How did you learn how to play and write music?
My mother used to sing these haunting folk tunes to us as children. Songs like Tom Dooley and The Weeping Willow. She was not a great musician but I was struck with the lyrics and how melody alters emotion. I started writing lyrics first when I lived in Mexico for a year and was hungry for English and something that made sense. Guitar was self-taught and came much later.
Who are some of your favorite artists, and why?
My favorite artists are probably Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. I know they are a bit antiquated but they both seem to be able to remain salt of the earth while waxing poetic. I also think that Mick Jagger and Dylan are two of the strongest vocalist in rock and roll when it comes to portraying heart and soul.
What makes a song “good”? How do you know when a song you’ve written is complete?
A friend of mine and a great musician, Michael Zapruder told me that when recording a guitar part, he knows it is complete when it disappears in the mix. Strangely, this seems to fit for me in songwriting. When the song is effortless and as natural as breathing, it disappears and becomes part of me. At this point is becomes complete. Not all my songs are finished.
How do you go about writing lyrics to your songs? What inspires you to write the words you’ve chosen?
This is a struggle. I wait for something meaningful to say. I noodle, I watch a great film. I play my guitar and scat. I take walks. I pray. I read. I wait again. Then one day, hopefully, I am blessed with not only a great idea but some lyrical content.
What was it like recording your first two releases with the likes of Greg Lawless and Richard Swift. What was it like working with these artists?
These are two great friends of mine. Greg was the first one to ever hear my songs and remains my guide. I get his blessing on every song I ever record. We co-wrote for several years as a compromise to the never ending Oregon rain. Rich came over one day and the three of us wrote a great tune that disappeared (literally). Since then, Rich has co-written with me and produced Mr. Eight. He is an incredible musician who is able to transcend into a universal art form that is not dependent on time or musical style.
Your latest release is “The Branding Iron”. To my ears, it sounds like your most accomplished and consistent work to date. How do you feel about it?
I am pleased with The Branding Iron but always looking forward to the next project. I worked with a lifetime friend Evan Eustis in attempt to tap into my Colorado roots. The sole purpose of the project was to accurately describe my music as it was written and not something derived in the studio. I think we were successful. Evan is another great musical inspiration for me.
Why did you choose the “Beef” imagery for “The Branding Iron”?
Partly comedy, partly a cynical reaction to the intellectualism of art. Also, this album is fairly personal. What is more personal than red meat? Evan and I grew up in ranch country in Colorado. The title, The Branding Iron” is a metaphor for the experiences seared into both of us that mark us as coming from the same “herd”. I am not a cowboy but have been surrounded by a lot of slaughter.
What kind of ties do you have with Velvet Blue Music (after appearing on 2003’s “Past and Present” compilation)?
The ties are fairly loose at this point. I believe there is a long term commitment to release Mister Eight. I would love to release my CDs through Velvet Blue Music.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be, and why?
My dream project would be to work with Richard Swift, Michael Zapruder, Greg Lawless, and Evan Eustis. All of these guys are great artists that are not caught up in a specific musical genre. More importantly, they bring out the best of me. I am a bit neurotic when it comes to music. I have to connect with people.
What is in the future for Eric Hause?
I am not great at self-promotion. Consequently, I don’t anticipate making a living at music. What thrills me is writing the perfect song. I play out a couple of times a month at coffee shops in Eugene, Oregon and spend most nights writing songs. You can expect more cds from me.
Do you have any advice for young and emerging songwriters?
If you can’t put it down, you are on the right path.
For more information about Eric Hause, or to grab one of his releases, please contact Brent Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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