Sydney’s Heroes For Hire have been making a name for themselves since day one and are now considered to be one of the most recognisable acts in their genre. 2010 saw the release of debut album "Life Of The Party", which the band toured relentlessly with scoring huge support slots with Unwritten Law, The Wonder Years and the No Sleep Til festival. Now the evergrowing five piece are back yet again with their new full length "Take One For The Team" produced and recorded by heavyweight Paul Leavitt. I caught up with vocallist Brad to discuss the new album, the state of pop punk and Kesha.
For those who are unfamiliar with you could you state your name, your role in Heroes For Hire and your favourite record of 2010?
I’m Brad, I sing for Heroes For Hire and my favourite record of 2010 is probably ‘Youngbloods’ by The Amity Affliction.
Since last time KYS spoke to you, you now have another full length under your belt, released a split with The Wonder Years and embarked on a copious amount of tours and shows. Do you feel like each year is getting busier and busier?
Yeah, since we released Life Of The Party we’ve been on the road pretty much since the day it came out, tour after tour. Then we went straight from tour to the U.S and recorded the album, and then came literally straight back from the U.S, flew from Baltimore to L.A, to Sydney, to Perth and then had 40 minutes to go on stage at No Sleep Til. So we’ve been flat out since our last record but I think we like to do that, like at the moment we’ve had a month off and it’s been the most boring month of my life. I think we just love being out on the road and touring as hard as we can and as much as we can. So if it gets busier, then we’re all happy.
So your new album ‘Take One For The Team’ is out today how do you think fans will react? Are you happy with the final outcome?
We couldn’t be happier with the outcome, when we did Life Of The Party it was really just songs that we’d come up with since the band had started. So it was just like pretty much whatever we had in the bag, that was what went on the record. With this album we actually just sat down and had the goal of writing an album, so I feel with this one it goes together a lot better and flows a lot better. The last album had a lot of ballads on it, or like medium to slow paced songs, so I think we focused on releasing a more fun album, a lot more upbeat kind of stuff. That’s what we want to play live; we want to have more fun on stage so we thought lets write songs that we can do that with.
Whose idea was it to step it up that extra notch and work with esteemed producer Paul Leavitt in the states?
I think it was all of our idea, Duane our key songwriter he’s a real good songwriter for what we do and on the first record he thought of all the ideas and just went with that. I think that we felt that we needed that outside opinion that wasn’t our friends, wasn’t our management, wasn’t our label. We needed someone who didn’t know our band and then give their view on what they thought would make our songs better. So I think going with Paul really helped us get the best of the songs that we had come up with before we were over there. A million names went around and then Paul’s name came up and he’s recorded albums that we all really like, so we said lets just take the risk and have a chance.
How would you compare Life Of The Party to Take One For The Team, do you feel like your writing has matured more?
I wouldn’t say matured but I feel the songs are written probably one hundred times better than anything off ‘Life Of The Party’. Most bands will tell you this album is so much better, but I can honestly say last year we’ve stepped it up a lot with this album from ‘Life Of The Party’.
Explain the writing process for the album; did most of the writing take place at home or in the studio?
Well we had the whole record written before we got on the plane, it was all demoed ready to go. We sent the demos to Paul like a week before we left so that he had an idea when we got there because we only had five weeks over there so we wanted to make the most of the time we had in there actually tracking the stuff so it was perfect. So we had it all written a little bit before we left, but its funny the single that we have out now ‘All Messed Up’ and the song that’s looking like our second single, we actually wrote five days before we left. So the new songs that I think are the best on the record got written a week before we left.
Recently the band went through a minor line up change, how has this affected Heroes? Are the new members a greater asset?
Yeah, we were having a lot of troubles with our old bass player, which wasn’t working for us anymore, so we decided to part ways with him. Then we came to that decision of who do we get, so we borrowed a trick out of Parkway’s book and went with our merch guy who hasn’t played bass before. We pretty much taught him how to play the bass in two weeks and then took him on the Unwritten Law tour as his first shows. So his first show was to a thousand people in Brisbane, he killed it and he is picking it up really well.
Earlier this week, you posted a cover of Kesha’s “Kiss And Tell” what has the reaction been like so far? You either hate it or love it.
People are cool with it, like we didn’t go in and cover a song that people would expect because it wasn’t a single it was just a random albums song. We just did it because when we get drunk we all listen to that song and act stupid. It seemed like the most fun song we’ve come up with and we had some studio time once we got back in the country to have a muck around. So we thought that would be the best thing to do.
At some stage, are you planning to release anything from your catalogue on vinyl?
Well we have the split with The Wonder Years, which is on vinyl. I reckon vinyl is cool as fuck so I would like to release ‘Take One For The Team’ on vinyl. I want to do it because the artworks all retro looking so it would be sick to have on vinyl.
Where was the "All Messed Up” video shot at and who directed it?
We filmed it at Observatory Hill, which is just next to the Harbour Bridge, and we just went there for one night and tried to avoid the law from getting busted, as you shouldn’t really be playing as a band there. In all honesty I could not tell you the name of the guy who directed it, no idea.
You seem to release more music videos than most up and coming bands, can fans expect a third soon?
We just started talking about it yesterday actually, for the next single we’re working out what we are going to do for it. So that’s in the works now and we’ll probably film that within the next couple of weeks.
So you’ve nearly played Australia to death, have you got any plans to head overseas this year?
Yeah that’s the plan, we’re trying to get over to Japan, trying to get over to Europe and all that kind of thing. We’ve played in Australia a lot, we love Australia and we’ll continue to keep touring here until people just hate us and don’t want us to tour anymore. We’re obviously going to try head overseas do a bit of stuff over there, either later in the year or early next year.
Last year you scored many great tour spots, which was your overall favourite?
I reckon in all honesty it was probably the rustiest we’ve ever been on a tour, because we were in the U.S before it but I’d say No Sleep Til’ was our favourite tour. Just because we got to tour with NoFX and Frenzal Rhomb every night. It was pretty much the best thing I have ever seen watching NoFX every night.
Can you say to yourself now that you’re an established band?
I feel that we are established slightly, I think we have a long way to go but it seems like we’re going the right way about it. We’re just going to keep working hard, if something comes of it, something comes of it. If it doesn’t we had fun while we tried.
What is your opinion on the Australian pop punk scene in today’s society?
I think pop punk died off for a while and it was all about metal and hardcore, which is fine by me we’re all into that, all of our tours before we started getting the big ones we’re hardcore and metal tours. There’s heaps of potential out there for pop punk, like its really all our best friends. Skyway are killing it at the moment, Tonight Alive are looking like they’re going to be one of the biggest bands in the world, there’s a new band from Sydney called Highways they’re killing it at the moment. There’s a lot of real potential out there and a lot of younger kids are starting to start pop punk bands, and if they keep at it, it will be sick.
Who have you been listening to lately that people should be checking out?
Well I personally have been listening to the new Bride record a lot but that’s not out yet. Other than that we’ve been listening to new Man Overboard, You Me At Six and stuff like that.
So what’s planned for the rest of the year for Heroes?
Well July we go on the tour which we have copped some slack about with Short Stack, but those guys are our good mates which we’ve known for years and when it comes down to it we just want to have fun on tour. So touring with our friends is cool and they’re going to be really big shows, which will be very helpful for us. So that and then all I can really say is we’re on tour a lot for the rest of the year, I just can’t say who with and when yet.
Thanks for doing the interview, any last words or shout outs?
I’d just like to thank anyone who has given us a chance, we’re just going to keep doing what we do and thanks to everyone that supports us on it.