An Interview with Trevor Church of Haunt

Image credit: Riff Relevant

Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Trevor Church, the mastermind behind Haunt Among other things, we touch on what he’s been up to during the lockdown, his new record, Unplugged Vol. 1, some of his favorite MTV Unplugged albums, his inspiration in stripping down to acoustic, and what he’s looking forward to the most once COVID-19 breaks.

If you would like to check out Trevor’s new record, you can head over to his Bandcamp here, and dig in. Once you’ve done that, check out this interview with Trevor. Cheers.

Andrew:
Trevor, I appreciate you taking the time today. How have you been holding up over the last year or so? What have you been up to?

Trevor:
Things have been going pretty well thanks for asking. Mainly I’ve just been raising my son Rex and writing, recording Haunt songs. I did a couple other studio projects as well. I recorded the Flashback, Triumph, Beautiful Distraction, and Unplugged Vol. 1 during the pandemic so far. [Laughs]. It looks like things are getting moving with tours again though.

Image credit: Haunt Bandcamp

Andrew:
You’ve got a great new release out called Unplugged Vol. 1. Tell us more about it.

Trevor:
I was tasked with possibly performing at a wedding and I just couldn’t really envision this. So, I said, “I’m going to record the track that they had mentioned.” I then got inspired by the idea of what if the electricity just vanished one day, and I’m still doing music what would Haunt sound like in this new world. Nirvana’s Unplugged definitely helped me get a start when it comes to percussion. I decided to go with brushes on the drums and do more string arrangements.

Andrew:
There is a long running precedent for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal acts choosing to go “unplugged.” What led to the decision on your end?

Trevor:
Out of the blue really. I didn’t think this was something I’d ever do. I actually really needed the challenge. Ultimately, it was the “can I do this” that got me to take on the project.

Andrew:
Digging in deeper regarding the “unplugged” theme. Haunt is a band that lays bare its influences. Are you paying homage to the original MTV Unplugged series from the 90s with this release?

Trevor:
It definitely helped give me direction but this is much more produced, and it’s not in a live setting so in essence it’s much different but familiar.

Andrew:
On the subject of MTV Unplugged — what are a few of your favorite unplugged performances from that era? I’ve always loved KISS’, and Neil Young’s off of the top of my head.

Trevor:
It has to be Nirvana and Alice in Chains. KISS did a great job too. I didn’t know Neil Young did one. Shows what I know! [Laughs]. But I’d say Nirvana takes the cake for me on it.

Image credit: Statik Noize

Andrew:
How much of an influence did the COVID-19 pandemic have on your decision to strip down the music of Haunt to simple acoustic performances.

Trevor:
It only has an influence on me with time. I have a bit more time to experiment and just try to use my time creatively.

Andrew:
Obviously, the dynamics when playing electrically differ greatly from acoustically. Did you find it hard to make that transition at all? Where there any songs you attempted to give a try acoustically that simply didn’t work?

Trevor:
Honestly, if it was too much of a challenge I wouldn’t have even done it. It happened so fast. I did Beautiful Distraction, went over my Dad’s, and asked him what he thought, and he liked it. So, I wrote a list of songs to do, and just started executing them. The entire project took me around thirty-five days. The hardest part was just putting it together. The basslines are different. I sing it a bit differently. The guitar is super stripped down. Plus, arranging the string section took a bit of time.

Andrew:
On the other end of the spectrum, which songs do you feel translated best acoustically. For you, what are the standout tracks on Unplugged Vol. 1?

Trevor:
I really like “In Our Dreams.” That is one just speaks to me.

Andrew:
Do you feel that stripping back, and simplifying your music in the way that you have will have any lasting effects on your songwriting as a whole? You’re already very dynamic as is. This said, do you sense a change, or growth at all?

Trevor:
I don’t think it’ll will really cross over into my typical Haunt records, but I think now the Unplugged series will continue, and I think I’ll find new musical growth as I move forward in the future. There are definitely a lot of acoustic instruments I did not use that I’m looking forward to trying. Mandolin failed to make this record, but I’ve got one, and I’m gonna try and showcase that.

Image credit: Revolver Magazine

Andrew:
What other passions do you have? How do those passions inform your music, if at all?

Trevor:
Being a Dad right now is like the most passionate thing I’m doing. Besides that and music, Skateboarding has been in my blood for a very long time. I like to be outside and just ride around. It always gives me a sense of being.

Andrew:
What sort of equipment do you use in the studio, and the live setting?

Trevor:
My favorite pieces of equipment right now is a Neumann u87 and an EL8 Distressor. These two pieces of gear do a lot of work for me. My main guitar is a Kramer Focus 1000, and I use an ENGL Powerball ll half stack. Love this combo. I’ve used the UA Ox Box on the last 4 albums as well which is a nice piece of equipment to have.

Andrew:
Do you collect vinyl? CDs? Cassettes? Or are you all digital now? If you do collect physical media, why is that important to you? Why do you feel keeping physical media alive is important in this day and age?

Trevor:
I have a small collection of vinyl, cassettes, and CDs. but my collection is studio equipment…that is my passion for collecting. I think the nostalgia of certain items really bring a happiness with them that I tend to enjoy. With Vinyl records, just having the artwork large and there is always something magical about sound coming off a piece of plastic through a needle it’s alchemy really. Tapes ARE more my era, and right now I like the colored tapes a lot as this wasn’t really a thing back when I was a kid, and it’s exciting. CDs for quality all day. It’s the best way next to bandcamp to download it to your computer and put it on your phone. I’m not really into streaming services because there is some quality issues that I’ve noticed, and I want to hear it how it was intended without file compression alteration.

Andrew:
Last one. What’s next on your docket? What are you looking forward to most in the post-COVID world? Do you plan on hitting the road, or playing any festivals in 2022?

Trevor:
In April, we hit the road with Traveler, Screamer, and Saber, and we are headed down to play Hell’s Heroes in Houston, Tx. It’s probably my favorite festival on the planet. I get to see so many of my friends, and it’s just a great time so that’s big. Also, a new full length will be out in the summer. It’s already finished and ready to go, so, that’s exciting

Image credit: The Fresno Bee

Interested in learning more about the music of Haunt? Check out the links below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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