PropertyOfZack Interview : : Hawthorne Heights December 13, 2010
In the midst of figuring out whether the venue on the first night of their tour was going to be closed down or not, JT from Hawthorne Heights had some time to do an interview with PropertyOfZack. JT and I discussed the band’s recent European tour, reception to Skeletons, an upcoming US acoustic tour, and more. Enjoy it, it’s a great read!
Not too long ago you guys were over in mainland Europe with We Are The Ocean and in the UK supporting Anberlin. Those must have been some big shows. How was it getting back over there and playing to refreshing faces? Yeah, definitely. It was a lot of fun. We hadn’t been over there in four or five years, but also we played a lot of country that we hadn’t played yet as well like Italy, Czech Republic, France, and places like that. It was cool. It was really great to just see different people. There’s a big language barrier over there in some of those countries and it’s really cool to try to communicate with those people and we had an awesome time. Anberlin are great guys, we’ve known them for a long time and we became pretty good friends with We Are The Ocean. We had a blast.
Like you said, it’s been years since the band traveled over there, so did fans respond well to the new songs? Yeah. Our album, Skeletons, just came out like two days before we got there. Some people were familiar with it and some people hadn’t even heard it yet, but we had it for sale and it definitely had a great response. A lot of people came back and bought the CD’s when we were done. I think that everybody had a great time.
The band played a charity acoustic show while over in the UK to raise money for a fan who got injured in a show just about four years ago. This is was a longtime in the making, but due to various communication errors and the obvious turmoil the band underwent, it was put on hold. How was it doing the show and was it a success? Yeah, it was great. It was an acoustic event right before our show with Anberlin as well. We would’ve liked to have a little bit more time, so hopefully when we go over there and do a headlining tour, I hope that we can do something a little bigger for her. We’re always down to help, especially if somebody gets hurt at one of our shows.
Hawthorne Heights is currently doing a run of seven shows throughout the east and Midwest. Are these meant to be just some quant holiday shows? We just got back from doing over a month in Europe, so we just wanted to plan a couple shows right before the holidays. Then we’ll start to plan out our next year sometime soon.
The tour kicks off tonight, so what should we expect in the set list? We’re gonna play a little bit of everything. Definitely will play songs from all four records. We’ll play a good amount from Skeletons because we really feel that those songs are really strong and we’re really happy with the way everything turned out. We’ll just be ourselves out there and have a lot of fun.
The band is still touring to support its June release of Skeletons. Half a year later, how has the total response been? I think it’s been great. I think everybody has been really responsive to the lyrics. Everybody really likes the songs. If we get a negative comment, it’s that some people wish that we had more screaming. You can’t please everybody. Maybe our next one will have more screaming, maybe it won’t. We never just throw it in there. If the song calls for it, we do it. If not, we’ll do something else.
The record really represented the band starting from scratch with both a new label and a new attitude in terms of writing. Do you think fans are responding well to that? I think that it’s been overwhelmingly positive. Everybody’s been really cool. We have a good, solid fan base that we interact with on Twitter and Facebook and everybody’s been really cool about it. We just want to let as many people know that we have a new record and that they can get it whenever they go to the store.
It could be said that Skeletons is harder in terms of the emotion that can be felt on it in comparison to Fragile Future as well as the fact that it deals heavily with death and the unfortunate circumstances that the band had to face. Was getting that all down on an album in a way a fresh start in itself, to finally be able to let it out? Certainly. Being in a band and writing songs can be a vehicle for letting everybody know what’s going on inside you and sometimes you do that, sometimes you elaborate and try to make tales and try to spin things, but this record is really representative of what we’ve been through over the past couple years and just life in general.
A music video for “Gravestones” was released just a few months ago. Is it possible that we’ll be seeing another single or video off of the album? We’re not sure. We’re working on that right now and deciding which way to go and what to do. Video media is such a weird medium right now.
So it’s like, do you pay a lot of money to film a video that’s gonna get seen YouTube? Because it’s not really like it used to be, whereas the better it looked, the more play it would get, or the more interesting it was, the more play it would get. Now, you really have no idea. A viral video that was filmed for free could get a million hits and one that was filmed for five hundred grand could get ten hits. You just never know. That’s definitely just an interesting situation all together. We’ll do whatever we’re asked to do. Hopefully we can film some cool stuff.
Not too long ago Victory released a Best Of album for you guys. Was that a mutual release or was that just a typical Victory move? That kind of played out the end of our contract. We knew that it was coming out and we chose the track listing for it, so it wasn’t like out of the blue. We knew about it. It was an obligation to fulfill our contract and let our fans have some of our favorite songs from the Victory years.
The band is on Wind-Up Records now, so how has the relationship been so far? Very cool; a record label is exactly that. We try to do our thing, they try to do their thing, and we try to get together on everything and help each other out and promote and just try to make the best records that we can. They’ve done a great job.
The band has some time off after this tour for the holidays, but when should be on the lookout for some more dates? Not yet. One thing that we’re going to do in February, we’re planning an acoustic tour; something that we’ve never done before. But we haven’t announced that yet.
POZ: Is that just throughout the states?
JT: Yeah, it’s only going to be a couple weeks. We’re gonna try to stay in warmer areas and try to have fun and do something that we’ve never done.
Will there still be more of a Skeletons touring cycle after that? Definitely. We’re definitely not done touring with Skeletons yet. We’ve only really done one big extended set of shows. You can expect more in the spring and through the summer.
Is going overseas again a possibility for next year? Yeah, we’re trying to get back as soon as we can. We spent five years getting back, now we’re gonna try to get back in five months. Now we’re gonna try to get back around April.
JT, you periodically play solo shows and did a few with Anthony from Bayside last year. Is there a possibility of you releasing some strictly solo songs at all? When the time is right, I would love to do that. It’s tough to focus on a lot of different things at once. If I ever have any spare time or downtime. I’m always strumming the guitar for a couple hours a day anyway. If something doesn’t fit for Hawthorne Heights, maybe it fits for my solo project. Or maybe it’s just a song. I think I’ll definitely try to release something at some point.
Might you play any solo shows next year? Yeah, I’ve got a couple planned. One in Dayton, Ohio, our hometown on December 23rd, which is called HoliDayton and another one in Indianapolis and Middletown, Ohio. Just playing a couple.
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything else we should be on the lookout for? Just be on the lookout for Skeletons in stores and we’ll announce that acoustic tour really shortly.