Q/ Tell us about yourself, what you do with the band and how you formed the band.
A/ I sing. I like it. I’m 25, going on 26. Hawk Nelson started when I graduated high school. We basically, long story short, none of us could get jobs, so we started a band. All of our friends in high school got jobs, and we couldn’t, so we started Hawk Nelson. And here we are, six years later. It’s pretty crazy!
Q/ What made you want to form a faith-based band, or would you describe yourselves as that?
A/ The thing is, in Canada where we grew up, there wasn’t like a Christian band and then a secular band. Bands were just bands. We just played music. I mean, our faith kind of set us apart from other bands, but it wasn’t like we were going around, “Hey we’re Hawk Nelson and we’re Christian. We’re a Christian band.” Instead we’re just like, “Yeah we’re a band. We’re from Canada.”
It’s still a weird transition for me getting used to that Christian music is kind of its own genre now. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me still. But the fact that we believe in God and we love Jesus, I think it’s great. And I’m glad that we get to impact kids’ lives and make a difference for sure.
People can label people whatever they want, you know? If you spend too much time labeling and not enough time doing your real job, it’s kind of missing the point.
Q/ How many of you are there?
A/ There’s four of us, only two original. Over the years everybody’s been kind of “Wow, this is a lot of work.” Everyone’s married and has kids now; everyone except me. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I must be doing something wrong!
Q/ Tell us about your creative process. How do you write songs?
A/ It’s always different. I woke up this morning at four o’ clock in the morning singing this song, and I just started singing into my phone. I’m like, “Oh I gotta remember that. What if I didn’t save it?” So I ended up waking up and just going to my computer and typing out all the lyrics.
Then I woke up this morning and had no idea what even happened. Was it even real? But it was. I checked and had it on my little voice recorder. It sounds terrible because it was four in the morning.
It’s always different. Inspiration comes here and there, or you dream about it or something. For me a lot of times it comes on airplanes. I think I must be closer to heaven or something. That’s where I always get my inspiration it seems, so yeah, that’s kind of random.
Q/ So you’re the main composer, and you give the rest of the band your vision.
A/ Yeah, kind of like, “Hey, this is what I’m thinking.” Also we have the opportunity to write with some other writers. You can always be better. I think learning from people who are better than you is a great way to be better. I always take my ideas to another writer and say, “Hey what do you think of this? How can we make this stronger?”
It’s a lot of fun. I’m glad I get to do this every day, you know?
Q/ Well we just had a chance to talk with Will Graham …
A/ I love that guy! He’s so laid back. He’s the coolest.
Q/ Will talked about how a main theme for him tonight is going to be “surrender.” So as a young adult, what do you want to tell teens or young adults about how you surrender your life to the Lord?
A/ What I’ve noticed over the course of five years of doing this, is there are so many kids struggling to find a leader. Everyone’s becoming followers all the time … I always wanted to be the leader of my group of friends, you know, rather than like, “Hey, I wonder what Britney’s doing on MTV today?! I want to model after her!”
There’s not the greatest role models today, I’ve noticed. Too many people are trying to look like so-and-so or be like so-and-so on MTV or whatever, and there’s not enough real leaders. …
People need to realize that you kind of need to let God take control of the wheel, you know? Carrie Underwood said it best. Oh snap, I just went there. But you know what I’m saying.
Sometimes you need to go, “I don’t want to take control of this,” because … there comes a time when you need to realize it should never be about us. It should never be about our plans, but about God’s plan, and let Him just steer the ship. After that, I think all those things like leadership will just fall into place.
Q/ You think kids should take a stand more and be leaders?
A/ Yeah, absolutely. It’s sad. Come on, kids! Be a leader.
Q/ So you like country music.
A/ I do like country music. There, I said it. Who would have thought?
Q/ How did you come up with the name Hawk Nelson?
A/ I was playing a video game when I was 14 years old. It was an extreme sports game with biking and roller blading, skateboarding and snowboarding. Before you could play you had to create a character, and my character was Hawk Nelson.
Why it’s the band name, I could not tell you. But it’s working, so were going to keep it.
Q/ So you just made that up out of nowhere.
A/ I can make one up right now: Riki Lakeshore. Jesse Nevell.
Come on! I like having fun. If you don’t have fun it becomes work, and no one wants to work.
Q/ You live life to its fullest. Life is short.
A/ That’s right, well, if you’re a mosquito. They live like 24 hours; that’s a short life.
Later, Will Graham spoke to more than 3,250 young people gathered in the North Charleston Coliseum. He invited them to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, and more than 300 kids made decisions for Christ.
After the invitation and an intermission, Hawk Nelson performed a killer concert, playing original songs, as well as the 80s classic “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” which had thousands up on their feet dancing and singing.
Will Graham even joined the band, playing his signature instrument, the kazoo. And some good, clean fun was had by all.