Articles › Jason Dunn (Hawk Nelson)
› Jun 26, 09:38 AM
In a world filled with pop and punk bands, Hawk Nelson is able to walk the tightrope between the two and stand out from the crowd. Exposure from the NBC television show American Dreams and then the national movie Yours, Mine & Ours has only added to their growing fan base while many predict that Hawk Nelson will be the next big thing. Lead singer Jason Dunn recently took time out from his busy touring schedule to talk with Wisconsin Music about their latest single and more.
WM: How did you get started in the music scene?
JD: I started playing piano when I was four years old. I wanted to play the violin, but my parents wouldn’t let me. They thought it sounded like I was killing a cat. (laughs) So they put me in piano lessons when I was four, and I went from there. I started a band when I was thirteen years old and I’ve been doing music ever since. Hawk Nelson started when I was nineteen, just finishing up high school. I graduated high school and hit the road right after that. I haven’t stopped yet!
WM: How old are you now?
WM: Wow. So you basically grew up in the industry.
JD: Yeah. It’s crazy, but it’s awesome.
WM: How did Hawk Nelson come about?
JD: Well, when I was going through high school and they had these career classes. I was a good student, but I was a one track mind kind of person. I just remember someone asking me what I was going to do when I finished high school. I got really nervous, because I never really thought about it. So I decided to continue with my music. I was into the idea but the guys in my band weren’t into it. For them being in a band was cool in high school, but they were going to get real jobs. So I met with some guys who we played with in other bands over the years and they wanted to go for it like me. So we started Hawk Nelson, and here we are.
WM: How’s the response to your new video for the song Zero?
JD: I think it’s been doing pretty well. When it first went online, it received like a million hits in the first week. It was some crazy number like that. People seem to be into it, so that’s awesome.
WM: Can you give us a little background of the song?
JD: The song talks about loss. I personally went through a loss when a friend committed suicide when I was younger. I originally wrote the song when I was eighteen years old. When we’re all born, we’re born so pure. So innocent and fault-free. As we get older, the choices we make decide who we become as people. Unfortunately for my friend, he made that one wrong decision. The guy had so much going for him, like a football scholarship to a university. He just didn’t go through with his calling. We all have a calling in our lives, I really believe that. It’s sad when people fall short of their calling.
WM: You must have made quite an impact with the youth with that song…
JD: Yeah, it’s kind of a touchy topic. People don’t really want to talk about suicide. But I think we really need to address it. There’s a lot of people out there that are dealing with it, and a lot of people in the church too that are dealing with it. We tend to ignore those people in the church allot that are going through it, so I think it’s a good eye opener.
WM: Have you heard of any suicide prevention groups using your song?
JD: I haven’t heard of anything, but that would be cool if they would.
WM: You’ve appeared both on national television and in a major motion picture, as well as having your songs in several different soundtracks. Do you see Hawk Nelson venturing out into other media again in the future?
JD: I don’t plan on it. It’s funny, you see people in bands wanna go into acting and people acting go into bands. I think I’m gonna stick with what I’m doing. For now, anyways.
WM: How did your previous outings to TV and film happen?
WM: Is it true you were recently in California working on some new songs?
JD: A few years ago we did this music conference in Nashville, and a bunch of TV representatives were there. A guy there saw us, and he hooked us up with the American Dreams thing. Once we did that, it just seems like a chain reaction.
JD: Yeah, I went to LA a few times in the last couple of months and met with some writers. It’s something I’ve never done before, but it’s been really cool. I learned a lot from different writers, and I’m really looking forward to this next record.
WM: Do you have a direction for the new album?
JD: It’s still in the air, but it will still be Hawk Nelson.
WM: Will you be taking a break before recording the next album?
JD: We’re going into the studio in September and October. Then for the first in our whole career, from September until March, we’re just going to do weekend shows. Which I’m really looking forward to!
WM: Any plans on what you’re going to do with your well deserved break?
JD: Yeah, I’m gonna buy a home and live a domestic life for once.
WM: When your recent CD came out, there was some backlash from some in the Christian community that your lyrics were watered down. Do you still face that kind of criticism a year later?
JD: Yeah. Everyone is going to have an opinion, ya know? If our lyrics offend people, then please, don’t listen to our music. If it’s just because they have a preference, then they’re more than welcome to send in some song ideas. (laughs) I mean, I’m gonna write what I want to write. I’m going to write about what kids want to hear and what kids need to hear. Kids need to hear songs about divorce and suicide because these are real things that kids are dealing with. Sure, God is awesome and God is good. But it’s really cliché to say when everything is wrong just put your trust in God and he’ll pull you through. I’ve heard that since I was four years old. But kids who have never heard about God or don’t believe in God, that’s not going to do anything for them. They’re not going to know what I’m talking about. But when they hear things they can relate to and they come to terms with that, then they can realize what some of these songs are trying to say and find the truth in that.
WM: You’ve been on the road almost non-stop over the past couple of years. Do any moments stand out over the blur?
JD: Our very first tour we were robbed in Hillsberry, North Carolina. By gunpoint. Literally a week on the road after a show one night, we went to a Waffle House. Two guys came in, and ordered some food. Next thing I know, they pull out these automatic hand-guns. They cleared the cash register, and one of them came up to me and pointed a gun to the side of my head. I could feel the barrel against my temple. I really thought I was going to die! It was so scary, he made me put my wallet on the floor. He took it, and then they just left.
WM: Is it true that your whole life flashes before your eyes?
JD: Oh yeah. As far as I was concerned, it was over for me. I’ve never experienced anything like that and I hope to never experience anything like that again!
WM: I’ve seen a lot of tie-in’s between your current tour and the new movie Evan Almighty. How did that come about?
JD: I think they’re just a sponsor. I don’t really know, I’m just the singer. (laughs)
WM: In closing, any message to your fans in Wisconsin?
JD: Hope to see you at the shows!