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Hawthorne Heights - 07.31.08

Interviewed by: Jamie Pham (07/31/08)
How's Niki and the baby?
JT: Niki and the baby are doing amazing. Avery is our first child, and she just started taking her first steps about 3 days before I left to go on tour. She’s walking everywhere, now she doesn’t crawl at all, she walks everywhere. It sucks that I have to miss something like that, but I got to see her in Pittsburgh. She was walking up and down the bus and tripping and falling and laughing.

What are your thoughts on the concept of FNMTV?
JT: I’m quite into it, mainly because it’s a chance for MTV to play music videos again. I think anytime someone can do something to help bring music videos to MTV is a very good thing. I love that Pete Wentz came up with this idea. I think it’s awesome because it’s like a premiere. They actually premiere the video so people can see their favorite band’s video on a certain show with interviews and everything. We haven’t done the show yet, but we’re looking forward to being on it on the 1st. I think it will be really cool. It might be awkward for us the first time, but playing videos on MTV is great and I think it should happen more. This is a good start.

FNMTV reaches a large demographic of viewers, do you think this song and music video will cater most, if not all, of those people?
JT: I hope so. We really just consider ourselves a rock band. When we started the band around 2001-2002, there weren’t any “emo” or “screamo” bands. It was more like “Spring” or bands like that, so we weren’t like “Let’s start a screamo band!” or anything like that. That was never in our minds. We have a lot of rap influences, and a lot of people like rap music and I hope people dig it. The video is pretty straightforward with some cool colors and it springs alive with a kind of “escape artist” theme with a girl escaping from a tank with a lot of beautiful color.

What are some of your favorite music videos of all time?
JT: My favorite music video of all time is probably “November Rain”, by Guns n Roses. I think that that video is amazing. I did the whole vibe, how it goes from one feeling to the next. You can’t go wrong with having Slash on a mountaintop playing a solo either. I really like “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins. I think that video made them look like a totally different band. It totally looked really dark and creepy looking. I think that kind of solidified them as a larger-than-life rock band.

Tell us a little bit of your new album, Fragile Future. How does it differ from your older material?
JT: I would say its different because we lost Casey, so there’s not screaming on the record. We were kind of phasing that out anyways. It’s still a very heavy album. Not all the songs sound like “Rescue Me”, that’s kind of a pop song. There’s a couple really dark songs on the album, dealing with the times we were going through losing a best friend and losing a guitar player, and also going through all the drama that the music industry is. So there is a lot of dark stuff on it, a little bit of happy stuff too. I think it might be our best album to date because we took a lot of time on it, we recorded it how we wanted to, we actually took the pictures for the album art, I hand wrote the lyrics. Everything is more personal to us with this record. We’re super stoked to have it come out and I hope that all of our fans really like it.

How hard was it to write “Four Become One?” And how long did it take until you guys thought it would be perfect?
JT: When we first got back from the tour and we had just lost Casey, we didn’t practice for 3 weeks or a month. After something like that, I don’t think any of us picked up a guitar or did anything involving music. We were just too hurt and too depressed. Anytime we picked something up, it reminded us of Casey. But when I first wrote the shell of that song, it probably only took me 15 minutes to write the theatrical, main idea. I wrote the set of lyrics right after the funeral. It was kind of a recollection of our experiences being at the funeral and at the viewing. You kind of block it out of your mind, but we’re here seeing all these people that loved Casey and all of these pictures of him being happy all around. The song is about more the good times and not dwelling on the fact that we lost someone. It has to do more with what an amazing person he was.

You guys said there were songs written with Casey before he had passed away but none of them made it on to the record, why was that?
JT: Actually, two of the songs that we wrote with Casey are on the record. One of them is a song called “Three P One” (?) and its probably one of the heavier songs on the record. The other one is called “Scrantonicity”. The title comes from an episode of “The Office”. We loved both of those songs. One of the reasons that some of the stuff didn’t make it on the album is because we had to become a different band as far as song choice. Some of them weren’t developed enough to be recorded yet. So pretty much what we did was to take the songs we had and deal with it, using the songs we were most prepared with.

What was it recording with Jeff Schneeweis?
JT: We did a couple shows with him back in the day, so we knew that Jeff was capable of a bigger sound. We also knew that Jeff was a good person and a good musician. He added a lot of good ideas and helped us through. It was a really good time, we never argued in the studio. We never did anything other than smile and laugh and record the songs that we had. It was the best experience, and I think Jeff did a good job too.

What makes you get into that kind of zen, where you don't think about anything, and you are putting your heart and soul into the music at shows?
JT: Umm, not really. Relaxation really helps while we’re on tour. We try not to listen to any music while we’re writing songs. You have to really distance yourself from other songs so you don’t rip it off, or even rip it off without knowing you’re doing it. I think that we just kind of sit around, playing the guitar and vibe out. We all love music in the band. I think it really helps to have 3 songwriters instead of just one person writing everything and making everyone else play their parts. As far as on tour, we just kind of relax, play video games, watch sports and decompress before going out there and having a good time on stage.

Thanks for doing this interview with me!

You can check out Hawthorne Height’s AbsolutePunk profile here and myspace page here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23.
10:09 AM on 08/01/08
Stay lucky
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timbedinosaur's Avatar
You didn't ask him my questions! c'mon, you were supposed to ask the ups and downs of touring, who gets top bunk, and most importantly, how awesome I am! now I'm bummed out. Balls.
10:17 AM on 08/01/08
Here, It Never Snowed
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Kbm600's Avatar
Rap influences? I haven't checked out the album stream yet, but someone please tell me there is no rapping on it.
10:23 AM on 08/01/08
The spaceman that can't get high.
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myhearturhands's Avatar
nice interview
i hope i have money to pick up the new record tuesday
10:40 AM on 08/01/08
Stage three has begun.
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SLoT's Avatar
nice interview
i hope i have money to pick up the new record tuesday
I think it's got the five finger discount at Best Buy on Tuesday. Although I don't condone the FFD, I think that in a time of need when you're really suffering from having no money, music would be nice to listen to while your life is crumbling down around you.
10:45 AM on 08/01/08
Dark eyed dreamer
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atllover's Avatar
this is nice. :D
11:52 AM on 08/01/08
Regular Member
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PiperFalling32's Avatar
I can't wait for the album to come out
They used my question too! Avery is such a cute name.
12:03 PM on 08/01/08
A contender now throwing the fight
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Drown_The_City's Avatar
Its a great album
02:27 PM on 08/01/08
Nick Le
Yeezy taught me.
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Nick Le's Avatar
good interview. yeahh, great album. and Jeff Schneeweis! :D i didn't know they recorded with him.
04:07 PM on 08/01/08
Regular Member
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BrittanyIsWhack's Avatar
Great interview!
06:32 PM on 08/01/08
Are you watching closely?
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Nolessthanblink's Avatar
Short interview, but not bad. The Casey parts were sad
08:32 PM on 08/01/08
water me
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sargentlgfuad's Avatar
nice, simple interview.

I think he meant "Three, Two, One"
and "Scrantonicity" isn't on their new album, but that sounds like a great song deserving of some shrute bucks.
08:47 PM on 08/01/08
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jtwoodruff's Avatar
Rap influences? I haven't checked out the album stream yet, but someone please tell me there is no rapping on it.

Haha. I actually said ROCK influences...not RAP. There are officially no RAP influences on the record, and I am pretty proud of that haha.
I also said early screamo bands were "rites of spring", not spring.

I hope that clears it up haha.
09:03 PM on 08/01/08
Long suffering Bills fan
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Circa1628's Avatar
pretty cool interview, it's really great how involved you are with this site JT. Thanks for interacting with your fans like that, it means a lot!

09:10 PM on 08/01/08
Here, It Never Snowed
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Kbm600's Avatar
Haha. I actually said ROCK influences...not RAP. There are officially no RAP influences on the record, and I am pretty proud of that haha.
I also said early screamo bands were "rites of spring", not spring.

I hope that clears it up haha.

Haha, Thank you for clearing that up! I was afraid we'd see T Pain And JT together.

The record stream I've heard rocks, you guys did a solid job.
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