Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hawthorne Heights Interview with Eron Bucciarelli (drummer)

I had the privilege to have a chat with Hawthorne Heights drummer, Eron Bucciarelli about all things HH. The interview was especially cool because I was a huge fan a number of years back when The Silence in Black and White dropped.

Listening to Hawthorne Heights instantly engaged the music lover in me with stylistic musical prowess that many bands at that time were missing. Whether it was the soul diving lyrics to songs like "Nikki FM" or "Silver bullet" or the almost heat seeking grittiness of three guitars blaring at once, HH always was an experience.

Sadly enough, through the years they were a band that I let slip under the radar, and ironically enough before getting this interview I had listened to their first album. Now that I've been caught up, I am able to dig deeper and ask questions. Deciding not to ask why "Ohio is for Lovers," I'll leave it up to interpretation and ask something relevant to them now. Enjoy! 

Why go for this three ep concept and instead of releasing a full length?
We have several reasons behind this. Full lengths are a dead format in our opinion. People demand new music so much more rapidly than ever before that it just doesn't make sense to spend a ton of money recording and promoting something that will be old news three months after it's released. Fewer tracks mean that people focus more on each song we release and hopefully leads to them wanting more. From a creative standpoint, we can change things up a lot faster if we want to. 

The first release is Hate, any clues to what the next two will be, and are they all related?
They will all be related thematically. We're not giving away any further details on the two just yet.

Hate seems to have a different feel to it than your other albums. What was the mindset in making it, and what are your fans early reactions to it?
The mindset with Hate was for the music and emotion to match the behind the scenes dialog that we've had only privately over the last few years. Our conversations were much more angry and frustrated than our third and fourth album let on. We were tired of putting on a happy face.  Sometimes, its best to get everything off your chest. So far the reactions have been polarizing. I think fans of our first two albums are extremely excited about the release, while fans of our third and fourth album have been put off. Ironically, our first album had this same polarizing affect on people, so perhaps this response is good since that was a our best selling album.

HH has covered a wide range of the musical spectrum- emo, screamo, alt, electronic, pop- do you all set out to explore different style, or does it happen naturally?
We have a wide array of influences and we don't want everything we release to sound the same. As artists, we like to evolve and explore new ways of expression.

Beginning with the highly successful, The Silence in Black and White and fast forwarding to the present, how has the band changed and grown, and what separates "that band from Ohio" to your band identity today?
We caught a wave at the beginning of our career. We released our fist album and it happened to be what a lot of people wanted to hear at that given moment in time. We've grown from the hot "it" band of the moment into a band that is, at least in our opinion, more than a one-hit wonder to a lot of people. We've developed an almost cult-like following and that's something which has certainly changed/progressed since we started.

While on the subject of breakout first albums, do you guys try to separate yourselves from it to focus on what you're doing today, or do you embrace past success and mix it up?
We absolutely embrace our past success and mix it up. When people come to see us, they want to enjoy themselves and be entertained. It's our job as performers to entertain, which means playing some fan favorites every night, but that said we throw in new material to set as well because we want people to realize that we're growing. 

Victory Records, Wind Up, and now Cardboard Empire- did having label problems in the past prompt the band to be their "own boss" so to speak?
It has less to do with our past two label situations and more about the state of the music industry as a whole right now. In our opinion, most of the industry is stuck using the same antiquated business model that they used back in the 1950's. Formats have changed, but the focus of most labels is still selling music. Label's idea of evolution is trimming back their staff year after year according to their dwindling bottom-lines rather than really trying to re-tool and god-forbid...innovate. The idea of the 360 model which labels have been throwing around over the last few years is complete bulls**t. As an artist and a business, it doesn't make sense to sign away a percentage of each revenue stream we receive without there being a justifiable reason to do so. For example, if a label isn't going to promote our merchandising, but take a percentage of that revenue, it's unjustified. The business model of most labels is that by promoting a music release (the one revenue stream which has diminished in sales year over year), all of the other revenue streams will just naturally increase.  

Where do you hope to take the label, and will it be something something that grows with other artists, or is it just a HH project right now?
At the moment, we're just releasing HH music. We want to make sure we get the kinks out before we start messing with other people's lives.

Why the name Cardboard Empire, and do you feel that mainstream label support is losing it's luster, and independent is the way to go?
The name is a play on the overall stability of the "music business." As I discussed, until labels change their model of operations and if you have the contacts and know how, independent is absolutely the way to go.

What bands are set to be your touring mates, and is their a goal or theme of the tour?
We have local bands opening for us on each stop. The music scene which we came up in is dying off left and right. It's being forced out by big time promoters and ticketing agencies.  There are a lot of great bands out there, so if we can play a show and someone comes to see us, hopefully they'll be exposed to good local talent, which they'll then support and ultimately rejuvenate these smaller music scenes. 

Anything else to add?
Please check out our EP, Hate. It's available on iTunes, Amazon and just about every other digital distributor. If you would like a physical copy of the EP, please order it from our website or pick one up at a show. If you already have it, THANK YOU!  Please help us get the word out about it! Without your support, we would cease to exist!

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