Brian Johnson and Derek Harn of Himsa - Back

1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Derek Harn: Himsa was created by Mike, Brian, myself and Aaron. After Mike, Brian, and myself quit our old band Trial we decided to start a new band with Aaron. We wrote and practiced a bunch and then Christian moved to Seattle from Philly and put the finishing touches to our sound with his poetic lyrics. All this happened about a year ago (Oct 98). Now Aaron has left Himsa and we are currently trying out new guitarists.

2. How would you describe your music?

Derek Harn: We're all over the place musically. I don't like to describe our sound. I'd rather people come up with their own opinions because I think there is a lot of room to describe and similate our sound to. Keep reading and you'll probably get an idea of what we sound like.

3. What are your biggest influences?

Brian Johnson: My biggset influences are anywhere from Motley Crue, Slayer, Testament, Unbroken, and Obituary in the time frame from Cause of Death up to World Demise. I wasn't a big fan of their latest record.

Derek Harn: I'm influenced by tons of things, movies, people, society, photography. I'd say that the environment you live in has a lot to do with what and how you create. I know I find myself influenced by weather, money, love - the same things that are around everyone. If you're asking about bands, I'm in to bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Cave In, Sensefield, Errortype 11, Turmoil, Bane, Countervail, Death by Stereo. I don't know, I listen to a bunch of stuff and not all of it is new those are just the ones I listen to now.

4. What influence do you think your bands has in music and metal today?

Brian Johnson: I think in music we have alot to offer, people from all different scenes could probably find something that they like in our music. We all come from a lot of different backgrounds musically so I think through that we cover a bunch of different styles.

Derek Harn: I don't think too many people know who we are yet. Our full length should be out by the time you read this so we'll wait and maybe you can tell me later.

5. What made you want to be in the band? And if you weren’t in the band what would you be doing now?

Brian Johnson: I've been playing in bands since I was 14 and I'm 22 know, for me, music was the ultimate form of expression. I could write music for any kind of mood I was in. As for what I would be doing if I wasn't in the band, I would be and am trying to go to school. My main focus would be envirometal studies. It's pretty hard to do everything, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Derek Harn: I wanted to be in a band with Brian and Mike and since Brian and Mike wanted to quit Trial I figured I'd quit too so I could continue to write with them. I didn't mind starting over. It hasn't been easy, but I don't regret making the decision to leave Trial. Mike and I often think back to what life was like before we were in bands. I don't look back on it with enthusiasm. I find myself continually restarting my life, whether it's with a new band, or finding a new job, or finding a new place to live after a tour. Starting over keeps you humble in a way. It lets you keep your priorities in check and reduces your participation in the rigors of 9-5 life. I often wonder what I'd be doing right now if Himsa didn't exist. I think about it often just because you never know what might happen tomorrow. I'm sure I'd be working at a job I wasn't very happy with living a life I didn't feel very comfortable with.

6. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Derek Harn: Oh, so glad you asked. We currently have a side project going right now. We call it The Hanuman Project. After our failed US Himsa tour, I found myself with a certain emptiness and I knew this project might help that feeling of failure. It's Brian, Mike, myself and our friend Chris LaPointe on vocals. Chris is really politically motivated and a total spazz so it should be fun. We actually tried him out for Himsa, but it didn't work out because of his occupation and the fact that he lives in Arizona and we live in Seattle. We wrote three songs last Saturday and are recording them this Saturday. We recorded our practice and sent a tape to Chris. He's putting his lyrics to our songs and then he's flying up here this weekend so we can record the songs. It's only a week long project. We wanted to do it quick as not to let it interfere with Himsa. We're going to release the three songs as a 7" so be on the look out.

7. How would you feel if a band took their sound from yours and became very well known?

Brian Johnson: I don't know I guess I would be pissed, but then again that shows we must have really influenced someone that watched us or heard us before. Then after feeling OK with that for awhile, I would find them and kill them one by one.

Derek Harn: I don't think they would be able to pull it off because they would have to take a couple years to grow out their hair. Our rock comes from our hair and can not replicated unless the hair is flying!

8. What current bands do you like or respect?

Brian Johnson: Right now I'm into a lot of 80's hair bands because a lot of them are still playing what they want to. For instance, take a band like Cinderella, I saw them about six months ago in a small club and they rocked just as always. This band went from playing huge places and now they are playing small clubs and giving it their all. I can respect that 100%. As for newer bands, I think Dillenger Escape Plan is making some pretty damn interesting noises, the same with Seattle's Botch. Both of these bands could be the future of modern heavy music.

9. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!!

Derek Harn: Well we currently have a 7"/CD self-titled single out on Revelation Records. It actually was our demo. Our full length CD entitled "Ground Breaking Ceremony" is out on November 2nd. We're really excited for it. The songs from the 3 song CD were actually supposed to be on the full length, but we wanted something out fast and the demo was recorded well enough that we could release it as a Single. Other than that we have a song coming out this winter on a split 7" with Kill Sadie. That will probably be out on Excursion Records from here in Seattle.

10. What demo/album do you like the best?

Brian Johnson: I like the new record the best I think it has a lot to offer musically as well as lyrically.

11. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Derek Harn: Most of our songs have double meanings. Our theme for the record was natural disasters. We have a song called "Another Version of the Twist" which deals with the cover up of the Clinton scandel with the raid on Iraq - all while under the theme of a tornado. Another song called "White Out" has to do with the government's allowance of the Makah tribe to hunt and kill grey whales here in Washington. Some songs have a personal element to them, but most of them have a politically motivated flair to them.

12. What are the bands favorite songs?

Brian Johnson: My favorite songs to play are Mud, Whiteout, and The Great Deppression, but of course I love every one of the songs. It depends what kind of mood I'm in.

Derek Harn: I'd have to say I like "Daylight Savings" because it's the fatest, craziest and most personal. I also like "Cremation" which is about the incedent at Columnbine High School in Littleton Colorado. It's a lot different from our other songs, but then all our songs have different elements to them pretty much.

13. What does the future hold for the band?

Derek Harn: Aside from the records that I mentioned before we plan to tour in the Spring, hopefully make it to Europe and play as hard as we can. I'm working on trying to get us to Asia to play shows there to. I'm taking a trip there next month and have already contacted many kids over there about the possibility of Himsa touring there next fall. I have a plan, but I won't know if it's going to work out until I visit there next month to see the reality of it.

14. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Brian Johnson: Slayer and Testament because they are gods.

Derek Harn: Fight for Change becauses they really had some good ideas when they were around.

15. Who writes the majority of the music?

Derek Harn: We have a monkey that comes in and bangs on our equipment. No, we actually all write our own parts. One person comes in with something and we all add to it or change it to suit everyone's taste. We're a pretty democratic band.

16. Who has been the favorite band you’ve played with and why?

Brian Johnson: This band from Boston, Bane, they are one of the most inspirational bands to watch live. They are on Equal Vision Records and have a new record coming out soon check it out.

Derek Harn: I've enjoyed touring with Countervail, Bane, and Kill Sadie. There are so many great people in all those bands that I don't even think of them as bands really. I admire these people because they tour with people who are their friends and not because the other band is going to get them scene points. They know how to tour and what touring is about - fun.

17. Where did you get the band name from?

Derek Harn: It's the opposite of Ahimsa. Ahimsa means to live your life with the least amount of possible harm.

18. Describe what the band is like live?

Derek Harn: Brian head-bangs, Christian dances around like a fairy, Mike makes evil faces, and I incorporate all their trates.

19. If you are gonna do any kind of video what would be in it?

Brian Johnson: THINGS and STUFF

Derek Harn: I would want an image of Brian standing at a chalkboard pointing to the words "Things" and "Stuff". What kind of answer was that Spicolli? Could you be less vague in an interview? Anyway, Christian has been putting a video together for us to play to when we play shows. It's mostly just destruction of the planet via natural forces. I really like the idea that Unsane used in their video with skateboarders fucking themselves up. That shit makes me cringe and walk funny.

20. Are there any touring plans made; if so tell me about them?

Derek Harn: I think we covered that one already.

21. Where do you think the band will be 20 years from now?

Brian Johnson: We'll either end up in looney bins our rehab. Just kiddin!!

Derek Harn: We'll be playing sold out parking lots and we'll have Depends undergarments screened with the band name on them.