In Hearts Wake

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For a quiet morning off, there are worse places to be than a little country pub in Chester, England. Here we find Jake Taylor, enjoying a pub lunch with his guitar tech – the vocalist for In Hearts Wake surely does deserve a little R n’ R after the journey the band has been on in the last five years.

These self-proclaimed ‘eco-warriors’ have spent their time on the scene using their music as a pedestal to spread messages of environmental concern, topics of great importance to the band, and indeed, to the state of the world. It has been a whirlwind of success for the Byron Bay metalcore group and their work isn’t done yet. With the release of their fourth studio album Ark, In Hearts Wake have adopted a fluid stance, focusing on the state of the world’s oceans. Each release prior has been a bridge for the band to this point, as Taylor reflects. “It’s been a long ride but an incredible one,” he says. “I guess at this point, what people are expecting is for us to take that next step – really something incredible. And we have done that.

“It’s always the calm before the storm before you release a new album because you don’t know how it’s going to go. What are people going to think? I’ve felt like this before; you don’t know [anything] about what’s ahead of you other than you enjoy it and you love it.”

All the titles on the album have a very natural, static, yet urgent ring to them. “Frequency”, in particular, has, melodically, a great sense of ebb and flow. In Hearts Wake have created colour, but just how they have been able to take such a natural thing and give it sound remains a mystery, even to Taylor. “I wish I knew. It’s a natural process for us – you never know where the song will end up but when something happens, and it feels right, for me, it’s in my gut, we just run with it.”

In Hearts Wake run like the river, a constant motion of creativity, sound and selfless action. Though evidently proud of the work that’s gone into Ark, there’s a tone in Taylor’s voice as he describes the drive he has to embark on the tour and perform these new songs, which suggests Taylor feels this is the band’s peak. Ark is a great release, pulling and turning in unexpected ways, certainly, but Taylor feels there’s a way to go before the band’s tide turns. “I don’t think we’ve peaked at all, I think that peak is miles away,” he decides.

“We’re not expecting to get to that peak – if you imagine you have many camps to pass to get to the peak of the summit, it requires not just more work but the next level of commitment and creative risk and expression to get there. It can be quite a challenge, quite a pressure, but we’ve put effort into this record, and this is the next step.”

An album comprising environmental awareness, as is typical for In Hearts Wake, Ark revisits the past but also looks toward the future with conscious heavy music. “We’ve drawn on many earth elements before, that looking after the earth, look after each other,” says Taylor, “That’s always been the theme of the band, I don’t want to say in the past because it will always be our present and future. Thematically, this is taking a look at us as a whole, as a water planet.”

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In Hearts Wake’s focus doesn’t just lie with a musical focus on our planet’s water, but an active one, too. Pivotal members of the Tangora Blue movement, the band have created the ‘We Are Waterborne: An In Hearts Wake Initiative’, a series of clean-ups along of some of the most polluted waterways on the east coast of Australia. “The more research I do, it’s really apparent that our oceans really sustain what happens here on land,” says Taylor. “One of the biggest problems is that our oceans will be devoid of fish by 2048. The way we’re going with commercial fishing and pollution and the marine debris we are producing.

“We came from the ocean, we evolved from the ocean. Being the band that we are, we love doing what we can, but we can only do so much. We don’t have millions at our disposal. One of the things we can do is cleaning up the beach, the waterways that are polluted both inland and the coast.

“We live in Byron Bay,” he continues, “and one of the things we do see is the tourists, the tens of thousands that come through every year and treat it like their ashtray. Things like that have an impact on all the life that lives in the water. We want to make a difference.”

The message isn’t for Australia alone – In Hearts Wake want to bring awareness of these ecological crises all over the world. Thus far, the reception for their powerful message has been strong, with Taylor saying people are connecting with it. “What we aim to share with the new album, people have loved. They love the sound which makes them open to our message. With Tangora Blue, we’ve yet to see the result of participation to that – people are interested in it but us being this way, it’s not new to the scene, it’s not new to the band, so people have that expectation of us and what we do.

“What really determines how it goes is what happens on the days we’re cleaning up, and I can’t wait for those days.”

 

Written by Anna Rose

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