This week we are talking with Matt Walker, former guitarist from Raging Storm alumni band Hail the Blessed Hour. The band previously released their label debut in 2009, and an EP in 2011. Along with HTBH touring guitarist Johnny Digges, they have a new band in Tulsa, OK called ModernMyth. I caught up with Matt to talk about his music projects past and present.
Clay Dukes: How did Hail the Blessed Hour first get connected with Raging Storm?
Matt Walker: I want to say it was back in 2005 or 2006. I remember Dan our vocalist talking to me about being in contact with Jason from RSR on MySpace. Those conversations eventually led to HTBH signing on to the RSR roster.
CD: How did this new relationship affect your band?
MW: Jason, his family, and the rest of the RSR team played an integral role in HTBH’s introduction to the music industry. We were all kids fresh out of high school, not having the slightest clue what we were doing, but we dove in head first financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Jason and RSR really took us under their wing and worked hard to motivate us and help us make a business out of our music.
CD: What is something interesting or different about the band that your fans may not know?
MW: It’s difficult to think of something different that our fans may not have known about the band. I feel like we were pretty transparent and honest about who we were and who we are. In some cases, maybe we were a little too transparent. Being in a Christian band can be difficult at times because you are serving as a ministry, but you are also very imperfect human beings. I think there tends to be an expectation of keeping your nose clean and leading by example, which I hope we did, but I’m confident that there were times that we fell short of a lot of people’s expectations. If you think about it, a band of 5 hippie looking metal kids that are 18-20 years old, growing up in Flint; there was a constant battle between our actions and expectations. Jason was always a great mentor to us and helped us reign that in a little bit. I hope in the end our fans took us at face value and understood our ultimate message was grace. Not only God’s grace for us as imperfect people, but our grace for each other. That message often becomes convoluted in the inner circles of the church. So hopefully that message was clear through HTBH.
CD: What was touring like for you guys? Did you have any favorite touring stops?
MW: We didn’t tour as often as we would have liked. I could tell you a big long story about how broke we were, our trailer got stolen, life circumstances, and whatever. However, I’m not going to do that because that’s a lot of excuses. We did a couple of short tours and played some shows in Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, and some others. I really liked Nashville, mainly because that’s still one of my favorite cities to visit. Even with that being the case, I think my favorite shows were in the small towns of northern Indiana. They had a really strong music scene up there. That was back when The Blood Reckoning and Blessed Is He were developing strong followings and we played some shows up there with TBR and that was killer. Ultimately, nothing beats Cornerstone, but I think that goes without saying.
CD:Where does the name Hail the Blessed Hour come from?
MW: I wish there was a more interesting story behind our band name, but there isn’t. We were previously called Closed Eyes and I have no recollection of where that came from, but one day we decided it was time to change the name. At that time, we were practicing at a church and there were hymnals all over the place in the room we jammed in. So I started thumbing through the pages looking for some inspiration. It didn’t take long for me to stumble across an old hymn called “We Shall See The King”. There’s a line in the chorus that says, “We will hail the blessed hour”. I don’t know why, but as soon as I read that line it stuck with me. The other guys agreed, so we went with it.
CD: What can you tell me about your current band ModernMyth?
MW: ModernMyth is a project that I started with some of the guys from a band called The Dawn Armada in 2012 while HTBH was on hiatus. The goal with ModernMyth was to revive our interest in music. I remember being a kid and listening to music that wasn’t overly complex and it wasn’t about trying to be the heaviest or craziest or whatever was going to grab people’s attention for a split second. It was just good music that made sense and there were no gimmicks. That’s become a lost art in the music industry today. ModernMyth is a tip of the cap to some of our biggest musical influences and it’s been exciting to go back to our roots and just write music that we thoroughly enjoy.
CD: Are you guys working on an album?
MW: Earlier this year, we launched an indiegogo campaign and raised enough funds to start the process for recording our first album. So we are gearing up to make that happen right now. We have about 18 or 19 tracks to choose from that we will probably whittle down to about 8 or 9 final tracks. For anyone who is interested, we currently have 2 singles up on Spotify and you can access lots of other updates and information via our social media pages and our website (www.wearemodernmyth.com).
You can follow the band for updates on new music and local shows at facebook.com/WeAreModernMyth