The NAMM Show 2017 Interviews – Hipnostic
Hipnostic is a powerhouse heavy rock trio from the Los Angeles area in the grand tradition of Alice In Chain and Soundgarden – and these tremendously talented musicians are ready and willing to make 2017 their vast and glorious breakthrough year! Music fans have already discovered the sonic adventures of Hipnostic through their impassioned live shows. The band recently unveiled a vividly memorable cover of the Bill Withers classic Ain’t No Sunshine that is now available on Itunes. Featuring two members who did time in Sunset Strip hair metal underground sensation Lixx Array, Hipnostic furthers their compelling auditory journey as a unit ready to rock and roll your senses.
We caught up with the three members of Hipnostic at The NAMM Show this year to find out more about this extraordinary band on the rise, news on their upcoming album, instrument endorsements, their early days in Lixx Array and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Hipnostic.
Blake: Blake Hastings, I play lead guitar and lead vocals.
Marty: Marty Wilcox, drums.
Rob: Rob Swanson, bass and background vocals.
What are you looking forward to the most about NAMM this year?
Marty: I’m trying to pick up a new drum deal. For sure.
Blake: I would say that we’re connecting up with some of our endorsement companies that we’ve been working with through the years. Gibson has been wonderful, Peavey. We’ve got products that has supported the bands. We also got Dunlop products. Jim Dunlop makes great pedals. Actually, an exciting thing, Rob and I secured a deal with Ernie Ball Strings yesterday which has been very supportive with the band. That’s why we’re out here, like Marty was – looking for some potential drum gear, drum stuff for himself and then Rob and I having a chance to meet with some of our endorsement companies that have been so supportive.
Rob: I’m checking out new pedals. I want to diversify my sound a little bit. Keeping up with the relationships with all the companies we’re involved with. Making new relationships with new companies that I like their stuff.
Since we’re at NAMM, what is your weapon of choice on stage?
Rob: Schecter Basses. I’ve got two of their Hellraiser Extreme Fours and I love them. They’re thumping. 18V, loud and heavy thumping – ah, love it.
Marty: I’m exclusively using Pearl Drums over the last ten years or so. I’m hoping to strike a new deal with those guys.
Blake: Heavily into using Gibson Les Pauls. Gibson has been kind enough to be supporting the band. So, supporting the Les Paul and of course the loud Marshall has always been my favorite. I think anybody, whatever amp they do, every time they come to NAMM you can’t help but look at the Marshall display with all the stacks in awe and go, man that’s cool!
How long have you guys been a band?
Blake: Originally I kind of started the band. Rob and I have been in bands before. I wanted to do something that was a passion and not try and fulfill any industry needs or the goals of other people and their expectations. So Hipnostic was a vision of creating music that I really liked to play. It’s grown incredibly great from there. It started, I’d say about 2000 / 2001. So it’s been a long haul of passion for the music.
You did a cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” – what made you decide to cover that song and has anyone from Bill Withers camp heard it?
Blake: Good question. Actually, we do tag him in on things and make note of it on our YouTube video. Whenever we do promo for the song, we definitely make it clear that most people know it’s a Bill Withers tune. It’s such an iconic tune. We’re not a band that does a lot of covers. So this song, growing up through the years, has always struck a chord with me. Was just kind of moved to take a different, Hipnostic music twist on it. It kind of magically evolved through time. So it was a really proud moment. Sometimes you just have to let things grow and kind of filter through you and just let it be. It just magically came into place.
Your first album Dissolve Me came out in 2005, is there any new album on the horizon?
Blake: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. There’s been a long gap there. We might be beating Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy at this point. But, there’s quite a backstory as to why that has happened and a lot of things – we don’t need to go into. Being in a band, it’s like a family. There’s been some changes in the band. Rob and I have been brothers from a different mother, we played together for years. When we reunited in the middle about 4-5 years ago, it was time to make a new chapter in Hipnostic, and Rob was just really excited about getting back in and playing the music that he loves. So there has been changes, but the short answer is we are currently very close to having the next record done. Other than that, there was no other release in between that until the single “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which was just a couple of years ago. We’re so excited for 2017, there is so much the new record is going to bring. Marty Wilcox first, that’s first and foremost, when you have an incredible drummer like him on the new record, it’s gonna be great.
If Hipnostic could open up for any band either now or from the past, who and why?
Rob: I think we would all agree that we’d like to open for Alice in Chains, or Disturbed. We’d like to go out on the road with one of those guys. One of these bands that are of the same genre. We’ve been playing with the older bands like Rough Cutt and Scott Stapp. And Geoff Tate from Queensryche. Some of those bands are from the old life that we came from, now we want to play with more the newer today sounding rock guys, like us.
Marty: Definitely with Alice in Chains would be “the boner gig.” I wouldn’t even need to buy sticks. [laughs] Alice in Chains is the one band that we’re all so influenced – individually on each member’s instruments. I’d be down with Soundgarden. That’d be a great opener. We’ve done all the older bands. I’m kind of looking more towards what is up and coming. That would be my answer.
Blake: Totally agree with them. I consider our music kindof in that vein, starting with Soundgarden, Alice in Chains. This past year we’ve had some amazing opportunities with Geoff Tate, Scott Stapp, Sebastian Bach – all guys that have had a huge track record in the music industry, which has done well for the band to play in front of their fans. We’ve noticed a fan base that we never really had, new people that get to see our music that normally wouldn’t. One of the things, and I know Marty and Rob were most excited about this past year, we had a chance to play on the Make America Rock Tour stop in Santa Ana. One of the things we all talked about is, we’ve really become very good friends with and have had great support from Puddle of Mudd. From Wes, Dave and Matt, Michael. We’ve done a lot of shows with them. We have one coming up at The Cave at Big Bear. But I think we’re looking forward to playing with bands like Trapt. Some of the bands that are maybe a little more in our genre, the newer bands that have come up. Some of the newer bands that have been post-grunge. I guess, whatever you want to call that, that’s the genre music we’d be most situation best with.
When you look back on your days in Lixx Array, what do you think of it now, the music, the look.
Rob: It’s definitely had its place in time. [laughs] would not go there again, [laughs]. It had its place in time and I guess the band’s from that era can still do that because that’s what they were and people want to go see what they used to see years ago. We’re something totally new and different. We’re not Lixx Array anymore. We’re the guys from there, yeah, but we’re a whole new story and look, new sound.
Blake: It took 25 years to get all that hairspray out too. [laughs]
Any inclination on a Lixx Array reunion show at all?
Blake: We look back on Lixx Array with incredible fondness. There were such incredible memories and so many incredible learning situations that we went through that we brought with ourselves with the live stage performance, interaction and even in the pre-production recording process and it’s resurgence with the band. They’ve reissued the first record Reality Playground on Demon Records. It’s funny, I feel like that was a whole different person and a different me. I think about, like Rob too, when I first started out in high school it was the Sabbath stuff, Zeppelin stuff. So I find that musically – that’s kind of more of what we do now, and as you go through your musical life you find that – when you get into Van Halen and then Motley Crüe. That was a big scene. We had an incredible, great time and there’s been just a lot of great feedback from that time. I think I’m just excited about moving things forward and maybe not revisiting it. I just don’t really look cool in the spandex pants anymore.
It was part of our musical journey and we’re so grateful for the things that we learned and had opportunities on. That Lixx Array time was a great time for us. A lot of spandex and hair, good experiences. The strip was awesome. We met so many incredible people. We feel like the phoenix is rising again with Hipnostic the last few years. The last year, 2016, in the band’s history was by far the most amazing year for all of us. For myself, from the beginning with Rob and then with Marty, all of us coming together. We are so charged up about this year, starting off with Puddle of Mudd, and the new record. We’re looking to get out on the road, go up north, go to midwest, east coast, whatever shows – maybe getting on some festivals, being a younger band and a newer band. It might be a bit challenging on that, but we’re putting the feelers out there.
If anyone wants to get in touch with you guys, how would they do it?
Blake: Through the website, hipnostic.com and we’re on Facebook, but start at the main website. We’ve got a great website with all of the information there but of course we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Marty: But make sure you get the spelling, it’s Hipnostic.com
Rob: Might end up at a different website if you don’t…
Blake Hastings- Lead Vocals & Guitars
Rob Swanson- Bass & Vocals
Marty Wilcox- Drums
(Review and Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photo by Jack Lue)
Hipnostic on Facebook