Fueled by positive thinking, community, and nature, Hikes smiles through meticulous composition and embraces process, as they buckle down for their fifth release.
Words By Aisha Burns Photos By Eric Morales
Sitting down with Hikes is to meet an unbelievable wave of positivity in its most genuine form. It’s evident in the ease with which they burst into laughter, and through the melody-driven, energized melding of technical chops with pop-sensibility that forms a rock sound that’s uniquely theirs. On top of it all is an optimistic drive, unphased by change, that just won’t quit.
“Our band is that very classic story of a bunch of punk and hardcore kids who got older, didn’t want to play [that] anymore, and started listening to jazz and world music,” says bassist, Colin Jenkins. “Hikes is what that sounds like.”
Reminiscent of early 2000’s bands like Owls and Do Make Say Think, Hikes fuses an affinity for heavy music and indie rock with jazz, bossa nova and classical guitar into songs that traverse the space between explosive anthems and rolling, delicate grooves.
Guitarist William Kauber and guitarist-vocalist Nathan Wilkins formed Hikes in 2011, and later expanded to a four-piece, adding Jenkins on bass and drummer Chris Long. With four releases under their belt via Raw Paw Records, the band is writing more collaboratively than ever while preparing for an upcoming vinyl split, a full-length record, and a run of shows in Alaska this spring.
Hikes rehearses in east Austin, where most of the group has recorded, worked and resided for years. Although Long’s seen businesses demolished near his Ceasar Chavez pottery workspace, and Jenkins’ east side home was leveled for condo construction, the group’s unshaken in the face of east Austin’s changing creative landscape.
“I think everything getting pushed around is just pushing people into venues, and the quality of venues is increasing,” says Wilkins. “I think the scene is stronger than ever.” They dote on Austin’s vibrant network of eager artists and encouraging environment.
“It just puts the fire under your ass in a different way, because you can’t stop this kind of change from happening,” adds Long. “This is organic growth that a city does. There’s a lot of good and uncomfortable things that come with it, but you just have to work harder and understand it better and push yourself more.” This kind of drive is Hikes in a nutshell.
They revel in working hard, working together, and fostering community at their shows.
“It’s a really important part of being on tour, those connections with people.” Long says. “You can
meet really cool people and have a beautiful, heart-opening time.”