Nuns, the enigmatic solo project of multi-instrumentalist Hank Hanewinkel III, sprang to life in a flash of songwriting inspiration on a cold December 2012 night in Nashville, TN. As it turns out, the 24-year old had no plans whatsoever to begin writing a solo record that night. But when the muse speaks, it’s usually best to listen carefully. That’s exactly what he did.
It’s not that Hanewinkel was unprepared for such an occasion…most of his life has been immersed in music. It started early for the Broken Arrow, OK, native. Growing up in a tight-knit family of performers, Hanewinkel received years of solid rock’n’roll training from his father, a music producer. He was introduced to drums at the ripe old age of two. By 10, he took an interest in guitar. Soon after, he started writing his own songs. Several years later, Hanewinkel formed a power trio, The Red Alert, with his sister and uncle. They eventually went on to win the national John Lennon Educational Tour Bus Battle of the Bands, which landed them a slot on the Warped Tour.
After enduring The Red Alert’s untimely demise in 2011 and experiencing some life-altering relationship woes, Hanewinkel stopped writing songs for an entire year. He opted instead to keep his head down and play drums for several Tulsa area bands…letting music and life come to him at its own unpredictable pace instead of chasing it down.
His songwriting sabbatical ended, however, during a much-needed vacation to visit some friends in Nashville. As Hanewinkel describes it, a guitar found its way into his hands and his creative floodgates simply re-opened…with a vengeance. It was a true “out of the blue” experience for him. The music flowed like a torrent. By the time Hanewinkel entered his father’s recording studio in Feb. 2013 to begin tracking what would eventually become Nuns’ gorgeous, psychedelic 10-song debut release, Opportunities, most of the record was already written.
During mixing sessions for the release, Hanewinkel passed some early demos to Tulsa label Passive Recordings, who eagerly signed Nuns to their roster. Passive released Opportunities on vinyl and digital formats in May 2014.