Politics, metal and hardcore punk come together in a fantastic nexus for Bellingham, Washington’s Dryland, who are releasing their new EP, Dances With Waves this Monday, 4/20. Bassist Hollie Huthman has been with the band (which also features two guitarists named Ryan, Noah Burns on Drums and Brad Lockhart handling vocals) since its inception – but in addition to providing the low end for the band, she also owns the esteemed Bellingham venue the Shakedown, and has a serious hand of civic duties, too: She’s a City Council member. We got the chance to chat with Huthman as Dryland prepares for the release of their incredibly heavy EP, which you can hear ahead of its release below, exclusively on The Pit.
The Pit: Playing metal music and being into politics is an interesting mix of things. Which did you want to do first?
Hollie Huthman: I didn’t actually think that I want to be involved in politics at all until the last couple years. Part of my motivation was that there’s really nobody like me in politics. It’s nice to have that different perspective in an elected official. And actually, Joey Shithead from D.O.A. is on city council in Burnaby, Canada, so I guess he might have been a little bit of an influence without me really thinking about it.
Right! Well, you said your interest came recently, within the last couple of years, so did that have to do with the election of some of those larger powers at be?
Definitely! With Trump’s election being so disappointing, I had that train of thought of ‘dammit, we need less old, white rich men in office and that more young women should run for office.’ And then I thought maybe that’s something that I could do. I tend to gravitate towards leadership roles, but it’s usually only after I’ve seen other people fail or not enough people stepping up. I look forward to maybe inspiring other people to run and then I don’t have to run anymore because they’re gonna do better than I do.
I’m curious, with running the Shakedown and playing in Dryland, did any of that affect your running for the position? Has one kind of gotten in the way of the other?
That was something that I was curious about, too. Like, how would they affect each other? Good and bad, is what I’m finding out.
Definitely more people knew me when I was running because I’m the more visible business partner with the Shakedown on kind of the core visible partner, and I’m the first city council member in 20 years who actually owns the brick and mortar business. My passion for the arts and music community, having been involved with it for so long, has added a perspective on council that was really needed and wanted. But it’s affected mostly the venue, I think. With Dryland, both Brad and I got really busy around when I was campaigning. We were still practicing, but I didn’t have a lot of time to go out and do shows. Other priorities kind of took over anything, and that was happening with Brad, too. We created this really great album that we’re really proud of, so it was kind of like ‘Oh, yeah, we should get around to releasing that at some point.’ I don’t really see it getting in the way of the band, though, unless everyone wanted to do something crazy like touring for months or something.
Speaking of Brad, I know he wrote the lyrics and Ryan Clapper wrote the music for the new record, but did you get to have a hand in writing some of your bass lines or other facets of the record?
I’m not much of a writer myself, but if I had my idea it’s totally acceptable for me to run with it.
I do sometimes but I’m just perfectly happy playing and not necessarily writing. Dryland is this aspect of my life that I am not the most responsible one in the group. I enjoy that about it because that’s not true for other aspects of my life.
What’s your favorite song on the EP to play?
I don’t really have one favorite. I probably think of each of them like children — I love them equally, but in different ways. They’re all so much fun. Each song has something in it that gets me a little bit excited to play in it, whether it be lyrics or a riff or a drum part that I think is super fun. Of some of our older stuff, though, “Moss Lord” off our first record is definitely my favorite. The story, lyrics and the imagery are just really cool. And it’s the one that people will tend to sing along with and get really into when we play.
One last thing, as a venue owner, musician and general music lover, what would be your dream bill to have at the Shakedown once all of this quarantine is over?
Oh, gosh. I’ve got so many on a list running through my head. But if I had to choose, it’d be a mixed bill: Hot Snakes opening, then Akimbo, so they’d have to reunite. Then Chelsea Wolfe to close it out.
Words by Cervanté Pope
Photos by Tommy Calderon