Fair Trade Services pop/rock/CCM/ artist Hawk Nelson released their new album Diamonds on March 17th! Full of heartfelt, poignant, emotional and impacting pop/rock anthems, as well as ballads, this album is one of the most musically and lyrically impressive albums of 2015! I had the privilege of interviewing guitarist Daniel Biro (2nd from right) via email recently, about the new album. We discussed the album, which songs mean the most to the band, what Hawk Nelson hopes listeners will experience when hearing the new songs, as well as the band’s goals and dreams for the year ahead. Check out the interview below.
- First of all, for those of you who do not know your story or your testimony, about how Hawk Nelson came to be, or how Jon Steingard stepped in as lead singer when Jason Dunn left the band; can you tell us a bit about the band and what God has been reminding you during this new season?
Hawk Nelson has always persevered through adversity… our unofficial motto has been “Just Don’t Quit.” But more than all of our efforts, we’ve always asked God to Open and Close the right doors – to lead our path as a group. That road has seen many changes, from band members to musical genres.
In this season, I am learning to simply be. To be grateful for these amazing guys I get to share this journey with. It’s such a unique experience that we shouldn’t take for granted.
- What has God been teaching you through creating these new songs in Diamonds and how are they similar or different to the process of recording Made? How did you sign to Fair Trade Services?
God has taught me a few things personally with DIAMONDS. One, which we are continuing to change and develop the “sound” of Hawk Nelson. Every record is a time to reflect and grow if you’re willing to. Two, that Lyrical content trumps all. Every artist has a message they are trying to convey, some serious, some humorous. For us, I think we’ve come to a point in our lives and career where if this continues to take us away from our families, and tour the globe – then WHAT we’re singing about means that much more. I think if you sit down and listen to the lyrics, against all our other albums, you’ll hear that.
- The debut single “Drops In The Ocean” and the promotional singles “Thank God For Something”, “Live Like You’re Loved” and the title track have all inspired me and have connected with me, and I am sure that the songs will connect with other listeners as well! What do these songs mean to you and what do you think listeners will gain from the album?
I appreciate the kind words. To be honest, Jonathan is the main songwriter and when he brought these songs to the table I felt the same way! There’s something powerful that goes on when you sit down and commit what you’re doing to God. Whether that’s music, relationships or whatever. When He inspires and breathes His Life into something, it connects.
These songs fill me with hope and gratitude, and I know they will for listeners too.
- How would you describe you musical sound as well as your lyrics, for those of you who are not familiar with your music and singing style? Both musically and lyrically, how does your new album capture the experiences of you throughout the last few years of your musical journey?
Deep Questions! I like it.
Well, musically I’ve been learning to be more open to change. If we’re honest, we all appreciate a broad spectrum of genres, and this album takes on a more Pop sound for sure. Jon and Micah (singer and guitarist) both produced tracks on DIAMONDS and they really sound great. In fact I’ve heard fans say that those songs sound their favourite without even knowing the guys produced them!
As for lyrically, this album tackles some of lives challenges, without ignoring them. But at the same time, the overall theme of Joy and Gratitude protrude through all the well-structured songs.
- Are there any artists/writers/producers you would like to collaborate and compose music with in the future, either on future records or other artists’ albums?
Jon’s been loving Matt Maher’s new album – so that would be a sweet collaboration for him I believe. He’s also hoping to get together and write with Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace), a band we grew up listening to.
- You are currently touring with The Afters on the Here For You tour, can you give us a bit of insight into how that tour is progressing and how you are enjoying that! How excited are you at travelling on the road with these CCM/pop veterans?
The Afters are solid guys. We first toured together 10 years ago on Toby’s Winter Wonder Slam. Since then it’s been fun to see how we’ve each grown as bands alongside one another. Jordan their drummer is busy at home producing the next Afters album, so a neat thing about this tour is that our drummer David is filling in. It’s fun to see these kinds of collaborations and it’s nice to know we’ve got each other’s backs (or sticks in this case J .)
- Who were your favourite artists you admired and looked up to musically in your earlier years, and is there any artist or band that you admire within the music industry currently, as a fellow artist, a spiritual mentor, or someone you ask advice from?
I grew up going to punk rock shows, I didn’t know anything about “Christian Music” until my later teenage years. One band that stood out to me was MxPx. They were a great punk rock band, but had some lyrical depth that tackled God, Faith and what that meant in day-to-day life. It may have not been in your face, but they expressed their views and those songs really helped guide my thoughts I was wrestling with. One line to this day that remains:
“Just know this that God is Faithful, even if you don’t have faith yourself. There’s nothing quite like being sure of what’s inside your heart.”
These days I respect so many of the artists we have the privilege of touring with. From MercyMe, Tobymac and The Afters to Switchfoot and The Rend Collective.
- Has there been a recent song that has been ministering to people on the road? What are some of the encouraging stories you have heard from the impact of your songs on this upcoming album?
Hands down, “Drops In The Ocean” is connecting live and over the radio. I think the two go hand in hand somewhat. I’m still shocked each night when the song comes up – people know it! And its message of God’s Grace in its infinite limitlessness is what’s striking a chord. That God is For Us – that’s a message I could sing for 1000 years!
- Is there anything in your life that places things in perspective as you travel and create music? Is there any song, or Bible verse, or even famous quote that reminds you about why you do what you do and why you chose music as a career and ministry?
I’m constantly reminded of how fortunate I am – mostly at shows when I see how God is using music to reach and communicate to people, that’s priceless.
There wasn’t a time in my life I set out to do music, I never went to school for it and never dreamt about it as a kid. Rather, God used people to plant seeds in me along the way. It’s like He chose me for this. I’m just trying to walk this path He has for me, wherever it takes me. I think that’s the challenge for us all. He calls us to different places and occupations – it’s our job to be open to wherever that is and to walk it out.
Be sure to check out Hawk Nelson’s new album Diamonds in stores now! Also, check out Hawk Nelson’s videos of the songs ‘Thank God For Something’ and ‘Live Like You’re Loved’!