I spoke to JT of Hawthorne Heights ahead of the release of their new record, Bad Frequencies. Out April 27th!
So your new record, Bad Frequencies is out soon, did you have anything in mind with this record or did you just want to continue the evolution?
Our only goal is to always be moving forward. Even if you are walking uphill, you still want to make sure you are walking. Our rule for Bad Frequencies was to keep writing, until we are done. We did a ton of touring in 2017, so it kept bumping our studio time back, but we were totally fine with that. As the album began to take shape, we kept coming up with songs that we loved. When the creativity started to dwindle, it would flow back in. When winter of 2017 came along, we knew it was time to get in the studio and make this record.
When it comes time to write another record do you take inspiration from similar places as you have previously, or do you try to find it new sources of inspiration?
The world spins so fast, it’s easy to look everywhere for inspiration. Whether it’s traveling, or just watching the current political climate, there is always something to write about. If you get too happy, you
write about the dark times. If times get too dark, you write about a wonderful memory you have. Also, it doesn’t always have to be so autobiographical. Sometimes you write from reality, and sometimes you
write from fantasy. Art is always in the eye of the beholder, so sometimes you want the fan to have a little mystery surrounding the songs as well.
For a lot of people Hawthorne Heights has become one of the quintessential emo bands, how do you guys feel about that because a lot of bands tried to shrug off the emo label, particularly at the time. Do you embrace the emo?
We don’t really worry about it either way. If people want to call us EMO, we embrace it. We don’t think it’s positive or negative. As long as people love these songs, and understand that life is emotional, we are
happy. We have never stopped playing, so we aren’t really aware if we are cool again or whatever haha.
Your last release before this was the final part of your trilogy of EPs, Hate, Hope and Hurt. Do you have any plans for a similar project in the future?
We haven’t really thought too far past Bad Frequencies, because it is all really fresh. We are ready to live this album for the year or so, and give it everything we have. The only way to live your dreams is to
chase them until they come true. We are constantly writing, and trying to think of interesting ways to release albums, so we never rule anything out.
You’re out touring the US already, any new songs that you’re loving playing live?
So far we have been playing Bad Frequencies, Pink Hearts, and Just Another Ghost. It’s been refreshing to add some new songs to the set, and see brand new fan reactions. Over the past 3 years we have been
playing a lot of 10 year anniversary sets, so we are excited to give some of the old stuff a break. We always include a fair amount of “classic Hawthorne” songs in the setlist, so our fans never have to worry…we will play the songs they know, and we will try to please them at all times. On this particular tour we do have a couple of surprises in order.
As a long time fan from the UK, have you guys got any plans to tour the UK soon and do you have any particularly fond memories of the UK?
We absolutely LOVE the UK. It’s one of our favorite places in the world. Original Source Mint is my favorite smell, ever. Manchester, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Reading…all of these places have such a special spot in our hearts. We’ve made so many great memories there. The fans are always wonderful. This interview is making me want a FULL ENGLISH. We are actually working on our next trip over there right now, and we hope everything falls into place. Can’t wait to cross the pond and see all of our wonderful UK fans.
I remember hearing (and loving!) your cover of Bullet With Butterfly Wings by the Smashing Pumpkins, what song of yours would you want to hear them do a cover of?
I would love to hear the PUMPKINS do NIKI FM. I think that would be so badass. We have all been Pumpkins fans since we were very young, and they helped shape our musical lives. I am glad to see them touring again, at least for this summer. Personally, I think Billy Corgan shaped alternative music in a very special way.
Lastly, you guys do a lot of touring and a lot of driving, what are your ultimate driving songs?
Ultimate driving songs are kind of different for each member. But I love the 1980s and 1990s. Plenty of Springsteen and Tom Petty. Always listening to The Replacements, The Cure, Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182. I’ve really been listening to John Parr lately, because he wrote the soundtracks to a lot of my favorite 80s movies. I love how everything is so triumphant. Sometimes you need something that helps melt away the miles…Every once in awhile I kick on Jimmy Buffet, Margaritaville when it gets to cold outside.