“They were these three racist, misogynistic guys who were laughing about police shootings and the environment,” says Wayne Waxing of the Hymn For Her, the Americana-cum-psychedelic-cum-folk outfit he’s part of with his wife, Lucy Tight. He’s speaking specifically about the inspiration for the song “Blue Balloons” from the upcoming LP, Pop-N-Downers, out 5 October. The pair has created a video for the track which features their 11-year-old daughter. “These guys were laughing about global warming,” Waxing continues. “They were talking about how when the shit hits the fan they won’t be around for these things. I don’t usually take part in these things, but I said, ‘Do you have grandchildren?’ They all said, ‘Yeah.’ And then they weren’t laughing anymore. It scares me,” he adds, “what’s waiting for our daughter.”
Tight adds, “That sparked the video along with an interview we heard. A renowned scientist was saying that nothing we do any more matters. The song just wrote itself through those situations.”
Pop-N-Downers promises listeners an exciting ride, from the opening, aforementioned “Blue Balloons” to the ’90s radio pop-reminiscent “November” and “Scoop” to the World-y “Roses” and beyond. Hymn For Her offers a take on roots music that includes seeds planted in corners of the world rather than the corners of a specific nation. The result is a refreshing collection of songs, led by the decidedly Beatles-esque (and aforementioned) “Blue Balloons”.
Calling from the backstage area at European stop on the couple’s current tour, Lucy Tight settled in for a conversation about the brand-new video, upcoming record, and inspiration for both.
You made this decision to live an essentially nomadic lifestyle. Did you hesitate before doing that?
We did a lot of touring with other bands before our daughter was born. When she came along, we had a moment where we thought, “Oh, we should get real jobs.” Everybody kept telling us that we couldn’t continue with a kid. We thought we could, but when you hear something like that repeatedly, you do start to have a little bit of doubt. We tried a few different things. We trained in circus yoga and learned how to do Thai massages. All kinds of cooking things. We were still writing songs and playing shows. We realized that we aren’t anything other than musicians. When you go out into the world and travel, you meet wonderful people. When you stay at home, you’re on the computer and scared of everyone and everything.
You probably have some long hauls between gigs and the occasional crummy green room, but it’s worth it in the end it seems.
We always say that we’re professional drivers who play music for fun.
Do you write on the road or do you have a period during the year when you sit down and write for six weeks?
Our daughter is in school half the year and the other half of the year we homeschool her. We call her a Road Scholar.
It’s during that six months that she’s in school that we’re home in Florida, working on new material, recording.
“Blue Balloons” is the lead cut from the record and you’ve also made this video.
It involves looking at the world through the eyes of a child. We wanted to show the beauty and the ugliness at the same time. The idea for the video came very quickly to us. It wasn’t meant to be a message piece. It just came out that way. Some friends that we’ve shown it to find hope in the video, others find despair. To us, it’s not necessarily hopeful. The question really is, “Where will the future generations go?”
I think having a child drives it home all the more.
I remember this old bumper sticker: “Daddy, what were forests like?” That was many years ago that I saw that bumper sticker. I’ve seen horrible things happen in the Gulf of Florida. That’s not where this video came from; it’s just one of the many things. But the video does show the hope of the children as well. You can see it in their eyes.
I can’t imagine being so devoid of joy that I’d say I don’t care about the planet.
When I think of a purpose in life, it’s really to bring joy through music. It counteracts things like people saying, “Screw the planet, I don’t give a shit.” Music is the best thing that Wayne and I can do with the skills that we have. Other people are taking care of the dying animals that are coming out of the sea or giving up their lives to fix the planet. This is our way of doing that.
What do you hope people get out of the album when they hear it?
There’s a hopelessness in the world. But there’s also a lot of hope as well. We touch on the negatives, but we hope to bring a different view of it, some joy and light into the darkness. But we keep doing it. The song “Shallow Grave” asks the question: How did we get here again? It seems like every generation says that. How are we here again after World War I, World War II, Hiroshima. Take your pick. To get the opposite takes people rising up, having faith.