Hawthorne Heights Interview – July 25th, 2007

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When the Cute is What We Aim For interview didn’t pull through, and I was given the opportunity to interview another band in place of CIWWAF, I knew immediately that I had to conduct one with Hawthorne Heights. They’re just overall a great band. So I interviewed Eron Bucciarelli, drummer of Hawthorne Heights. Obviously I didn’t have time for any research, so the questions are leaning towards generic, but Eron gave great answers, so enjoy!

Thanks to Ashley, Vienna, John, Bri, and especially Eron for all of your help!

Could you please tell me your name, a little bit about how you joined the band, and what role you have in the band?

My name is Eron Bucciarelli. I play drums for Hawthorne Heights. We formed in Dayton, Ohio in 2001, but we were originally called A Day in the Life. I was playing in other bands around Dayton, and I ran into the guys in A Day in the Life. At that point, only Micah and JT were in the band. Their drummer quit and they asked me to join because they knew I was more serious about playing music, so I joined. Then Casey joined after that, and finally Matt joined the band, and at that point we figured, “we have all of these second generation members of A Day in the Life, so why don’t we just start over”? New name, new songs, everything, and that’s what we did.

What were your goals as a band when you all first came together?

We wanted to play music on a professional level. Music is our passion. It’s what drives us every day. We’ve all been out there, we’ve all worked regular jobs, and we don’t like it. We love music, and it’s what we want to do. So when we formed, we tried to find people that had like-minded goals, and that’s the reason that we had so many member changes when we were A Day in the Life. It took awhile for us to figure out who was serious and was going to dedicate all of the necessary time into being a professional band. So once we found that group of people, we changed the name, and started over as Hawthorne Heights, and we’ve been together as the same group of people ever since.

So you were more fueled by your passion for music than for fame or anything of that sort?

Absolutely. I mean, if the fame came, that would be awesome, but it wasn’t something that we necessarily thought about and I remember thinking when our first record was released, we were hoping that we would sell ten or twenty thousand copies, just so we could tour nonstop and be a band and make a living off of it. Things just took off and our goals were definitely exceeded, so we were happy.

So you’re saying that you were really surprised that you got as famous as you did and that you were successful in that area, right?

Absolutely. We never really expected any of this and the fact that, you know, this is the second time that we’ve done Warped Tour and we’re on magazine covers and MTV and all of that stuff, it’s pretty insane to think about. It’s definitely a dream come true, and we’re grateful for every second of it that we get to do.

When did you first get signed to a record label, and did you have different ones to choose from, or was it just one in particular?

From the moment we changed our name to Hawthorne Heights (that was summer of 2003), we sought out to get on a record label, because up until then we had released records on our own, and we did alright, but the only way somebody could hear our music was if they went to our show and they bought a CD there. So we wanted to be on a record label and we sent out demos to probably about thirty different record labels. We definitely had a bunch of interests in several different labels. Victory was the most aggressive in pursuing us at the time and at that point, we had never heard anything band about the label, so we thought that that would be the best place for us.

What genre of music would you consider the band to be, and do you think it’s changed over the years as you’ve been producing new albums?

I think we’ve always been pigeon holed as emo or screamo and I don’t really consider us to be emo or screamo. I consider us to be a rock band. We have emo influences for sure. We have hardcore influences and rock influences and pop influences, classic rock, metal, all across the board. But I don’t think we sound like a true emo band. To me, a real emo band is…

Just kind of hardcore screaming?

No, not necessarily that. A real emo band is like Sunny Day Real Estate or the Get Up Kids (I don’t know if you’re familiar). Those are emo bands and I don’t think we sound like those bands. I think we’re definitely influenced by those bands because that’s what we listened to when we were growing up. I’d say we’re a rock band.

Are there any other bands in particular that have really influenced you and your sound?

It’s hard to say any particular band because we all have such a wide variety of influences. The stuff I listen to isn’t the same thing that Micah or JT listens to. When I was growing up, I was listening to a lot of the old school New York hardcore and classic rock, like Led Zepplin and stuff like that, but then I’d go and listen to Quicksand. Our influences are just all over the board. There isn’t one particular band that we can pick out and say, “that’s what we’re trying to be like”. I mean, some bands do that, and definitely have that one influence where they’re just like, “Man, if we could be what that band is like, we’d love it.”

That’s good, though, because then you kind of have a blend that makes you a better band overall.

Absolutely.

When did you decide to become involved in the music scene and decide that you didn’t want a regular job, that you wanted to be doing this?

For me that started when I was really young. I grew up in New Jersey in a town called Princeton. It was right in the middle of the state. At that time when I was starting to discover music and go into shows, there was a lot going on, a lot of hardcore bands were playing in my town. There was a venue in my town specifically that had a lot of shows and that was awesome for me. I got exposed to a lot of music and I think it was around that point that I was like, “Wow, this is great. I want to do this.” I wanted to have some kind of involvement in the industry, whether it be putting on shows myself, which I did at that time, or being in a band, or working at a record label, or something like that.

So when did you really start to pursue that? Was that just right after you finished school, you decided to kind of go for that kind of thing?

No, I mean, before I went to college, I definitely was trying to get into a band and tour. That didn’t happen for me at that point before I went to college. I went off to college and at that point I figured, “Oh, I’m too old to be in a band”, which was kind of silly looking back at it, but at that point I sort of figured, “All right, I’ll get a job in the music industry”, and that’s what I was planning on doing, and then I started playing in bands and found some other people that were serious, and now we’re here.

So, you say the name changed? How did the band come up with the name Hawthorne Heights? Where did that come from?

To tell you the truth, Matt, our bass player, came up with the name. It doesn’t really mean anything. We used to tell people that it was a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne, but that was just to try and make us sound smarter. It really doesn’t have a meaning. We just thought it sounded cool. It didn’t pigeon whole us to one particular style of music, you know, whereas if you look at a lot of other bands today, you can tell exactly where they got their name. So that’s how we kind of settled on the name Hawthorne Heights.

What about the original name?

A Day in the Life is a Beatles song. It’s one of our favorite Beatles songs. It’s on Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. It’s the last song, and it’s an amazing song, probably one of the greatest songs they ever wrote. And we’re big Beatles fans. You’ve gotta listen to Sergeant Pepper’s, it’s probably one of the best.

So how was it when you first started playing shows?

As Hawthorne Heights, or A Day in the Life, or both?

As Hawthorne Heights.

As Hawthorne Heights, it was actually a little bit different because we had already toured as a band as A Day in the Life for a couple of years and released records on our own, so when we changed the name to Hawthorne Heights we didn’t really play out as much because at that point we knew what we wanted to do, where we wanted to be, and we tried to achieve that goal and in doing so, we spent probably three or four months just demoing songs to send them off to labels. We would write a song, listen to it, rewrite it and just do that over and over again, and it probably took us about three months to write just three songs, to sort of just fine tune what we wanted to sound like because we sound a little different from A Day in the Life, and we really wanted to figure out what we were going to sound like and who we were going to be. So we didn’t play very many shows at that time. We played a couple around town to just test songs out and we didn’t tour out as Hawthorne Heights as we did when we were A Day in the Life. When we were A Day in the Life, we would go touring every weekend and then come back and go to work the next Monday.

Did you get a good reaction from the shows that you did play?

We did, and we were getting a lot of good feedback from our hometown crowd, and that was encouraging. Regardless of that, we knew that we were writing better songs than we were when we were A Day in the Life, and we were excited about them.

What message do you really try to convey through your music to the world and your fans?

JT writes lyrics that relate to personal relationships a lot of times. He uses metaphors of love and heartbreak, even though a lot of the songs aren’t necessarily about that kind of thing. Some of the songs are about having a dysfunctional family and growing up with your dad not there and other songs are about the dangers of being out on the road and how fragile our lives are. But there isn’t really any political message behind our songs.

It’s just a wide variety of topics?

Definitely.

Which Hawthorne Heights song would you say is your favorite song?

My favorite song is probably our song, “This is Who We Are”. It’s the first song off of our second record. That’s only out of the songs that are released right now. We’ve written twenty-three new songs for our next record and I’m really excited about them. We have a lot of awesome songs on there that I’m so excited to hopefully play and record soon. So out of those songs, though, there’s a song called “The End of the Underground” and “Sugar in the Engine” which I really, really like because they’re kind of darker, a little more moody. They’re kind of along the lines of our song Niki FM in a little way, but it’s sort of Niki FM to the next level, and I really like them.

When are you expecting to have everything recorded and out and ready for release?

We’re planning, hopefully, on recording right after Warped Tour. That’s still contingent on several things, because we’re in the process of suing our record label, Victory Records, for several reasons, and there’s still some things that need to get worked out before we’re ready to go into the studio and release that record. We’re hoping to have it out as soon as possible, which could be most realistically early next year, February, I would imagine.

So that would be, what, two years after your second album?

Yeah, two years after “If Only You Were Lonely”.

So, basically, you’re not planning on releasing any other singles off of this album that’s currently out?

No, only because we’re in that lawsuit and they won’t release anything else. Otherwise, we probably would.

Aside from which song is your favorite, which song do you think gets the best reaction from an audience when you play at Warped or wherever?

There are two songs, I think: “Where Can I Stab Myself in the Ears”, which is one of the last songs off of our second record. Gosh, we’ve been fortunate, because it’s nice having two records. I don’t want to sound cocky or arrogant because I’m not, but we have two records now, so there’s a couple singles off of each record, so our whole set is just like the singles, so people know a lot of the songs, so it’s all set between “This is Who We Are”, “Where Can I Stab Myself in the Ears”, but I think only because we try to get the crowd to do a really big circle pit so it gets pretty wild. And then “Ohio is for Lovers”, because I think that’s the song that most people know us for.

How has it been being on Warped Tour?

Warped Tour’s great! Every day, the crowds are amazing, there are thousands of people watching you, even when you’re opening up the stage one day, which we did today. There are always great crowds. There are so many other bands that we know and we’re friends with, and other bands that we’re not friends with that are just great to listen to. I think that’s what makes Warped Tour probably just one of the best summer tours, just that diversity of bands. There’s so much going on for the fans and for the bands themselves. It’s like one big sort of community. It’s fun.

Okay, I guess I just have one more question for you. Sorry that I’ve been keeping you for awhile. What would you say to your fans that you haven’t yet had the chance to meet?

We are still very much a band. I think there were a lot of rumors going around when we sued our label that we were going to break up but we’re stronger for it. A lot of fans are concerned about us ditching all of the screaming but there’s some screaming on these songs. It’s not in every song but it’s still there. But yeah, we love you, and come out and see us sometime!

Well, thanks a lot! I did see you guys play earlier and I thought you guys were really good.

No problem, and thank you!

Comments

  1. Abby I says

    Andi, you are amazing. The fact that you were able to think of all these questions on your feet is amazing. The questions you ask are really informing so it feels like you are really getting to know the person/band. Plus, your questions really vary so its like “getting more for your money”. I’m glad that you get to do this because I know that you love to write and I know that your into music. Great job!!!

  2. says

    I didn’t have my credentials sorted out (that is to say, even though I corresponded with CIWWAF’s publicist, for some reason I wasn’t on the list of interviewers) so I was supposed to go and find the press will call tent, but no one had any idea where it was. By the time everything was figured out, I had just missed CIWWAF’s press time.

    But go ahead and read this one. Like I said, the questions aren’t great because I didn’t have any time for research, but all things considered, it turned out really well. Eron gave some really great, insightful answers.

  3. Guma says

    Thx for doin this interview I LOVE HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS and this is the kind of stuff I look for when I’m trying to learn more bout my favorite bands. Thanks!

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