We caught up with Cal Henry, the guitarist for the indie-rock band WD-HAN. They have just released their superb latest single ‘Steppin’ 11s’, and it is a must-hear this August 2020!
Hi Cal, tell us about your band WD- HAN?
We are a rock band! We’ve been together since high school, and now we are two married couples. We also have all finished high school.
What is your songwriting process?
It’s collaborative. I heard an interview with Chris Martin where he said that a Coldplay song isn’t done until everyone in the band has added to the song and that’s exactly how we are.
Now we have something to talk about when we go to dinner with him. I personally have a love/hate relationship with the songwriting process. I’ve heard of people who have woken up suddenly in the middle of the night with the whole song in their head, a complete and clear vision of what it’s going to be.
I’m not like that. For me, I have to put the time in and create a bunch of riffs until there’s one that I really like. But sometimes that’s the first riff I’ve played when I picked up the guitar that day, hence the love/hate. But once we have a completed song, it’s possibly the greatest feeling in the world, so it’s all worth it.
Tell us about your latest release?
I would say ‘Steppin’ 11s’ it’s the most ambitious song we’ve ever made. To be honest when I heard Spence yell the lyrics the first time I wasn’t so sure how it’d turn out. But hearing everything together, it’s great communication. Everything is so driving and full of energy. I also love the homage to Led Zeppelin, Jack White, etc. with the ‘La La’s’.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I think the message is different with each song, but I’d say overall it’d be, go for what you want most in life. Whatever that goal is, persist until you’re satisfied you’ve achieved it.
Who are your musical influences?
Jimi Hendrix is a huge influence on me. Mark Knopfler, John Mayer…those are some guitar heroes for sure. As a band, we all love Third Eye Blind, Young the Giant, Walk the Moon, Coldplay, Rival Sons…the list could go on and on.
Who are your non-musical influences?
All the artists at the top of their game, whether they’re an actor, painter. Art, in general, is a big influence. Whenever I see a great movie or other work of art, it inspires me to pick up the instrument and create.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
Probably a festival called Next Big Thing put on by the radio station 97x. We were fortunate enough to be on the same bill as Paramore, Walk the Moon, Bleachers, Vance Joy, MisterWives and more.
What is your funniest gig moment?
We played a show close to Christmas one year, and we had to play a Christmas song, so we changed the lyrics to ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon. One of the changed lyrics were ‘You know that I could use some presents.’
It was so funny to me I couldn’t keep it together in band practice and even at the show. I’m really impressed Spence was able to sing it with a straight face all the way through. And the people at the venue loved it.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
Right now it’s not being able to play shows. That is such a huge part of being in a band, and we miss it terribly. Of course, we only want to play once it’s safe for everyone.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Play! Create songs with your best friends. Make a LOT of songs. The world needs more art.
Finally, what are your hopes for the next two years?
To continue to create as much music as we can, travel, play shows, watch some great movies and drink delicious boba tea.
FV Music Blog August 2020
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