HyperStatic Union bring a new spin on pop/rock with their national debut Lifegiver.
Jesusfreakhideout.com's Andrew Shaw caught up with vocalist/guitarist Shawn Lewis to discuss the band's beginnings,
sound, and their debut record.
This interview took place May, 2006
Jesus freak Hideout (Andrew Shaw): Tell me about the beginning of HSU, how did all of you meet?
High School. We all attended Camas High School at the same time and have been friends
ever since. It wasn't until after some college that we got back
together and started HSU. The band's
inception coincided with some major spiritual renewal for myself and
our drummee, Ray. We were learning about God's grace.
Mac Powell, lead-singer of Third Day, produced Lifegiver; that's
pretty impressive for a debut album. How did you come to know Powell,
or better yet, how did Powell come to know of HSU?
Through some friends of ours from the NW who had promoted shows for both Third Day and
ourselves in the late 90s. They were huge fans of what we were doing
and slipped Mac a demo of ours many years ago. The timing just worked out exceptionally for
Third Day to start their production company and for us to allow God to grow this band nationally.
JFH (Andrew): When I first listened to Lifegiver, it was a unique experience for me,
because your sound is so different from most Christian rock bands out
there. Although it's always refreshing to hear an artist that breaks
the CCM mold a bit, by doing so you risk alienating radio, and fans
alike. Is being on the CCM frontlines important to HSU?
No, being on music's frontlines is important for us. It's not like we're totally reinventing
anything, but we do have a certain musical focus and some constraints
by which our music comes out. Alienation has to happen at some level to have any honest appeal
to a critical music listener. Our fans have always been the ones who simply dig our music for what
it is, their not the ones who dig it because their friends dig it. We want to provide people with
an alternative, that's for sure. It's important to note that the message of the gospel is innately
alienating as well (and unifying at the same time). As Christians, we should be right at home with feeling
like aliens in a foreign land. We've always felt that there's a giant untapped listenership for CCM
listeners and mainstream listeners who want 'up front,' truthful lyrics in an
'envelope-pushing' musical package. We're here to
bring Biblical truth to the masses in the shape of a funk-rock song
with some pop sensibility.
JFH (Andrew): To be honest, I was little confused after listening through the whole
album because I had know idea what sound you were going for. Was this
musical cornucopia intentional?
Well, we weren't going for 'a sound' per se. My favorite artists don't really have one sound.
Our band has hugely diverse musical influences and we pay tribute to
those whenever we can but in
the end, the songs just come out. You should have heard the stuff we
cut from the record to keep it
JFH (Andrew): HSU seems content on being different, so does that mean you don't want
to be the next MercyMe or Switchfoot?
Exactly, we want to be the first Hyper Static Union.
JFH (Andrew): Although I love listening to music on my iPod, hearing the music in
concert is (usually) so much better. What's it like for a fan going to
an HSU show?
Shawn: There's certainly an energy that we have live that didn't quite get conveyed the way we
wanted to on the record. We'll be working on that for the next
release. It's just difficult to
incorporate our bass player's dance moves on CD. But we have some
funk jams and some added
aggression that definitely ramp up the material that we get to play.
Being an opener right now, we
have the unique challenge of ramping it up in 15 minutes usually. But
we promise to not disappoint.
The arena is the 5th member of our band and everything just sounds
right in that environment.
That's another thing I'd like to mention...this record was made to
rock your car or your home theater,
not your iPod or your computer speakers. Nothing against small
speakers but they don't do justice
to rock 'n' roll. So go to Circuit City or whatever and put some
decent 6 inchers in the doors of your
Hyundai and turn it way up. You'll be surprised at the difference that makes.
JFH (Andrew): I'll be sure to try that out. (NOTE: I have since played Lifegiver on the largest system I can find, and it does make some of the songs sound real good…)
One last question, where do you see HSU in five years?
We don't really have a 5-year plan necessarily. This is a giant step of faith for everyone; label,
management, Third Day, our wives, etc. God will reveal His
plan in due time. Until then, we just keep doing what we do and looking forward to every opportunity
to share our faith and the message of Jesus Christ. After all, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him
about your plans for the future.