They Will Surface: Hyatari returns to The V Club 8.31

Reposted from The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

There aren’t many bands around that sound like Hyatari. The Huntington-based “drone” four-piece, together for about six years, returns to Huntington Tuesday night for a rare show at The V Club.

But what makes Hyatari’s sound so unique? On its two releases, 2005’s “The Light Carriers” and last year’s “They Will Surface,” Hyatari plays what could be called a down-tempo version of heavy, plodding, yet melodic, atmospheric metal, without any vocals.

Made up of Chum members, bassist Chris Tackett and guitarist Mac Walker, with DJ Brett Fuller (aka Charlie Brown Superstar) and recently added drummer Jude Blevins, getting the guys together is an event in itself. About a year ago, Tackett moved to Lexington for work, Blevins lives in Pineville, West Virginia and Walker and Fuller live in Huntington.

“I don’t think we get together nearly enough,” Tackett said. “It’s not cheap to run back and forth, but we make it work. Rehearsing is tough because we have to re-learn the songs, because they’re so long. Ultimately, I’d like to spend that time writing new material, but we have a good time when we do get together.”

Tackett said that Hyatari has some new material under its belt, and is shooting to release a new CD in 2012. It’s a long, slow process, kind of like the band’s sound.

Hyatari, influenced by bands like Sleep and Neurosis, gained some notoriety and critical acclaim in the drone genre right from the start.

“We kind of went out on a limb with the first record; we knew we were pushing the envelope,” Tackett said. “Usually those efforts go unnoticed. So any recognition we’ve received has been an unexpected surprise. The doom/drone genre has really sort of caught on over the last few years, but back then nobody was really doing it. If they were, I didn’t know about it.

“The drone aspect of Hyatari is a direct result of three guys in a room with loud amps and no drums; that’s how we came up with a lot of that early material.”

Tackett said the sound is something more nebulous than set in stone.

“On “They Will Surface” we never did what we intended to do, which was a whole album with no drums and more of the quiet, trance stuff. We decided we couldn’t make a heavier record than “The Light Carriers” so we tried to shake it up a little. Some of that material made it on the record, but what we ended up with sounded more post-rock than I wanted it to. I think on the new record we’re going back to the dark, brutal heaviness.”

Walker, Tackett’s longtime friend and band mate, described the songwriting process for Hyatari.

“Actually, most of the material originates with Chris,” he admitted. “My contribution really is to bring to life the musings of a frustrated guitarist disguised as the bass player.

“Writing instrumental music is pretty challenging in regards to generating interest with the listener. You don’t have anything out front to draw them in. A lack of vocals forces the songwriter to take an approach that they normally wouldn’t with a typical song structure. Hopefully the end result is interesting, and it’s able to stand on its own.”

Fuller, the DJ and “noise” guy in Hyatari, provides the ambience and atmospherics that help make Hyatari’s sound unique.

“We wanted Brett involved because we all think alike, we’re good friends, and he brings different ideas to the table,” Tackett said. “He has the freedom to wing it and call up any kind of sounds he wants in the moment.”

For a few years, Hyatari was known to employ a drum machine. About two years ago, they welcomed Blevins into the fold.

“I think we were all a bit apprehensive to bring in a fourth element,” Fuller said. “Chris, Mac and I have known, lived and worked together, been through a tour together; we know each other pretty well by now. I think there was a question whether anyone could come in and be a fit both personally and professionally. It took about five minutes to realize there wasn’t going to a problem with Jude. Not only did he get along with the rest of us famously, he’s one the best drummers I’ve ever heard.”

“It took us about two seconds to say ‘This is our guy,’” Tackett added.

Despite the distance separating the band members, and their involvement in other musical projects, they all said they consider Hyatari a top priority, and since they’re all friends, fun.

“I just recently realized that this process began in 1987 when Chris and I first started hashing out bar chords on amplified metal strings in my parent’s attic,” Walker said. “For me, it’s as fun now as it’s ever been.”

“Yeah, I never really think about it, but we’ve been making music for like twenty years,” Tackett said. “We wanted to do something different when we started, and that’s what we did.”

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