The world is nearing the brink and downfall of the beautiful nature and luscious landscapes much of the art of the modern world was based on. It’s time to wake up and do something and In Hearts Wake is echoing the message by calling for more eco-conscious minds and action, a reverberated theme on their upcoming record Kaliyuga.
The record marks the fourth in a series of eco-inspired releases; Earthwalker in 2014, Skydancer in 2015 and Ark in 2017. Kaliyuga is the latest installment in their call for unity on environmental issues.
Frontman Jake Taylor explains the band’s closeness to the issue while growing up in Byron Bay, Australia, a charming and alluring place that he doesn’t want to see deteriorate, and why they are so diligent in alerting the masses on the urgency of the matter.
“We live in a very naturally beautiful place, we have waterfalls, oceans, small mountains, a lot of earth, and our connection to these places, have been celebrations in our music,” Taylor told American Songwriter. “As we started to go to cities all over the world, we saw that the natural access to nature wasn’t there as much. So, we wanted to promote, support and protect that.”
In Hearts Wake’s vision of the current state of the world is well-displayed and explained on their newest single “Dystopia,” out today. The song digs into societal issues that affect the landscapes of the world, including consumerism and disease and is the one song the frontman said encapsulates the record overall.
“’Dystopia’ is more a state of the world, a global overview than a focused one on Australia, that speaks of disinformation and disconnect, basically all the different facets we see in this age of Kaliyuga,” Taylor explained. “It’s forcing us to look at all these things, destruction, disease, oppression, cruelty, fear and materialism. As we face them, we can look into the mirror and ask if we won’t address this, and consider how we now have this opportunity to as humans.”
In Hearts Wake’s initiative reaches beyond their music and lyrics and into tangible projects and community outreach. An exemplary and impressive look into the group’s dedication to the cause is the 100 percent carbon offset they cultivated for the making of the record. Taylor went to daily lengths of measuring every watt of power in the studio, down to the lightbulbs and logged every meal they ate on the road, every mile traveled and every ounce of postage and freight used to transport their equipment, then they offset it 100 percent by working with a carbon consultant.
“It’s quite interesting just as an experiment, you can start to see where we could reduce the footprint,” Taylor said.
Going one step further, the band has pledged to plant one tree per every thousand views of their music video for “Worldwide Suicide,” also part of the track-list on Kaliyuga. They are currently up to about 300 trees, but may do much more, saying “let’s just go for it.” The trees are anticipated to be planted in August alongside their family, friends and fans, similar to previous community projects they have done, that have included marine debris cleanups. Kaliyuga will also use 100 percent recycled materials, in the vinyl pressing process to the packaging, a tough effort as most retailers are hesitant to take non-plastic packaging, but a welcomed challenge for the band as they remain determined in holding to their vision and efforts.
In Hearts Wake was even conscious when it came to songwriting for the record, specifically on the hard-hitter “Hellbringer,” their collaboration with Jamie Hails of Polaris. In separate cities, Taylor and Hails worked on the song long-distance instead of flying out to record with each other.
“We toured with Polaris, three years ago, they opened for us and now they are bigger than us, they just blew up,” Taylor said. “It was cool to watch them from that stage to now and have that friendship ongoing to say ‘hey man let’s work on a guest vocal together’. So, he and I wrote the part together on Zoom. Then he would record it with his guitarist then send it to me and we’d go back and forth. It was interesting to experiment into writing distantly.”
In Hearts Wake had another opportunity to write in an extensively collective way on the album with Taylor living in Los Angles at the time, while other bandmates were living in cities like Sydney, and it was a style of writing they had not explored very much on previous records.
“It allowed for us to all write separately and plant different seeds and come together in the studio with all different songs and an ability to say this is our most diverse collection,” Taylor explained.
Bookending the collection on Kaliyuga is “2033”, a thought-provoking track intended to leave an ominous vibe on the listener, while presenting a wide-angle lens view at the future and what it may be like if humanity does not rise to action, and if they do. The song’s lyrics pose uncertainty in the answer that perpetuates a sense of fear, aimed to influence a change in behaviors and heeding everyone to take their opportunity now and do their part in this initiative before it’s too late.
“That was a very specific and purposeful track closer,” Taylor said. “It really leads the listener after going on the journey of Kaliyuga, of playing with fire and how far we are willing to go before getting burned to approaching a point of no return as humanity. It’s not hopeless, but we really have to address and acknowledge that urgency. All the science is there and 2033 is a prophecy in a few cultures that would be the point of no return. I couldn’t ignore that and I hope that it really heeds.”
Kaliyuga will be available on all major streaming platforms on August 7 and eco-friendly, limited edition vinyl offerings will be available through their label UNFD. Watch a small piece of the journey of Kaliyuga today on American Songwriter with the video for “Dystopia”.