Kerosene Heights
New Music

Emo indie punks KEROSENE HEIGHTS discuss new album “Southeast of Somewhere”

6 mins read

Asheville, North Carolina’s own emo powerhouse Kerosene Heights, composed of Chance Smith and J Franklin handling vocals and guitars, Elle Thompson on bass and vocals, and Reis DeSantis on drums, has been making waves in the music scene with their raw emotive sound.

After a promising appearance on the lauded “Flint Spark Fire Ashes” 4-way split, they stand poised to debut their first full-length album, “Southeast of Somewhere,” via No Sleep Records. Today, we’re stoked to give you the whole thing, with an extra track by track commentary, including their concrete inspirations and influences!

Exploring an emotionally-charged journey of personal growth and self-discovery, “Southeast of Somewhere” is a cathartic collection of eleven introspective tracks, each punctuated with raw emotional vocals, melodic punk anthems, and the nostalgic twinkle of indie rock. Drawing from the wells of various musical epochs, this ambitious debut speaks to the resonance of the current 5th wave emo revival scene.

Kerosene Heights, with its potent lyrical sensibilities and powerful soundscapes, is a respectful nod to the legacies of emo and punk greats such as Algernon Cadwallader, Snowing, and You Blew It. Their sound holds its own in the vibrant tapestry of the contemporary emo scene, standing shoulder to shoulder with notable bands like Gulfer, Charmer, Hot Mulligan, Palette Knife, Dikembe, and Ben Quad.

Beyond the cascading melodies and intricate guitar work, “Southeast of Somewhere” is, at its heart, an exploration of vulnerability and growth, a raw and poignant depiction of the human condition encapsulated in its harmonious soundscape. Kerosene Heights is here to make a mark on the emo scene, weaving together the raw intensity of punk with the introspective poetry of emo, breathing new life into the genre with their debut LP on No Sleep Records.


“Southeast of Somewhere” embodies a profound exploration of personal growth, vulnerability, and authenticity. It’s an emotionally raw and musically diverse experience, showing the vast array of influences and inspirations that have shaped Kerosene Heights.

Salty Eyes:

Chance (Crucial Dudes – Boom, Roasted) : Jason Bitner’s vocals are very inspiring to me which is apparent across the album, but shines through the most on “Salty Eyes.” The blend of yelling/ singing, the imperfections and voice cracks being left in, and the emotion behind his delivery are perfect to me. This band has some of the most honest and emotional vocals in pop punk in my opinion.

Reis (Sweet Pill – Where the heart is)

Chris Kearny’s drumming, from the band sweet pill, beats are less angular and more fluid and feel orientated than most drummers I’ve heard. He does a great job at writing very original composition because of this and it inspired me to experiment a bit more on the accents in this song. Sweet Pill’s opening and self titled track from the album “Where the heart is” is a great example of this.

Same Shade of Red:

Chance (Joyce Manor – Last You Heard of Me) :

This song was in constant rotation during the creation of “Same Shade of Red.” It’s the only song that i demoed out with harmonies and dubs before getting to the studio. I always wanted it to have that big polished ROCK feel that’s present on a lot of “Cody” while retaining the edge that’s essential to our band, and I feel like we did that well.

Kerosene Heights by @llucasrross
Kerosene Heights by @llucasrross

Last Time:

J (Carly Cosgrove – sit and bounce) :

Last time almost didn’t make the record, everyone (except Elle) was on the fence about the original version and specifically the intro. I fucking love Carly Cosgrove and this song had been on repeat for me and ultimately inspired the intro to last time. I think it completely changed this song and made it one of my favorites on the album.


J (Colossal – The serious kind): I will take any and every opportunity I have to talk about how fucking good colossal is (just ask anyone in kerosene heights). Anyways basically every guitar part I write is me trying to write something half as good as a riff in any colossal song. I don’t think I ever really come that close, but I am so inspired by this band.

Elle (Bad Souvenir – California cousins): Touring with Cali Cousins made me want to take my writing and guitar playing to a new level especially when we decided I would switch to bass. Christian is a genius when it comes to guitar parts and the riff that starts the outro of bad souvenir, with the delicate upper range harmonics, hugely inspired the bass line for the outro for Otis.

Kerosene Heights

Growing Up:

Chance (Free Throw – Two Beers In): I’ve always loved the soft, kinda country song getting heavy thing. ie “Baby, Im an Anarchist” by Against me, “*sobs quietly*” by Mom Jeans. and “Two Beers In” by Free Throw. I’d say they all played a part in this song but I was listening to the Free Throw one the most at the time of writing the album.


J (The Promise Ring – Red & blue jeans): Kathryn felt like a way more sped up version of this song on some level to me when I first heard the demo version of Kathryn without leads on it. I love the way the guitars interplay with each other in most promise ring songs and I really wanted to have leads that weaved around chances rhythm and then locked in with it too.

Mission Valley Shopping Center:

Chance (Street Smart Cyclist – Kiss Kity): The second half of “Kiss Kitty” is one of my favorite moments of any emo song ever. The level of fucked up the vocals become half way through this song is something I immediately knew I wanted to try to achieve myself. I don’t think mine’s quite as good, but i like it. The last chorus of “Mission Valley Shopping Center” is basically my take on the end of “Kiss Kitty”

Reis (Blink 182 – mutt): Okay maybe I didn’t know it at the time but those quick open hi hats hits I do on the second up beats in the second half of the first verse (0:18) were definitely inspired by Travis Barker when he does that shit repeatedly in the song “Mutt”

Perfect Timing:

J (Dikembe – Apology not fucking accepted): Chance and I sent each other two separate songs and they somehow magically synced up perfectly. I had some old lyrics I’d wanted to use for a long time that fit really well into a spot of this one (“and you only see me…”) and I have always felt super inspired by the guitars in dikembe and Steven’s vocal delivery. Every song they write is incredible and so uniquely their own – and this was me feeling really inspired by them.

Going Away For a While:

Chance (Prince Daddy & The Hyena – I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving): I love this song/ album. I wrote this song as an intro before we even knew what our next release was going to be. I would consider just about everything about this song to be an inspiration for “Going Away for A While.” The painful/ strained sounding vocals, the ROCKING riffs, and the personal lyrics all contributed to the making of our song.

Elle (Against Me – Walking is Still Honest): I feel like when this song starts going fast you get a tiny glimpse into how me and Chance love Against Me with the folk punk strumming on the guitar, the emotional vocals wailing “woah,” and the driving drums that have the slight swing to them (this is the only song on the album where I played drums and Reis played bass on the recording).

In Suspension:

J (Cstvt – Hiccups): cstvt is another band I will rant endlessly about. The songwriting is incredible and the guitar playing is so fucking good. I think about their album, ‘The Echo & The Light’ a lot when I’m writing. Before you beat me to it: I know – this song doesn’t sound anything like a cstvt song, maybe if Blink 182 covered a cstvt song? I don’t know dude…

Next To Nothing:

Reis (Elephant Jake – Sebastian baur): Andrew Demarest from the band Elephant Jake keeps his composition pretty high energy. He doesn’t even have to hit that hard on the drum to enlist excitement to their songs in their entirety. This is something I took from Andrew and has influenced multiple parts in this track in particular, as well as other sections throughout this album.

Elle (Farseek – Deconditioned): When writing vocal harmonies for other parts on the album I thought about how Cam Harrison from Farseek does vocal harmonies, but on this song in particular, there is a break down with a driving drum part that nearly everyone in the band agreed we wanted to see on our album somewhere. The outro for Next to Nothing was definitely inspired by countless emo and punk breakdowns but when we all heard Deconditioned live while on tour with Farseek, a little lightbulb went off in all our heads.

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