Byron Bay melodic metalcore favourites In Hearts Wake are coming off the back of a huge year with no signs of slowing in 2023. In that time, the environmentally-conscious quintet have released Green is the New Black – a documentary on creating an entirely carbon-offset album – with a stellar soundtrack, a deluxe version of their fifth album Kaliyuga, and a triple j Like A Version covering Billie Eilish’s “all the good girls go to hell”.
In Hearts Wake have just wrapped up the 10-year anniversary tour of their seminal debut album Divination with Stray From the Path, The Gloom in the Corner and Diamond Construct. Before long, the band will be hitting the road again for Unify Off The Record – the local heavy festival’s first time going around the country after announcing there would be no event this year.
We caught up with frontman Jake Taylor to chat about the festival, anniversary tour and more.
“Just recovering from a big tour and by recovering, I mean catching up on sleep,” Taylor says when asked what he’s been up to. “It was a trip, for sure. Full on time travel.”
Becoming the first noted carbon-offset musical act was no easy feat. While this is an amazing achievement, Green is the New Black delves into the painstaking complexities of such an enormous task. Monitoring and controlling the band’s use of electricity and non-recycled materials during the production of the album allowed them to calculate how many trees they needed to plant for compensation – including the use of hemp-based merch.
“Thank you, it’s a weird kind of thing. It was more or less, I don’t want to call it an experiment, but let’s say an exercise that led to the final piece. I didn’t know if it was going to be possible, but it showed us that it can be done. Something that is recognised as a certification.”
Perhaps this documentary and their learned experience can serve as a guide for other artists to do the same and help move towards a more sustainable future by reducing the music industry’s carbon footprint.
“I think it will always be arduous in these early phases, but if there was a one stop shop… I tell you what, I don’t do our tax, but if there’s someone who says ‘Hey, I can do this and I know where to go’, then it’s just what we do and I reckon everyone could get onboard.”
The Decade of Divination tour celebrated the impact of their debut album on the local heavy music scene. Bringing New York punks Stray along for the ride, In Hearts Wake offered a leg-up for emerging acts Gloom and Diamond Construct who are carrying the torch for the new generation of core artists. Sydney fans were even treated to a guest feature from original Northlane frontman Adrian Fitipaldes for “Shapeless (Judgement)”.
“It’s a reawakening of old muscles, basically. We did write it, and it’s not like you forget it completely and it feels alien to you. I can’t run 20km like I used to, but you know that you’ve done it before, so it helps.”
At this point in the band’s career, the venues are bigger and the live show is more elaborate, but having a strong connection with the fans is still one of their core values.
“As much as I’d love to have the time, the bigger the show gets and the crazier the schedule of touring, the harder it is to authentically ‘show up’ and have a long conversation with anyone. It’s the best when we go regional because they’re smaller venues, we actually get decent sleeps, and it’s hotter and sunnier. It’s more organic, the environment, to have those interactions.
We’re known for doing things differently, and that’s why I know the tree plantings and marine debris clean-ups are really good. It’s like we’re here for this purpose and it’s a fully level playing field.”
Unify Off The Record will be heading to the lesser-travelled parts of the East Coast across five dates this May and June. In Hearts Wake are appearing at the Hobart and Frankston shows alongside Alpha Wolf, Northlane, Make Them Suffer and more.
“We played its first year ever and again in 2019. Actually, I think we’re the only band to play three, maybe.”
With a good representation of all genres, women and First Nations artists, the lineup features some of the nation’s best heavy acts – most of whom the band have already played with.
“We’ve pretty much toured with all of the bands at some point at a crossroads. We just toured with RedHook, so it will be cool to see them again. Maybe we can get a saxophone on stage again.”
Since they’ll be sharing a stage with long-time collaborators Northlane, we asked Jake if there is any chance of seeing “Refuge” performed together by both bands.
“To pull that off, you need a stage big enough because you have to have extra audio inputs as well as fitting everyone on stage. Maybe we can do something with the vocal side of things, but without a really good soundcheck and pre-production days, the answer is no.”
Not only will there be a bunch of awesome bands playing, the event will also be hosting artist signings, pop-up shops, DJs, panels and songwriting sessions.
“I was asked (to be involved), but we can’t do it because they’re the first thing in the day and we’re travelling on show day. We are doing the signings because that’s the easiest and best way to literally be there with fans, but it’s very organised.”
We also asked which show he’s most looking forward to of the two.
“We usually play Tassie on a regional run, so we played it on the Green is the New Black tour last year. It was really good, Hobart’s great. For those who haven’t been, it’s like a mountain version of Melbourne or Australia’s version of Wellington. It’s colourful and small and it’s got a good vibe there. The show was fully nuts last time, so I’m expecting big things.”
So, how does a screaming greenie unwind after a few weeks on the road?
“I live on a beautiful 168 acres here and it’s a stunning place. That being said, there’s always a lot of projects to do. Whether it’s grass that needs cutting or something needs planting. That keeps me grounded and humble. We’re so small and insignificant compared to the land, it literally owns us.”
You can get your tickets to Unify Off The Record HERE. Follow In Hearts Wake on Facebook and Instagram for more.