Haun's Mill
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Haun's Mill

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Americana




""Highly Recommended""

Interview – Haun’s Mill
Syphax, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Haun’s Mill is certainly a unique addition to Linescratchers. Part husband-and-wife acoustic folk duo, part performance artists, part historians, part film-makers, Eliza Wren and Nord Anderson take listeners back to darker, but not different, times in our country’s history. From the Spanish Flu outbreak, to quiet, intimacy in poverty, to the Great Depression, these stories and themes find a new, added relevance in our society today. Highly recommended.

So for the record, you two are husband and wife?
N&E: Yes.

Our other favorite husband-and-wife duo, and the inspiration for Linescratchers, is Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low. Are you familiar with Low?
E: Funny, we just recently discovered them – I’d heard of them a bit before but didn’t know so much about them – nice stuff!

Is playing in a band your full time job then, or do you have day jobs?
N: Ha! That’s the goal, to not have day jobs. I quit the job I had for 8 yrs. so we could move to Austin & do more music. Here in Austin I got another day job – but yes, full-time music is the goal.

Some might say that combining a marriage with a music career might be an added stress to the marriage, but there are of course several examples of successful couples that make it work. How do you navigate these tricky waters?
E: I actually think it’s easier in our case. We get along really well & are always around to rehearse whenever (as long as the baby isn’t trying to strum the guitars or climb into the bass drum). Also, I think the band is basically all about our relationship – it couldn’t exist without it & we value what time we have together – it seems like it’s never enough.
N: We were both musicians before we met so it only made sense to work together. Creating music is what we love to do, managing the band is the stressful part.

The first thing interested listeners may notice about Haun’s Mill is that you have combined musical performances with film projections and costumes. What gave you the inspiration for this? Do you think your music works by itself, or do you think the stage show is an integral part of the experience?
N: We wanted to create an experience and atmosphere as the backdrop to our sound so that our live performances were something more than just repeating what was on our album. The songs are the most important element and our hope is that they magnify the stage show.

Your fans love you for your unique take on American history through your music. Why have you chosen to write music about the darker times of the past?
E: I feel like the harder events in both American History & people’s personal history are the most interesting – this is what builds character, not just having a perfectly happy life where nothing goes wrong.
N: I’m inspired by the great music storytellers such as Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Johnny Cash to name a few. In a similar vein, we’re trying to tell stories and the best ones involve darkness, danger, struggle, etc.

Your website mentions that modern listeners might actually connect to those troubled times right now.
E: I know it’s generic to say, but history does repeat itself. The swine flu was the same flu of 1918. Coincidentally, our song, “The Flu”, was written just as the new swine flu started. And for the most part our songs could very well be about today. Nord’s “Mt. Pleasant” song was about a three-way murder in the small Utah town of Mt. Pleasant – after the song was recorded a three-way murder with a similar story happened there in Mt. Pleasant.

What albums or EPs has Haun’s Mill released? Any plans for future releases?
E: We had a very early, limited release of Haun’s Mill as a duo – it was recorded by us at home. We then had a more official release of a full band album we recorded at Audiospace Studio just before we moved from Utah. This summer we will be recording our next (and full band) album.

Both of you, Eliza and Nord, have had previous solo music experience. What do you both bring to the table and how do you combine your respective styles and influences?
E: So far all of the songs Nord writes he sings & all of the songs I write, I sing – this has just been a natural choice & I think gives our band more variety. Nord is a history major & I’m a film major. We have different musical strengths (this also applies to our relationship very much so – in many ways we’re opposite). Nord is a better guitar player & has more contemplative and historical lyrics and I’m a better songwriter and singer and everything else… just kidding.

Does Eliza perform solo still or have you put all your efforts into Haun’s Mill?
E: I still perform solo occasionally, but had recently completed my ELiZA WREN “Thesis” project “Returns to Oz” (an original rock score that syncs with the 1985 film, Return to Oz – very similar to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Rainbow project) which took a lot out of me (3 yrs in the studio syncing cymbal hits and banjo strums to actions in the movie)- so I inadvertantly took a break from it afterword to refresh my mind & have a baby (I was pregnant at the time of the big Sundance release of the project). And I’ve been so inspired and excited by Haun’s Mill that it has taken the front seat in my music.

Your group was previously known by the full name Haun’s Mill Massacre, the bloody Mormon historical event when Mormons were attacked by a mob in Missouri in 1838, but you’ve shortened it to Haun’s Mill. Is there a reason why?
E: Haun’s Mill just seemed to make more sense for a lot of reasons & we believed this enough to go to the trouble to change it – which has actually been difficult – some fans had trouble refinding us with our new name & we had to redirect our website info etc. For one thing “Massacre” actually pinned us as heavy metal to many people before they heard us, plus it clouded our more upbeat songs.

Do you plan on any bigger tours in the immediate future?
N: We do plan to go “all out” with the release of our new album in the Fall of this year – so yes.

Where can interested readers find out more about Huan’s Mill shows or music?
N&E: Everything they need can be found at www.haunsmill.com - Linescratchers.com - Syphax


Haun’s Mill: The handsewn CD
Theric, Monday, August 8, 2011

When Syphax first emailed the Linescratchers’ author list about Haun’s Mill, I was instantly intrigued:

… an awesome group from Texas called Haun’s Mill (formerly Haun’s Mill Massacre). They do old-timey music but it’s more of a Southern Gothic-type thing, and their stage show includes weird and admittedly creepy projector movies. A lot of their lyrics deal with old dark times, like the Spanish Influenza epidemic or the Great Depression, etc.

I immediately replied that they sounded awesome—like someone had tapped into my id and found the music it secretly wanted. An hour and fifteen minutes later, he wrote back to say he might be able to get an album sent to me. It was too late because I had already bought it. My id would not be denied!

I knew this could go either way. It could be my fate to love this band because, really, how could I not like a gothfolkMormoncreepoöldtimey band? Or it could be that, with my expectations running so high, even the greatest gothfolkMormoncreepoöldtimey band ever to play Kolob could not live up to what I envisioned.

It’s now two and a half months since I wrote that introduction and, as with so many things, the correct answer was something in the middle.

On first listen, the only song I found truly compelling was the one they must have known was single-worthy because there’s a video:

Despite that, I burned a copy, threw it in the car, and we listened to it on endless loop for a week or so (which included a drive to Yosemite). Familiarity built appreciation. For our first few days in Yosemite, we couldn’t stop singing the chorus of “New York City.” I couldn’t even remember all the words. It is the worst when you can’t stop singing a song but have no idea what the dang words are. This happens to me a lot. I’m terrible with lyrics.

Moving on. It’s no secret that I like listening to the ladies. So of course I prefer when Eliza Wren takes lead vocals. Her voice has a certain charm. It’s a woman’s voice, make no mistake, but it retains a certain girlishness that’s terribly appealing. I wouldn’t have you thinking she’s got a PiPi Band vibe happening , but at the risk of sounding like a oenophile, Eliza’s voice has a nose consisting of innocence, darkness, openness, joy, charm, youthful exuberance, and a knife behind the back, with a lingering wild blackberry finish. All with a strong aroma of folk undercurrents.

On the other hand, Nord Anderson, besides having the immediate disadvantage of being a man, has one of those rasps that I’ve never really taken to. After listening to the album a dozen times, I have become accustomed to it and think the songs are great, but I still doubt I would buy his solo album. (I also don’t buy solo albums from Bob Dylan, Neil Young or Tom Waits. So I imagine Nord will get over this slight.)

And so, in the end, my review can be summed up like this:

TERRIFIC ALBUM!!!! (This is the part to quote and stick on the album cover, though I’m skeptical that a sticker would adhere to the handsewn-and-printed fabric case.)

But back to my initial impressions and Syphax’s original description, I must admit to a bit of disappointment. I have never once felt a particularly dark, creepy, or unsettling vibe from the music. Not anything like The Decemberists sometimes give or fellow Linescratcher Samson Y Hiss (check out my favorite of his zombie songs). So that’s a bummer. Yes, the instrumental ending of “Forsaken” moves in a Carnival of Souls direction, but it doesn’t push hard enough for my taste.

Then again. It takes me years of listening to get lyrics down. Maybe that song about the Spanish Influenza will suddenly sink in and chill me to the bone in 2018.

Because I’m quite sure I’ll still be listening to this album in 2018.

Assuming some new influenza hasn’t killed us all. - Linescratchers.com

""Experience you walk away talking about""

"More than amazing songwriting - but also a one-of-a-kind vaudeville-esc experience you walk away talking about." - Ryan Barker - Portland Air

""really stands out...their voices sound amazing when intertwined together""

Music that speaks of times gone by mixed with lyrics that are relevant today
Haun’s Mill are definitely unique in their musical style. Once a duo and now a five-piece band based in Austin Haun’s Mill creates music more associated with times gone by. The subjects covered in their songs range from economic troubles to murder. Popular with audiences, who can resonate with the lyrical content of their songs, this group’s music is brought to life by Eliza Wren’s delicate vocals and the more organic sound of Nord Anderson’s vocal style. The group is completed with BB Melanson, Mike Crandall and Hyrum Summerhays who play a range of instruments from stand up bass to accordion. The music on this album is a clever interwoven mixture of country, folk, Americana and bluegrass. Set Me Free gets the album started. Eliza’s vocals take centre stage on this traditional sounding song. Her voice is quirky and engaging, definitely a voice you want to hear more of. New York City has a slightly more modern feel. Eliza is joined on lead vocals by Nord. Their voices really complement one another creating a great sound and atmosphere. Blind Draw is full of great instrumentation and then all of a sudden Eliza’s magical voice bursts through the music. Listening to this song it would be easy to think you were watching an old black and white film. There is so much character in the vocals and music provided. Paul sees Nord take a turn on lead vocals. Nord’s vocals are very different from those of Eliza’s often sounding raw with a velvety quality. Nobody Followed has a charming folk/traditional country sound. Eliza’s vocals are fresh and delicate whilst the instrumentation appears very old fashioned. Fitzcarraldo is an atmospheric folk song. Haven’t Felt This Way In Days has a slightly more modern sound with Eliza once again taking the lead on vocals. Forsaken allows Eliza and Nord to harmonise wonderfully, their voices sound amazing when intertwined together. The Flu is quite a dark song about dying and being ill. Mt. Pleasant brings the album to quite a dramatic close. Nord takes charge on this final song, which with its musical backing sounds sinister and dark. The lyrics in this final song speak of murder. Nord’s vocals are earthy. This collection of songs really stands out because they are so interesting and musically they are so very different. This album will suit music fans who like music that is quirky and more than just a catchy song.
- SH Maverick Magazine

""the best addition to the music...""

"the best addition to the music world since Johnny Cash" - Rabey Mason, Portland News

""the best addition to the music...""

"the best addition to the music world since Johnny Cash" - Rabey Mason, Portland News


-Summer 2008: First Edition EP
(limited release)

-Fall 2010: Haun's Mill LP
(recorded at Audiospace SLC, UT)

-Spring 2012: Up, Down & Away
(in session at Public Hi-Fi Studio Austin,TX)



A captivating group in the current roots movement, Haun's Mill combines folk, spaghetti western, and classic country into a sound distinctly their own. Their live performances are coupled with period movie projections, resulting in a powerful presentation of sights and sounds. Once described as haunted saloon music, Haun's Mill has found a home in Austin's quirky environment since moving there in late 2010. Since their relocation, the four piece band holds residency at the swanky 1920's themed East Side Showroom and has played local clubs and festivals including Swan Dive, Continental Club, Art Outside, Pecan Street Festival, Parish, Club DeVille and Momo's.  

Some of the local and touring bands we play with include: Golden Bear, White Ghost Shivers, Eliza Rickman, The O's, The Mercy Brothers

Songwriters and bandleaders Eliza Wren (Austin's own revered songbird) and Nord Anderson (Salt Lake City) joined forces after meeting at college in 2005.  Initially a duo, their first gig was opening for a sold out Monkey Grinder Halloween Bash at Velour in Provo, UT.  The great reception prompted expansion to a full band with Mike Crandall, B.B. Melanson and Anthony Phan (double bass, drums and trumpet) and their first self titled album, released in January 2010.  After Eliza and Nord moved to Austin, they added current members Keith Palumbo (drums) and Courtney Jackson (double bass).  The band is in the process of recording their second album at Public Hi-Fi Studio in Austin, taking the months of November & December to do so. The album is scheduled to be released in early Spring 2012.