Dave Hause Is 'Chasing the Song' on His New Album 'Blood Harmony' : 'That's the Guiding Light for Me'

"Over time, I've just gone back to my original biggest influences as a kid," the singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE

Dave Hause is back with a new album of devastatingly honest and beautiful songs. Blood Harmony is the latest co-writing collaboration between Dave and brother Tim, following up 2019's Kick, and this time they tapped Nashville rocker Will Hoge to produce. Recorded in Nashville, Dave, Tim and an all-star team bring a new level of intimate songwriting with a fresh Americana sound tackling subjects from bullying to East Coast nostalgia.

PEOPLE caught up with Hause, 43, to chat about the new album, collaborating with his brother bi-coastally, life back on tour and always chasing the song.

PEOPLE: Now that we're getting into this new normal, how's life back on the road?

DH: It's really exciting, really thrilling. It's a stark reminder of how crazy this lifestyle is. Having not done it, and coming back to it, I'm like, whoa, this is how I lived for that long? At this breakneck pace, with this many logistics, flights and rental vans and this and that. I'm sort of shocked that this is how I used to live, and this is how I'm going back into living. But I love playing. It's everything all at once. It's going from zero to 60.

Dave Hause Blood Harmony
Dave Hause. Ben Trivett

PEOPLE: During your downtime of this past two years, are you the kind of guy who sits at home and stresses about not playing or are you the kind of guy who's like, yeah, I can relax a little bit?

DH: This was the first time I actually was able to relax. Now, relax is a relative word, given that we were all under the enormous stress of the pandemic and I have twin sons [with my wife Natasha] who are 2½ now, but they were just turning 1 when everything changed. The anxiety that was attached to that was pretty palpable. As far as work went, I delved into recording at home. I delved into writing eventually this record and was really present with my kids. That was actually really beautiful for me. It was a break I never would have taken on my own.

PEOPLE: So what was the process of writing this record with Tim?

DH: We were separate, he was in Philly and I was in California at our homes and we did it mostly on Zoom from January through the end of March, early April. Then we started tracking in May.

That was the interesting part about how we made this record — we showed up to work every day. Tim and I met in the morning every day for weeks and wrote songs. We had this thing called "Pencils Down Friday," where every Friday you had to turn in a completed song and it didn't have to be good. It just had to be done. It couldn't be like, oh, and then we get to the bridge and it goes... No. Has to be something you can sing for someone. That discipline made me work hard throughout the whole day, not just when we were working. I got to come up with something each week. I got to come up with another idea, and Tim was bringing a lot of great material.

Dave Hause Blood Harmony
Dave Hause. Ben Trivett

PEOPLE: On Blood Harmony, you're starting to explore some new sounds and stepping into some other genres like country and Americana. What prompted that shift from the more punk and rock sound?

DH: Well, what I'm chasing is the song. I think that what was frustrating at different points playing in a punk rock band was the fact that the song wasn't what everyone was necessarily focused on. The biggest and best punk bands and the biggest and best rock bands often have the best songs. Right? But I do think when it came to promoting the band or interviewing and stuff ... when I was in the punk world, we talked about punk, which is not that interesting to me. That's sort of just an ethic or a way of doing things and I'm chasing the song.

My whole life has been attracted to songs and chasing that feeling you get when you hear a good song or hear a song that's compelling. Over time, I've just gone back to my original biggest influences as a kid almost. Somewhere between The Clash and Tom Petty and Bonnie Raitt and the Ramones or whatever is some mix of that is what I'm trying to do. Right now, Americana music has a little bit of a wider net for songs and for roots space music, which would be like music with guitars.

I'm always trying to push and be creative and do things like follow the song. If a song comes to me, I'm trying to honor that song the best way I can on the record — and the way we recorded these in Nashville lent itself to that type of sound. My second record and first record had a lot of those influences. I didn't go to Nashville to make a record. It's just another sandbox to play in for me.

At the end of the day, if you look at all of my favorite artists and songwriters, they all have done similar things. They've gone over here for a minute and played with this genre, done a folk record, done a rock record. Elvis Costello's played every conceivable kind of music you can play and he's chasing songs. That's kind of the guiding light for me.

Dave Hause Blood Harmony
Dave Hause.

PEOPLE: When you talk about chasing songs, is the perfect song for you one that everyone hears or one that no one hears? Can you write a song and just be done with it?

DH: That's a great question. At the end of the day, I do feel like songs are meant to be sung. When songs are meant to be sung, they're meant to be heard. That's when we're at our best as a species. The title is wrapped up in that idea that when you sing together, it makes a certain sound, especially with siblings — that's the blood harmony. That's what that means. I think generally when we sing together as a species, we're better off. So songs in that sense, I think are best heard.

There are those songs that haven't been shared for a litany of reasons. There are songs on this record though, that oddly I probably, left to my own devices, wouldn't have shared if I didn't have a strong, trusted team around me and my brother and my manager both going, 'No, no, no, you got to put that out.' Then with Will, the producer saying, 'Oh, "Gary"'s got to come out.'

PEOPLE: So you got to work with Tim again here, you added Will Hoge to the mix — who would you like to work with down the line?

DH: I want to keep working with Tim. I would love to work with The Mescaleros. That was Joe Strummer's band, right? I would love to figure out what those guys are doing and see if they'd like to make a record together. Why not put it out on PEOPLE that I would want to do that?

I'm up for whatever, really. The older I get, the more open to collaboration of any kind I am, as long as the vibe is good in the room. You got to go with the first rule of improv, which is "yes and." When people start to throw too many stops and then I'm like, God, you already know what you want to do, just do it. If it's fun in the energy's flowing, I'm up for whatever!

I love the team that we're working with right now. I love working with Will. I want to make more records with him. I love writing with Tim. I'm open though. I try to stay open — that's how you get the most out of life and the most enjoyment is being open to the ways that the river cuts through. It cuts through the land in strange ways and if you just follow that you can enjoy your life.

Blood Harmony is out now.

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