I had a baby 6 months ago, so when Shawn Hall of The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer and I chatted, we bonded over kids. Hall has two and says that they “keep his feet firmly planted on the ground.” His kids keep him real, they don’t care if he is working on a big artistic endeavor. “They have a way of drawing you out of that is such a quick way in that I don’t know anything else that would do that to me and for me in my life.”
Hall and his band mate Matt Hall have been playing their music for almost 13 years. It was actually when Hall was going to have a kid that he dug in a got serious about his music. “I had to quit all my bands and only have one band. Your relationship with music has to be that much more authentic. Not just practicing wise, your intention, your raison d’etre, has to be purposeful and genuine,” Hall says. Instead of giving up on the music, having a kid was the push to legitimize what he was doing. He also had to get out of the big city. “You have big city dreams but you’re also limited by what you think you can do because of your rent, what you see, your tribe of friends, everyone else is limited,” he explains.
When Hall needs to create, his go to are the drums and the piano as those are not his typical instruments of choice. ” It takes my brain out of gear. It brings me to a place of meditation,” Hall says. “Matt goes to a cabin on an island and he writes. The muse is so delicate. It is a difficult thing to put your finger on.”
At the upcoming Calgary Folk Music Festival the guys are playing their concert on Thursday night at Stage 4, and have workshops throughout the festival. They are hosting a session during the festival and Hall is excited to explore with other artists. “Some of [the artists] are there to push their songs and rightfully so, and some of them are there to get in and get freaky and open up. The energy that I approach it is to be as warm as I can be. And we’ve been with some really fantastic people and bands.”
You can catch The Harpoonist and The Axe Murderer at the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Tickets are still available online.
Photo Credit: Jodie Pronto