Interview with Zach Henry of Halogens

“You died for my sins when I committed all of mine just yesterday”
- Run Around - Halogens

 Tour Poster I Art by   Wild Heart

Tour Poster I Art by Wild Heart

By Deaglan Howlett | Posted Friday, February 24, 2017

Halogens is a four-piece rock band from Wall, NJ.  The band is made up of Zach Henry (Vocals/Guitar), Charlie Throckmorton (Guitar), Tim Wuestneck (Bass/Vocals) and George Saives (Drums).  Last summer I was fortunate enough to support them on tour with my band Corrina, Corrina.  What followed was inexplicable madness for nine days.  When Zach told me he was coming down to Rowan for a weekend, I thought it would be a perfect time to sit down with some coffee, catch up and talk about their upcoming tour and skateboarding.

D.H.: You’re going on tour, again. When?

Zack Henry:  March 17th to the 25th.  We’ve had this booked for a couple months now, we’ve been sitting on it.

Were you set on going out again right after the last tour you did last summer?

No.  We knew we were gonna go out again but with school it made booking much tougher.  We set on these dates because it was [the] most convenient time for everyone.

The tour is with Grin & Bear.  How do you know those guys?

We went to high school with them, and I used to be in a band with the singer and drummer of Grin & Bear, and then before that with the guitarist and drummer.  They just put out an album called “Blank” (available to stream on Spotify), and we all love it.

Have you learned from your last tour anything that you’re going to use this upcoming tour?

I think I’m gonna know what to expect more, and I don't think it's going to be as wild as the last one.  The last one we did together was a lot of fun, and we did crazy shit because it was our first time out.  I think now that we’ve gone out once, had our “first tour experience” and got to have the crazy times, this time around it’s going to be a bit more serious.  It’s super exciting, but I’m not freaking out about it like I was with the last tour we did last summer.  I can’t wait, it's going to be so much fun.  Plus, besides Philly we’re basically playing all new areas.  We're playing Ohio and Alabama.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Every band has specific influences, but they don't always come through to the listener.  Do the bands that people say you sound like actually ring true to your influences?

So many people tell us we sound like The Front Bottoms, but I think that's just because any band that sounds “different” today gets thrown in with The Front Bottoms.  The Front Bottoms influence can be true back when we were in high school to 2014 during a two year phase where they were huge for all of us (Halogens).  But there are bands I listen to more that I hear in our music like earlier Modest Mouse.  They definitely influence me more.

What about what you're writing now?

It’s a lot less aggressive because I've been listening to a lot of Pinegrove.  I just sit and just mess around on my acoustic until I find something cool.  My mood is the biggest influence on how my songs are gonna come out.  Lyrics come earlier than the music sometimes, too.

You’re one of the best skaters I know.  What came first, the guitar or skateboarding?

Skating.  I didn't pick up a guitar until end of sophomore year of high school (2010).  I picked up a skateboard in 7th grade (2007).  As much as I do music now, I was equally into skating when I first picked up a board.  Music became something I was just having more fun doing and now I'm stuck with it. (laughs)

I found a lot of bands through skate videos back in middle school.  Did watching skate videos and skating yourself influence the music you would later listen to and then apply when forming a band?

Absolutely.  I never thought when I was younger and skating that I would be in a band because I had no musical abilities.  I thought it would be way too hard to learn an instrument.  The bands I listen to though were definitely influenced by skate videos.

Do you have a specific skater’s part that you remember watching with a song that really struck a chord?

Totally, there were two.  In Tony Hawk Project 8, Daewon Song skated to “Any Day” by Typical Cats, an old-school-sounding rap song.  Another was Rodney Mullen’s part with “Train in Vain” by The Clash in “Almost Round Three.”  Phenomenal song.

I vaguely remember a conversation we had on tour about guitar, and I’m not sure if I remember it correctly, but did you tell me you don't like playing guitar?  You find it too hard?

 Zach Henry of Halogens I Photo by Dana Gorab

Zach Henry of Halogens I Photo by Dana Gorab

Oh yeah.  I don't hate it, I'm just not good at it.  I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing enough basic guitar to kinda fool people into thinking I know what I’m doing with guitar.  But, I like playing guitar a lot.  I’m just not as good as I wish I was.  Everything I play is based off of no knowledge on whether or not it’s going to be “right,” which is something I think was influenced by Modest Mouse.  You can hear so many wrong notes in their songs but they always work.

Comparing your guitar playing to skating, when you started on a skateboard did you have the same mind set that you weren’t going to be as good as you want to be?

I think the thing with skating is you learn tricks and that’s really all you need to know.  With music you need to know about certain theories or key changes in order for it to be “good.”

The kickflip is universally cool.  I think music demands more attention.

I guess the two are similar.  If you skate you can probably do a kickflip and if you play guitar you can probably play “Free Fallin.”  It’s hard to explain, but with skating style and the way you look doing/landing tricks it’s either good or bad.  It’s easier to tell. I find it a lot less subjective than music.

So tour starts March 17th.  You still got the van?

Yeah, we still have Charlie’s van

Right on.

~

Before Halogens heads out for their tour, you can catch them with Hodera, Oso Oso and Secret Mountain on March 4th in New Brunswick.  It’s probably going to look something like this.  You can also download their new split with Staten, as well as their EP on Bandcamp here or listen on Spotify.

About the Writer

Deaglan Howlett is junior English Major at Rowan University.  He is also the guitarist for Corrina, Corrina and The Vansaders.  He grew up in Middletown, just a 20 minute car ride to Asbury Park.  He spends most of his time there playing and going to shows.  When he is not playing shows he focuses on writing poetry here.  You can find him on Twitter (@reallygoodguyy) and Instagram (@DeaglanHowlett).