Haewa can be better described by what it isn't. The group jams, but it isn't a jam band. It circles psychedelic rock, but doesn't get lost in the ether. It's a rock 'n' roll band that doesn't adhere to merely the one, the four, and the five. It's odd, but not intentionally obtuse.
Haewa is barely out of the gate. It's a young rock band — roughly two years old — made up of three musicians — all roughly 20 years old — that has a seasoned attitude behind a seasoned sound that belies its age. Since the band formed, music has consumed its members in much the same way a drum set crowded bassist (then-drummer) Ben Chilbert's dorm room.
Chilbert and current drummer Riley Dichairo met at Monroe Community College.
"You couldn't fit anything else in the room," says Dichairo. "It was the bed, the desk, drums."
Chilbert switched to bass and Dichairo started banging on the drums. In searching for a guitarist they joined the ranks of the dateless and desperate and musicians looking for musicians on Craigslist in search of a guitar player. Out popped the weirdos.
"I had some really creepy people call me," Chilbert says.
One prospective band mate they didn't call back immediately was already angry with them. On top of that, he couldn't play. "He came over and started trying to write right away," says Chilbert. "I was like, 'I don't even know what kind of music you play.' It sounded like alternative prog rock...he couldn't play notes to save his life, just power chords. So I never called him back and he left me a lot of hateful text messages." There was no love connection.
Dichairo says, "It's worse than dating. "It's dating on a whole other level."
In the meantime, guitarist Collin Jones was getting his own dose of rock 'n' roll reality. He had abandoned studies to go on a national tour playing guitar with an international band. Dates were booked, gelt was guaranteed, the works. And then...
"It ended in failure," says Jones. "It was actually a horrible experience. It hardly got off the ground and just kind of ended in North Carolina."
By the time he saw Dichairo and Chilbert's ad on the internet he was still a little gun shy.
"We all harp on the freedom of the styles we all play," says Chilbert. "But we're all into funk, reggae, psychedelia, electronica. We all have our ground roots, but we respect and enjoy the other genres of music. And I put that in the Craigslist ad and ended it with, 'We don't fuck around.'"
Jones saw the ad and dug it. And thus began Haewa.
Most bands you ask shun the shoehorn, protest the pigeon hole. But any band that plays today is arriving at the dance after it has been underway quite a while. There isn't anything truly new. However, Haewa attacks this esoterically, not by avoiding assorted influences, but rather by tapping into their spirits.
"Instead of specific licks," says Dichairo, "I think we channel the energy of our influences."
Dichairo in particular embodies this as self-taught musician. "I took one lesson in my whole life," he says. "And I hated it."
Though Haewa squeezed out "Deadwet Soundwaves" — a six-song CD — last year, all three members make the distinction between Haewa the live act and Haewa the studio band.
"We want to play live music," Dichairo says. "It's a living, breathing thing when we play it." The band has begun recording shows and plans on making them available to its fans. The freedom is apparent in the band's live shows, where Jones says there is more room for improvisation. A studio recording will only give you the same experience every time. Cilbert finds it difficult to let go.
"It's hard being satisfied with your work," he says. '"To say, 'OK, I like this.'"
Perhaps they have set the bar a little high for themselves. "We want it to be a masterpiece," Dichairo says.
What else does Haewa want?
"We want to be everywhere," Dichairo says. "On the airways, in your home. We want you to come to our home, which is the stage."