Hellhound Music Interview with Chris & Aaron
HHM – Were you guys surprised at how quickly you got picked up by Rise?
Chris – Yeah in a sense, in the initial stages of the band we wanted to be totally DIY. We wanted to self-release the first record under a label that we created ourselves. Just to sort of help out with band funding and whatever. I guess, one thing led to another, everything didn’t line up how we wanted it to and Rise came into the picture. That is something we had always talked about, that Rise was one of the labels we had always wanted to be on. Rise was the most common label between us, if we were to sit down and make a list of the labels we’d shoot for. That was the one that came up the most. All and all it has been a good experience for us. Like I said, we wanted to be DIY and planned on keeping it that way for a little bit but an opportunity presents itself like this and we had to take it. It just helped boost our career.
HHM – They do seem to pick up a lot of talented acts, they’re not just picking up anyone and everyone for the sake of having a deep roster.
Chris – Oh, I agree totally. They do sign a lot of bands but yeah, all the bands they sign have the potential to be just as big as their biggest bands.
HHM – From what I have seen stated on line, you guys formed this band in 2010, but was it really before that?
Chris – I guess that would be about right….Aaron and I got together, he had tried out for my old band and it didn’t quite work out so but we stayed friends. My old band was just about at the point of disbanded so I hit him up again.
HHM – How long had you been in that band?
Chris –About 2-1/2 years. It was really short lived. We only did one record, it was a serious band but it definitely wasn’t taken as seriously as we do with this band. So I guess 2010 is about right, we launched the band in…
*Aaron walks up…
Aaron – February 2010
Chris – So I guess it really would have been like November 2009 when first started…
Aaron – That’s pretty much when we all decided to be a band.
Chris – So it really was 2009 and not 2010 for the most part.
HHM – That just seems really fucking quick
Chris – Yeah, I guess we just really knew what we wanted to do and did it. Just kind of how we wanted to do it.
HHM – Not many bands get their shit together that quick. They have to tour and do a lot of shit for several years…
Aaron – We’d all toured in other bands prior to this so we already knew what we were doing, had enough connections with venues for our own DIY tours.
HHM – Well, is there anything in particular that you guys did to get picked up that quickly?
Aaron – I mean honestly, the first band I was ever in I was 17, Emarosa. They were signed to Rise so I guess they already had some knowledge of who I was. When the band started, we didn’t outsource and reach out to Rise, they had found interest in the band because we had recorded at a “Rise” studio.
HHM – You guys hadn’t picked up a publicist or anything like that before that point?
Chris – It all came after the label. After that, everything else just sort of fell into place.
HHM – With so many member changes, do you sometimes feel like the band is sort of a compilation of other bands?
Chris – I guess in a sense we have always felt like a compilation of other bands. We gone through a lot of members but I feel like it is just something that is crucial for the development of the band. The band can all be fucking amazing musicians but, if they don’t have that drive and ambition to be on tour 9 months out of the year, that’s what we need to progress. We all want to be on tour as much as possible.
Aaron – I think that had a lot to do with the fact that the band did tour touring immediately. Not everyone was prepared for the amount of work and effort that was decided we were going to put into this band. We hit the ground running, start touring, living in a van with 4 other dudes that you “know” but hadn’t spent that kind of time with. People start to get under each other’s skin a little bit. It kind of works itself out. You find out who wants to do this as much as you do. If they don’t want to be here, then that’s fine, let them go.
HHM – What are your thoughts on the current line-up? Are you guys meshed well together?
Chris – Yeah, of course. I also think if you had asked us at any point we’d probably say the same thing though. I will say that I genuinely feel like this is the first time that everyone fully clicks. The music meshes together so well, the practicing comes natural. It doesn’t feel forced for the first time. I’m hoping this is the last change we have to ever go through.
HHM – What producer did you guys work with on “We Don’t Exist”?
Chris – We worked with Will Putney at the Machine Shop. He’s done like, For Today, Upon A Burning Body, Chiodos, The Amity Affliction, a lot of good records. It was our first time hearing about him just prior to doing our record and we won’t go anywhere else.
Aaron – He knows exactly who we are, he knows exactly what we want to do. Our whole band works really well with him. Everything kind of blends perfectly.
HHM – What was that experience like working on your first full length as a “signed” band?
Chris – I definitely felt like there was a lot of pressure. All that everyone had heard from us previously was 5 songs. The experience was good. It was a lot of hard work but in the end I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way. I feel like I put everything I had at that time into that record. Ready to do a new one, I’ve got a lot of different emotions and stuff now.
Aaron – It was solid. I really enjoyed the work environment. It was a lot of pressure obviously, being the first record. You say this a thousand times I guess, you have your entire up until that first record to write that record. You put all the effort you want to bands prior to, what you want, what you don’t want. By the time you get there, you kind of have a vision of what you think it’s gonna sound like then what usually happens is it doesn’t sound like that (haha). The second record is the crucial one. We don’t have as much time to write. We’re touring constantly so, we’re gonna try and put as much effort into the second record as we can.
HHM – How much producer input did you get on the first record?
Chris – A lot
Aaron – Yeah, a good bit. It was the first time we had ever worked with a real producer. It was cool to have a third party opinion outside of just the band. “That doesn’t sound cool, that does sound cool…”
Chris – I also feel like he was really knowledgeable, like in our sound. For our size of band and our style of play he’s just really good with bands like us. It helped a lot.
HHM – Do you enjoy being out on the road?
Aaron – We love it. Fuck yeah. That’s why we’re here.
What are some of the best parts of it?
Chris – I personally like taking the time out to meet fans. A lot of them have grown to become friends. Ones that we’ve seen tour after tour. It’s good to see kids come out that can fully relate to our songs, even if they take them a different way than how we actually wrote them. It’s cool to see and meet the people that our music has touched. That’s something that’s probably never gonna get old to me because there’s always more people, new people all the time. Every day is a new city, there’s new kids at the show that just want to hang out and talk. That’s what I really enjoy about touring the most.
HHM – Any things that are almost unbearable but you have to endure?
Aaron – Long drives….
Chris – I’d say it’s a huge struggle missing family, the comforts of home. Other than that, I get used to the van, get used to the routine of doing the same thing every day just in another place. We’ve been doing it so long though, it’s easy for us to just adapt back to it.
HHM – How tough is it getting paired up with bands that don’t really fit your style of play?
Aaron – Yeah…this is the first tour that is consistently heavy bands that are of the same caliber of heaviness as we are, so it’s not like, “pop band, then heavy band….” Which I don’t mind doing, it’s actually kind of cool. That’s how shows were when I was a kid. They didn’t really care what kinds of bands were thrown on the bill when friends would tour. Nowadays it’s harder to do that because kids get locked into a certainly style of play, that’s what they like. I think it’s cool because you get to experience bands you wouldn’t normally think you’d get to because they outside side of your genre of music. This tour has been amazing, all the kids are gonna pretty much like every band.
HHM – I kind of feel like if they hadn’t hear you before, they’re here to see someone else they are gonna dig your shit too.
HHM – How far along are you guys writing the next record?
Chris – We have a second single recorded for the re-issue that’s coming out. That comes out on the 20th.
HHM – Rise are some re-issuing mother fuckers…..they are all about the re-issues (haha)
Chris – haha we were a little hesitant at first, but they are gonna do it on vinyl and I’m a pretty big vinyl buff so that was one of the perks for us.
Aaron – Ordinarily not something we would have done.
Chris – I think it’s a cool opportunity for kids who may not have the record. I don’t think there’s any reason why a year later we need to be pumping out a new full length record. I feel like the last record still has some longevity. Doing tours like this, I feel like we’re reaching fans that have still never heard our band. I don’t want to oversaturate the music scene with our records. I think we can release it in a very timely manner.
HHM – I’ve always been a fan of the ep, full length, ep, full length…but I guess when you get down to it, that’s what a re-issue is, it just packages it all together. If someone hears a new single, they like, they can buy that and the past full length with it.
Aaron – That and they can buy the single separately.
Chris – We wanted to do the whole DVD thing but the time just didn’t work out. That’s why the re-issue is very minimal itself. It’s basically just added singles to bring it up to current. I felt it was the most tasteful thing to do without releasing a full ep. I didn’t think there was any reason for us to do another release like that.
HHM – Do you guys write that much?
Aaron – Our guitar player writes a lot of riffs, not so much “songs”. We’re really into constructing songs, picking parts of parts and then making it a song. We seem to build better structurally that way.
HHM – Do you write a lot on tour?
Aaron – Not really, it’s more or less when we’re at home.
HHM – Do you get a chance to jam when you’re on tour?
Aaron – I wish we did but we don’t. We’re all kind of close knit, we hang out a lot when we’re at home. “Dude, I wrote this part, aw dude, that’s sick. What about if you add this…”
HHM – How close do you guys live together?
Aaron – For the most part, within a half hour radius.
Do you feel like you’re going into the writing process for this record a little differently, a little more mature or prepared?
Aaron – Just a little more prepared, we know what to expect this time around.
Chris – We have a better idea of what we want. We found a sound for our band that we like that works for what we want to be doing. The first record we were sort of like “let’s try this, let’s try that and see what works” We found out what works live, what doesn’t work live. We can fully use that when it’s time to go back to work on writing. It’s makes writing the parts easier, cause we just think it through a lot better.
HHM – Who usually spearheads your writing process?
Aaron – Zack, he does a lot of it. Eli is more into writing lead parts, like little stuff to add over top of things. It’s mostly them two.
HHM – What does your schedule look like once AP Tour concludes in a month?
Chris – We’re doing a headliner for 10 or so days with The Plot In You, some of our friends from Ohio. Other than that, we’ve got some tours coming up but they’re all unannounced or still working out the details etc. It’s gonna be a good year, 2013 is gonna be a a stellar year for the band. I think a lot of doors are gonna open up for us. We’ll put a new record out in the summer. We’ll be back in the studio in March to work on album two. I think it’ll be cool.
HHM – Anything you guys want to share with the readers, get off your chest, bitch about or even thank anyone in particular?
Chris – I guess we’d just like our fans to know that we do what we do because we love doing it. We’re all super real dudes and I feel like if you listen to our music…you can really tell that we put real emotions into the songs. I feel like there are a lot of bands that write things, but it’s really see through, it’s really like…
HHM – Just because it “sounds” good.
Chris – yeah exactly, we write this stuff and it actually gets expressed. We genuinely feel that way. We genuinely feel it, not just write it. Not just to fucking be cool or whatever. “Thanks to everyone who listens to the band already, we really appreciate it. It would be possible without all those people who are coming out to shows every night. It would be pointless without them.
Interview by DaveHHM
Interview by DaveHHM
Check Out the New Single “Learn Your Place”
Like Moths To Flames is:
Chris Roetter – vocals
Aaron Evans – bass
Zach Huston – guitar
Eli Ford – guitar
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