Nate Smith interviews guitarist Erick Serna
I love the physical cd. I love to look at the artwork, read the lyrics and analyze the booklet.
The Dear Hunter’s Act 3 life and Death has the most creative and innovative artwork I have ever seen. Each song has a separate card with the lyrics that looks just like a postcard from a soldier in war. Read as Erick talks about the new album, religion, homelessness, and the ideas behind the artwork.
Erick ) They look like fire. Haha. No, not really. The writing process on this record was pretty different from the previous record. We all basically sat in a room and hashed most things out as a band. Most, if not all, of the time, Casey would sit at a piano and throw out ideas and a song would build from there. We started off writing the entire record in sequence and a good portion of ideas were completed into full songs before we got to the recording end of things. Some ideas remained as skeletal sketches and were later fleshed out. Band practice basically consists of us getting together a week or so before tour, coming up with a set list(s) along with transitions from song to song and running that a few times a day hoping we have it locked down by the time we leave for tour.
Enoch Magazine ) What is an issue or a life question you’ve been wrestling with to determine an answer.
Erick ) Transience. Sometimes I wonder about how fickle things can be. I guess I haven’t really struggled to find an answer to transience, but it’s something i think about a lot. It’s pretty humbling really. I think because I’ve come to terms with how impermanent things can potentially be, it makes me appreciate most of the things I get to experience in life.
Enoch Magazine ) Family is such an important aspect in many people lives. What do your parents think of your career choice as a musician? Did your parents have an influence in you playing music?
Erick ) I can say with 100% certainty that if it wasn’t for the support of my family I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this. In regards to playing music, my parents influenced me in an indirect way. Both of my parents are straight from Colombia, South America and as you may know, music (and dancing) is a huge part of South American culture. Growing up there was always music playing- mainly Latin music like salsa, merengue, vallenato and bachata. So my parents definitely influenced me in regards to critically listening and appreciating different styles of music. Because of that I can almost listen to anything, other than pop-punk, ‘80s electro pop and pop country- sorryyyyy, Toby Keith, haha. And even though Brad Paisley isn’t necessarily considered “pop country” it needs to be noted that he is a bad asssss guitar player.
Enoch Magazine ) Where did your inspiration come from that led you to play music?
Erick ) It honestly started with Beethoven. When I was about 5 or 6, a close family friend’s eldest daughter was a piano player. Every time I would go over to the house I would make her play “Fur Elise” for me. Soon after, I expressed interest in wanting to take piano lessons. I loved it and I continued with lessons for about a year. Then my piano teacher had to move, so I obviously stopped taking lessons. Then I moved onto drums. I took lessons for about 6 months and when my parents wouldn’t buy me a kit because of the cost and potential noise they would have to deal with, I decided i wanted to play the guitar. And after being introduced to Jimi Hendrix I was basically hooked.
Enoch Magazine ) When i opened your new CD, ACT III: Life and Death your packaging was very unique. I loved the card for every song that looked like a postcard. It showed creativity and thought in a time where most bands don’t care about packaging. Where did this idea come from and how can bands continue to be creative as physical cd sales are declining.
Erick ) The elaborate packaging was Casey’s idea. The idea basically stemmed in correlation with the theme of the record, which is based on war. The cards you see are meant to be postcards from foreign countries sent by the main character telling of his stint in the army overseas. Since it is our last record on Triple Crown, we all wanted it to be super special. And thankfully the owner of our label was down for the idea and made it come to fruition.
Enoch Magazine ) I believe in Jesus, but lately I’ve noticed that the basic things he (Christ) said to do like tend to the poor, the sick, people in prison, orphans and widows – doesn’t seem to be at the top of most “Christians” lists or agendas. What’s your perception of “Christians” and/or the actions of people today claiming Jesus?
Erick ) I’m religious as well–Catholic to be specific. I think the thing that bums me out the most about some religious people is their extremist/contradictory tendencies. Catholicism and Christianity both hold acceptance, understanding and forgiveness in high regard and there are people who constantly, knowingly or unknowingly, disregard these things. Example: ostracizing someone for believing in a different higher power. We all know about and have probably heard people out there who say, “If you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re condemning yourself to hell.” Come on, really? Where does anyone get off saying that kind of thing? Those are the people that give other’s a reason to view organized religion negatively and I perceive that as a disservice to religion in general.
Enoch Magazine ) I have a strong passion to help the homeless. Our magazine just released our documentary online about the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Have you had any experiences with the homeless and how can people help them out.
Erick ) Very cool. We constantly come across homeless people on the road–every major city has them. Give them food. If I happen to have some kind of left-over food or access to any food when I’m approached by a homeless person I give it to them. I tend to stay away from giving them extra change mainly because I’m afraid that they’re not using it for the right thing.
The music scene is evolving quickly today and I am not sure where it’s going. Please give us your opinions and thoughts on the present music scene. Tell us anything.
Erick ) Gosh, there are so many scenes out there today, so to generalize my feelings to all of them would be IMPOSSIBLE. But most of us know who the bands are that strive for originality and those who don’t. As much as I try to respect and adhere to the “people like what they like” mentality, I would really like to see more bands raise the bar in regards to musicality. To take care and really hone in on their craft and produce something that people could listen to 20, 30 or 50 years from now.