Dan of Hoobastank: Ghostbusters, Reasons and MySpace

hoobastank-interview-golden-mixtapeIt was the end of 2012 and I got a note about Hoobastank. No matter what, I always tend to get excited when the subject of an email has the name of a band from my high school years. So I jumped at the chance to have my words interact with theirs, even if it was just by email. They were on the road and time went by. I kept looking for their response and after a month I got them. BUT somehow I missed the part of the email that had the answers though. So there the interview sat for over a month until I clicked it and boom, there were Dan Estrin’s answers. I felt like an email noob and hung my head the rest of the night.

So after a few months I’m able to bring to life this interview with Dan of Hoobastank. I learned that “The Reason,” after all these years isn’t a song Dan hates to play, and a lot more after I finally discovered what my email was hiding all along.

Kendra: Was Gavin Brown the reason you ended up with an edgier sound that some of us are used to from you guys?

Dan Estrin: NO. We wrote the songs. Gavin produced them with us. It was the first time we used a different producer in years. His studio equipment is different than what we had used on our past few albums so it’s gonna sound somewhat different…and that’s what we were going for.

Kendra: Since you’re well versed with 80’s classics with the whole ode to Ghostbusters, if Fight or Flight had to be the soundtrack for a classic 80’s flick, which one do you think it’d be a good fit for and why? Besides Ghostbusters obviously…

Dan: Flashdance! Hands down! Fuck, I don’t know…there’s so many good ones to choose from! Lethal Weapon maybe?

Kendra: Why do you almost always offer up bonus tracks to Japan?

Dan: It started in 2001 with our first album. Our record company and management said it’s always a great idea to have extra tracks for them and for films. At that time I guess it’s what bands were doing. We kinda got used to doing it, but you can still find those songs on line if you want ‘em.

Kendra: The guys of Taking Back Sunday recently said in an interview that when it comes to rock music it isn’t, of course, due to stealing. Now, you’re a band that was able to sell 10 million back in the day, besides an increase in downloading, do you see any other reason for rock taking a dive in sales?

Dan: I don’t have the answers. Some rock bands are killing it at the moment. Maybe they aren’t selling millions of albums but they’re selling millions of concert tickets and merch. The minute both of those are free…we’re all fucked.

Kendra: You were able to sell so much thanks to “The Reason” and now that song’s cemented in music history. Is that something you thought would happen when you guys were recording it?

Dan: We had no idea that “The Reason” was gonna do what it did. For me at the time, I was just proud that we had diversity on our second album. I grew up listening to EVERYTHING! Whether it was Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Neil Diamond, Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Fishbone, Metallica, Bee Gees, The Beatles, Faith No More or ANYONE else. Every single one of them had their harder songs, mid tempo and “ballad” slow songs. ALL OF THEM! It makes total sense to me why I write the music I write.

Kendra: Now moving back to the present, you have a song on Fight or Flight called “Sing What You Can’t Say,” was music always the way you chose to express yourself, even in high school and before that?

Dan: At the time I never consciously thought about it like that, but I guess so…but I also didn’t have a problem with speaking my mind and expressing myself in that way as well. For me expressing myself was never with lyrics…but with music. Doug wrote the lyric “Sing What You Can’t Say” and it was after we wrote the music.

Kendra: When you started out there was barely internet, then when you hit it big MySpace was popular, now there’s numerous social networking platforms. Are you a fan of all that, or would you rather go back to simpler times?

Dan: I wouldn’t say I’m a fan but I do understand how important it is now. It wasn’t necessarily simpler back then either. Doug and I would spend hours making our own flyers, demo “tape” artwork, mailing list, go out at midnight to all the surrounding high schools and put HUNDREDS of flyers in the students lockers…and drive around to fans houses to sell them tickets to our shows. We busted our asses for 6 years before signing a record deal. Now all that can be done a shit load quicker and easier online through these social networking platforms.

Kendra: One show booked in the New Year so far, will you be adding to that soon?

Dan: I fucking hope so!

Kendra: Mixtape time, I want your top 5 songs that you’d put on a mixtape for someone who just survived the apocalypse, go!

Fishbone “Another Generation
Justin Timberlake “What Goes Around…Comes Around
Tool “Aenema
Natalie Merchant “Carnival
Coldplay “Fix You
Elton John “Your Song” (bonus track for Japan)

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