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  • Interview: Honor By August

    Wed, 01 May 2013 08:35:33

    Interview: Honor By August - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    Honor By August possess all the ingredients of the next great pop rock band. Towering melodies cascade alongside uplifting riffs and beats, making for an energetic and entrancing ride on their latest album Monuments to Progress. It's a powerful collection that's as poignant as it is poetic, and these songs are bound to stick with you as soon as you hear them.

    Honor By August singer and guitarist Michael Pearsall sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about Monuments to Progress [iTunes link] and so much more.

    What threads Monuments to Progress together for you?

    I wouldn't say there's one specific thing. It's not a concept album, but we did want to make a record that made people want to listen from beginning to end. Nowadays, it seems like most people buy singles, but the bands we love make great records all the way through. We wanted to make sure the songs were balanced and they provided a full array of what Honor By August does from the more rocking songs to the acoustic, mellow songs. The songs all come from a place of real human emotion, whether they're themes of love, loss, hope, or pain. They're genuine emotions from experiences we've gone through. There wasn't one specific theme, but it was important for us to make a cohesive record.

    Was it important for you to tell stories with the songs?

    Absolutely, when we're writing songs, we want people to have an image in their minds. It's something that they can see and imagine when they're listening to the music, whether it's taking them to a place they've been before or a picture we're painting for them, which they never thought about. Songs are always best when you don't just hear them, you experience them.

    What's the story behind "Believe"?

    I think that's the band's favorite song on the record. I think it shows the greatest evolution of where the band has come. It's very dynamic and meaningful to all of us for different reasons. In general, it's this idea that everybody needs something to believe in, whether it's themselves, their careers, their love lives, their family, their religion, or whatever it may be for any individual. We're at a time in our career where we're a new band on a greater scale. However, the four of us have been doing this for about five years. We have some big things happening in our lives. We've been pursuing the dream of being career musicians, and it's been hard. The title of the record comes from the song. We've seen a lot of bands come and go over the years. We've been through a lot of things that most bands would've probably broken up over. We have persevered because we believe in each other and the music we create. We believe in our ability to do this, achieve our goals, and make our dreams a reality. The song is very significant for us in a lot of ways. It really represents our consistent belief in ourselves and each other to make this dream a reality.

    Where did "Little Black Dress" come from?

    That's obviously more of a fun dance rocker. I had the music. I was on a cross country drive, and I was listening to the music and coming up with the lyrics. It's a funny story. However, a college buddy of mine from Pittsburgh is a big Donnie Iris fan. Donnie is like the Bruce Springsteen of Pittsburgh. My friend is always like you've got to play "Little Black Dress" so I always had this idea of using that phrase in a song. It had nothing to do with Donnie Iris. I just thought the phrase was cool. My bass player Chris was imagining this idea of a three-second smile. You see someone across the bar. You both look at each other. You don't have to say anything, but you know that you both have the same intentions. I envisioned walking into a bar. You're looking for something, but you don't know what it is. You see that person, and you know. The "Little Black Dress" represents her visually and that elusive thing you're seeking.

    If you were to compare the record to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?

    That's a great question. I don't know if anybody's ever asked me something quite like that before. I think of a movie like Garden State. I love that movie. It encompasses so many different emotions. It's a beautiful film that makes you feel good, but at the same time, it taps into darker emotions like moments of depression or numbness and pain as well as love and hope. Those are the same themes that run through the album. It's a movie that's enjoyable to watch. It makes you smile, laugh, and think. We like our music to be able to enhance whatever emotion someone is having.

    Rick Florino

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