How far can a pure heart and the mad flailings of youth get a band balancing work, school and making records? Turns out, a fair ways if you’re one of the four opportunists in the post-punk outfit Huak.

These good ol’ boys aren’t grinding till sparks fly. They’re living out full lives, playing house parties and sets on boats, and allowing a vibrant list of musical minds to re-outfit their songs.

The remix project especially smacks of good sense and humility, the anti-micromanagement for the iTunes generation of music makers. With all the pomp and circumstance that too many upstarts bring to the table, Huak is making powerful connections with the many talents around town simply by seeing if these third parties might be willing to reinvent their own work.

It’s a safe hunch that Huak would pay the favor back someday, and that their collaborative experiment will bear fruits over what promises to be a comfy niche in the local music community for years to come.

Read what Jake Lowry (guitar/vocals) had to say, then check out Huak at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford on Monday. 

What the heck is a Huak?

Huak is a signifier stripped of signification. What do you think it means? We’ve tried to develop its meaning through our songs and the collective weirdness that is us four guys. In that sense, the word speaks for itself. 

How has it been working with Ron Harrity of Peapod Recordings?

We all love Ron. He’s done so much for us over the past few years, and is a constant source of inspiration. I mean, here’s a guy who is doing what he loves on his own terms and has generated a following doing it. He really took a risk with us when he asked us to join Peapod. We were still trying to gel into a cohesive songwriting unit, adding and subtracting members while we were recording trajectory. Ron has been nothing but encouraging, and he’s made me feel better about our material on numerous occasions.

Between work and school, how does the band find time to get better together?

That’s a loaded question. Huak has been wrought with scheduling problems from the get-go, and this paired with lack of reliable transportation has definitely slowed our pace. Overall though, I would say we are getting better at the science of formulating songs people want to hear and that we want to play in the time our schedules allow. For me, work and school serve as a means of expanding my thought processes and tightening my lyrical focus. I’ve never understood the musicians who think locking themselves in some turret far away from the rest of the world will help them produce a great record.

I need experience in other areas of life as the raw material to deconstruct/rearrange and create something from. Whether it’s a play I read for class or the terrible feeling of watching the clock at work, it’s all raw material. 

How does playing a house party compare to a regular old stage show?

As far as venue vs. house show goes, for the most part I think that house shows are a better experience for everyone involved. They’re just more democratic. There’s none of the epic performer/audience divide that makes rock ‘n’ roll another uncomfortable tentacle of capitalism. The floor is the stage and the stage is the floor, so the channels of communication are always open.

Things can go wrong, but there’s none of the pretension of professionalism that exists in some Portland venues, a phoniness that makes me hate the experience. My musical ambitions are more in line with house shows; I just want to share ideas with people and make new friends, not try to take over the world by forcing songs on people looking at their watches. 

Describe a moment putting your upcoming LP together when the band really clicked.

The LP has taken so long to put together that there are probably plenty of instances of things clicking. It happens a lot in the actual song construction process wherein somebody will suggest adding some refrain or playing a part for longer than we had been and it will all come together. Adding extra noises in the studio (i.e. stretching out a trumpet part I recorded and then reversing it to layer it over the outro of “Bind”) happens quite a bit. 

How do remixes of your own work impact the band’s songwriting?

I don’t know how much remixes impact our songwriting. For me, the most exciting part of listening to the remixes was seeing how our friends interpreted the same song. None of them are remotely similar, which speaks to the creativity of the Portland eccentrics we recruited. 

If you play on a boat, when’s the best time for a swim?

The best time for a swim is after we’ve turned off the amps. No dripping over live electricity, please.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston.