Interview with Hanalei
We reached out to Hanalei (Brian Moss) to chat a little bit before he hops on a plane from California for his OCTOBER 14th show at the Taproom in Croydon with Graduation Speech & Kirk Malosh! Brian was a pleasure to work with for this interview, and we thank him for his time! Enjoy!
1) You have a rich history of creating music with not only Hanalei, but with Great Apes, and many more projects. After all of these years of crafting tunes, what brings you back to music, time and time again?
I’m not making money, and I certainly haven’t achieved widespread recognition, so simply, it’s something I feel compelled to do on account of the cathartic effect it has on me. Lyrically, it’s a way to express beliefs, concerns, and emotions that I might not have another means of getting out, and the process of crafting music has always been something that I’ve enjoyed. Both the literary and musical aspects of songwriting can be challenging, and I definitely hit my share of obstacles, but I take pride in working through them, pushing myself, and ultimately ending up with something that feels complete. Even if my involvement dwindles down to merely writing and recording at home, I don’t intend on ever walking away from music.
2) Outside of music, I gather that you are also a teacher. What do you teach and what is it like being an educator in 2017 in the Bay Area?
I teach Language Arts to 8th graders. While of course it’s rough at times, I truly love my work. Given that on a personal level, punk and underground music always involved an attempt to foster community, individuality, creativity, and a place where serious social, political, or personal issues could be addressed, pursuing a career in teaching was a fairly natural transition. I find a lot of parallels, and at points, just standing up in front of class and trying to captivate a bunch of students can feel a bit like playing a show.
Being an educator in the Bay Area right now comes with its challenges and benefits. In general, it can be a trying and equally rewarding job, regardless of location, but each community presents unique situations. I teach to a primarily P.O.C. demographic that faces a lot of marginalization and hardship. The current political and sociopolitical climate has created increased concern and fear within my student population. It’s difficult to see kids get scared or feel helpless. Addressing these concerns and issues and giving children a voice is something I see as obligatory. However, it’s something that has to be done carefully; aggressively pushing my own agenda and beliefs isn’t professional or fully ethical, so it’s crucial to welcome all beliefs, and always note the difference between fact and opinion, especially when my opinions become involved.
The cost of living here is out control. Working as a teacher doesn’t really provide much for people trying to rent a spot in San Francisco or the immediate Bay Area. There’s currently a huge shortage of subs and teachers because so many people are moving elsewhere or abandoning the profession entirely as a result of the lack of affordability. Luckily, I’m in a situation where I can make it work, partially on account of how long I’ve been teaching for, but I don’t know how someone in their first or second year of service could get by doing it.
3) October 14th you are coming to Neshaminy Creek to play with Graduation Speech and Kirk Malosh. How do you know these gents, and what are you looking forward to most about the show?
I know both of these stand-up gents through the punk and DIY music communities. I’ve toured and played with both of them before, and I’m psyched to have the chance to do it again.
4) Since we are a brewery, I have to ask, do you have a favorite beer style and/or Neshaminy Creek brew?
I haven’t had a chance to try any of the Neshaminy beers yet, but from what I hear, it’s quality sauce. If we’re talking craft beers, I tend to enjoy milder IPAs, but I also appreciate lager and session style beers. That being said, I’m personally steeped in brews of the cheap and trashy variety
5) You are obviously a music creator, but are you also an avid listener and follower of current music? If so, what are you listening to these days and why should people check these acts out?
Firstly, Charles Bradley’s recent death really rattled me. He put out one of my favorite records of last year, and knowing his backstory and recent, late-in-life success made it feel pretty tragic. Some artists I’ve been enjoying as of late include Exit Verse, Sims, Ted Leo, Giuda, Deadaires, A Giant Dog, Sonic Avenues, Sheer Mag, P.O.S., Bad Sports, A$AP Rocky, and Sleaford Mods.
6) With a Jawbreaker reunion having just occurred at Riot Fest, are their plans in the works for JAHBREAKER to open for them in the near future?
Hopefully not. I’m sure we’d get run off the stage. People are generally just too intellectually challenged to grasp the artistic merit of what we’re doing.
7) Speaking of festivals…will I be seeing you at Burning Man next year?
I’ll be there in my tutu and gas mask, playing E.D.M. in the Jacuzzi Thread Count tent, under the alias Marmalade.