Mon, 03 Feb 2014 09:40:23
Strangeheart turn pop music into dreamscapes on tracks such as the single "How To Feel Right" [iTunes link]. Echoing the eighties synth hum of The Cure with a dash of modern indie energy, the Los Angeles outfit immediately hypnotize. You're going to fall in love with Strangeheart...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Strangeheart frontman Jeff Thompson talks "How To Feel Right", influences, and so much more.
What's the story behind "How To Feel Right"?
I spent a week at our producer's house. We were just writing, getting ideas down, and thinking about putting out a record. We started messing around with keyboards and came up with that intro progression. Something clicked, and I started singing over it. The vocals simply happened. I had the lyrical ideas for a while. The song is about how there are a lot of things in this world that can drive a person mad—just do something about it.
So it's about taking action against the things that annoy or aggravate you?
Yeah, or the things that can drive you crazy like love [Laughs]. Don't sit around and just lose it. Get up and do something.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
Not always...most of our songs are pretty autobiographical. "How To Feel Right" just turned out that way.
Where did "In Another Life" come from?
That was the first song that Brandon and I co-wrote together. There's the hook in the beginning. A lot of our songs start with a hook. When we have the hook, we knew what to build the song around. The song starts with this keyboard melody Brandon [Queen] came up with. I was like, "That's the hook!" We worked on the music and the lyrics. The lyrics came later. They're about a girl.
Is starting with the hook the way you guys usually create?
It happens that way most of the time. We'll find a hook, and it changes everything.
What artists shaped you?
When I was really young, I didn't listen to a whole lot of music growing up other than musicals and worship music. When I got into high school, I got into Weezer and some other indie bands at the time. For me, it was eye-opening. I grew up listening to these indie rock bands. More influential now are some eighties bands. One of them is The Cure. Three or four years ago, I was listening to The Cure's Greatest Hits. I bought it on iTunes because I was interested, and it totally put me in a different place. I've been hooked on eighties music ever since. Robert Smith is definitely one of my biggest influences and favorite songwriters.
What does the name Strangeheart mean?
I think Strangeheart really defines the band. If you listen to the songs, the band name really makes sense. If you know us as people, the band name makes sense. I had written down a hundred band names on a piece of paper over the course of three months, knowing we were going to start this thing but looking for what we would call ourselves. We argued for months about what the band name would be. Once I wrote it down on paper, it clicked! It was that moment like, "Okay, this is what we are!"
Have you heard Strangeheart?