Hawthorne Heights have certainly experienced all that the music industry has to offer, from platinum record sales to a very public legal dispute with Victory Records main-man Tony Brummel.
Drummer Erin Bucciarelli had the following to say…
Hey Erin, thanks for speaking with us today.
Yeah, no problem man, how are you doing?
I’m well thanks mate, and yourself?
You’re on the Projekt Revolution tour at the moment, definitely throwing yourselves into the deep as far as live shows go, considering the time you’ve had off to record?
Yeah, absolutely man. We just wanted to come out really strong and this was the right tour to do that.
The tour has quite the reputation for having a diverse line up. How have Hawthorne Heights fit in this year?
Well, I don’ know. I guess the line up is really different this year, which is kind of cool. It’s much more varied that it has been in the past. To be honest, any time a band the size of Linkin Park asks you to be a part of their tour you just say yes. It’s a cool thing and we’re incredibly honoured to be a part of it.
And I saw that you’ve got a few of your own headlining shows slotted in along the way, will you be taking those opportunities to road test some of your new songs?
Absolutely. We’ll be mixing in some of our new songs. We’re actually already throwing some new songs in on this current tour we’re doing, which includes our first single plus a heavier song called “Three, Two, One”. We just really wanted to showcase both ends of the spectrum of our sound.
Have your fans been getting into the new songs?
Yeah man, absolutely! There’s actually been an overwhelming response. I think people were just itching to hear something new from us because it’s been so long, so on the headlining dates that we’re doing we’re definitely going to be throwing in a few more new songs, because you get kind of bored playing the same songs over and over again, so it’s as much for our own personal needs and desires.
Your new record, “Fragile Future” was released on August 5th. Given how tumultuous the last 8 or 9 months of your band’s life has been, the title obviously holds special significance for you guys, yeah?
Yeah. The album and the title itself are reflective of everything we’ve been going through over the last few years. We felt that our future was very much on the edge and we didn’t know what was going to happen. We were hoping for the best but you can never predict these things but fortunately we were able to come out on top, but you know, you never know, so that’s where the album title came from.
Rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of Hawthorne Heights, as I’m sure you’ve discussed those a million times, was the writing of the new record something of a catharsis for you guys?
I don’t know. We wrote a few of the songs before Casey passed away and then a bunch of them afterwards as well, so I think it was something… it was almost therapeutic to be writing and working on music, because that’s what we wanted to do when we started this band, you know? Writing music one way or another is what we wanted to do and I don’t know, it just helped us get over the loss that we had experienced.
I’m not sure what your song writing process has been like on your previous records, but was the creation of “Fragile Future” more of a combined effort, or is there a dominant songwriter in the band?
We’ve always been very collaborative with our song writing. Usually someone will bring in an initial riff, a verse or chorus or something, and then we’ll sort of build on it and work it out until everybody is happy with the song structure. By that point we can start work on the lyrics but I don’t think any one song has been written by just one member since we started the band.
Were there any specific musical or lyrical goals you had for the new lyric, both as an individual and as a collective?
You know, a lot of the lyrical content on this record deals with everything we’ve been through, so it’s definitely an expression of everything we’ve been through. I’m sorry for repeating myself but there really isn’t a better way to put it.
There’s so many emotions that we’ve been through so it wasn’t always the easiest of times for us and I think that definitely comes across in the lyrics and music.
Since your rise to popularity a lot of bands have released similar sounding records to Hawthorne Heights. What do you think it is about your band that has allowed you to build and maintain such a loyal fan base?
I think we’re just really appreciative of our fans and we go the extra mile when it comes to our fans. Whether it’s hanging out with them or signing autographs, which a lot of bands don’t always do. So I think that’s a big part of it. I think music is one thing and people have definitely grown attached to our songs and can relate to them but I’m sure a big component of that connection is our lyrics, and we follow that up genuinely appreciative of the people that like our band.
To say that the quote/unquote scene has become over-saturated in the last 2 years is something of an understatement. Was that something you were conscious of when you it came to writing the new record?
We’re always trying to push ourselves forward and do something different… it’s just something we need to do as musicians and song writers man, we don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. It may work for some bands but not for us.
Bands like AC/DC and Bad Religion can write the same record over and over again and that’s awesome, because their records are great, but for us, we personally would rather write new stuff and try different things out. We have so many different interests that there’s no possible way we could work all those different influences into just one album, so we have to keep working on it.
I’ve got to say that I was surprised to see that Victory is releasing the new record. Are you able to talk about the legal dramas that you guys went through last year?
With everything we’ve been through it was such a traumatic experience, you know, with the loss of our friend and then all these lawsuits, I think we had this… I don’t know, just this idea that we’re going to push forward no matter, you know? We just had this attitude that we were going to win no matter.
Once our friend had passed it made us realize that going through all this legal bullshit isn’t worth the cost of losing our best friend, and that just made us reassess our situation and our priorities. We basically realized that proving your point isn’t worth it so we just wanted to get back to writing and releasing records, so we put aside the egos and the bullshit.
If we had to make some compromises that we weren’t originally planning on doing then so be it. We made some compromises and Victory made some compromises, but the plus side is that we get to put out a new album and Victory gets to release our new album and everybody’s happy.
Are you still confident that Victory will give the record the push it deserves taking into account how strained your relationship with the label has been?
I hope that they’re willing to work as hard as we are. I think they are just from speaking with them. I get the feeling that they want to promote this record and put a lot behind it. They’re super excited about the album, as are we so I think it’s going to work out fine.
That wraps it up mate, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Hopefully we can make our way down to Australia again. We had a blast last time so we definitely want to get back there on this record cycle, so everyone should go buy our album so when we do come down everyone will know the words and sing along and have a good time.
Thanks for your time Erin.
For everything Hawthorne Heights, head to the bands Myspace page.