Back in February, Serial Hawk stormed through town with Conan, making for perhaps the best doom metal tour of the year. Noted for their powerful guitar tones and epic soundscapes, Serial Hawk are one of the best and brightest on the metal scene today. I had a chance to sit down with Adam Holbrook, the band’s bass player, and pick his brain about what it was like to play the coolest metal bar on earth and tour with one of the heaviest bands in doom.
What the fuck is up?
Just another day, another beer! Nothing much man. I’m just hanging out on tour. We’re like five or six days in, and I’m stoked to play Saint Vitus tonight.
You’ve never played here before have you?
It’s a first for us. It’s really cool. I know the history, I’m aware of the alumni of the bar, so it’s cool to actually be here.
To play here with a sold out crowd with one of the hippest bands in doom headlining, how does that feel?
The last few shows have been amazing. For me it’s been another mountain to climb, but it’s one of the bigger ones in the range, at least if you want to think of tour as a hike through mountain ranges. Most of the time it’s down, but Saint Vitus is one of the highest peaks on the trip because of the prestige.
What’s it been like being on the road with Conan?
Amazing to be honest. It’s one of my favorite tours that we’ve ever been on. There’s seven of us and we get along great. Everyone is tired and starting to feel it, but the fact that we are all in one van and have each others’ backs and we always look out for each other, even when we are running behind. We try to take care of our merch girl because she gets stuck behind the booth. I like the community to be honest with you. Everyone has a lot of respect for Jon and Rich. They’ve done a lot compared to us. We’ve toured a lot, but not at the level of the people in Conan. We are just kind of taking notes. We are all on mutual ground but there is a level of respect.
What kind of things have you learned from Conan thus far?
Mostly it’s just been a sharing of their experience more than anything. There’s definitely been some things. I’ve learned some things about societal differences, them being from the UK. I feel like I’m learning from that, I think they feel the same way though. Rich seems especially interested in learning about the US. They are having an awesome time. The situation is great. It’s a lot of learning for both bands.
The real thing I want to get into here is your relationship with DMT…
It’s something I’ve always been interested in; I only did it one time, it was an amazing experience. It has different phases as with all psychedelics, some of it is positive and some of it is negative. DMT for me is still a mystery. I have some history, but not enough to really understand it.
What type of phase are you in with your relationship with psychedelics right now?
I’m not really doing anything; it’s a bit of a dry patch I guess. I’ve kind of settled down with it, but I pushed it enough to learn about myself. I took back a bunch of really positive things from those experiences. For a while I couldn’t do it at all because it was too raw. It’s not like a huge part of my life at all. For me that stuff you do when the time is right and when it calls to you and you seen an opening. That’s been my experience with mushrooms.
What kind of link do psychedelics have with the music of Serial Hawk?
There is an influence for sure. It’s not like we use them to write music or anything but experiences with them from certain times in all our lives has impacted us and altered the music. It’s mostly the idea of letting go of our egos and all of that kind of shit and exploring the mind. But you have to be able to do that with our without drugs, but music is the closest I can get to that feeling without substance. Those experiences are a part of my life and I try to process them and I think I have, but that’s not the point of it all to me.
You’ve always been able to drop a lot of wisdom on me… where did that come from?
I think I’ve experienced enough stuff in my life to be able to learn things from it. I try to be clear and not make the same mistakes twice. If there’s any bit of wisdom it just comes from paying attention and seeing how everything leads to something else.
So who in Conan has the worst farts?
In the van everybody’s farts blend together. I was trying to see if there was a difference between American food farts and British food farts when they first got in. That’s part of being in a touring van. Seven people, some one is going to fart. Everyone has toured enough to ignore it.
Now that you’ve toured with Conan, what do you want to do next?
Take a break! Get back from tour and settle back into work and all that kind of shit. Just see what happens when we get settled back in.
Go check out Serial Hawk on Facebook and tell ’em the Toilet sez “Sup”