Heartsounds are one act on the Hits & Pits Fest making their debut in Australia this May. With a number of albums under their belt now, the latest of which is ‘Internal Eyes‘ released on the band’s own label. This week we catch up with Ben Murray from the band to answer our Hotseat questions. Expand this post to check out his answers. Tickets for Hits & Pits Fest are on sale now.
Name : Ben Murray
Band : Heartsounds
Job In Band : Guitar, Vocals
Website Address : heartsoundsband.com
Hometown : San Francisco, CA
Hometown is best known for : Gold, Metallica
Best venue in your hometown : Thee Parkside!
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Probably Propagandhi at Slims in 2009, right after ‘Supporting Caste’ was released.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : Every show we’ve ever played with A Wilhelm Scream at Thee Parkside has been incredible.
How did the band first come to exist? Laura and I started Heartsounds in 2009 after our last band (a metal band called Light This City) broke up. We wanted to play punk again, since we played it as kids and listened to it constantly. We released our first record ‘Until We Surrender’ on our label, Creator-Destructor, which then got re-released by Epitaph. After that, we started touring and playing a lot more, and got Trey Derbes to join the band on drums, which was a great addition. We’ve done two more LPs since then, played a lot of shows, and the rest is history!
How long has the band been going? About 5 years now.
Any particular story behind the name? Nope, we wanted a short one-word name, and Laura came up with Heartsounds. Nothing too exciting, sorry!
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… We just released our third LP entitled ‘Internal Eyes’ on our label, Creator-Destructor Records on October 15th, 2013. It has 10 tracks, and we definitely think it’s our best record to date. We recorded it with the same engineer who did our last two records, and we also think it’s our best sounding record as of yet, so check it out!
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Opening for Bad Religion was definitely a highlight, as was having Jason from Strung Out sing on our last record, which Brett Gurewitz produced. There have been so many moments that we are proud of, but those two especially stand out.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? I remember seeing the ‘Green Day live in Chicago’ full-concert on MTV when I was 10 years old and being absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe how awesome this music was, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I started playing guitar soon after buying every Green Day CD, and the rest is a blurry history, haha.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? There are so many, but Bad Religion’s ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ was a huge one when I started listening to punk, as was Strung Out’s ‘Twisted by Design’. More recently though, Propagandhi’s last few records have been absolute game-changers, and anything by A Wilhelm Scream is just phenomenal.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? It was called Light This City, and it was melodic death metal.
Most prized music related item you own? Hmm, I’d have to say my Orange Thunderverb Head, because I love the way it sounds. That’s not that exciting of an answer, but I don’t really have prized musical possessions besides my gear, and some records.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Listening to podcasts, watching movies, hangin’ with buds, pretty regular stuff!
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is.. Definitely being on stage again! We don’t tour all the time, so when we do it’s always really exciting and refreshing.
ON THE STAGE
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Flying, if there is flying involved.
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? We’ve never had a rider, but I’d say beer, if we had one.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Japan, by far! It’s just a whole other world out there where every venue is amazing and sounds incredible, and people treat you with a lot of respect- It’s so cool!
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? There are so many that are memorable, but playing FEST in 2010 was really, really fun. Opening for Hot Water Music was a real treat as well.
Got a favourite song to play live? That changes from month to month, but currently I’d say we all really dig playing any song from the new record.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? There’s not usually a show that goes by without something embarrassing being said or done, so it’s hard to pick just one
Any pre-show rituals? Just warm up, make each other laugh, and try to be positive!
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Probably the fact that you lose money almost every time you do it, unless you’re an enormously popular band. But, we don’t do this for money so it’s not the biggest issue in the world.
Last song you listened to? ‘Thrasher’s Abbatoir’ by Carcass.
Last album you acquired? ‘Burner’ by Point of View- Amazing record!
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? The new Behemoth record is absolutely crushing. Can’t stop listening to it!
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Check out The Mighty Fine – I’m a bit biased as they are on my label and I’m putting out their new record, but it’s truly great! If you dig The Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio you’ll definitely dig these guys.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? We’re playing a few shows in Mexico, some on the West Coast, and then getting our asses over to Australia for the time of our lives! Oh, we’re also shooting a video too. Should be a good time!
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Maybe ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ by Springsteen, because it’d be interesting to take some of those songs and make them faster. Every track on that record is so sad and dark sounding, it’d be cool to see what could be done with that! Although, on second though, I wouldn’t want to tarnish such a perfect record by covering it, haha.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Oh wow, I’d probably have Fiona Apple see what she could do with one of our records. She’d probably make it a shitload better.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Thin Lizzy.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? The Fillmore in San Francisco!
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? I would love to fill in for Lars of Metallica for one tour, so that I could play those songs at the right tempos and make all the heavy parts heavy again.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. I would definitely take CLEAVE from Japan and ANCHORS from Australia. They are some of our best buds, and we never get sick of hearing or seeing them!
Got any final words? Check out our new record ‘Internal Eyes’, and definitely head over to www.creator-destructor.com (our label) to listen to a ton of killer punk, metal, and hardcore bands that you probably don’t know are out there – Do it to it!