Heartsounds is back at it with a new album called "Internal Eyes". It's the band's first album since they parted ways with Epitaph and was released and vocalist/guitarist Ben Murray's own label, Creator-Destructor. Read on to see what Ben had to tell us, then order your copy for some very fine skatepunk and while you're at it, check out some of the other Creator-Destructor releases!
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard of you guys yet… if Heartsounds was the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would’ve had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Ben: Haha! I definitely think that Propagandhi may have banged Bad Religion in a very nurturing way, maybe in the missionary position, ya know, to create our sound. That is also by far the best question we’ve ever been asked.
PRT: Whenever you hear about Heartsounds, your name and Laura’s pop up along with the fact that you’ve been in Light This City before. But who are the other guys in the band and what is something about them we probably wouldn’t know yet?
Ben:Well, our drummer Trey Derbes grew up in New Orleans and played in a handful of bands out there. You probably wouldn’t know this, but Trey rides like, 50 miles on his bike every morning before work- It’s crazy! Bobby Taul is our bass player, and he’s from Fresno, CA. Some people may not know that. Also, he really really likes coffee and beer. He drinks like 8 cups of coffee a day sometimes. I bet people didn’t know that!
PRT: So how does one go exactly from being in a metal band to starting in a melodic punkrock band?
Ben:Honestly, Laura and I grew up listening to Punk Rock and Hardcore, and when we really started getting heavily into metal and death metal, we started Light This City when I was 14 and she was 15 in order to play that style. 6 years later, we had released 4 full-length records on Prosthetic Records, done over 25 tours, and just felt like it was time to do something else. I think that because we did come from a punk background, we really just got disenchanted by how certain things were done in the ‘metal’ world. We just wanted to start fresh and do something new and exciting, which ended up being Heartsounds.
PRT: If you look at “Until We Surrender”, “Drifter” and “Internal Eyes”, you notice that you have a sound that is your own but also that even the artwork all looks like it belongs together with the hand-drawn images. Is there something of a concept behind Heartsounds where you want everything to tie in together?
Ben:“Until We Surrender” and “Drifter” were more of a unified idea visually, with the clocks and all that. That was a dark time in my life, and those records largely dealt with the idea of time and how I obsessed over how I felt I was wasting it. Because those records looked so similar, we wanted to change up the art a bit on this one. “Internal Eyes” doesn’t have any of the same elements as the last two records visually, aside from a somewhat similar style. Our buddy Dave Kloc did the art for “Internal Eyes”, and Richard Minino did the first two albums. We just felt like we wanted to mix it up with this record given that the first two felt like a pair. So, we went with a new artist and new ideas, but yeah, they definitely all feel cohesive, which we did want to some degree.
PRT: Epitaph released your last album and re-released the first one. What’s it like to release the new album on your own label, Creator-Destructor?
Ben:It’s fantastic! We loved being on Epitaph, but we released ‘Until We Surrender’ on Creator-Destructor before Epitaph re-released it, and I’ve put out lots of records since then, so I’m used to it, and enjoy the process! Obviously Epitaph erally helped to get our name out there, which has in turn allowed us to do awesome things with “Internal Eyes”. But the experience of getting this new album together on our own has been nothing but great! We’ve controlled everything from the recording to the production of the vinyl, to the promotion and mailorder. It’s awesome to set your own timeline and be in control of all the elements of a release. We’re really happy with how everything is going so far.
PRT: Is it hard to be on the business side of things as a label owner and at the same time be in the band whose album you’re releasing?
Ben:Not really, it’s nice! I mean, it’s definitely a lot of work at times, but it’s not hard work, and it’s fun to be able to see all the response to the record from day 1!
PRT: What inspired you to start your own label?
Ben:I started the label when I was 18 or so, and I think I just wanted to try it out because it seemed like a fun thing to do. What’s better than being able to put out records for bands you love? I think that was my only incentive to start the label, and it’s honestly the only reason I still do it today. It’s been a lot of fun, and I have some awesome stuff planned for 2014, so I’m excited!
PRT: You’ll be playing at this year’s Fest… any bands in particular that you’re excited about seeing there?
Ben:Definitely! I’m incredibly excited to see The Draft again since they broke up a while ago. I love that band so much. I’m also pumped to see Samiam, and of course all of the other Fest regulars like A Wilhelm Scream and The Flatliners. I’m also excited to see The Lawrence Arms for the first time, that will be insane!
PRT: What’s up after that for you?
Ben:There are tentative plans for a West Coast run in early 2014, as well as trips to other countries that we can’t mention yet, but they should be awesome! We’re hoping to get back to Europe and Japan later in 2014 as well. We’ll see! ;)
PRT: Next to being a band, Heartsounds apparently is an innovative initiative bringing together UK and Ugandan Mental Health champions to work together as well. If you could work together with anyone, who would it be and why?
Ben:Oh shit, that’s a lot cooler work than what we’re doing. But if I had to work together with anyone, it would probably be to work together on a tour with Carcass. They would teach me how to write the best riffs in the world, and I in turn would tell them why those riffs were just so great. Is that work? I think that’s work.
PRT: Why did Heartsounds cross the road?
Ben:Shit, I have no idea. Not even a good response. And I’ll never know!