Hudost Interview- 4th Way Folk

My friends of the band Hudost asked me to do an interview with them about their current album release (4th Way Folk) and  “In Utero” tour.

I had interviewed them in 2010 for Sarasota Music Scene (read here) and relished the chance to submerse myself into their new creative project. Since they are the reason and inspiration to start this blog (read here), I am excited beyond words to give you a glimpse into their amazing lives. Click on the album cover below to buy & listen to the music on Band Camp while you read the interview.

They will be stopping here in Sarasota at Rising Tide International- April 20Get tickets and info here.


4th Way Folk Album Art by Moksha Sommer


“I think is it like anything…we will become what we put our time into. It works the other way around too…what we put our time into will become us.- Moksha”

K: I was inspired by your album to start a blog about creativity and would like to post your interview there. I am particularly interested in your “pathways” to the creative. How much TV do you watch? 

JW: We watch very little actually. We do not even own a TV. If there’s a show we like, then we usually download or acquire the DVD sets and let ourselves be absorbed into that. We love things like The Office, 30 Rock, Fringe, Californication, Six Feet Under…things like that.

I personally have been going through a pretty intense Muppet phase and watching the first few seasons of the Muppet Show that were remastered and released on DVD. This is therapeutic ‘inner child work’ for me. I also watch A LOT of music DVDs and documentaries for inspiration and recently watched ones on Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Metallica including their symphonic show from the early 2000s, which is quite amazing. I cried upon first watching it.

MS: I don’t know if this can truly be classified as television, but in addition to the things Jemal mentioned, I really enjoy watching TED talks as little breaks during my day. I also adore a lot of the BBC nature documentaries.


K:How do you maximize your creativity?

JW: By keeping busy and trying a lot of new things…. We have quite a number of projects on various burners right now.

Besides our new album that’s coming out April 02nd, we are working on an all Zikr & Illahi World Chant ‘Sufi Kirtan’ album as well as a full album project co-writing and creating with Steve Kilbey from the Australian band The Church. He is a huge musical influence on me, so it’s quite an honor to be working with him and we are really excited about what’s being created so far.

We are also beginning to compose children’s music for TV, which is going to be pushing ourselves to grow in a whole other musical direction.

I have also just produced an EP for our friends Robert Oakes & Kate Smith (aka Oakes & Smith) that’s really stripped down and beautiful. They are extremely talented emotive songwriters and good friends to boot so you should really Google them and investigate!

Moksha is currently getting her masters in music and performing arts too which she will tell you about.

MS: Yes, I am back in school doing my graduate studies for an MFA. I have always loved pushing myself to expand, learn, and grow creatively and have even done so musically in the past years by giving myself actual assignments and forcing myself to work in ways that are new to me and don’t feel comfortable. The magical aspect of being in school is that I can be pushed by outside forces to work in ways that I wouldn’t even think of. It is excellent to be reading material that works my mind and then have to formulate my own take of it through paper writing.

I also just recently recorded some tracks with Jon Anderson of YES and we have some more in the works with him. Who knows when that will be released though…

Snow Dost Duo. photo by Jane Feldman


K: What is fourth way folk? And how is your music/creativity informed by people like Gurdjieff & E.J. Gold

JW: The ‘4th Way’ is the next level after the 2nd Way and the 3rd Way. ;)…. Seriously though, I don’t really know why it’s called that specifically but the 4th Way is also called ‘The Great Work’ or ‘The Work’, which is basically ‘Inner Work’ or ‘Work on Self’. This is also the true meaning of the word Jihad which is basically the ‘inner struggle’ with the smaller self or ego. That term has been grossly mistranslated as an outer view instead of an intense esoteric inner view. As E.J. once told me, “Transformation is the only game in town.” It’s surely true. Gurdjieff and Gold are considered Sufis by some, so it ties into that school as well. Read more about Gurdjieff here.

MS: Also, it is interesting that you asked how our music/creativity is “informed” by these people. Something that is so unique about the arts is that there is no direct accountability to put forward precisely what is being taught. We have the opportunity to be interpretive little sponges and create something distilled from a multitude of sources. It is like making perfume (which, by the way, I am literally brewing in my bathroom in my tiny laboratory).



4th Way Folk Album Art by Moksha Sommer

K: Can you give me an anecdote about EJ Gold that describes who he is and his influence on this album and you?

JW:  E.J.’s Work, especially the Bardo teachings in the American Book of the Dead have inspired a lot of my songwriting over the years. These ideas really guided me a lot during my ‘formative psychedelic years’ as I was always working toward ‘keeping a foot in both worlds’ shamanically. Anyway, I never quite figured that one out.

 The most important idea that has stuck with me though over time is ‘Invoking the Presence of the Presence into the Present’ as E.J. would say. This is the state that ‘informs the music’ and that ultimate creative space. While recording and performing we always work to remember to ‘invoke often’.

The other idea that has helped with my life and creative work is that of the ‘body of habits’; we are born into this life with a certain number of habits and that it’s not possible to get rid of habits, but only replace the unconscious ones with newer updated conscious ones. I am always going to make mistakes as a human Being, but God Willing I can begin to make new mistakes trying new things instead of the same old ones over and over again.

Beyond ‘these ideas’, E.J.’s art and humor are the next inspiring thing on the list…

Another good one that he says is ‘You can’t change the world but you can change worlds’…not sure how practical that one is!


K: As far as influence on the album?

JW: So there have been some ‘4th Way folk songs’ floating around for some time and when we spent time with E.J. and crew a couple of times recently, we learned some of these.

One of them in particular (Young & Growing) really resonated with Moksha because her father had just passed away, so we started performing it right around that time.

Around that same time, we started working with Blue Microphones and got about 7 new mics and their incredibly nice ‘Robbie the Preamp’ from them as well as some other new studio upgrades. I decided that to test all this new gear out, that it’d be nice to record something extremely organic and stripped down with very little effects to test out the new microphones, so that led to learning a few more of the ‘4th Way folk songs’.

For a song like ‘Holy Hobo’ we only had some basic lyrics. We wrote brand new music for it without ever hearing how the original song goes. I had just received this cool little instrument called a Dulcinet and had worked out a nice ‘country & eastern’ riff on it and somehow Moksha rearranged the words and a melody around it and the song came together quite fast.

I also wrote ‘4th Way Liner’ on the dulcinet. If you listen to the original folk song version of it, you can hear that we kept the ‘and away we goooooo…’ section, but the rest of it is quite different. I wanted it to have a feel of acoustic T-Rex or Love & Rockets, but with Moksha’s vocals and Ken Rosser’s killer slide additions, it has a bit of a Bonnie Raitt vibe to my ears as well. That song is also Mollie the Tour Dog’s recording debut. 😉

For other songs like ‘The Alchemist’ or ‘Sweet Cross of Life’, we used the basic ideas of the original folk pieces, but added whole other sections and movements to them. ‘The Alchemist’ turned into quite the centerpiece. There’s even an instrumental version on the bonus CD. It’s quite lush actually. Dan Walters did some amazing bass work on it and Sarah Bowman layered harmonic cello quite beautifully. Ken Rosser also added some ‘treated acoustic guitar’ where he shoved things under his guitar strings at various harmonic intervals and tuned it accordingly. I still have no idea how he did it but it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard. On top of all that, Bryan Brock added ‘elemental percussion’ including triangles, tuned water bowls and other organic sounds. Our buddy Kai Welch (genius multi-instrumentalist and co-songwriter with Abigail Washburn) said it sounded like a ‘mystical medieval Dr. Suess poem’!

‘Sweet Cross’ starts out very folky almost exact to the original, but then quickly enters into a whole other universe of ‘multiple Mokshas’ and when it comes back around to the body of the song again, it kicks in with some amazing 3 part harmonies with Moksha, Linda Worster and myself to give it that ‘classic HuDost sound’ if I may say so myself. The 3 part harmony of Moksha, Linda and I are what originally inspired HuDost into the world.


Moksha: Art by Hudost

Speaking of Linda Worster, we also cover one of her original songs from 1978 called ‘The Singer’ with Moksha singing lead. We’ve performed this a few times in the past whenever Linda can join us on stage and it always turns out really beautiful, so we thought it would be a good fit with this collection.

We’ve also recorded both an REM song and a WHO song on this album that fit nicely with the themes. I sure hope Mr. Stipe gets to hear this version somehow. I feel Moksha really made it her own. It’s a great forgotten song in the REM catalog in my opinion.

As for The Who track, Pete Townshend is a ‘Sufi of sorts’ and a devotee of Meher Baba, so many of his lyrical ideas fit in quite well with ‘Work ideas’. Kai Welch arranged the trumpet section and marks the first appearance of horns on a HuDost record (and sure not to be the last if we can help it!).

The final song on the record was actually written and recorded right at the last minute. Moksha was playing this piece on the couch one day and it was so beautiful. I thought it was an old shape note hymn or something, so I asked her what it was. She didn’t respond and kept singing and I noticed that beautiful ‘far off’ look in her eyes and realized she was just channeling it through, so I got my IPhone out quickly and started recording the rest of it. You can actually hear a bit of the ‘original transmission’ from my IPhone at the very beginning of the song.


K: What do you do to connect to your create selves? Do you ever feel blocked?

MS: I actually think it is a good sign when committed musicians regularly question what they are doing and are conscious of all the ways they need to grow. I am often overwhelmed by all the expanding I need to do and have learned to embrace my musical faults while gently pushing them. My creative self is one of the areas that still has the wonderment and sensitivity of a three year old. I am grateful when I am truly tapped into that place. In terms of connecting to that place, it is simply a question of how much I am working and practicing. If I am always pushing myself to grow then I am far more capable of entering that place. I think is it like anything…we will become what we put our time into. It works the other way around too…what we put our time into will become us.

JW: I connect by trusting and having gratitude. I get blocked ALL the time and am always grateful when things start opening up and coming through again. I never take it for granted or assume it will be there. I doubt myself all of the time to extremes but ultimately all I can do is just continue to work and be patient.

Even with guitar tracks, I often can take days to pull out the right ideas. I like doing guitar tracks alone because it can be very arduous in that often I have to do 10-20 takes of just random ideas (most of it crap) and then I edit and sort through and find the good bits and then create from there. I still don’t consider myself a great guitar player because I still do not know what I am doing, but that is a lifelong process; the dance with the Muse and the struggle with the self….also just maintaining any sort of discipline whatsoever to sit and gather my attention and presence long enough to learn my guitar scales and actually challenge myself to move even a bit toward the idea of mastery without having the old tapes in my head rage forth and fall back onto the familiar habitual territories.


Baby by Hudost!

K: Congratulations you two on your new baby. How has touring and creating been different in utero?

MS: This is an amazing time and we have both wanted to have a child for a while. I am really looking forward to touring. With that said, it has been really crucial during these first months of pregnancy to take a break and do a great deal of nesting. We have both also been doing a ton of work therapeutically in this last while in order to break certain cycles that can’t exist with a beautiful baby in our arms. In these months, the baby and I have been more sensitive to sound and to creating sound. We will be doing music on this tour that is a bit more stripped down and in alignment with that. I have been creating a lot as part of my MFA as well but that has a very different process to it.

JW: Thank you very much. Yes, we are VERY excited about this! It’s a boy too!!! It’s amazing to see how quickly Moksha’s belly is growing and glowing too! The little dude’s ultrasound photos are even featured in the album artwork!

We haven’t toured at all yet actually since last October. This upcoming month long tour will be our only one this year because the little Being is due in the first week of July. Once we’re back up in Canada in early May, we will begin preparing and nesting though the creating will continue in various new ways. We’ll get back to you on that one. I am actually looking forward to not being on the road for a while.

2012 was our busiest biggest year so far. We drove out to California twice, went to NAMM, started working with Gretsch Guitars, Mackie and Blue Microphones and played more festivals which we love to do, including Bonnaroo. I have been to a lot of music festivals over the years (even Woodstock in 94), but this was a whole other level of madness. We had such a fun time staying for the whole weekend and got to see a lot of our favorite artists either on the front row or up in the side stage wings. Our favorites were Bon Iver, Radiohead, Feist, Beach Boys and The Roots….oh yeah and Alice Cooper too! 😉

HuDost played the opening night and then got to hang out the rest of the weekend, so looking back it’s kind of like, “Oh yeah, we played there too!” We had our full 6 piece Nashville based crew with us including our good friends Jaia and Ali from Knoxville dancing. It was quite a rush and hopefully we shall return bigger and better and tighter in the next year or two.

We’ve been going non-stop for the past 7 years, so it’ll be a beautiful thing to actually ground in one place and be a dad and also work on honing in my studio craft to a deeper level. Also, it’ll be more inspiration to compose children’s music!



Jemal: Art by Hudost

K: What did you learn most about yourself producing this album?

JW: That I can do it myself. I really loved mixing this. My mind thinks like a mixer, but I still cannot do everything I want to do. Using compression and EQ in the proper way are still mysterious to me. I have a hard thinking in a subtractive kind of way.  I can hear the limitations of my ability, but that being said, I am also very happy with the result of this record.

Ultimately I like outsourcing the mixing to someone else and I would rather try to mix other people’s projects in the future. The bottom line is that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and I did.

I didn’t try to master it myself. That is still a ‘dark art’ to me, so we had Bernie and Dale Becker from Pasadena do it and they made it sound really incredible. Mastering makes such a huge difference. I am obsessed with listening and acquiring all the remastered albums that have been coming out. Most of the time with the right attention and detail, they make some of my favorite records sound so much better.

MS: Yes, I am really proud of Jemal for the ways his production and engineering abilities have grown with this record. I think it is evidence of years of learning that are coming to fruition.

About myself, I think I learned more about working with pre-existing forms and shifting them so that they had the influence I wanted to infuse them with. Interestingly, regarding myself, I think I learned more about communication and my own abilities with it. Whether that was my way of literally communicating with Jemal and the other musicians about what was being created, or if it was regarding what was communicated on a larger (and more esoteric) level through the music itself.


Photo by Jane Feldman

If you like what you’ve read, come experience Hudost live April 20 and support them by buying their music here.

WHAT: Returning to Sarasota and Rising Tide International for their 2013 In Utero Acoustic Tour.

This will be an intimate evening full of songs both old and new along with some special guests!

WHERE: HuDost @ Rising Tide, April 20th
5102 Swift Road, Sarasota FL 34231
phone: (941) 923-7834

  $10 Students (w ID)/$18 Advance/$20 Door

Advanced Tickets available locally at Elysian Fields
or online at:

WHEN: April 20th, Show starts at 7:30 PM

Pre-Order HuDost’s new album ’4th Way Folk’ (including limited Deluxe Editions) here:


HuDost/Open Sesame Music
Jemal Wade Hines & Moksha Sommer