interview: rumblepak

Written by Priscilla Hernandez

Nate and Hank of the LA based band Rumblepak invited us over to the balcony of their apartment building to interview them. With an album released last year, an EP this year, and many more releases on the way, we were excited to have the opportunity to sit down with these guys and talk about music, inspiration, and future goals.

 

How did you get into playing music?

Nate: I was like 9 years old and I saw this KCET special. There was this concert playing, I was watching it with my dad, and this guy did a drum solo and I was like, that is fucking badass. Like jeez, I would play drums- drums are cool. My dad was like, ‘oh yeah, for sure.’ Then about year later, he bought me a drum set. It was just something I had said in passing, after that I never thought about wanting to play drums that badly. I was just really into music. So he got me that drum set and I pretty much started from there. I didn’t really start taking it seriously until I was about 13. This kid Derek in middle school was a shredder on guitar and I wanted to be like that.

Hank: For me, I had always had a guitar since I was about 8 but I hardly played it at all. Then, when I was like 16, I didn’t do anything extracurricular really. I didn’t play any sports and I was also just smoking weed at my friend’s house and he had a bunch of instruments lying around. So I started playing them, then one day I started singing, and it just felt really good. When I moved here, there were just so many great bands and I wanted to be a part of that.

 

What are each of your roles in the band?

Hank: I play guitar, synthesizer, and sing when we play live. Outside of that I do a lot of the songwriting by myself. I take all the instruments and put them together then take them to the bandmates and then they make it a lot better.

Nate: Yeah, Hank writes everything and Hudson and I kinda refine the songs. If we think things should be cut or added we just go through that process until we finish the product.

Hank: Then we all kinda fight for while until I say, ‘oh yeah you guys were totally right.’

Nate: Other than that we all take on managerial duties with shows and putting things together. We are all pretty involved working towards our goals.

 

How did your band members meet?

Hank: I met Hudson through our friend Mico who was in this apartment. I wanted to started a band and my friend who I thought I was going to start a band with decided he wasn’t into it. One day, after meeting Hudson a few months after I had met him, I texted him like, “Hey man I have these songs, check them out they’re on Soundcloud. Do you want to start a band?” and he was like “Yeah” haha. He introduced me to Nate and we got the band really going.

Nate: Yeah I met Hank through Hudson, and I had met Hudson just from playing in the music scene. I had been in this band from high school and we had our own community going on with other bands. This band Hudson was in was going on tour and they needed a substitute drummer. So that’s how I met Hudson, I met him the day before we left for a two week tour to San Francisco and Olympia, Washington. Me and Hudson clicked immediately. Hudson eventually introduced me to Hank and we decided to give the band a shot. The rest is history I guess.

 

How did you get the name “RumblePak”?

Nate: Nintendo 64.

Hank: Yeah. We were at practice and we had our first show coming up and we had about five songs, learning two more. At the time we were kinda a punk band, so I was like, we should be named Tito’s Handmade Vodka or Whacked Out Sports, and those are fun, but your band probably is not going to go very far if it is that joking of a name. Then I remembered I had the idea for RumblePak and we all definitely super down for it.

Nate: Immediately I was like, yeah that’s the one.

 

What do you guys do when you are not making music?

Nate: I sit around and smoke weed all day.

Hank: He’s recently unemployed.

Nate: Yeah, I was doing these internet videos. Somewhat become a YouTube celebrity out of nowhere, so that happened. Just recently the channel I was on got shut down so I am not doing much right now, but that’s what I was doing when I wasn’t focusing on music. Having that as my job allowed me a lot of time to focus on music.

Hank: I am a film set carpenter art department guy, so I build sets for films and deal with props.

 

What would you describe your sound as?

Hank: It started out as punk, then it was post-punk with more synthesizers. Now it is a lot of synthesizers. I don’t know a genre. It’s dreamy I guess.

Nate: It is ethereal now. The music went from completely guitar to not guitar driven at all. Very synthesizer based and now the guitar is just there for embellishing things.

Hank: It is synth based but we try to keep it upbeat, which I think relates back to our punk beginnings. We wanna keep it fast and moving.

Nate: I think it’s becoming a bit more pop now but,

Hank: It’s never going to be like Katy Perry or anything.

Nate: Genres are weird.

 

What are some of your musical influences/inspirations?

Hank: Whatever I am listening to that week. A lot of the influences are people who play in the music scene honestly. I am a big fan of The Garden, and The Growlers were one of the first bands I knew about in the scene around here. Our friend Julian, Nate is also in his band, he makes really cool music. A lot of the inspiration comes from friends.

Nate: Yeah lately I’ve drawn inspiration from my friends. They are making my favorite music right now. Julian has this project called Pink Sock. Inner Wave is super talented, it is inspiring.

 

What were some of the your favorite bands growing up?

Hank: I got really into The Grateful Dead, my mom is a huge Deadhead. My dad introduced me to a ton of really cool post-punk from the 80’s. My mom’s influence on me was just The Grateful Dead.

Nate: I had a lot of different music around when I was growing up. The first concert I went to was System of a Down. Some of my first CDs were 2000 by Dr. Dre, the sequel to The Chronic. I remember loving that CD when I was five years old. Dr. Dre, Sublime, I was into the oldies too. You remember Hot 92.3? Art Laboe had this dedication hour, it was a big part of Chicano culture. People would call in like, “this is Jose from Whittier, I wanted to dedicate this to my girl in Pacoima.” So I grew up listening to the oldies, and Black Sabbath too. My favorite of all time would probably be Frank Zappa.

 

If you were a cover band, which band would you be covering and what would you call yourselves?

Hank: I would want to be a Grateful Dead cover band.

Nate: Definitely. I feel like, if it doesn’t work out we would be a cover band. I would be totally down for a Sabbath cover band. What if we were Joy Division cover band? We have the instruments for it. We would call ourselves Toy Division, like Toy Districts.

Hank: I was thinking that, it would be the easiest. Grateful Dead would be hard, I don’t think I am a good enough musician for that.

 

What does your songwriting process consist of?

Hank: For me, whenever I wake up, if I am not working and don’t have any other shit to do, I find something on synth and layer that. It takes all day since I am not that musically trained so it takes forever. By the time I am putting the last instruments on, I am having a couple beers to get loose so that way I will be able to sing and not be afraid to say whatever I want to say. Once it is demoed out, I show it to these guys and they say “nah we don’t like that one,” or “yeah this is cool, I want to add this to it.”

 

What is your favorite lyric you have written?

Hank: Shit I don’t know. Toy District was one of the most fun songs to write because I wrote half of it with my friend Brandon which is pretty rare for me since I haven’t had the opportunity to write with people that much. It was a funny story we made up about different people in this warehouse in skid row where we were living. There were some crazy people, one of them named Jason, it is kinda about him as a character.

Nate: And Jason’s liquor.

Hank: Oh yeah, a liquor store wouldn’t deliver to skid row and that is where the last line came from. That song was so fun to write. Shout out to Brandon for writing half of that with me.

 

If you could play at any venue where would it be?

Hank: The Hollywood Bowl

Nate: The Palladium

Hank: Probably somewhere sick, like Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. It would just be nice to be out of LA playing a fat show somewhere. We have not toured yet, we played a show in Santa Cruz where I am from. But we haven’t toured yet so we are going to try to get that going. It is good that we have waited. It will happen.

 

If you could choose any band in history to tour with, who would you choose?

Hank: Enjoy maybe.

Nate: Yeah Enjoy. Maybe one of our friends. The Crudes, I feel like we would have a good time with them. They’re the little homies. They’re a couple years younger than us but they’re really fun.

 

Do you have any projects in the works?

Nate: We are sitting on two EPs right now, we will be releasing one of them pretty soon.

Hank: I think December 1st, we aren’t sure yet. We have eight really tight songs that Julian helped us record. I think it is some of our best recorded shit yet. As soon as I am moved into this new place, I will probably write another album.  But Kkep an eye out for the new EP. The one after that is going to be really good too.

Nate: The one after that is better than the first one. I am just trying to get this first one out already. Just drop it and build up anticipation for the next one.

Hank: It is like Toy Story 2, even better than the first. Or Aliens and Aliens 2.

 

When’s your next show?

Hank: December 1st at The High Hat.

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