Interview: Eron Bucciarelli of Hawthorne Heights
June 14, 2006 12:33 PM
by Christina Fuoco
Hawthorne Heights is not one of those bands that assumes it has a god-given right to receive airplay on major metropolitan radio stations. Without blinking an eye, the group shows appreciation for the spins.
So when a radio station in Windsor, Ontario, asked the band to perform at its June 18 Birthday Bash in neighboring Detroit, and another outlet in Frisco, Texas, suggested the band play its Edgefest on the same day, the group obliged both. It could have been a logistical nightmare, but Hawthorne Heights worked it out.
"We've never played two shows in two different states that required a flight," drummer Eron Bucciarelli said. "Both stations have been really supportive of us. It wasn't too big of a problem to coordinate it. We don't shy away from working hard and doing anything it takes."
Hawthorne Heights--which also includes guitarist Casey Calvert, guitarist Micah Carli, bassist Matt Ridenour and vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff--is promoting its album "If Only You Were Lonely," a collection of emo-driven songs that includes the breakthrough hit "Saying Sorry." Released Feb. 28, the set was produced by David Bendeth.
LiveDaily: There are two different versions of the artwork for "If Only You Were Lonely." Tell me about the difference in the two.
Eron Bucciarelli: One version represents the guy's side of the storyline, the other version represents the girl's side. Basically, the story is: this guy moves off when he's younger, and the two of them are struggling to keep this relationship together while being apart from each other. The different problems they go through with their family. If you match the two versions up next to each other, the pages kind of sync up.
Why did you decide to do that?
We thought it would be something neat for die-hard fans. You don't have to have both. It was an idea that one of the graphic designers [at the record label] came up with. We said, "Yeah, yeah. That's kind of cool." Initially, there was supposed to be all kinds of different inks that only show up [under] black light and stuff like that--like monsters under the bed and all kinds of crazy stuff. Somewhere along the process, they probably thought it costs too much to produce. Both those ideas got nixed, but the general ideas stayed the same.
You really broke through during the arena tour with Fall Out Boy. Have you noticed a difference in your fan base?
We have a lot of new fans, obviously. Fall Out Boy has sold two million records. Their fan base is quite a bit larger than ours. There have been a lot of people adding us on MySpace saying, "Hey, I just found out about you guys on this tour. I really like your music. I just picked up your CD yesterday."
What is the songwriting process like with Hawthorne Heights?
We pretty much have a democratic process. Everybody brings in ideas. The initial ideas might start with Matt or Casey. We'll play around with it. It's a really, really rough idea. Sometimes just a chorus, sometimes just a verse or a pre-chorus. We'll all work on the part, and we'll just build it into an actual song structure. Once we have a song structure in place, we might add in different melodies. Then we'll say, "All right Casey, what are you going to play?" "Micah, what are you going to play?" We have three different guitar players. We try to have them all doing different things. We start building and overlapping melodies onto the song. Once the whole song structure is in place, then JT writes the lyrics.
How was it to work with David Bendeth?
He has such a huge knowledge of songwriting, and it was nice to bounce ideas off of him. He's not your typical emo producer. He has a lot of ideas that helped us expand our sound, so we're not just your typical emo band or have your emo sound. He worked with a whole huge array of bands, from metal bands, like Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying, to pop groups, like Vertical Horizon and Breaking Benjamin. There's this huge rainbow of artists that he's worked with. He brought a lot of different ideas, things that we wouldn't necessarily think of. Half of the time we were like, "Nah, I don't think so." The other half of the time the ideas were really good.
What were some of the things you disliked?
Some parts sounded too "nu metal" for us, like, "Try this rhythm in this part of the song." We would say, "That doesn't work out for us."
So you felt free to state your case?
We went into it, "This is how we work," and he said, "This is how I work. I'm going to throw out all these ideas I come out with and if you guys don't like them, feel free to nix them. We don't have to do every single thing I suggest." It was nice. It kind of helped that we were already established a little bit. We've already done this with what we know, so we are confident with what we can do on our own. It worked out for the best.
This summer, you're primarily concentrating on radio dates and smaller markets, correct?
Yes, we have a bunch of radio stations this summer. There's a bunch of secondary markets that we're hitting up. We're going to be doing two weeks in Canada with Story of the Year, Anberlin and Halifax. We're also going to head over to Australia and Japan for a week, and Germany, Holland and the UK for another week. We're doing this really cool show sponsored by Boost Mobile. We're playing in these really small clubs. Some of them, I think, only hold 100 to 200 people. The only way you can get into them is if you sign up and do a bunch of community service. We're going to use our popularity for the good of everyone else, which is fun. There's four or five of them. They're up on the website right now. We're going on a headlining tour in the fall. We'll hit all the major markets. This summer's all kind of spotty. We're flying in and out all over the place.
Who are you touring with in the fall?
We can't reveal that yet.
HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS is taking over the world, one broken heart at a time. Since the 2004 release of their Victory Records powerhouse debut album, The Silence In Black And White, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS spent every single week of 2005 in the Top 200. They have headlined sold out tours in the US and UK, headlined Warped Tour 2005, appeared in every major music publication, are in heavy rotation on MTV and Fuse, and have toured with the likes of SUM 41 and FALL OUT BOY.