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Randy: Obviously, the first thing is the little change since last year with Dave leaving. I guess he was married, and the way you guys tour like maniacs didn't work too well for a married guy I would imagine.
Daniel: You know it!
Randy: Just a little background, Jonathan; how you got to know the guys...
Jonathan: Yeah, I've been friends with these guys for awhile. We all kinda played in bands in the same Ontario music scene. I grew up with Daniel somewhat. When he joined this band, he actually left our hometown to join these guys three years ago, and so now about six months ago, they called me up, and I've been out with them ever since.
Daniel: It's been a beautiful thing having you, Jonathan.
Matt: Thank you, Jonathan.
Randy: So was that immediately when Dave left?
Randy: No in between. Just plugged right in?
Jonathan: I actually filled in for Dave when he was getting married, so I already knew the material.
Matt: It was very seamless, too. It was just in and out, which was great.
Jonathan: It was actually right in the middle of a tour. Dave played on a Friday night and flew out Saturday morning. I flew in Saturday morning and played Saturday afternoon.
Daniel: It was just like a God thing totally, like it was meant to be.
Randy: What's Dave doing now?
Matt: He's going to school to be a cop, actually.
Randy: A cop?
Daniel: Yeah, and he's like the smallest guy.
Jonathan: Look out for him on the highway.
Randy: Yeah, wish him the best. Obviously, a lot has changed also, since last year, when they were begging me to interview these guys. "These guys need an interview. Please interview Hawk Nelson. They're Canadian." I'm like, "right on."
Randy: Talk hockey.
Jason: Jonas Hoglund. Sorry.
Matt: What's changed? Come on, they begged you right?
Randy: No, they didn't beg me this time. This time I was the one begging. Going, "Look, man, Hawk Nelson, they're my boys from Canada. You gotta let me interview them." It's like well, "Maybe we can fit you in somewhere."
Daniel: Come on. One year?
Randy: Randy who? What was that?
Daniel: Come on.
Randy: No, they don't know you. They said they never heard of you.
Jason: But his daughter, Erika...
Randy: Except Matt.
Matt: Yeah, except for me.
Randy: Matt was cool. He emailed me back.
Matt: You know I did.
Daniel: Hank Neilson? No, don't know them.
Randy: Yeah, good old Hank. But, a lot has changed. Steve was big back then.
Daniel: Steve is still big.
Randy: I heard he was pretty much long gone.
Jonathan: Pretty much six feet under.
Matt: He's just not driving anywhere, but he's still a great van.
Daniel: And he still runs. And I think that someone can have Steve...
Erika: Daniel told me he would give him to me.
Randy: Yeah, so you gonna go pick him up when we go up to Canada this summer?
Daniel: He's near Minneapolis, actually.
Jason: Pretty close.
Randy: Well, we're going to Winnipeg.
Daniel: That's on the way.
Erika: There you go. We'll have to go pick up Steve.
Randy: Yeah, okay. I don't think we want that going on the video for people who don't know who Steve is.
Daniel: Sorry, our old green van.
Randy: My daughter's going to pick up Steve. I don't know about this.
Matt: Steve the van.
Daniel: I mean, you got signatures from Jeremy Camp, Mojo from the Supertones, Falling Up...
Daniel: I mean, you could auction those off on eBay.
Jason: Brandon Ebel.
Daniel: Brandon Ebel.
Randy: Yeah, well I still wouldn't trade it for my jersey with Rob Ramage.
Jason: Oh yeah!
Daniel: We moved on to another van called Gord, or Gordon.
Randy: What color was Gordon?
Daniel: Burgundy. He's parked here in Nashville, right now. I love him.
Randy: Still own him?
Daniel: Oh, yeah. Bunk beds...
Matt: He's our boy.
Daniel: See, he moved up. He was AC and cruise control. Cruise control: amazing, revolutionary thing.
Matt: Power windows.
Randy: It saves the leg on those long trips.
Daniel: Oh, I can't believe we used to drive from Toronto to California and back.
Matt: Arm rests.
Randy: Wasn't Matt the main driver boy here?
Matt: Oh, no. We all share it.
Randy: I heard you were kinda the crazy driver.
Matt: Oh gosh...
Randy: No, he's the worst driver? Is that what it is?
Daniel: He's falls asleep when we were on the side of the road.
Randy: That could be hazardous.
Jonathan: It's pretty scary when you have to have three energy drinks to drive at one o'clock in the morning.
Jason: I'm not gonna lie to you; this guy drove three hundred miles in four hours, in a van, with a trailer.
Matt: He's pulling his weight.
Randy: Good job. So playing guitar was part of it, but you also had to have some mad driving skills.
Matt: It was the fine print.
Daniel: You're allowed to play with us if you drive.
Jason: And plan.
Matt: Would you play guitar, and drive?
Randy: Well, of course, we saw you all last night at the Tooth and Nail showcase.
Daniel: Oh, I'm sorry.
Jason: I apologize for that.
Randy: Course, this guy got in my face a little bit.
Daniel: Did you?
Randy: He got a little aggressive there.
Daniel: Nice. Put the cord around him.
Jason: Anything for Randy Brandt.
Matt: You shoulda jerseyed him.
Randy: I was actually gonna pull his up, too.
Jason: Sandy McCarthy.
Randy: The pink pull over!
Jason: That would have been awesome!
Jonathan: Americans don't know about the jersey.
Randy: Well, see his mom was there and I thought you know, she'd probably jump me. Canadian women, man, she would have pounded me.
Erika: Your mom was so cute. She was singing along.
Jason: I know the whole night she was like...(waves)
Daniel: Pam Dunn: amazing woman.
Jonathan: Pam Dunn is a saint.
Randy: Hey, I loved talking hockey with your dad. We went the Toronto Maple Leafs route.
Jason: Dude, my dad's obsessed with the Leafs!
Randy: Oh, I didn't mention Mike Pelyk to him but we were talking Jim Dorey...
Jason: Mike Peluso.
Daniel: Tie Domi!
Randy: Eddie Shack. We were going way before you were born.
Matt: Ha ha, I don't know any of these people.
Jason: Tim Horton.
Randy: Yeah, donuts. But he was a great hockey player back in the day. Getting back to music.
Daniel: Back to music.
Randy: I see you guys dressed up in your little British invasion outfits. That was kinda fun seeing you guys on TV.
Randy: Just talk a little bit about what that experience was like. I know we saw the picture of Brandy and all that. I mean, you guys are moving in these big shot circles.
Jason: I love this guy!
Randy: Did you have to come in and just shoot the thing in one day or was it many days? Did you have to go back and reshoot?
Matt: It was actually quite a story. Just being able to do it. There was a lot of complications involved with being not from America, but being Canadian and working in the States.
Randy: I can relate.
Matt: We had our working visas, if you want, only permitting us to play concerts and not being on television. We weren't aware of this at first so NBC flew us to Hollywood and then the lawyers started looking into the fine print.
Randy: Let's back up a wee bit. How did you make the connection in the first place?
Matt: Oh, right. We did a showcase here in Nashville at B.B. King's and a music supervisor, like scout, for NBC's American Dreams show saw us play that night and he opened the door for the opportunity for us to be on the show.
Jason: Greg Sill.
Daniel: Love you.
Matt: That in itself was a blessing from God. So we flew to Hollywood and that's when the lawyers started looking into fine print of our visa contracts. Anyway, it was up and down. There was one minute where we're doing the show then the next they're like, "You guys can't do it legally, so you're going to have to go home." We're like, "What?!"
Daniel: It was so stressful.
Randy: So you were already there?
Matt: We were already there
Daniel: Paying a lot of money for our flights, hotels...
Matt: Got our costumes set up.
Randy: You had to pay that?
Daniel: Yeah, we had to front it all in theory.
Matt: So, it was pretty stressful. We were all just like, "God if this is what you have for us to do, if you've opened this door, work it out." Because there's nothing physically we can do. To get a visa turned around with the proper permission would take weeks and we had to do it within two days. Anyway, it came to the point at the end of the week where NBC was like, "Actually I'm sorry there's nothing we can do. You can't do the show." So, our hopes were all shot. But then we went home and a week later we got a call and I guess lawyers on EMI--our label's side--had gotten a senator involved...
Randy: Ottawa Senators?
Jason: Mike Fisher!
Daniel: No, a real senator.
Matt: A senator from the states here and God had just orchestrated it so much so that he called the immigration and got the visas turned around in one day.
Jason: Alexi Yashin.
Daniel: One day, it's like unheard of.
Matt: It's was unheard of. It's never actually happened before.
Randy: Laurie Boschman.
Jason: I love this guy!
Matt: So anyway, we flew out and did the show.
Jason: Pat Falloon.
Matt: It was amazing. That's kinda how it was definitely God.
Randy: Well, it was cool. We got to see you; that was kinda fun.
Daniel: That was fun. It was cool--the stabbing scene while we were playing. That was like, wow, that's so intense.
Randy: Yeah, it was. And I thought they were going to just show a little clip of you guys. They really used a lot.
Matt: They played a lot, yeah.
Daniel: Did you see the Summerland thing when they played Like a Racecar?
Randy: No, I heard that it was on.
Daniel: Well, like these two kids run off on the beach and start making out.
Matt: They're like fourteen. Two young teenagers.
Jason: Throwing the sand.
Daniel: Our scenes are always during like bad things. Randy: The bad boys of Christian pop punk.
Daniel: Yeah, we're like...great.
Randy: Well, let's talk about the CD. Last time you had the one song on the demo.
Daniel: Every Little Thing, was it?
Randy: Yeah, I think so. I heard it on computer tinny speakers, minutes before interviewing you.
Jason: Probably sounds better that way.
Randy: It's a little tinny sound, but then again, playing it on a computer. But then finally the CD came out. My daughter sent her's to get it signed for her; my ten year old, she always likes to get everything signed.
Jason: You're ten? (looking at Erika, age 18)
Jason: Gary Roberts was number 10 so I was just...
Randy: George Ferguson.
Daniel: So the record came out in July. July 13th.
Randy: Letters to the President, from a Canadian.
Daniel: We had been waiting a long time for it to come out. It finally did and it was beautiful.
Randy: Now, Trevor was involved some with that right?
Matt: Not at all.
Matt: What are you talking about?
Jason: I have never heard of him.
Randy: You guys are just blowing them off.
Daniel: Sorry, no, Trevor, he's amazing.
Randy: So much for TFK.
Jonathan: Thousand Foot... what? TFC?
Daniel: He's a huge blessing. A huge mentor, brother, everything, friend. He's everything all in one.
Daniel: He's amazing. I actually think that guy is so gifted and I want to work with him more in the future for sure. He's a great co-writer. I know he's trying to get into producing.
Randy: Did he help write some of the stuff on here?
Daniel: Oh, for sure.
Randy: Racecar sounds like him.
Matt: Yeah, he helped inspire a few things on the record, too. Kind of encouraged us to expand our musical...whatever.
Daniel: You can listen to a lot of punk rock albums and it's like the same thing 13, 18, 28 tracks through. But in this we tried to go out and try out on some different things like with Take Me and Right Here.
Randy: Take Me has been pretty well received, hasn't it?
Daniel: Yeah, I think so. It just went to radio.
Randy: The fun thing about you guys too is that it is one of those few albums that the whole family... It's not so heavy that my wife hates it. Where my son is listening to Skillet, Pillar, Day of Fire, she's going, "Turn it off," but she can enjoy you guys' stuff.
Daniel: Your moms will love it!
Jason: Songs your mom will sing.
Randy: But, yet, my ten year old daughter, it's infectious enough that she loves that, and yet it's cool enough for my teenagers, and course I just like everything, as long as you're Canadian.
Daniel: Well, Bryan Adams.
Randy: Yeah, cuts like a knife.
Jason: That's awesome!
Randy: Hawk Nelson's Letters to the President is one of those albums that really does have a broad range. You are not really segregating the market or locking somebody out. I mean, I'm sure your listening audience covers a wide range. Are you shooting for kids your own age or are you just making music that you like or are you trying to keep it accessible to a broad range?
Jason: It's weird. Originally, our audience was twelve-year-old to eighteen-year-old girls, literally all girls pretty much. But within the last few months, it's cool to see guys actually come to the shows and being first in autograph lines. It's like, sweet!
Jonathan: It's cuz you started screaming.
Jason: That's true.
Daniel: Yeah, a little more respect, I don't know why. It's cool, originally when we were a little younger it was more for our age, but now it's for every age.
Randy: Of course, we saw last night they must have played the video for California about two or three times.
Daniel: Oh, I'm so sick of it.
Randy: I heard Jason's mom complaining, "Not that video again!"
Randy: But, you guys got any plans for any current videos or anything in the works?
Jonathan: Actually, we just found out
Daniel: Yesterday we just found out.
Jonathan: We're doing another video. Is it for sure the Things We go Through?
Daniel: That's what Tooth and Nail told us.
Randy: And Jonathan gets to be in this one?
Jason: After the third time seeing that video last night, they're like, "It's time for a new video."
Randy: Maybe that convinced them, so that was a good thing.
Randy: So any concepts or ideas been bounced around or is it just totally starting process
Jason: Hasn't even crossed my mind yet.
Daniel: Do you have any, Randy?
Randy: You know, I haven't thought of anything yet!
Matt: The idea came up last night. I've already written the script, guys. If you don't mind me reading it to you right now...
Randy: See if you can work in Doug Gilmour somewhere.
Matt: It takes place in 1948.
Daniel: Let me just pull it out...
Randy: Also, since Jonathan's new, I gotta talk to him some more. Paid in full. Love tetelstai (his forearm tattoo). What's the story behind that?
Jonathan: Yeah, I got that tattoo when I rededicated my life to Christ when I was about eighteen or nineteen. It was just my way of committing to myself that when Jesus died for me, it was done and my old life is no more. So instead of just me living my own life, it's Christ living through me.
Randy: Great. Actually my son Michael and I just started taking a Greek class.
Jonathan: Oh, really?
Randy: I know a little bit of Greek, enough to know that. But that's kinda cool.
Daniel: We just heard that there was a tattoo place downtown that gives free tattoos to Christian artists, so you might see this guy with a few more.
Jason: Here in Nashville?
Jonathan: Uh, yeah, I gotta go there today.
Daniel: Matt Hoopes wife. Ashley Hoopes, dude.
Jason: That's here? Dude, we should go there tomorrow.
Daniel: Matt Hoopes who is in Relient K.
Jonathan: Matt Hoopes, from Relient K. His wife, apparently is an artist there.
Randy: So they're living out here now?
Daniel: I heard they all live here just recently.
Randy: They were living in Ohio not that long ago.
Daniel: Yeah, well, they're from Canton. So, good for them.
Matt: Yeah, kudos!
Randy: So families coming to show and that. Obviously it's easier up in Ontario, but have all of your families had a chance to see you lately? Since everything has kinda gone crazy, and you've been touring whirlwind.
Matt: Mine have.
Jason: This is the first time I've seen my family in awhile. It's nice to see them.
Randy: So they came down for GMA just to see you guys?
Jason: Yeah, actually saw them in the lobby by accident yesterday. I was like, Mum and Dad! It was awesome. I was like whoa, kinda neat.
Randy: And you have a sister Melody I met last night.
Jason: Yes, I have a sister and I have four brothers.
Randy: Where do they fit in.
Jason: I have an older brother who's married with a little girl, then me, and I have a younger brother, Caleb, who's nineteen, my sister Melody, who's sixteen.
Jason: My other brother Josiah, he's thirteen. I can't believe he's actually a teenager now. I thought he was like seven. Then my youngest brother Jacob.
Daniel: He's awesome
Matt: He's a firecracker.
Jason: I think he's ten.
Daniel: He's just like Jay.
Randy: Sounds like my son Matt who's ten years old. Dennis the Menace.
Jason: Yeah, he's funny. It's weird, I saw him at Christmas and he actually has grown up a lot. He can carry on a conversation. It's weird.
Matt: That's awesome.
Randy: So what do your siblings think of you being in a band now that you are getting some notoriety? Do they think it's cool?
Jason: I don't think they really think anything.
Jason: Actually, when I came home for Christmas, a lot of their friends were coming knocking on the door, asking for autographs. They'd tell all their little friends, Oh my brother's home. So all their little friends were coming by. I was like, "Hey guys."
Randy: But, Jason over here, I talked to his dad a little bit last night. He said that he's the same at home as he is on stage. I guess that means he jumps around a lot and is noisy. I don't know.
Jason: I haven't been home in two years though.
Daniel: That's true.
Randy: So have you noticed an incredible maturity and growth in him over the years on tour. Cuz you see more of him than his family.
Daniel: I actually have noticed a maturity in you, Jason. I thought, you know, it's weird. When I moved to Peterborough originally, I feel like you helped bring the fun side of me out a little more to be honest. Oh, I'm gonna get all...
Jason: I'm getting ready to cry here.
Daniel: But, I feel like us being together on the road and travelling has really brought maturity out in all of us, but especially you.
Jason: Yeah, I think you don't really have a choice when you're out on your own to grow up a little bit.
Matt: He's [Daniel] actually crying.
Jonathan: Are you really?
Randy: This is a touching moment. Hawk Nelson...
Erika: That's sweet.
Randy: It's a band of brothers.
Daniel: That's just going back, you know.
Jason: So to be honest with you, I mean, when Daniel first joined the band I thought he was the perfect guy. Couldn't ask for anything better. I love you.
Daniel: Oh, no. I want the second half of that. Now I realize I was totally wrong.
Jason: Now you go and do something like this. Totally redeem yourself.
Randy: So, Matt when did you start playing drums?
Matt: I started playing drums when I was thirteen, so '96.
Randy: Alright. Almost everyone I interview the bass player is like, Well, I wasn't really a bass player, I was a guitar player, they needed a bass player. Is that your case, or did you pick the bass.
Daniel: Actually, ex-singer. Trying be a singer. Yeah, I just joined bass to join the band. Just started playing.
Randy: The slot was open.
Daniel: Yeah. I didn't even know how to play. Didn't even know an E string from an A string, basically.
Jason: He still doesn't. (laughter)
Daniel: I still don't actually know a lot of theory, which is kinda fun.
Jonathan: You suck.
Daniel: But, hopefully I'm good enough to stay around a little longer.
Matt: Well, we'll see next GMA's, eh?
Randy: And how long have you been playing guitar?
Jonathan: I've been playing since I was a kid.
At which point we ran out of videotape and the rest must forever remain a private matter between the band and the Brandts.
Thanks to Hawk Nelson for a great time at GMA and then a few weeks later at the show in Denver.