Oklahoma-based rockers, Hinder, have been criss-crossing the country in support of their new album, Welcome To The Freakshow, which is scheduled for a December 4th release. We were able to track down frontman, Austin Winkler, and learn more about the creative process behind the new album and just how, as a band, Hinder clicks.
Blog Rocking Beat (BRB): What was the mindset going into Welcome To The Freakshow?
Austin Winkler (AW): Whenever we jump into an album, we are always writing about personal experiences. We don’t attack an album like we are set out to accomplish something specific. We try to go in with an open mind. We wrote about 25-30 songs for this record. We wrote 70 for the last one. There was only one that we recycled that was written for the last record that we used for this record. I think we really just laid all of our cards out on the table and I really think the most honest ones made it on the record.
BRB: This time around, Cody [Hanson, Hinder drummer] co-produced the record in a hometown studio. Why the decision to go that route this time instead of the traditional “Big L.A. Studio” with a big rock producer?
AW: I think we just really got to the point where we didn’t want a lot of outside influence anymore. I think it shows on the record that we stuck to what we like and what we grew up listening to. I think that Marshall [Dutton, co-producer] and Cody did a fantastic job on the production of this record.
BRB: You hinted that this time out, you are doing things that come a little more naturally. Do you find that you guys are the type of band that will tinker with songs quite a bit before you consider them “ready” or does it come together pretty quickly for you guys?
AW: When we are writing, we tend to know right away if a song is going to be worth a shit or not. The songs really come alive, then, when we start to demo them. If we demo it with just acoustics and vocals, then nine times out of ten it has a real shot at making the record. It if sounds like it could be a hit like that, then it’s most likely going to make the record.
BRB: Has that changed throughout the bands career? The longer you do this, does that feel more comfortable doing it that way?
AW: Yeah. It was kind of a change for us going from writing 70 songs for the last album and just 25-30 for this one. At first, it was hard to get used to, but now, you learn that sometimes you have to let go of some of the songs that you love, at least at this moment. You can’t get too attached. All the songs are our babies, but you can’t get too attached, because you just can’t put 100 songs on a record.
BRB: When it comes to choosing which songs go on the record, is it a democratic process or is it a situation where everybody has to agree?
AW: Cody and I have this unspoken vision, sort of a chemistry, when it comes to picking songs. I think we just naturally pick the same ones. There are times when, for instance, there some songs that didn’t make this record that I would have loved to have had on the record, but an album is like a story or a movie where all the pieces have to fit in order for it to make sense. We picked the obvious songs where we could say, “Hell yeah, this is a Hinder track” or “This one is a single,” then we just built around that.
BRB: So you guys have this short acoustic tour going on. For a band that is really known as this loud, bombastic, sort of rawkus live act, what made you decide to unplug everything and go that route?
AW: Well, it’s like you said. We are known for doing these really loud rock shows and getting into these really nitty gritty, sort of dirty rock shows. But we really wanted to give our fans the opportunity to see some of the songs really stripped down and at their most vulnerable spots with just acoustics and vocals. I think a lot of people are surprised at just how good it sounds. For us, that’s how the fun usually starts and we wanted to give fans the opportunity to see the “unfinished product,” so to speak.
BRB: Well, you guys do have some songs that are naturally more acoustic-oriented, which sort of leads to this next question. Over the years, you see certain bands talk about how they feel a little handcuffed into having to play certain songs, because those are the big songs. Do you guys ever feel that way about songs like “Lips of an Angel” and some others?
AW: Well, I’d be lying if I told you no, right? You know, you get to the point where you play a song 457,000 times and it can become like clockwork or something robotic. Anybody who is a musician and has to play a song that many times and is up there saying, “Oh no, you know, we love playing it,” well, they’re full of shit. I mean, we wrote the song; we don’t love the song. You really have those days where you’re like, “Motherfucker, really? Okay, here we go. Let’s do it again.”
BRB: What’s one band you’d love to tour with, but haven’t had the chance to yet?
AW: The Rolling Stones. That’s the one band that’s up there that I would love to play with.
BRB: You guys are known for having more of a classic sound, at least compared to other contemporary bands like The Black Keys, for example. Coming from that position, what bands out there today inspire you or make you take notice and say, “Those guys are doing it the right way?”
AW: Any band that really sticks to their guns and doesn’t change just because something else is popular at the moment is inspirational. Yeah, any of those bands that you can tell are sticking to their roots and doing what they really love are bands that we really look up to.
There you have it, folks. You can catch Hinder out on tour right now. And even though Welcome To The Freakshow is still a few weeks away from release, you can hear the first single, “Save Me,” right here.