Photo by: Gingersnaps Photography
Oak Honest Records has a genre defying roster and Haunting Titans may be one of the most eclectic bands on the label. They blend Punk, Rock, New Wave, and various other elements to create their sound. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Sarah Murphy, vocalist and fearless leader of the band, to find out more about the group and her creative process.
OHR: Where did the name Haunting Titans come from?
SM: We get asked this a lot. It’s a really cool name and may be a reason that the project has sustained for so long. Haunting came from a joke I made that it was the ultimate version of bitching and complaining; even after you’re dead you’re bothering the person and wanting things. I’m constantly working and I expect a lot from the people around me as well. The joke was that even if I died I would still haunt you, and you’d never get away from my needs and requirements, haha!
Titan comes from a random place, if you don’t know, I’m also a professional fire dancer and hula hooper in addition to being the singer for the band. The hula hooping planet is Saturn and our founding member Sean Beirne suggested that we reference Saturn in some way. An old nickname I used to have was Moon Beam, so he looked up the moons of Saturn and Titan was the biggest one. It’s a pretty deep cut, but it was all Sean.
OHR: What’s your earliest musical memory?
SM: I did theater for a really long time. I can remember being in stage plays, and singing songs even in kindergarten. As far as the band goes, at our first show, I was so nervous! I was reading my lyrics off of a terribly written notepad while I was sitting on a stool in my glasses and a big comfy sweater. Sean got us the gig, maybe through a favor, because this was the Space Ballroom stage, which is a beautiful venue. I don’t remember how we got there, but my friends were cheering us on. When we got off stage, Sean came up to me and said, “you have really good friends”, and I always thought that was special. It meant a lot to me that my friends supported something brand new and I felt like maybe I can do this!
OHR: What’s the greatest album of all time, in your opinion?
SM: Honestly, I don’t have one. I don’t want to lie, or pretend to be cool, and that I know albums. If you ask any of the guys, they could give you one lickety-split. My favorite song of all time is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I sing it almost every day, while I’m making coffee, or cleaning up. It can bring me to tears. It still makes me happy, excited, and hopeful every time it comes on.
My background is in theater and I love anything that makes you feel emotion. Our moods change so much as people, that even our favorite album can change. You can listen to an album for a week straight and then not listen to it again for years until you find it again. I just did that with some albums from middle school. Again, ask the guys their favorite album and it would be a lot cooler than anything I would say.
OHR: Where do you draw ideas/inspiration from?
SM: Most of my lyrics come from real life experiences. I have had success in business, and in art, but I’ve had no success in my love life, haha! I think that’s fair! That motivates me to work hard on the things that do work out, and I get all these great emotions out of it to write about. We have a new song called Hey Girl that’s about all the stupid things that have been said to me at HT shows, as a female in music. Silly things like What brings you here tonight? What do you mean you’re in the band? We don’t care if your boyfriend’s in the band, Miss, its a $10 cover. I’ve written about going to my favorite bar, being followed on the way home, real things that happen when you’re a lady in society. You’re just trying to be independent and strong but the world doesn’t always make it easy.
OHR: Can you describe your songwriting process?
SM: They always come to me when it’s the worst time to be writing. There have been times when I’m driving and I have to pull over. One of my favorite songs of ours is Opium. It’s about a relationship I had, and it came to me while I was waiting at the hair stylist. I’m in this chair crying, writing this brutal song about seven years of my life that I thought were wasted. I see now that they weren’t, but at the time it felt like they were. One chapter had ended and I was stepping into a new season of myself.
My first song Blimpie just came out me. Sean was auditioning me and he sent me a guitar riff via the internet. This was before we’d even met in person. I sat in my bed, grabbed my notebook, and I wrote feverishly. I was so compelled, it was like a sickness. I wrote him to say that I wrote more than you played, we gotta make the song longer. When I showed up to practice, I was so blown away that he wanted me to come back. He said, “you’ve already written three songs, you’re in!”
OHR: What’s next for the band?
SM: I’m not someone who thinks about the future a lot. I tend to think about the present and as little as I can about the past, haha! We do have a lot coming up. We’re working on a new EP, we’ve partnered with local female artists, Emily Mansi and Eryka Fir, for some gorgeous art for the band, as well as a female tie-dye artist in Gratefully Heady Dyes. So we’ll have some new merch coming out.
We are bopping around! We’ll be in Providence on April 30th, our first trip to Albany on June 18th, and we’ll be at The Beeracks in East Haven for their Beer and Loathing Festival in June. We plan to go back to New Hampshire and Western Mass, we are working hard. I gotta give it up to the guys. They are so talented, patient, committed, and so kind. It’s been a wild journey and I never thought it would go this far. As long as they’re in, I’m in. I’m excited to see what else happens. I remember the first time we played in Brooklyn, my brother came to see us and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now we just played a 4/20 show and my grandma came out to see us! You know you’ve made it when your 91 year old grandmother wants to come see your rock band!