I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Tim Hause just days after the release of his debut album, TIM. We connected via Zoom, Tim calling in from his studio in Philadelphia which also serves as “Hause HQ,” the homebase for Blood Harmony Records which he co-owns with his brother Dave. If you recognise the name, it’s likely because Dave is a musician as well, releasing five albums over the last twelve years.
Tim has actually been writing songs with his brother for years. To keep themselves busy throughout the early days of the pandemic, they embarked on something they called “Pencil Down Fridays.”
“Our job, over the course of the week, was to come up with a singable demo by Friday,” Tim recalls. “We’d meet every day and work on each other’s songs. By Friday, with this demo, we’d do a critique of it, say what’s working and what’s not. By Monday morning, we would start the whole process again. That’s the brass tax of what led to my record and what led to Dave’s  record, Blood Harmony. Both of those records are 50/50, each of us co-wrote every song.”
This term “blood harmony,” a phrase I hadn’t encountered before the Hause brothers claimed it for themselves, refers to the sound a pair of siblings make when they sing together.
Dave and Tim are the bookends of a set of five siblings, born fifteen years apart, and embark on almost all of their musical journeys in tandem. It was working with Dave on his 2019 release Kick that pushed Tim to craft some music he could call his own.
“The moment that really hammered home that I need to do this on my own and release songs was when I gave the song ‘The Ditch’ up to Dave. When I handed that chorus over, even to my brother who is my best friend, partner, co-writer, co-conspirator – it was awesome to hear people sing it back and see how many plays it generated, all that is really cool and rewarding. But there was something about how personal it was to me and my life where I thought ‘I’m really glad I put that on the record, but I need to make a record of my own.’”
Dave and Tim have proven to be expert lyricists, their words being what originally drew my English major heart to them. The chorus Tim talks about carries the lines ‘Cause I shake shake shake shake alone/I’m shaking every night and day/Will my shake, shake, shaking ever go away?’ followed by ‘If I can’t make it out of this ditch/I better make a home of it/If I can’t get down off this ledge/I better make a home of it…’ Talk about a gut punch.
Tim doesn’t shy away from the tough emotions now that it’s just him singing either. In fact, he leans into them. We spoke at length about the TIM track ‘4000 Days,’ which details a certain milestone he hit years after losing his mother.
“The earliest thing in my notebook that made it onto this record was ‘4000 Days.’ That’s sort of the emotional heartbeat of the record,” he admits. “It’s a really personal song about my own journey of losing my mom. My closest sister [in age] is eight years older than me. I was eleven when I lost my mom and the difference between eleven and nineteen is pretty rash. Even though that was a shared family loss, there’s something specific about being the only kid.” The idea of 4000 days came about when Tim turned 22, twice the age he was when his mother passed, marking a significant milestone in the grief process: “That marked the moment that I had spent more time on Earth without my mom, in her physical being, than I had with her. That was what that song stems from.”
One specific line really encapsulates everything I felt Tim was: a combination of the love and loss that is so intertwined with what family is and the individual experiences we have with those feelings that shape us. He slowly sings, ‘My sister cried when she saw my sunburn/Her aloe vera eyes said the cancer took a turn.’ When I brought this line up, Tim explained the story to me so vividly that I could picture the bugs and heat in the rearview mirror as his siblings drove him from summer camp to the hospital.
“That [line] was actually referencing my oldest sister [Jen].” Tim says that while all of his siblings are deeply special in their own ways, all of them would agree that Jen “has an angelic sort of presence.” On the day referenced in the song, Tim describes that his sisters “came to pick me up from camp that year and when I had left, things with my mom had been stable. They picked me up a little early and there was a pall on all of their faces. They kind of all knew she took a turn for the worst, and she wasn’t going to make it. When they saw me I was really sunburnt, lobster red, and they all kind of were like ‘Oh this kid. He needed his mom this week, he’s really sunburnt, and now he’ll never have her again.’ I just remember [Jen] walking me through that reality. I’m really proud of that line because it encapsulates that moment.”
I’m convinced that, had I asked, Tim could have told me a story as raw and authentic as this about anyone in his life. Over the course of our chat we talked about Dave, Jen, Will Hoge (fellow musician and producer of TIM), a recently departed friend of the Hause family, and his wife Madeline. Whenever he spoke about one of these people, his eyes lit up and an immediate smile came to his face as he dug through the recesses of his memories to make the story come alive.
One such story comes from his recent tour with Dave and Will Hoge. When Dave had to return to California for a family emergency, Tim was forced to take a more prominent spot in the limelight, a substitution that he says felt initially uncomfortable, but led to some raw and organic nights with Will and Dave’s dedicated fans. However, just as things were starting to look up for the trio-turned-duo, yet another obstacle flew in their way – literally.
“I’m from Philadelphia, I’m an Eagles fan, and I’m also an avid fan of birds. Will and I are having this conversation, beautiful heart to heart, and we see two bald eagles on the side of the road. I’m thinking ‘This is great! Things are looking up.’ We get a little ways down the road and see four wild turkeys. One of them was a shitty flyer, maybe his first and last flight, and he flew straight into the windshield. Put a crater in it, knocked the rear view mirror off. Being touring road warriors that we are, we just kept going. We kind of slowed down a couple seconds to see if the windshield was going to cave in on us and it looked like it was okay.”
Despite their troubles, he admitted “it was a growing experience. I had to kind of take the reins and stop the bleeding for our company and I’m really proud of the job I did.”
As we circled back to the record, we looked at the ballad that opens the album, ‘All Yours.’ Tim says that song is for his wife Madeline who also has three or four additional songs she inspired on TIM.
“There’s two people that are the biggest proponents of my artistry and creativity and that’s Dave and my wife Madeline,” he gushes. “She hears these songs in their earliest iterations. She’s one of the only people that can hear it start as this little seed and can see the final product. She’s one of the main pillars of my life. I’ve been with her since high school, we got together when I was in 11th or 12th grade and we’ve been together since.”
Madeline was the mastermind behind the album cover and Spotify canvases for everything on TIM, tapping into her creative roots as an interior designer, a title that Tim feels doesn’t cover the many artistic feats she’s capable of. He went on to tell me about the New York showrooms she’s put together and the gorgeous floral centrepieces she makes out of woodland materials she scouts out behind the cabin they vacation at with all five Hause siblings. Though an artist in his own right, he’s clearly starstruck by Madeline’s talents, something I found quite sweet.
By the end of our conversation, there was no doubt that everything Tim does begins and ends with his family. This stands true for the brothers’ record label Blood Harmony, something that would not be possible without their dedicated group of fans.
“We have an organic thing that we’ve built from the ground up. Those people are the heartbeat of what we do,” he says while explaining that he’s actually been personally sending out his album to anyone who preordered it since last fall. His reasoning being that he wanted to express gratitude to fans who bought in from the beginning. Often, those who pre-order a record get it later than those who simply buy it on release day, something Tim was passionate about changing when it came to his own album.
“We don’t have a major label backing us that’s spending a fortune to get us on the radio. It’s a different machine. It’s one that we’ve built, and it’s a smaller one, but it’s a really fulfilling one.”
Tim and the Blood Harmony crew are preparing to head to Europe for some undisclosed events later this spring, but not before a hometown gig in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 10th.
You can pick up a copy of TIM over on Tim’s website and stream wherever you enjoy music.