Growing pains hit Hawk Nelson with Jason Dunn leaving band

Jason Dunn of Hawk Nelson

Jason Dunn, front­man and founder of Hawk Nel­son, is leav­ing the band in May. Hawk Nel­son is cur­rent­ly on tour with the Rock and Wor­ship Road­show, which hits Col­orado Springs on Sun­day, Feb. 19. | Pho­tos by Eliza Marie Somers

 

Hawk Nel­son front­man and founder Jason Dunn is leav­ing the Chris­tian pop/punk in May to pur­sue his own project. I had a chance to chat with Hawk gui­tarist Jonathan Stein­gard, who has been with the band since 2004,  this past week about the band and what the future holds for Cana­di­an punk rock­ers. Hawk Nel­son is per­form­ing with The Rock & Wor­ship Road­show, which hits Col­orado Springs on Sun­day, Feb. 19 at the World Are­na. No tick­ets required. $10 at the door, which open at 6 p.m.

High­er Note: You guys are all from Ontar­io. How did you get togeth­er as a band, and how long have you been with the guys?

Jonathan Stein­gard: I replaced the orig­i­nal gui­tar play­er, who depart­ed right after their first CD, so basi­cal­ly I’ve been with the band since the begin­ning.

We all grew up in south­ern Ontar­io, and we were all in dif­fer­ent bands at the same time. My cous­in was actu­al­ly in a band with Jason and I was in anoth­er band.  We were all in high school  just hav­ing fun and goof­ing off.

HN: Trevor McNevan of Thou­sand Foot Krutch and FM Sta­t­ic, who is also from Ontar­io,  helped you get start­ed. How did that rela­tion­ship start?

JS Trevor McNevan was in group at the same time –TFK — and a few years ahead of us play­ing in the States. He real­ly took the band under his wing — help­ing up with song­writ­ing … He was huge­ly, huge­ly influ­en­tial. We’re still friends; we call on him a lot.  He’s gen­uine­ly a great per­son.  He wrote a lot of the songs on our first two/three records.

Jason is grow­ing up in his own way. And that is some­thing dif­fer­ent than the rest of us. You can’t be effec­tive as a band if you all don’t want the same things.” — Jason Stein­gard

HN: You’ve been togeth­er as a band since you were in high school, how has your music evolved over the years?

JS: We are all approach­ing our 30s. It’s kin­da dif­fer­ent approach­ing 30. It changes the way you think about your music and mak­ing music.  It’s fun­ny, now a major­i­ty of our fans are younger than us. But we’ve been super blessed, and we are thank­ful we’ve been a band for almost 10 years, we ful­ly real­ize that’s a long time.

HN: Can you elab­o­rate on your music?

JS:  Our music is more thought­ful. Our per­son­al jour­neys are  all dif­fer­ent. The dynam­ic is dif­fer­ent than it was when we were high school kids as to now as an adult. Justin (Ben­ner)  our drum­mer is going to have a baby here pret­ty soon.

As adults we are fig­ur­ing out what it means for us as a group. What our pur­pose is and what we do. We don’t have the same moti­va­tions as we had when we stared. We were in high school, and we just want­ed to have fun. Noth­ing more than that. Now we want to have more than just going out and hav­ing a good time.

Don’t get me wrong, we still have a great time. We’re a high-ener­gy band and we adhere to that, but we have grown in new areas and want attain dif­fer­ent things.

Jason’s per­son­al jour­ney is dif­fer­ent than ours. We love him as a broth­er, and we aren’t fight­ing, noth­ing weird like that. Jason is mov­ing on, and we total­ly sup­port him. Hon­est­ly, we don’t have the future fig­ured out We had hoped to have the future fig­ured out a lit­tle more before it (Jason leav­ing the band) became pub­lic. The rest of us still have some­thing to say, and we are still in the process of fig­ur­ing it out. It’s def­i­nite­ly a change.

 

Jonathan Stein­gard says the band mem­bers are evolv­ing in dif­fer­ent ways, and as they get old­er they have dif­fer­ent jour­neys.

 

HN: Was it a sur­prise to you that Jason said he was leav­ing the band?

JS: It wasn’t a com­plete sur­prise, not entire­ly. We all have grown, and Jason is grow­ing up in his own way. And that is some­thing dif­fer­ent than the rest of us. You can’t be effec­tive as a band if you all don’t want the same things. We don’t want to go in the same direc­tion. And we don’t want to hold Jason  back at the same time. I real­ly, real­ly believe that God has a plan behind this, and I’m excit­ed for the future things on the hori­zon. We have a lot to look for­ward to.

HN:
What about the name? Will you keep Hawk Nel­son, and where did that name come from?

JS:  The name, I can’t speak to that because we are still fig­ur­ing it out. I wish I could give you more answers. But the­se things kin­da have a life of their own. … The name (chuck­les). Jason played a lot of video games and when­ev­er he had to make up a char­ac­ter it was Hawk Nel­son. The night before they were to release their first album, they found out that there was anoth­er band with the same name (Rea­son Being). And lit­er­al­ly  they had 12 hours to come up with a new name. They just threw Hawk Nel­son at the end for the fun of it and it stuck. And here we are 10 years lat­er. The name becomes asso­ci­at­ed with you more than you with the name. It’s high­ly like­ly that we will con­tin­ue with the name. I’m not cer­tain, but it’s fair­ly like­ly.

HN: What was the first show after the announce­ment, and how has it been on stage?

JS: The first show after the announce­ment was in Chicago. Inter­nal­ly, we all knew this was com­ing. It was a grad­u­al real­i­ty. We’ve had a bit of increase aware­ness. It’s goes quick­ly our set is only 20 min­utes (on The Rock & Wor­ship Road­show tour). This tour is awe­some. We have a lot of sup­port. It’s like being out with fam­i­ly.

It’s a high-ener­gy show and from the men­tal aspect we are real­ly savor­ing our time togeth­er.  The first few years we were tour­ing and liv­ing out of a van, stay­ing with friends and it brings you closer. We are like fam­i­ly, no it’s exact­ly like fam­i­ly. You love each oth­er to death and oth­er times … (chuck­les). It’s def­i­nite­ly like fam­i­ly.

HN: Who were/are  the band’s influ­ences?

JS: Pop punk bands Good Char­lot­te, Blink 182, Green Day, Reliant K, but your influ­ences change as you grow old­er. We want to cre­ate some­thing that is our own. You grow beyond your imme­di­ate influ­ences. Daniel lis­tens to real­ly mel­low music … some­times thun­der­storms. Jason lis­tens to  punk music. Justin and I lis­ten to a lit­tle bit of every­thing. So we are draw­ing from more than one gen­re.

HN: How do you stay sane spir­i­tu­al­ly while play­ing in a band, tour­ing and such?

JS: With any Chris­tian band it’s a bal­anc­ing act. You have a min­istry and a busi­ness.  On one hand you have a busi­ness that you are giv­ing jobs to peo­ple, and the oth­er hand you have a min­istry. And as believ­ers we are called to a dif­fer­ent place in life. It’s impor­tant to tell peo­ple what we believe. It is life chang­ing, we’ve seen it with our own lives. But we haven’t been a super min­istry band. We don’t give a mes­sage in the mid­dle of our sets. That has not been our strong suit — the preachy mes­sages.  That’s why we like to part­ner with oth­er bands and tours that can fill in the blanks.

Espe­cial­ly with this tour (The Rock & Wor­ship Road­show). Dis­ci­ple and us we bring  high ener­gy to the tour, where the oth­er bands go deep­er and talk about God.

–30–

 

 

 

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