St. Louis, Missouri is the genesis for Coultrain, Black Spade and the group Hawthorne Headhunters. ‘Train grew up in the church, singing since an early age and wading into poetry in his early teens. Spade also came up in the church and tagged along with his father on educational trips to local record stores which cemented his love and dedication to music.
After spending their years sharpening their respective musical skills and bouncing around a few groups around St. Louis (including a stint in a 25 piece group called Soul Tyde with future Hawthorne Headhunter collaborator and friend I, Ced), the two met in 1999 during a rehearsal for a group Spade was in. They recognized their shared influences and a life-long musical kinship was born.
The two still pursued other endeavors for some time, leaving St. Louis and returning periodically, all the while still maintaining communication with each other. Coultrain self-released his first full length project, the narrative The Adventures of Seymour Liberty, and joined the cast of Waajeed’s PPP for their second album, Abundance. Spade collaborated with a variety of artists before finally releasing his debut To Serve With Love on OM Records. It wasn’t until Spade moved out to LA in the mid-2000’s that the Hawthorne Headhunters were born.
In search of some new, Black Spade migrated out west to soak up the vibrant southern California vibes and promptly met producer Proh Mic at the famed Do-Over. The two hit it off and began toying with music, soon bringing Ced, another St. Louis expat in LA, into the fold.
The collective was taking shape and drew their moniker from Ced’s residence in Hawthorne, California. The St. Louis natives reached out to their old comrade Coultrain and he eventually moved out to LA as well. A jam session at the HVW8 gallery solidified the group’s identity and the creative relationship with it’s owner resulted in an eponymous EP in 2009.
Made up of songs done with no intention of release, the EP was the first physical manifestation of Hawthorne Headhunters. The creative process of the newly formed group was very natural. Members of the group liken the approach to that of old Jazz musicians; organic and instinctual, drawing from whatever influences they were feeling and writing about whatever was on their mind.
During the middle of 2010, Spade and ‘Train were intent on taking the group seriously and go into the studio to craft a full length. Proh Mic and Ced had a stronger initiative towards solo work, so amicably all parties agreed that Spade and Coultrain would be the official torch-bearers of Hawthorne Headhunters.
During the summer they began working on Myriad of Now, their full length debut on Plug Research. Explaining the meaning behind the title, the group says, “it’s many directions of this now. All we have is this right now, so you can go in many directions with this record, that’s why we have so many different genres. It all depends on who you are.”
By the fall the record was finished: 14 tracks of powerful Black music that ambitiously combines Jazz, Electro, Funk, and more in one coherent project. Speaking on themes ranging from spirituality to sexuality, sometimes simultaneously, the album has given its auteurs the space to freely explore their own minds. Coultrain explains the significance behind the single’s A-side “If You Were My Baby (Reprise)”: “The subject matter touches on the chase of, surrender to, and polarization of love. Our message is that true love can be found through searching within, hence lines like ‘the people who can’t make love make money.’”
Still, even when describing their own sound, ‘Train never loses the kind of perspective that allows Hawthorne Headhunters to marry so many styles and topics so effortlessly, “these descriptions are only a small portion of what this is about. The songs importance and our feelings towards them evolve as we do. The listener decides what the song is about, what it means. It is up to their own interpretation, our story is only one perspective of an infinite amount.”