Forces At Play: Haste

Portland shoegaze/dream-pop trio Haste just released their debut full-length, Annabelle, out digitally and on cassette through Track & Field Records, which they’ll celebrate with a release show at Holocene on 12.4. Singer/songwriter Jasmine Wood’s delicate and somber vocals carry the dark and heavy instrumentals that build around her (with help from an array of guitar effect pedals, Kaleb Shields on drums and Thomas Hoganson on bass), creating a thoughtful, atmospheric collection of songs perfect for helping navigate one’s inner self-exploration.

We chatted with Wood about getting into music, her dream tour, and how she stays positive and looking ahead in a time of social and political turmoil. Read below.

When did you first get into music and what was the first artist or album you became obsessed with?

I started playing guitar when I was really young and the first song I learned on guitar was “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. So I was super into Pink Floyd as a kid, specifically Dark Side Of The Moon which is super cliche. My uncle got me my first guitar for christmas when I was about 10 and I started getting into music seriously as a teenager when I began writing my own songs and performing.

In my later teens/early twenties I became obsessed with Lo-Fi and Distortion, then eventually Shoegaze music. I am in love with everyone’s favorite album “Loveless” by MBV and their earlier EP’s like Tremelo and Glider. Glider is my favorite thing. I started working at a record store around that time and I became infatuated with “Slovauki” by Slowdive and their earlier EP’s, like “Holding Your Breath”. Those albums are literally on a pedestal for me. Jesus and Mary Chain also inspire me a ton. Spacemen 3, “Disintegration” by The Cure, all the greats…Bands like that sort of took over for me when I was 19, 20.

Were you involved in other bands before starting to write songs as Haste and bringing Thomas and Kaleb into the fold?

Haste is my first serious project and will always be important to me. It’s like my baby, and Haste is just an extension of Jasmine Wood. It’s my Moniker. I never pursued any other bands prior to this, but I am looking forward to finally working on a few other project ideas that have been floating around in my mind. My friend Paul and I write together sometimes and when we do I am playing drums and singing. I really want to play drums in a band. I also love the bass.

Out on Track & Field Records, Annabelle will be your debut full length. Any tour plans on the horizon?

Absolutely. I am planning a West Coast tour, ideally this Spring. Nothing is set in stone yet. I eventually want to go on a European tour, as I’ve been getting a lot of positive response and fan interest to Annabelle from the UK. I also have never been to Europe so it’s kind of a dream of mine.

If you could tour with any active band who would it be?

It would be really cool to tour with a band like Helen, Liz Haris of Grouper’s most recent project. I love her sound. Touring with a bigger project like Panda Bear would also be a pretty dreamy scenario. I’ve always looked up to Lennox as a pretty prolific solo artist.

With how fucked everything is politically and socially in the US and beyond, what is something that helps you stay positive and looking ahead?

This is a fantastic question. Well for one, I have been trying to not be swayed away from focussing on this album release and my song writing. It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s going on right now, not just in the U.S., but in the world, in places like Syria, Palestine, Mexico, etc. All over, basically. It’s important, especially right now not to ignore what is going on, specifically in this post-election haze. In addition though to trying to continue focussing on my music as much as possible, I have been organizing locally with people in the community pretty heavily. I just hosted a meeting called “Where Do We Go From Here: A Public Assembly”, to offer a platform for people to share ideas on how to confront concerns and issues, while connecting with resources as well. I don’t want people to feel directionless, or even worse, hopeless. There is a lot we can do to minimize the effect of a Trump Presidency and protect those who are most vulnerable. Staying connected and organizing with other motivated activists is what keeps me feeling positive and looking ahead. I don’t feel there is really another option to be completely honest. That and writing a shit ton of music.

What are some things you’re currently inspired by, musically or otherwise?

Right now, I’m pretty inspired by the weather and the combination of intense emotion everyone is feeling in response to the political and social climate we face. Not to mention the environmental issues occurring and awful situations like the DAPL at Standing Rock. The genuine passion people are feeling and the support people are offering each other is really great, in contrast to how shitty things are. I get pretty inspired by that. My relationships and friendships definitely keep me inspired pretty consistently. I listen to a ton of early 1930s music like blues and jazz. Lately a lot of blues, like Robert Johnson and Rev. Gary Davis. Old music currently inspires me a lot. And Guitar Fuzz.

Haste will donate a portion of cassette sales from the release show to the Trans Relief Project, and a portion of drink sales from the night will be donated to Basic Rights Oregon.