Haakon's Fault
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Haakon's Fault

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Haakon's Fault"

Haakon Lenzi seems to be causing quite a stir in Morningside Heights. Not only is his name scrawled across the old Radio Perfecto sign in anticipation of Haakon’s Hall, a new restaurant that bears his name, but he is also the namesake of Haakon’s Fault, a rock-funk-prog outfit that includes Doug Berns, CC ’10. “He embodies the sort of mischievous ethos of the band,” explained Berns.

The band is very much “New York”—a seven-piece grouping of six college students and one high-school student from five different New York schools. In fact, last spring they had the distinctly Morningside Heights experience of finding themselves in the middle of a Manhattanville expansion protest. The band had been invited to play the Tablet Art Fair on Low Plaza and, Berns retells, “we’re doing soundcheck and this lady comes over and says, ‘Could you not play? We’re having a protest,’ and so we said we’d give them time.” After delaying their start time, the band began to play but, singer Harry McNamara continued, “this guy sneaks up and unplugged the power source.”

Berns was not happy. “I was fuming, I was yelling at everyone. This older gentleman comes over and I start yelling at him and saying we have a right to be here,” he said. “Turns out it was Dean Columbo [former Dean of Student Affairs Chris Colombo].”

Berns and McNamara tell the story with amusement and recall a good end to the set. Once they reclaimed their electricity, figuratively and literally, “some of them [the protesters] were responding really well to the music,” McNamara said. “We should have gone for something edgier that day.”

The band was founded in 2003, and the original members—keyboardist JJ Lindenthal and guitarist Mike Serman—are still a part of it. The other members include Berns on bass, McNamara on lead vocals, Zach Koeber on tenor saxophone, Miles Arntzen, who joined in June, on drums, and Davy Levitan on guitar. All are jazz musicians, and all grew up in New York with the exception of McNamara. The original members founded the band in 10th grade, but according to Berns “weren’t too ambitious with it.” Berns met the first members through a mutual friend. They hit it off, and he began pushing the group to write more cohesive songs. When Berns met McNamara in New York City and in 2008, McNamara went to see a Haakon’s Fault show at Don Hill’s in SoHo. After the show, “we were partying down a little bit and they asked me to come sing at a rehearsal,” recalled McNamara. He performed with Haakon’s Fault for the first time the same week and soon started writing music for them as well.

Their sound falls into no obvious categories. It can perhaps best be described as the product of applying the skills and predilections of jazz musicians to classic rock with a progressive attitude. Their influences range from Tower of Power to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to The Who. At their show at Sullivan Hall on Oct. 16, they played songs like “The Siren,” a perfect illustration of their proggier tendencies, referring to Odysseus’ trip with decidedly epic lyrics. They also treated the small crowd to an energetic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” While Haakon’s Fault has made some recordings, their obvious strength is in live shows, which have a bold, layered sound and include improvisation and solo opportunities for every member of the band. Depending on the song, their sound can be more or less heavy, but the constant is the seven members’ smooth synchronization. This is a polished act with obvious chemistry and musical skill. Arntzen appears to be a high-school prodigy on the drums, which are a noticeable driving force in the songs. Koeber employs a number of pedals to distort his saxophone, resulting in an unusually flexible sound that has the listener peering over the amps to watch him work.

For now, the band is playing in New York and staying in school, but they have plans to continue in the band after college and, barring a sudden shoot to the cover of Spin Magazine, tour the country. “These days you can’t expect to make a lot of money selling records, so the plan would be to be a live band and be on the road most of the year,” explained Berns. They hope to keep growing: “My dream is to play at Bonnaroo,” said McNamara. “The festival scene is a good fit for our sound, playing outside in front of hundreds of people. That’s the dream.”
- The Columbia Spectator

"Arlene's Grocery"

...a terrific band with a big sound, big heart and high spirits-Haakon's Fault. Unusual name to remember but worth the try. - Citysearch.com

"Haakon's Fault Rocks Your Socks Off"

At the Underground Lounge on West End and 107th street, Haakon’s Fault rocked the roof, but you couldn’t blame them. The Fault are a six-piece band with an eclectic sound. And when asked about their influences, “heavy, groove, and heavy groove” were high atop that list, but musically, they draw from sources as disparate as Robert Johnson to Jaco Pastorius to The Allman Brothers but sound remarkably like Umphrey’s Mcgee. They opened with “Circus,” a slow-to-start song that transformed from a laid-back tenor sax-ified lull, to a full on funktastic groove further supplemented by a distorted guitar solo so dirty it needed a shower, but luckily there was no soap in sight. The group didn’t play on an actual elevated stage (there doesn’t seem to be one at the venue), but was level with the audience and about three feet away from the nearest member. The only other song that was announced by name was “Pilgrimage,” a piano-centric tune that was interspersed with heavily distorted guitar runs and a thumping bass line. The song slowly built to tribal-infused drumbeat whereupon some serious jamming ensued culminating in a dual guitar duel that ultimately melted the audience’s collective face. As for the rest of the 40 or so minute set, the songs seemed to blend into one another, but not at all in a bad way. Regardless, fifteen minutes after the show had ended I was still looking for my socks, so I decided to walk home. Sockless.

... Salaam/Shalom/Peace... - Areyouheretoconfuseme.blogspot.com

"Haakon's Fault - Pilgrimage [EP Review]"

New York City nouveau hipsters Haakon's Fault bring a wealth of musical visions and styles to the table. Pouring Rock, Metal, Jazz and Funk into a musically progressive blend, Haakon's Fault might be making some of the most exciting music on the New York City scene. Their debut EP, Pilgrimage, finds Haakon's Fault mining the musical world for gems and sewing it all together with the mastery of an old-time jazz master, all set against the ruddy, soulful voice of Harry McNamara.

Pilgrimage opens with the title track, a song about finding spiritual meaning in a physical world. The construction and arrangement of this track is brilliant. Star Gazing leads with guitar work inspired by early Yes and opens into a delicious bit of 1970's style Funk/Jazz. This performance is flawless, from the instrumentation to lead vocal to harmonies. Even the Rick Wakeman-esque synth that kicks in half way through the song is wracked with perfection. Siren is perhaps the most aggressively progressive track on Pilgrimage; it's interesting musically but I didn't enjoy it as much as the rest of the CD. Eulogic mixes mellow Rock, Soul, Funk and Jazz in delicious song about the legacies we leave behind. Guitarist Mike Serman gets to show off a bit as well, laying down some serious fretwork throughout the song. Pilgrimage returns home with Glory, a song about the draw that life on the road has for some. There's serious jazz construction involved in the composition of Glory, easily the most complex and thrilling song on the disc.

Haakon's Fault spins Progressive Rock back towards its roots in Jazz on Pilgrimage, putting together five songs that are far and away superior to the material being generated currently in neo-prog, mathcore and other loosely related genres. I suspect the live shows are where Haakon's Fault is at their best, but as musical introductions go its hard to beat Pilgrimage.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Haakon's Fault at www.myspace.com/haakonsfault. You can download Pilgrimage from Bandcamp. No word on physical copies of the CD to date, although if you message the band through MySpace they may help you out!

- Wildy's World

"Pligrimage - Haakon's Fault (EP Review)"

From the Big Apple hails the up and coming rock outfit, Haakon's Fault. They're a 5-piece, unique blend of progressive pop-rock that combines varied elements to create a sound only you can experience by listening to the CD (or seeing them live, i would imagine).

On their album, Pilgrimage, they open with the title track and unleash great drum grooves and musical interplay that hasn't been heard on the music scene in far too long. Its part JellyFish, part Alice in Chains, part Incubus, and part Phish. So, you do the math!

On Star Gazing they kick it off in more of a jam-band vein that is reminiscent of Pseudopod. Its got all of the jam elements with a more gentle bent. Siren brings in more intense guitar work. Its all in all grittier which is an interesting contrast to the low vocals.

The album's closer, Glory, is a nice acoustic track with a very live feel that ends well. All in all, the record is produced with pristine quality. You can obviously tell that these guys are all extremely talented players in their own rights, and they make it work as they play together in a band.

If you don't own Pilgrimage, go get a copy!
- Awaken Music

"New Music Spotlight (June 2009 Edition)"

Haakon's Fault is an amazing band that has a super crisp sound that beautifully fuses elements of metal, rock, and blues into melodious tunes. Each member of the band brings something different to the group which adds to the overall sound of the group. With an eclectic range of inclunces, Haakon's Fault is the perfect choice for music lovers looking for music with a kick. Check out this fantastic spotlight with Haakon's Fault that our Webzine recently completed. Here is the outcome.

Isaac: What makes this band stand out from the rest of the bands currently out in the music industry?

HF: A few things make Haakon's Fault stand out from the pack: We have a great chemistry between the band members, both musically and as friends, so we are often all on the same page in a lot of different areas. We have a wide variety of musical interests as well, from metal to jazz to blues, which creates an eclectic feel to what we like to call our "funked-up arena sound".

Isaac: The band is from New York City. Describe the music scene in your area and where do you see Haakon's Fault fitting in the music scene?

HF: We've been playing in New York City for a long time now; on some bills a metal act played before us, and an indie pop act played after us, and recently we even played after a duo who performed choreographed matches of Mortal Kombat on dueling acoustic guitars (don't ask us how they did it). We've found that New York City has less of a defined scene, and is more of a melting pot for all sorts of music. For a band like us, which tries to blur the lines between genres, we always look to be inspired by the tremendous variety of music surrounding us. Keeping our heads up and our ears open helps us keep our music fresh and appealing.

Isaac: Describe your favorite venue to perform at and why you enjoy performing there?

HF: Our favorite venues in New York City are Sullivan Hall (214 Sullivan Street) and Bar East/The_Underscore (90th and 1st). Sullivan Hall has awesome sound and lights, so we always have a great time playing there. Since the Wetlands closed in 2005, it's the club that has picked up the most slack in the NYC "jam band" scene, regularly hosting shows by some of our favorite musicians and their side projects; we always feel like we're in the right place when we play there. We like to look at The_Underscore as "our" venue, because it's located just a few blocks from where some of the band members grew up; we also won our first battle of the bands there.

Isaac: Your music has been described as a mixture of metal, rock, and blues. Name some of your major influences and why have they impacted you musically?

HF: Each member of Haakon's Fault draws from a variety of influences. JJ is a huge John Medeski fan, and MMW has had a profound influence on his playing style. Doug loves Iron Maiden and always talks about how he wants to draw on their live presence as an overall template for Haakon's Fault's sound, presence, and excitement factor in our live shows. Harry is a big fan of Andrew Bird and his original vocal style. Alex's biggest influence is Meshuggah, which was the first "real, heavy" band he got into. Mike draws a big influence from Warren Haynes, particularly his work in Gov't Mule.

Isaac: The band was founded in 2003 by Serman and Lindenthal. How has the band been able to stay together for such a long time? What is the magical formula?

HF: Mike met Alex at the Summer Performance Program at Berklee College of Music, in Boston. After playing a show or two in Boston at a very young age (Mike was 16, Alex 14), Mike returned to New York and asked JJ to jam with him and Alex. We had some chemistry and we liked to play together, so we just had fun with it. The band went through a few bass players until being introduced to Doug in early 2006. Doug joining the band was a turning point for all of us to take our music more seriously, as he helped motivate the band to push our songwriting into more mature places. After trying out a few different musicians at various other positions in the band, we invited Harry to be our singer, which was a landmark moment and provided a true voice to the band. Now that we have a more consistent musical arrangement, the staples of our six year journey continue to be what keeps us going: the fun we have playing together, how seriously we take our craft, how badly we all want to keep playing music. To say there is a magical formula would be misleading; we have been willing to roll with the punches and make the very best out of every opportunity, because we are all on the same page, focused on making it.

Isaac: Elaborate a little about the feedback that you have received from fans about your music in general?

HF: The one thing fans always tell us is that we have excellent musicianship and catchy songwriting. People will often tell us they left the show with one of our songs stuck in their head, which is a great thing!

Isaac: We are almost half way finished with 2009. What has been some of the biggest developments for the band this year and what can fans expect from the band the remaining of the year.

HF: First and foremost, the return of Alex Cohen to the drum chair has made the band a lot more cohesive. We're still playing our first shows back with Alex but the band sounds tighter than ever; we can only imagine where another 6 months will lead us musically. In May, we won the Upper East Side Music Festival and Battle of the Bands at The_Underscore in New York City, and we're just finishing up a mini-residency at Sullivan Hall. We're releasing an EP (currently untitled) on August 7th, which is the culmination of about two years of songwriting, fine-tuning, and recording; suffice to say, we're all incredibly excited about this project being finished so everyone can hear it. Also in the fall, we will be playing the M.E.A.N.Y. Festival, and we're hoping to play a CMJ showcase.

Isaac: Where can folks locate you online?

HF: We have a MySpace page (www.myspace.com/haakonsfault), as well as a Facebook fan page. We're on SonicBids (www.sonicbids.com/haakonsfault), and we have our own YouTube channel. You can also find us at www.citizenmusic.net, our management company's website. We can be reached by e-mail at haakonsfault@gmail.com, or through our managers' emails, Noah@citizenmusic.net & Gideon@citizenmusic.net

Isaac: Describe where you see yourself in five years...

HF: Bonnaroo main stage! Seriously, we see ourselves on tour in 5 years, playing all over the country and showcasing ourselves as a true, exciting live band. To sustain a career in the music business these days, you have to be willing to hit the road hard, and that's exactly what we're hoping to do. Festivals, amphitheaters, night clubs; you name the venue; we want to play there…and then play there again.

Isaac: Time for shout outs...

HF: We'd like to give some shout outs to a few people. First of all, to our managers Gideon and Noah Plotnicki, who are like the 6th and 7th members of our band. Dan Stringer, the producer of our EP, did an amazing job for us and we look forward to working with him again. Finally, we'd like to shout out our friends The Ambassadors and The London Souls for being kick ass New York City rock bands!

Isaac: Final thoughts from Haakon's Fault...

HF: Check out our album when it drops on August 7 (it will be available on iTunes). Check our website(s) for tour dates. Email us, become a fan on Facebook, stay in touch! We love hearing from fans, so don't be afraid to drop us a line - we WILL respond!

- Juniors Cave Online Magazine


Heavy and Heady - 2006
Demo - 2007
Pilgrimage- 2009
From The Road 2010 - 2010 (only available online)



Hailing from New York City, Haakon's Fault is singer Harry McNamara, guitarist Mike Serman, bassist Doug Berns, keyboardist JJ Lindenthal, and drummer Alex Cohen. Receiving training at music conservatories in various schools throughout the New York area, Haakon’s Fault has crafted a sound that is both polished and progressive. Fusing rock, funk, metal, and jazz influences, Haakon’s Fault balances tight sections, driving choruses, and roaring solos to produce a heavy sound that screams to be performed in front of audiences everywhere.

Serman and Lindenthal founded Haakon's Fault in 2003 following Serman's summer studying in the Berklee School of Music's Summer Performance Program, where he received tutelage from Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Paul Silverstein. They named the band after their evil-genius childhood friend--Haakon Lenzi--a schoolmate of theirs at New York City's the Browning School who they felt embodied the brilliant-yet-mischievous ethos of the band. Cohen, a drumming prodigy at age 14, joined Serman and Lindenthal as Haakon's Fault's drummer in 2003. In 2005, friends introduced Berns to the group, and he quickly slotted himself into the dual roles of bassist and songwriter

Berns, who had been gigging in New York City from the age of fourteen and would soon begin studying with Chris Washburne as a member of the Columbia University Jazz Ensemble, brought a heavier focus on structure and songwriting to the talented group, leading to Haakon's Fault's first demo,"Heavy and Heady." (2006)

In late 2007, Serman met McNamara while they both attended The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music and was quickly added to the band as a lead singer, providing a "front-man" presence that the band had been searching for.

In August '09, Haakon's Fault's released their debut EP - "Pilgrimage," the product of two years of writing, fine-tuning, recording, and mixing. Hailed as, "far and away superior to the material being generated currently in neo-prog, mathcore and other loosely related genres," the release of this EP marks a new era for the band’s continuously evolving sound, displaying both their depth and musical range: The album's piano-driven title track, “Pilgrimage”, is a rock epic; "Stargazing" is a psychedelic pop song with force; "Siren" is prog-metal, featuring a thumping beat and heavy guitar distortions; "Eulogic" is a straight-ahead rocker, contrasting soft verses with a heavy chorus; "Glory" is a triumphant hybrid of rock, pop, and metal. According to Wildy's World, "as musical introductions go its hard to beat "Pilgrimage."

Haakon’s Fault has been packing venues throughout New York City for almost five years, frequently playing at venues such as The Knitting Factory, Sullivan Hall, and Crash Mansion. In the spring of 2008, Haakon’s Fault played at the Columbia University Tablet Art Fair, and in May 2009, they were the winners of the inaugural Upper East Side Music Festival/Battle of the Bands. In September 2009, Haakon's Fault played in M.E.A.N.Y Fest 2009. In October 2009, Haakon's Fault participated in the 2009 CMJ Music Marathon with shows at Sullivan Hall and Rockwood Music Hall. 2010 has found Haakon's Fault in their most exciting phase yet; Besides "Pilgrimage" appearing in the Relix Magazine CD Sampler (August 2010), The band played Muddy River Jam Festival, as well as a range of shows throughout the Northeast and Atlantic regions, including a headlining slot on their first Rocks Off Concert Cruise. After a great success at this year's CMJ Music Marathon at Crash Mansion, Haakon's Fault are are looking forward to finishing off the year at Highline Ballroom in support of U-Melt and The Heavy Pets, and are looking forward to getting back into the studio in 2011.

Haakon's Fault have had the honor of sharing the stage with several talented acts, including Bonerama, Nigel Hall Band, Bernie Worrell and Socialibrium, Filigar, Psychedelphia, The Shake, Ambassadors, Igor's Egg, Van Burens, Rozatones, and many more.