Do you love basking in the beauty of the natural world? Do you love passionate vocals and roaring guitars? If so, In Hearts Wake is the band for you. Environmentalism might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of metalcore, but these Australian rockers combine the two flawlessly in albums like the recently released Ark. The band is passionate about other causes, as well—for example, the music video for their single “Nomad” features an all-female mosh pit in the spirit of creating a “free and open space” for women.
Backstage at Warped Tour in Columbia, MD, I had the chance to chat with Jake Taylor, In Hearts Wake’s lead vocalist. We talked about Ark, conservation, a koala named Billy, and more.
TYF: You guys have been on Warped Tour for a little while now. What have some of your favorite memories been?
Jake Taylor: Favorite memories… That’s a good question. Swimming at the beach in New York was really good. There’s always a venue that has something cool to do nearby. There was a theme park that we did in Buffalo. [These trips break up the tour] because it becomes Groundhog Day every day. And it’s not a bad Groundhog Day to relive—there’s crazy amounts of people and stuff—but the things that stand out are the adventures outside of Warped.
TYF: For sure. Now I have some questions about Ark. You recently released a documentary about the making of the album. What are your favorite scenes from that documentary?
Taylor: Whoa, favorite scenes. I can’t even remember it. (Laughs) Honestly, I can’t remember the documentary at all. But I can remember the making of the album.
TYF: What are some of your favorite moments from the making of the album, then?
Taylor: That’s a challenging one, actually. It was probably staying home at night. The best part was probably going home to your own bed. Normally, when you’re doing a record, you’re in a foreign place, and you’re sleeping in a bunk bed with your boys. [During the recording of Ark], it was really nice to go home each night, get perspective, and come back and really crush the work. That’s what I loved the most about that.
TYF: You recently released a video for your song “Nomad.” It has an all-female mosh pit; that’s super cool. How did you guys come up with that idea?
Taylor: We worked with a really good friend of mine; her name’s Amrita [Hepi]. She’s a really incredible choreographer, and we got talking about this idea to create a safe space where women could just unleash their moves. And a lot of women do feel intimidated, I’ve been told, in pits, with guys doing inappropriate things. So it was really cool to be like, “All right, let’s make this a free and open space.” And we brought in dancers who hadn’t moshed before, and we said, “This is the music; interpret it how you want to.” And they were doing cool, weird flips and stuff. That was just a fun experience.
TYF: Super cool. You guys have another song called “Frequency.” It’s about the loneliest whale that ever lived—a whale that sings at its own frequency of 52 Hz. If you had the opportunity to say one thing to this whale, and it could understand, what would you tell this whale?
Taylor: (In whale voice) How are you?
TYF: You guys write a lot about nature; what are some of the most beautiful natural places you’ve visited, either on tour or in your home country?
Taylor: The Grand Canyon’s breathtaking. I would put that up there, definitely. Some of my favorite waterfalls are the one we have at home, around Byron Bay. Not populated. Really natural; there’s no trash, and they haven’t been tourist-ified with railings or signs. You’ve gotta know where they are; they’re not sign-posted. I love where we live, and I also love the polar opposite—the big, vast Grand Canyon.
TYF: Do you remember when you first became passionate about preserving the planet?
Taylor: It really just stemmed from coming from a beautiful place and traveling to cities around the world and seeing a lot of people being disconnected from their environment, just going from A to B without really focusing on where they’re actually at. And I think that a huge part of love and appreciation of where you are at is when you go to beautiful places like the Grand Canyon or a waterfall or a beach, ’cause you’re like, “This is sweet. It’s my holiday. I love this.” That got me thinking, “Hey, every human being needs this in their life, and without this, we really become disconnected from ourselves and disconnected from the planet that gives us life.” So there was a natural progression at, I don’t know, 21, 22, [when we realized] that we just needed to stand and get behind ways to preserve and to celebrate nature.
TYF: How would you say that this year’s Warped Tour is different from the Warped Tour two years ago?
Taylor: Behind the scenes, it’s very much the same. Bands having fun, buses, all of that. But the crowds are definitely much bigger. It’s the last one, so that’s a huge difference. I think there’s more of a bittersweet feeling going around. Everyone’s really relishing every moment of Warped Tour, crowds and bands, and that’s a beautiful thing about this one being the final Warped Tour.
TYF: For sure. How do you guys feel about being Australian on Warped Tour? Would you say that there’s any distinctness to the experience?
Taylor: No, not anymore. We’re, like, one of six Australian bands on this tour, so it’s an Australian takeover, basically. People love our accents. They always get us to try and talk at the merch tables, and it’s pretty funny. We bring a koala onstage, so we bring the humor and we have fun with it.
TYF: What kind of koala do you bring onstage? Is it a plush?
Taylor: Exactly. A plush one.
TYF: Does it have a name?
Taylor: Yeah. Billy.
TYF: How’d you come up with “Billy”?
Taylor: I don’t know. Little Bill, maybe? Oh, and we have Blinky Bill as well. That’s an Australian cartoon from the ’90s. Blinky Bill, Billy.
TYF: Got it. I like it. What was your favorite cartoon from the ’90s?
Taylor: I loved Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes were my jam. They always make you feel so good.
TYF: For sure. Which Looney Tunes character do you feel represents your essence the most?
Taylor: Good question. Very hard to answer. Definitely not Coyote or Roadrunner. Not Tweety. Not Sylvester. I guess Bugs is the move, you know. Definitely not Porky Pig. Not Yosemite Sam. Not the Martian. It’s gotta be Bugs, if anyone.
TYF: Solid choice. What is your favorite movie?
Taylor: I really like a movie called The New World.
TYF: I haven’t seen that one.
Taylor: It’s very… I don’t care if it’s slow or fast, but this movie’s slow. And it’s based on the true story of Pocahontas. Real live action. It’s not a cartoon; it’s not flat and pretty. It’s the realistic story. Pretty hard to watch at times. But really, really cool story.
TYF: All right. Thank you so much for the interview; is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans and readers?
Taylor: We’re a band from Australia. We come to America every couple of years. Check us out at InHeartsWake.com for music, tickets, merchandise. Anything you want, we’re there.