Smile Politely

WEFT Sessions Welcomes Carl Hauck Tonight

Tonight at 10 p.m. on WEFT-90.1 FM, Carl Hauck will be performing his acoustical goodness on WEFT Sessions. You can either listen on-air or over the World Wide Web at Hauck was kind enough to join us by the wonders of e-mail, and he shared his thoughts on being compared to “Ben Fold,” why he’s giving away his first two albums online and how his goals involve avoiding hospitalization.

Smile Politely: Will you be solo in the studio or with a backing band?

Carl Hauck: With the exception of at least one or two collaborations, I’ll be playing solo.


SP: Have you played for a radio show before? Any complications or advantages that you expect?

CH: I actually just played WEFT Sessions this past May, so the only problem I foresee is filling up an hour of airtime with different material than last time. Of course, It’ll be a challenge to offset Todd Hunter’s superior wit, but that goes without saying. Other than that, it’s always a bit strange to realize that much of the audience isn’t there in the same room when you’re playing on the radio.

SP: How does the songwriting process work for you?

CH: I’ve gotten to the point where I’m able to recognize what moods of mine are conducive to songwriting. Whenever one of those moods hits, I try to set aside whatever I’m doing and just go with it, because it’s rare for me to be proud of something I’ve written. As for the step-by-step process, there really isn’t one. It never starts exclusively with a lyrical idea, or exclusively with a riff or melody — it really depends on the song.

How would you describe your sound for someone who’s never heard your music before?

CH: When I perform live, it could be described as sparse, intimate folk music. On record, though, it’s considerably more layered and there’s an ambience about it.

SP: Was there a moment when you realized that you wanted to be a musician? How did that come about?

CH: I’ve been playing guitar for a long time, but I didn’t attempt to write original music, or even sing for that matter, until some friends and I formed a band in early high school. Aside from a few setbacks (including the fact that the band shared its name with an emergency contraceptive pill), it was truly a great experience, and it made me realize that creating music is something I enjoy doing, and maybe even something I could be good at.

SP: What’s a singer or band that you’ve been compared to that you don’t think is representative at all, and why not?

CH: A critic from The Phantom Tollbooth compared me to Ben Folds in an album review, and even spelled his name “Ben Fold.” I get it that music writers can get lazy and feel the need to compare every guy with an acoustic guitar to either Bob Dylan or Jason Mraz, and every long-haired guy wielding dual keyboards in front of an orchestra to Yanni, but I don’t see the point of comparison between myself and Ben Folds. Maybe it’s the whole four marriages thing …

SP: What is the greatest album of all time? Why?

CH: I certainly don’t feel qualified to designate the greatest album of all time, but some of my favorites from the last couple years are Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, The National’s Boxer and Elbow’s The Seldom Seen Kid.

SP: What was your favorite band when you were in junior high?

CH: I listened to a lot of Nirvana, some Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer’s blue album, and some early 311 and Green Day. Aside from that, I remember my classmates occasionally watching “Total Request Live” at lunchtime on the classroom TV, and I’ll admit that I probably bobbed my head to the “Bawitdaba” video.

SP: Are you a full-time musician or do you have a side gig?

CH: I’m entering the last semester of my “side gig” starting this week. I’m studying to be a high school English teacher, so over the course of sixteen weeks I’ll be student teaching at two different public schools in the C-U vicinity. Last semester I was a full-time student and a part-time Jimmy John’s “sandwich artist,” and still managed to play over twenty shows during that time. I’m hoping to continue that streak, and play out as much as I can without being hospitalized.

SP: What do you like to do in your spare time?

CH: I enjoy visiting my family, hanging out with my girlfriend and tormenting my roommate, Rich. Other than that, I enjoy reading, playing Dutch Blitz, listening to music and dunking over my little brother in NBA Inside Drive 2003. You just can’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk.

SP: Who’s singing with you on “Herrick You Devil” (available on your Myspace page)?

CH: Her name is Molly Robison, and she’s only a freshman in college (at Columbia in Chicago). You can check some of her music out at I actually might cover one of her songs on WEFT.

SP: Would you like to say anything else that wasn’t covered in these questions?

CH: I have a string of great local shows coming up soon after the WEFT Session. On Friday, Jan. 23, I’ll be playing at the Red Herring with Sunset Stallion, Tracey & Tricia, and Steph Plant. On Saturday, Jan. 24, I’ll be at the Shed in Dewey, Ill., alongside Todd Reese, John Davey and Tricia Scully. And last but not least, you can see me at the Canopy Club on Wednesday, Jan. 28, along with Stan McConnell, Tracey & Tricia, Jonathon Childers and a fantastic singer-songwriter from Chicago named Joe Pug.

Because I don’t think they’re good enough to sell anymore, my first two albums are available for free download at in the “music” section. You can stream some of my newer music at Thanks for listening!

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