Interview: Howling Giant
Tom Polzine - Guitar and Vocals Zach Wheeler - Drums and Vocals Sebastian Baltes - Bass and Vocals
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Tom: My parents forced me to play classical guitar at 5 years old, up until I graduated High School. Then I rebelled and started studying "Rock and Roll." If not for music, I would be working at a Fishery in Minnesota, filleting freshly caught Walleye for 9-10 hours a day.
Sebastian: My father is a musician, so he influenced me growing up and listening to his music. If not for music, I would probably be the Chamberlain of a Shanty-Town in Philly, not King, but Chief-Advisor to the King of said Shanty-Town.
Zach: My grandmother taught piano lessons, so she started me on the music-train from an early age. If not for music, I would probably be following Marshall Bolton across the country, filming and editing his skate tricks until one fated day when he brakes his leg. Then I would take the skates from his broken bones and become the X-Games champion.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Tom: I enjoy reading a good book, conquering a top-shelf video game, and crafting avant-garde cocktails in my dungeon lab. The combination of these 3 elements usually yields riffs aplenty.
Sebastian: I partake of the herb by the bundle, then crushing a White Claw. Afterwords, I challenge my good friend Rocky to a "friendly" game of Magic The Gathering.
How long has your band been around?
Tom: Zach and I have been jamming since 2010, but we started this project in 2014.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Zach: Nashville, TN, the home of Country Music. To be honest, there is so much more than Country Music in Nashville. We are influenced by the songwriters and freelance musicians around here that find any and all ways to make a living out of music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
Tom: The name was influenced by a cutscene in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. After defeating the first dungeon, one of the Lords of the Earth, a Giant, teaches Link his ancient song. He was indeed, a Howling Giant.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Sebastian: Best show, Chicago opening for Pentagram a couple weeks ago. The crowd was super responsive and knew absolutely nothing about us before we played.
Zach: A tattoo festival in middle-of-nowhere-Kentucky. We were unaware it was a dry festival, and were forced to sneakily drink red wine out of Sprite cans, because it was the only thing available. We got a noise complaint after 2 songs, even though we were playing a barn in the middle of nowhere, apparently the neighborhood over a quarter mile away was upset. We refused to stop playing, so we kept going until the plug was pulled on our set during the third song. Cheers!
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Zach: Reggie's 42nd Street Tavern in Wilmington, NC. Always a highlight of any East Coast tour. We would love to play Saint Vitus Bar, and the dream gig would be Red Rocks.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Tom: Men at Work, Symphony X, Red Fang, and us. The perfect show.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Zach: Keep on doing it, because the last band standing is the one who wears the crown.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Tom: Start a savings account, and don't touch it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Zach: Visions, because I truly learned how to sing and play at the same time because of that song.
Tom: Whale Lord, because it is one of the first songs we wrote and it still slaps.
Sebastian: The Pioneer, because it was one of the first songs I learned when joining the band. Its also one of my favorites to play live.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Sebastian: The Pioneer.
Zach: Mothership. As for songs that are requested, Clouds of Smoke. We promise we'll play it live again someday.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Tom: We usually start with a guitar riff, write an instrumental track, and lyrics typically come last. Inspiration comes from volume. The chance to be insanely loud is a euphoric feeling that you have to experience to understand.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Zach: Arcane mastery, forbidden lore uncovered, space, wizards, escapism.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Zach: We each choose a champion to fight for our cause and honor in a display of the gentleman's art of fisticuffs. Its called Super Smash Brothers.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Tom: Keep writing, performing, and crushing brewskis with dudes and dudettes from around the world. Album drops September 27th.