Dave Hause has an air of calmness and composure to him. It's surprising considering the amount of roles he plays on a day-to-day basis. From the frontman for Philadelphia's The Loved Ones to a partner in a contracting firm, to, most importantly, a husband, his plate is full. Nonetheless, he seems to be taking it all in stride and appreciating the small victories along the way.
Dave took some time to sit down with me backstage at a sold out show at The Knitting Factory in New York City to answer a few questions.
How are things on this tour going?
Things are going great. We're having a blast. We're sort of winding out this leg, the East Coast, with The Gaslight Anthem. These are the last three shows. We've made quick friends with them.
Great band. We've had a bunch of our friends regionally open. Like, in Florida we had New Mexican Disaster Squad and in the Midwest we had the Hifi Handgrenades and The Arrivals and last night we met up with The Ergs and Legrecia. So they'll finish out the last few dates with us. It's cool because you get a breath of fresh air every couple days. You can sort of spread it around. We feel fortunate enough to be able to headline in the first place, so to be able to invite our friends along for the party is great. It makes it all the sweeter.
Absolutely. Congratulations on tonight by the way. I heard you guys sold out the venue ahead of time.
Thanks! Yeah, man, we got the word last week and we were all high-fives and cheering in the van. It's a first for sure. We've sold out some shows before and even on this tour we sold out some, but not this far in advance and not this big of a club. It was really exciting; definitely one of those dreams you have as a kid that comes true.
In regards to touring, I've read that you have to be strategic about your touring schedule due to certain factors such as you being married and having a business back home. How difficult is it and what type of business are you in?
Yeah, I have a partner and he and I run a small contracting company. It's carpentry and stuff like that. We have subcontractors that work for us as well, so I do a lot the administrative stuff while I'm on tour. Or at least I'm supposed to be doing it. He holds it down while I'm away and then when I'm home I work like crazy to sort of play catch up and help keep things going. So, I have that, fortunately. And I am married and I've been married for years. It's just a juggling act and I have people in my life that are willing to put up with this and are supportive of it and without them I would either lose them entirely or would have to make a choice. I would have to scale back on my availability to do music. My marriage comes first. It's great. I have supportive people around me and we are fortunate enough to start to have our own little fan base. We [can] plan out and headline so that we can dictate how long we're out. When we do support, and when we've done support, we've found it to be great and those opportunities were terrific, but you're on their time schedule. The Bouncing Souls or NOFX or Alkaline Trio, whoever it is that you're playing with, those are their shows. You sort of get put into this predicament… you know, we're older guys, so we do have other lives that are in place. But, yeah, thankfully, we've got a couple headlining tours coming up and then we probably won't do support 'til the fall. We want to tour, we definitely want to play. We just want to make sure we do it efficiently.
Especially with the cost of gas these days.
Oh my god, yeah! I know.
For a while you weren't playing in a band, but working on the road with bands like The Bouncing Souls and Lifetime. Was it difficult to be on the sidelines feeling like you had you had all of this creative energy building up inside of you?
It was frustrating at times because of that, but it was a great experience. I got to travel all over the world in a short period of time and I got paid to do it. I luckily got paid to do it with bands that do take pretty good care of their crew, especially The Souls. We made fast friends and they treat you like you're in the band. It's just incredible. But yeah, it got frustrating and the more it got frustrating the more certain people in my life were like, "You gotta do this for yourself." So, luckily I had those people pushing towards that and so it worked out well. I haven't roadied in years and years now. I'm glad I made the transition. I had some pretty amazing opportunities come up right as I was starting The Loved Ones and I turned 'em down and I'm glad that I did because I'm here now and able to play and it's going really well.
What was the process of starting the band and getting out there as a frontman like?
It was actually a baptism by fire. Our first show was in Philly at The Trocadero in front of about 1200 people opening for The Souls. So, it was like, "Here you go, here's a show. Sure you can play, but you have to learn fast or die on the vine." And then the second one was opening for Alkaline Trio in Jersey in front of like 2500 people. We also plugged in and played some basements in Philly. A couple small shows and then just took everything we could. It was fun and exciting and scary, but being in the environment of roadying or whatever I knew what to do. I had always been in bands; I just couldn't give it my 100% of my energy when I was doing it because I was always leaving for tours.
In recent interviews you've talked about how you're proud of the fact that your songs are formatted in a very traditional rock 'n' roll song structure. Greg Graffin once mentioned that it's actually a positive thing that the sound of punk rock has become traditional in the sense that it gives bands a platform. Do you agree?
Well, the way I look at is that we're not a punk band, per se. We're a band that writes songs and the first and foremost thing for me is whether or not a song works. It's important that a song works in any different voicing. You can play it on an acoustic guitar, you can play it as a full ramped-up rock band, you can play it as an electronic song because ultimately the three main things that have to be working are the rhythm, the melody and the words, and then I mean, there's the harmony, so there are four factors. So, if that doesn't work in certain scenarios then maybe a song doesn't quite stand up over time anyway. For us, if it's a good song we just kind of shine it through our prism of what we do. I mean, there are certain things that you can only do with a full rock band. That's part of the problem with hardcore music that I have. It's all fine and well if you have a crowd of people who are jumping on top of each other in a crazy pile on situation and all that stuff, but, for me, I just kept walking about from hardcore records because the songs didn't stick with me. They're hardcore songs. They're specifically written within this stifling genre to some degree. As I was starting to write my own songs for The Loved Ones I just felt like I wanted to make sure that the song would stick in your head no matter how you heard the song.
I hear you. In a recent interview I heard with Tom Gabel from Against Me! he spoke about the high of watching your audience grow over time and that being one of the factors that drove him as a musician. Do you relate to that? Is it something that you feed off of?
It's very addicting to have things grow because typically they're exponential. We've seen a lot of good growth and it is an addicting feeling, but like any other addiction you can get wrapped up in it. I think the downside to being enamored and focused on that kind of success is you can say its pump up for disappointment. If you're moving forward as an artist and as a band or whatever and if the desired effect is just to have the crowd grow and the crowd freaks, like what do you do then? You have to be prepared to still put on a good show and still mean it and not be let down by that. It's something that I struggle with and it's something that anybody that has that addiction to watch things grow struggles with. I can relate to what Tom was saying about it, but I would be very cautious about nurturing that vibe because you want to temper it with contentedness and make sure that your hearts in the right place. That's something that I've struggled with from time to time. Sometimes you can't get your head on straight when you're playing a show, even if it's a really successful show, because there's other stuff going on in your life. Keeping those moments pure is really the main goal and it's not necessarily just to see the band grow. Yeah, that's a big part of it, but having an honest exchange with the audience is definitely the goal.