Heartist Talk "Nothing You Didn't Deserve"
Mon, 05 Nov 2012 12:01:45
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Nothing You Didn't Deserve announces Heartist's arrival with a bang.
Merging metal intensity, a hardcore stomp, and rock 'n' roll swagger, the Orange County outfit blow the doors open when it comes to heavy alternative. They've got the kind of personal panache game-changers are made of. Infectious, inviting, and inimitable, Heartist stand out as one of the most thrilling new bands of the 21st century.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Heartist singer Bryce Beckley talks Nothing You Didn't Deserve [iTunes link] and so much more.
What's your take on Nothing You Didn't Deserve as a whole?
As a whole, we didn't want to stick to one genre. We really wanted to make it transitional between the hardcore metal scene and the rock scene really to show off what we can do with different styles of music. We built the whole EP to have two heavy songs, two rock songs, and one soft love ballad. In case we want to go heavy or rock for the full-length, we can. All bases are covered. That was really the goal.
Does that sonic unpredictability make things fun for you?
Yeah, that's really cool. I came from a band where I didn't have an opportunity to write anything. When we started this project, it opened up the gates for me to experiment with everything. It worked out very well. Six songs down the line, we were like, "Wow, this is way different from what we were expecting when we started the project".
What's the story behind "Disconnected"?
We were experimenting about what we wanted to write our lyrics about, whether we wanted them to be from personal experiences or not. We actually wrote that about a ghost stuck on this plane between life and the afterlife. He can't really get there. He's trying to figure out what caused him to die in his life and get stuck in the middle.
Where did "Heart of Gold" come from?
That was written entirely by our guitarist. At the end of the cycle, we chose to include it. We needed something really soft at the end to round everything out. Jonathan wrote that about his current girlfriend and being in love.
What's your favorite song on the EP?
It's a tie between "Where Did I Go Wrong?" and "Rhinestone". We wrote "Where Did I Go Wrong?" after "Disconnected" and "Nothing You Didn't Deserve" the two heavy songs were under our belt. "Where Did I Go Wrong?" was our attempt at stepping outside of the box and writing something completely different from the rest of it. "Rhinestone" meant a lot to me lyrically. I got to channel a lot of the emotions I was going through at the time into the song. That was the first time that really happened. Those two songs mean a lot to me.
Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?
It's extremely important. That's one of our big goals. We really want to be able to tell a story with what we're writing a song about. It comes down to everything musically, lyrically, and the way things are sung. Everything is meant to pull at heart strings, depending on people's situations.
What influences that?
I consider myself a pretty mellow person. I'm not very emotional in life. The music is a way for me to express emotion. I really like the idea of connecting with people. Love is the biggest way you can connect. If you can connect with people on a personal level like that and make some get chills from a song or shed a tear, that's the best thing you can do.
What bands had that effect on you?
I remember listening to Secret and Whisper when I was growing up, and the lyrics really touched me. You can hear the emotional toll in the singer's voice. Then, there was My Chemical Romance and ambient music like Circa Survive, which really impacted me.
How did you come up with the band name?
We've put our lives into making music. We were looking for a band name that expressed that. We put our full hearts into it. We dropped everything in an attempt to make this a career for ourselves. "Heartist" is a combination of the fact we're artists and we put all of our art into it. It worked out well. It means a lot to us. Phonetically, it's not the easiest thing to get across to people until they read it. It's difficult to say, "We're Heartist" on stage, and crowds has no idea of what I just said.
If Nothing You Didn't Deserve were a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Oh man! It'd be a combination between some kind of psychological thriller and The Notebook [Laughs]. Throw a really cheesy Titanic love story in some kind of slasher movie.
Delve into the album cover. It's quite striking.
We show off different sides. We wanted the artwork to reflect those personalities. On the CD cover, one side of the girl is the loving side. It stems from the title track. That song is actually about a man with split personality. The screaming represents one, and the singing represents the other. His girlfriend cheats on him, and the screaming is him wanting to kill her and get revenge. The singing represents how much he loves her and wants to make things work. As the song progresses, the psychosis takes over. By the end, he's completely broken down. The idea of the artwork was to represent that. One side is the loving. She's holding him and the pendant. The other, she's digging her hand in so hard that he's bleeding from it. The teal was a representation of the ooze of emotion.
Why does so much heavy music come out of Southern California? Is it hard to be angry when the sun's out all the time?
[Laughs] The music scene is so shifty! Five years ago it was huge. Last year, it started dropping off. Now, it seems like there are a lot of bands pushing back up. I don't know why everyone is angry here [Laughs]. I'm not angry. I like the scene here. There are a lot of friendly people who put their all into it.
Have you heard Heartist?
Photo: Roadrunner Records