INTERVIEW: Ted Hajnasiewicz

How would you classify your music?

The most difficult question for a songwriter to answer.  I’ve devised a new genre of music, to help answer this.  I call it, “Lover’s Lament Crap”.  I’m a balladeer – I love ballads.  I write love songs, tender songs, sad songs, emotive songs.

If you haven’t, you MUST see the movie “That Thing You Do”.  Written and directed by Tom Hanks, it’s a story about a small band from Erie PA that makes it big, has a one-hit wonder.  Super great film.  The leader of this group is a somber dude, favors love songs.  But their hit is a rockin’ tune, which is what the producer (Tom Hanks) wants.  There is a scene where Hanks and the leader are arguing in the studio.  Hanks tells the leader, “You get one track per side of the album – but I don’t want any of this ‘lover’s lament crap’.  I want something peppy, I want something snappy!”

Lover’s Lament Crap.  That’s how I’d describe my music.  ????

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Tom Petty, definitely number one, hands down.  Then you have Jeff Tweedy and Wilco.  I love the melancholy of the Jayhawks.  I love the pure showmanship of Kiss (they were my childhood heroes).  And while I could never sound like him – Burt Bacharach.  Greatest songwriter I think maybe ever!

What do you want fans to take from your music?

Besides entertainment, the joy in experiencing music (It is an experience) – Probably a sense of hope.  Either in that, “I can learn to love my wife, or my kids, or my family”, or, “I’m not the only one who has felt that way/struggled with that”.  Life is so hard, and the weight of it seems to get heavier and heavier for so many of us..   But we’re not alone!  We’re made in the image of a loving God, and we can get through this, joyfully, together.

How’s the music scene in your locale?

The Twin Cities area (Minnesota) is THE BEST music scene!  People are so supportive of each other.  Going to shows, repping each other’s record releases, organizing groups, get-togethers, sharing songs, stage, etc.  I’m a relative unknown here – but people have been so open and inviting!

And the TALENT!  We have some of the greatest singers!  You should look up Waltzing on Waves – Jen Bluhm is my fav singer right now.  And Wild Age, incredible band.  And Joe Kopel, Graham Bramblett, Kari Arnett, Almighty American, Dirt Train.  I could go on and on…

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

Best concert – Boy.  I’m not sure I could pick one!  Prince is probably the best entertainer I’ve ever seen.  Seeing the Who in 1997, and the Stones around that same time, older guys who killed it in ways young guys still don’t.  Wilco for all around great songs, great musical performances, and Nels Cline is a madman on guitar!  Then, my daughter’s fifth grade orchestra concert, hands down the best concert I’ve ever been to.  ????

What I love most about playing live?  The connection with the audience.  Whether a song moves them, or funny stories, or seeing people sing along – it’s a wonderful feeling.  Doesn’t happen every performance, but when it does, there is nothing better!

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?  

“This Town Is Not For Me”.  While I do like my songs, I can’t say with every one, I go, “Woah, what is this???”.  I did with “This Town Is Not For Me”.  I have no idea where it came from – but I’m not going to stop it.  ????

The song talks to not feeling comfortable in your own skin – something we all struggle with at some point in life.  Often as teenagers – but often also as adults.  Can be fleeting, or chronic.  But we all endure this feeling.  My HOPE is others might relate, and think, “I’m not the only one…” – and find some peace in that.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I’ve been performing a LOT, as a solo artist, this past year.  Just me and my guitar and voice.  It’s forced me to re-think my songs.  It’s also helped me to re-think writing.  What does a song really NEED, vs just layering cool instrumental stuff to wow you.  Don’t’ get me wrong – I love the cool layers.  But if a song is great all by itself, it’ll be great with layers.  Not always the case in reverse.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?  

I think I’d love to do all of these with Johnny Cash.  He seems like he would have been down to earth,  very similar to me in way of thinking, cordial and welcoming – and, I mean – It’s JOHNNY CASH.  Woah…

What’s next for you?  

I’m putting this record out.  “This Is What I Do”.  Comes out January 19.  I’m doing a fun little CD release show at 318 Café in Excelsior, MN, January 23rd.  Then I’ll gig a bunch.  Mostly local, but God-willing some regional or possibly national as well.

Then, I’m already about ½ way through songs for a new record.  I’d like to be ready to start pre-production and/or recording by late summer, maybe fall?

I also write with some friends of mine in a group called “The Only Childs”.  We put an EP out in 2017.  I’d love to do another project with them, if time permits.

Just enjoying the ride, really.  Making music is such a blast!  Even sappy, “Lover’s Lament Crap”  ????

How can people find you? 

My website will get you to everything else –  I’d love for you to go there, then reach out to me.  Let me know what you think, where you are from, a little about YOU.

You can find all my social media sites from there, listen to and purchase music, get to my streams (Spotify, iTunes, etc.).  A proverbial one stop shop, cuz I like you!

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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