticipate how the gesture would be perceived. I am actually a fan of their music, just not Bono. 

Did you take part in the ice bucket challenge? If not, why not? Grimes declined due to animal testing issues, was the grief she got for that deserved?

GRIMES GRIEF. This ice bucket thing is a way for people to show off how nice and socially conscious they are. I would rather people did less showoff-y things to help people in their everyday lives and shut the fuck up about it.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri opened up a new national dialogue on police shootings and racism in America. Do you think anything will actually change because of it?

No.

What's your craziest theory for what happened to the missing Malaysian Air flight?

I don't want to think about this as I have to fly a lot and already freak out about that for normal reasons.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them "hillbillies" for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

Zero. Just kidding. But having a dialogue about "being respectful" makes me feel like I am in the middle of a meeting with my high school principal or some etiquette-obsessed annoying authority at some other youth institution where I was imprisoned. Let's just all grow up and also relax.

"Weird Al" Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the "Weird Al" version's lyrics be about? 

I had no idea "Weird Al" was back on the scene. Good for him.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

Everybody likes everything about my music and this is the correct reaction.

What's the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you've ever had?

This one guy came up to the stage and gave me like 10 grand in 20 dollar bills after I played a bad show; I guess he could see I was sad and he wanted to cheer me up. His generosity uplifted me and heartwarmed me.

What was the first album you bought and do you still enjoy listening to it now?

Dire Straits: On Every Street. I enjoy listening to one song on that still.

Both Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman died in 2014. Did either death deeply affect you and do you find it strange to grieve for a stranger? Which celebrity's death in your lifetime has most affected you?

Grieve for a Stranger is now the title of my next record. Thanks for this phrase!  

What responsibility does the international community have to help the African nations dealing with the Ebola outbreak?

What international community?

Which well-known filmmaker would you most like to direct one of your music videos?

God.

Given the choice, would you like to be immortal?

We all are.

What was your most disastrous haircut experience?

I keep having them, someone help me.

What's the biggest misconception your fans have about you?

That I have fans.

Do you have any other thoughts about 2014 (such as on the World Cup, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, immigration reform, the failed Scottish Independence Referendum, ISIS, Winter Olympics, celebrity nude photo hacks, etc.) or the state of the music industry?

People are required, feel entitled, or simply obligated to have opinions about so much shit they don't know about. I really enjoy silence and humility.

www.tornhawk.com

 



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