With their brand-new album, Hawk Nelson is reminding fans that we’re all diamonds in the dust. Bassist Daniel Biro took some time in the midst of album promotion and the band’s current tour with The Afters to fill us in on the new songs, collaborating from different states and the band’s colorful photoshoot.
1. What’s the concept behind Diamonds?
How does a diamond become just that? It starts out as coal, but with lots of pressure and time, it is transformed into something strong and beautiful. In a lot of ways our lives share a similar path. If all of the hardships and trials we endure were for nothing, then they would appear as mere roadblocks. But if we embrace them as opportunities to allow God to help shape us, then we can face each day, each problem, with purpose and hope. Remember, it’s His light that our lives reflect to others as well.
2. Was there one specific event/circumstance in your personal lives that shaped this new batch of songs?
I know we all set out to have an energetic, hopeful album — sharing the joy that we are experiencing. Jon is the chief songwriter on Diamonds, and I’m so proud of how far he has come in the past few years. He has great ideas, but he also isn’t afraid of collaborating on songs with other great writers. Also, he and Micah, our guitarist, wrote the album’s final track, “Only You,” and I feel that Micah is also coming into his own more and more.
3. Since you all live in different parts of the country now, does it make collaborating a challenge?
It’s actually a bit of a paradox. You’d think that living further apart would create a distance between us, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. When we fly in and get together for rehearsals, touring, festivals [and] albums, it’s more exciting and brings excitement that you just don’t get when you spend every day together. Maybe it’s cause we all can enjoy our home/family lives more, and so we’re in a healthier place. Whatever the reason, it seems to be working!
4. Now that you’ve recorded one album as this new incarnation of Hawk Nelson, did you go into the process of recording Diamonds with more confidence and/or a different approach?
Yes, MADE was a time for us to refocus what we wanted Hawk Nelson to be. But it was also a test… “Did people really want to see us continue?” After confirmation that we still had life in us and people wanted to hear more, we have been way more intentional on Diamonds — especially from a writing and production point of view. Jon has been really focused on the message in each song, keeping with that theme of joy. Not a lot of filler here, just substance. Also, he stepped up and produced a bunch of the album as well, which I believe benefited Diamonds. I can personally hear the confidence in his vocals and songwriting this time around.
5. Let’s talk about your colorful press photos for Diamonds… I would imagine that photoshoot was fun! What was the shoot like?
My wife, Bonnie, who does our artwork was messing around with a diamond and how it reflects the entire color spectrum. We knew we wanted that reflected in the artwork, and she suggested the color powder, after seeing how fun it looked in color runs. It took renting a super high-end sports camera (12 frames per second) to catch the powder mid-air as it blasted across our faces. Photographer David Molnar absolutely killed it! Everyone should try this, it was my favorite photoshoot ever. But next time, [we will] wear ear plugs. 🙂
6. How are fans responding to your new single, “Drops In the Ocean”?
We just started a tour, and I’m shocked to see so many people in the crowd signing along to the song. Seriously, it feels so new to me, yet everyone is on board. This is another case where the message is striking a chord. That God is for us, not against us — now that’s a song I’ll sing for the rest of our career and not complain.
7. What will surprise fans most about this record?
I think with MADE, people were still thinking of our departure from the early Hawk Nelson days. But with Diamonds, it’s more like people know who we are and can see where we’re going more clearly. I hope all are surprised when they hear this album and say, “Wait, THIS is Hawk Nelson?” Oh, yes, it most certainly is!
For more info, visit www.hawknelson.com.