We met with Quinton Hoagland of Hoarseman and the Heard, the Judges’ Choice Winner of Battle of the Bands, about his upcoming album, Annihilation (coming out May 10th), and the persona he’s created under the name Hoarseman.
Starting with the character Hoarseman, Hoagland explained that it spurned from a scrapped musical he had written. Apparently, Hoarseman was a narcissistic preacher who loves the sound of his own voice – so much that he becomes hoarse from speaking. “The Heard,” or the live band that played with him at Battle of the Bands on April 5th, is the congregation.
According to Hoagland, using Hoarseman as his stage name was a way to both separate himself from the seriousness of his music and to bring a more theatrical approach to the classic local band.
“Most bands on a local level,” Hoagland says, “put a bigger emphasis on music and not the showmanship of a lot of live bands that are big and out there.”
While he only had good things to say about his fellow local musicians, he does feel that putting more of an emphasis on the performance rather than just the music could only benefit the scene. So, he decided to do it himself.
Drawing from his musical background, he built up a character. Hoarseman is confident and bordering on narcissistic (much like the character he was based on); he puts on a show. Anyone who witnessed his performance at Battle of the Bands can attest to this. Wearing an all white suit (that he, unfortunately, did not wear to the interview – something about not wanting to clean it??) and moving with purpose, Hoarseman is an undeniable presence onstage.
However, as much as the character is used for the theatrical presence, it is very much a facade. Annihilation is the greatest indication for this.
The album is about the “annihilation” of everything political, environmental, and moral. It’s about the annihilation of his former, younger self. It’s an attempt to stick to his morals and hold onto love while everything around him is changing – it’s about eventually letting go.
The themes in this album are heavy – which explains why he feels the need to put up a facade to discuss them in his music.
“When it’s portrayed through a character, it becomes less about me and more about Hoarseman. So, it’s easier for me to say ‘I think everything’s going to shit’ without people being like, ‘Man, you must be depressed,'” he explains.
It probably doesn’t help that a lot of the music was written during the tail end of a long relationship. Many of the songs show the emotions experienced when facing the inevitable breakup, which adds a theme of deviating from love.
In fact, one of the songs, “She,” deals with love specifically. The point of the song is to discuss how love is the best and worst – and how love (to Hoagland) only exists in extremes.
“Millenial Whoop” is another song that stems from his breakup. The song, which sounds like a peppy “whoop” about living life to its fullest, has the underlying theme of a burned out relationship.
Despite Annihilation still being unreleased, Hoagland has already pretty much finished his next collection of songs. Dubbed “Notre Dame is Burning,” this one will contain a lot of religious turmoil.
Hoagland also has another project he is working on with a member of the Heard, Camilo Gonzalez, called Lookouts. Both Lookouts and Hoarseman and the Heard have a busy summer ahead of them; the former is expecting a late summer EP and the latter has several concerts lined up.
Make sure to check out Hoarseman on social media and music streaming sites. Annihilation will be released on Friday, May 10th, so be sure to listen.