Interview: Hawk Nelson


CMZ’s Cara Fisher chats with Jason Dunn of Hawk Nelson about their new album Crazy Love, Dunn’s solo work, and the Calgary Flames.

CMZ: Your new record, Crazy Love, was inspired by the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. What about that book inspired you?

Jason Dunn: Well, it was one of those things where we were in the studio every morning, our producer, Ian Eskelin and I would sit down and read a chapter from Francis Chan’s book. Basically, the song wasn’t intended to be on the record; it was the last song to be written. We were like “Oh, we should write a song called ‘Crazy Love.’” So that’s what we did. Next thing you know it’s the lead single. Pretty cool.

CMZ: Did you approach this record differently, musically or lyrically, than past records?

Dunn: I think a little bit. Being that this is our fifth and final record with our label Tooth & Nail, we wanted to make sure we gave it our best, you know? Which, obviously we always try to do that, but we’ve been a band for nine years, almost ten years now it seems like. We’ve been a band for a while, so we don’t know what’s in store for the future. We definitely wanted to give it all we got. We went back to our original roots, if you will, back to our first record Letters to the President and it’s a little more punk rock, a lot softer than our previous records that we’ve done, and we’re really happy and satisfied with it.

CMZ: What’s your favorite song on Crazy Love?

Dunn: My favorite song on Crazy Love is actually one that I disliked the most originally. Because we wrote the song and we’re like, “It’s okay.” And then you put your complete trust into the producer to either make the song or break the song. He definitely made the song. At first, I was going, “Uhhhh, I don’t know, this isn’t gonna sit well with me.” But Ian really made the song awesome, and it’s the song “We Can Change The World.” And I think I’m most excited about that one.

CMZ: So you’re also offering a collection called “The Light Sides” along with Crazy Love?

Dunn: We decided to record all of our favorite songs we’ve ever written over the last nine years. I can almost say decade now, that’s crazy. Basically, we started in the studio this year and we rehearsed them or practiced them so we can play them [laughs]. We re-recorded all of our favorites and made Light Sides– they’re acoustic by the way.

CMZ: I heard you’re working on some solo stuff? What can you tell me about that?

Dunn: Yeah, just recently, over the last ten years that I’ve been writing, these are all the songs that don’t get used for Hawk Nelson. This is too mid-tempo for Hawk. We tried a couple of piano songs on Smile, It’s the End of the World and it wasn’t necessarily hard for Hawk Nelson. You know, Hawk’s got that real distinct punk/rock sound, and this is kind of… are you familiar with Jack’s Mannequin?

CMZ: Yeah.

Dunn: It’s very piano-driven rock kind of thing. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do forever. We’ve had a lot of off time last year; we were working on a record. Basically, whenever we’re not on the road I’m writing; I’m always writing. So I just went through my favorites that I never used for anything, just something to keep the beats of yesterday. I don’t really know what else to say… I’m excited about it, still working on a working title and I’ll let you know as soon as possible.

CMZ: You guys are on Revolve Tour right now? How did the first couple of shows go?

Dunn: They’ve been unbelievable. You know, the Revolve Tour has always been so good to us. This is our third round with them. They keep asking us back. We were just in Atlanta, Georgia last week and we were in Dallas, Texas the week before. Next stop is Kansas City, Missouri.

CMZ: Now, I don’t know anything about hockey, but I was told by the owner of CMZ, who’s a sports fan, to ask you when do you think the Flames will take Lord Stanley?

Dunn: [laughs] Hopefully while I’m still living in this beautiful world. They’ve had a rough couple of years, so I don’t know. But, today I get to sing the National Anthem at the Flames game, so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m actually really nervous.

CMZ: I’m sure you’ll do fine.

Dunn: I don’t know, but I’m when I’m around my favorite hockey players I get a little choked up.  I really don’t want to start bawling on the ice.

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