Last week, I spent a highly enjoyable night out at the 5 Point with the Hounds of the Wild Hunt -- we had some drinks, ate some peanut butter, and talked about everything from their day jobs (drummer Jason Kilgore is a disease intervention specialist at an STD clinic, everyone else is a barkeep) to poetry (Ryan Devlin and I took classes at UW together and both have very useful degrees in creative writing) to just why they got rid of that bad-ass band name, The Whore Moans. The pith of it is in my column, Through at 2, this week, but here's some extras from our conversation:
How often do you recommend Seattle Weekly readers get tested for STDs?
Jonny Henningson: Probably less than Stranger readers.
Jason Kilgore: I agree.
Do you hand out condoms at your shows?
JK: One time, before we started a set at King Cobra, I started throwing out condoms, and I got on the mic and told everyone to clap for not getting the clap.
Ryan Devlin: Jason also brought condoms to hand out on the road. We had a basket at our merch table. But everything in the van gets really fucked up and messy on the road. So now every time you open the back door, a smattering of condoms fall out.
JH: If you're anywhere in Seattle and see a pile of condoms on the ground, Hounds of the Wild Hunt have been there.
Tell me more about this name change.
JH: Jason has the most amount of integrity. He's absolutely, hands down, the least pretentious member of the band. He really had a problem with us changing the name. But Ryan just kind of laid it on us, and said, "I'm sick of this, I don't want to make songs that I care so much about, that I have passion about, that I have love about, that mean this much to me, and then only have the title the Whore Moans to hang them on."
JK: It was a deal breaker for me. It was like, why would we do that? I've never been in a band that was this productive, that's accomplished this much, and it was scary and frightening to abandon that.
JH: Ryan just said, "look, we are a bunch of grown-ass adult men sitting around a living room talking about whether or not we should change our name from the WHORE MOANS." Nick and I started dying of laughter, and it was a moment of clarity.JH: The beginning of the band was essentially like how crazy ridiculous non-caring we could be.
RD: How ironically removed can we be.
JH:Like big fucking nihilistic, but like extremely fun nihilism! Like laser beams and dragons are the coolest things ever! That kind of band.
RD: It was wonderful, it was rampant idealism. What changed is that we went from having a fun hilarious name that we shared with our friends and played in basements to something that we did as our main focus in life. Jon has been writing amazing songs, very thoughtful, interesting things that I feel like people need to hear. And all of a sudden, it doesn't work when you write something like that and then you call it the Whore Moans. You can get it to your friends, but there's an inherent wall in that too.
Where did Hounds of the Wild Hunt come from? Were there any other candidates?
JH: The majority of our potential band names came from one book by D.J. Conway. It's called Magickal Mystical Creatures, which was gifted to me by Nick here.
RD: "Magickal" spelled with a "k."
JH: That is to imply it is real magic, not card tricks. It's just a big list in alphabetical order of magical, mystical creatures throughout mythology and different cultures. I was just opening this book and reading it out loud. One of my favorites was The White Eagle of Zeus.
RD: The White Snake of China. The Anglo Saxon Chronicles.
JH: A Great Many People In Europe.
JK: Every single page has four awesome band names on it!
JH: Then I read Hounds of the Wild Hunt.
RD: There was a sincere pause.
JH: It's from Northern Europe, the very cold parts, and it basically is the story of the hunt. The wild hunt, depending on who you talk to, is led by either Odin or the devil himself. The hounds lead the hunt in every instance. To hear the pack is supposed to be a death omen. If you get caught by them, then you are destined to become part of the hunt forever.
RD: You're not living and you're not dead. It's the gods coming down from the higher plane and coming upon us little humans and hunting upon it. It is fucking doom coming at you.
Jason, what finally changed your mind about the name?
JK: They had all decided they were on board for this. They decided to sit me down and tell me this. They said, "please, do this with us." I felt like it was risking a whole lot to change the name. I really just needed to sit on it for a while. Then when we talked about it, I basically lashed out at my best friends in the world and told them, "you're fucking sellouts, you just want to change the name because you'll be more socially acceptable!" I really felt that was what was going on. But then I was thinking about the alternative, which is I'm not going to be making music with these guys ever again. And all of a sudden it dawned on me, that's much more frightening to me than not going under the same name. And the new name's really cool.
JH: The moniker fits the content, and there's a freedom in that.
Hounds of the Wild Hunt will headline the Columbia City Theater tomorrow night at 9pm. Tickets are $8; Baltic Cousins and Hobosexual will open.