With their debut album Burst Into Flame, Haunt follow up their Luminous Eyes EP and unlrash their heavy metal mania onto the world. If you are a fan of metal in its truest form then Haunt are the band for you and this debut platter doesn’t disappoint. We had a chat with the bands frontman Trevor William Church to talk all things Haunt and their past, present and future, Beastmaker, the Church Records label, influences, memorable gigs and metal in general in an entertaining chat.
What are the origins of Haunt?
The origins of Haunt are me alone in my bedroom coming up with ideas. I wanted to break away from what I was doing with my other band and just have some fun.
The new Haunt album Burst Into Flame is out now. How did the recording of the album go?
It was the first album done in my studio. My wife and I bought a house in 2017 and there is a back house and that’s where I did Burst Into Flame. It was challenging but very exciting.
How has the album been received so far?
The album has been received excellently. I’ve seen a ton of reviews and all of them seem to be really great considering how early on I am in the creational phase of the band.
The lineup of the band is more solidified with this record compared with your debut EP Luminous Eyes. How did the rest of the members of the band come together and what did each member bring to the new record?
I’ve been playing with John in Beastmaker for the last 5 years. He is a fantastic guitarist and it just felt right to bring him in. Daniel Wilson played on Luminous Eyes so it was just an easy thing to bring him back. We had no bassist during the album. I played the bass on it. Matthew Wilhoit did the first tour with us and it felt appropriate to credit him because he helped us in our time of need. Taylor Hollman is on bass now. John writes really incredible solos. I do pretty much all the writing and arrangements other than a few things here and there. That is just the process of Haunt. I write all the music. So, really I’m only looking for the unique signature of John’s solos and Daniel’s drum fills. Everything is already worked out before they even hear the song
Did you approach Burst Into Flame in the same way as with Luminous Eyes?
Yes, I wrote all the music and had it demoed before we started doing anything serious.
The Music of Haunt has a timeless meta quality to it, is that what you wanted to across in the bands music?
I didn’t really have any specific things in mind other than I wanted to showcase the guitar playing. I wanted harmony guitar riffs and that kind of just spider webbed into what Haunt is.
Do you draw from real life events when you come up with your lyrics or do you delve more into a more fantasy realm?
Every song is drawn from real life circumstances. I wanted Haunt to be my personal outlet where Beastmaker is fantasy.
How do you feel about the state of heavy metal in 2018?
I feel good about it. It’s fairly easy to get your music out there now a days. Bandcamp is just amazing. So, there are lots of great bands out there waiting to be discovered.
What new bands are you listening to and who could you recommend for us to check out?
Emblem, Hellfire, Idle Hands, Silver Talon. Those are the bands I’ve been listening to a lot of lately.
You’re heading out on The Speed Of The Wizards tour with Municipal Waste, High On Fire and Toxic Holocaust. That’s a hell of a lineup. Are you looking forward to the tour and have you played with any of those bands before?
We played a festival in Texas with Toxic Holocaust but I’ver never played with any of these bands before. I’m really excited to take Burst Into Flame across the USA.
Will you be playing the whole album on the tour?
No, we are breaking it up with Luminous Eyes and As Fire Burns people really love those songs and always sing along. So, a couple songs must be cut out to make room and we are opening so 30 minutes is all we are playing.
You’re also playing at the Decibel Beer And Metal Festival. Are you looking forward to that event?
I look forward to all the shows we play. This is an awesome festival and Decibel has been amazing in supporting Haunt. It’s a great line up and Wiltern Theatre is awesome kind of a dream come true playing this epic venue.
What can people who see you live expect from a Haunt live show?
We don’t really have a gimmick. From the heart music played passionately. We really try to play our show with energy and enthusiasm. In time we hope to have a great light show to add to the mix but while we are still blossoming we have to use our love for music as a crutch for the things lacking.
What is your drink of choice?
I don’t drink alcohol ever but I really enjoy coffee.
How did your recent show at Psycho Las Vegas go?
We started the whole festival off. It was a lot of fun playing on a big stage. It was the first time for us as Haunt. John and I have played many awesome venues in Beastmaker. I was pleasantly surprised on how many people knew the lyrics so early on. I feel like we just started and the growth has been really awesome.
Who have been the best band you have played live with?
Zakk Sabbath. Zakk is an amazing guitarist and really inspired me to push myself as a musician. The whole band is just so tight. I’ve never experienced anything like that before and after that tour I came home a different man.
Who would you love to tour with in the future?
Megadeth. They taught me so much of what I know on guitar. Such memorable melodic guitar work. I’m a huge fan.
What’s the most memorable show that Haunt have ever played and what made it so memorable?
Well we’ve only played like 16 shows. I’d say at this point Ochid and Hellfire in SF at thee parkside. Both bands are dear friends of mine and it was just a really nice evening. We toured with Hellfire in april and those were the first shows we ever played. They are my buddies and great travel companions. we will be doing it again in spring 2019.
You are also the guitarist and vocalist for the mighty Beastmaker. The band are releasing a series of EPs soon, can you tell us a bit about the idea behind this?
I had a stock pile of music I couldn’t release because of a record contract. I wanted to do it as a sense of freedom and to experiment the bandcamp platform more. I had such success with Luminous Eyes, I wanted to see what Beastmaker could do. I now have my own label for Beastmaker.
Will there be a new Beastmaker album in the new year?
2019 there will be a release.
When you are working on material for Haunt do you ever think this section or riff would work better for Beastmaker and vice versa or do you keep both bands material separate?
Beastmaker, I’ve taken a break from. with 2 full lengths on Rise Above. 8 Ep’s and an upcoming record. I’m thinking I can take a break from writing for it for 4-5 years. Let it ferment and blossom new life. All my new riffs are for Haunt.
Have or would you ever pull double duty and play with both Haunt and Beastmaker on the same bill?
I have and to be honest I don’t want to do it again. As the singer is just too taxing. my voice was fried and talking the next days where really brutal. I was on tour and I had no voice for like 4 shows. It created massive anxiety for me.
Will Beastmaker be touring any time soon?
No but we are open to festivals and that might happen in 2019.
You’ve played in the U.K. before with Beastmaker, how was that tour and what did you love about it?
The UK is a great place for Doom. I think of it as the birth place for the genre. I really feel the music is stronger there because the landscape is gloomy and old. There really is a vibe over there. We took band photos there that honestly suited the band more than anything else we have ever done. California is all sunny and dry where we live. So, London is just a great vibe for photos in the landscape.
How did you get into doom metal initially?
Black Sabbath, St. Vitus, Pentagram. I really loved the dark style of the music and then Uncle Acid came about doing more of a horror thing and I just got really inspired.
Sabbath are a big influence on Beastmaker of course. What’s your favourite Sabbath album and why?
Vol.4 is my favorite. I think it has some of Tony’s best solos.
What are your top three favourite riffs of all time? Sabbath or otherwise!
Hole in the Sky, Forever My Queen , Bad Motor Scooter
You have started up your own record label, Church Recordings. How did the label start and was having your own label been something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
I have my own recording studio now and it just seemed really fitting to have my own label. My friend Daniel Hall of Riding Easy Records helped it come to fruition. I never thought of doing this up until this year when I released the 8 Ep’s in a month. I was like how am I gonna do physical stuff. I was talking with labels but all that would do is make them more money than myself so I wasn’t into that at all.
Have you plans at the moment to put out any other bands on the label?
I do. More to come later in 2018 on that.
The latest releases will be in your own record label having left Rise Above records. How did Beastmaker end up on Rise Above and what are some your favourite memories being on the label?
My friend Tony sent our tunes to Cathedral bassist Scott Carlson who then showed label owner Lee Dorian. I think the best memory was Lee had us play Roadburn where he curated the bands. It was our first tour and our first festival ever. So, it was great fun for us.
How do you fit in having a record label as well as being in two bands?
I don’t know right now. I’m stretched so thin it’s a challenge. But, my non-alcohol life style keeps my head very clear and focused. I just want to have fun and be challenged.
Your father played in Montrose and with Van Morrison. Was he a big influence on your career and gave you been around music all your life?
The biggest. He is such a talented musician. He has been so supportive of me all these years. I couldn’t have done this without his guidance. I come from a family of musicians on both my mom and dads side.
Did you go on tour with him from a young age?
Yeah, but I was very young. My Dad gave up his musical career to be a full time Father. I can’t even thank him enough for that. He was always around where if he were out being a rock star he wouldn’t have been at all my little league games and teaching me how to be a good person. He taught me how to be a good person and to use good judgment. I love both my parents so much for all they’ve done for me.
Would you ever get him to guest on a Haunt or Beastmaker record?
I don’t know if the Electric can keep up with me these days. I’ve thought about it but my Dad said this. It’s time for the old timers to retire and give the young dudes the road.
You’ve had members of Lucifer and Salems Pot guest on the second Beastmaker album. Who would you live to guest on future Beastmaker and Haunt albums?
Well, that’s always a good thought. Harry Clarke from Emblem would be a great person to bring in and Jake Nunn from Hellfire.
Who has been the biggest influence on you as a vocalist and as a guitarist?
Ozzy, Don Dokken, Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, George Lynch, Jake E. Lee. to name a few but those are really big influences on me.
Q- What was the first gig you ever went to?
How did you get into heavy metal and who were the first metal bands you loved?
My cousin Michael was really into metal so was my Mom. My Mom was into Dokken so that’s how I got into them. My cousin though had all the Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Crue, etc. He always had a good arsenal and I was in awe.
What is the metal album that has had the biggest effect on your life and a career as a musician?
Metallica was really the first band that grabbed me big time. I was so enthralled by them.
What are your favourite horror movies of all time and what is it about them that you love?
Tombs Of a The Blind Dead and Black Sunday. Great stories and just really well done for the time. There is a great feel to those movies.