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HANG YOUR HEAD: The Love’s Not Dead Until We’re Dead

HANG YOUR HEAD‘s new EP The Love’s Not Dead Until We’re Dead, which out October 1st via Rooftop Records on 7″ vinyl, turned out to be a perfect opportunity for an interview. I sat down with the Tehachapi, California band to discuss the lyrical content of the new records, DIY touring, heavy influences in the hardcore scene, their message and a couple more.

Check out their newest tunes and dive into the interview below.

Hey guys! How are you this fine summer?

Paul:
Good.

Cool :) So, you’re about to release a new 7’’ in a few months. Drop us an introduction to this new piece of art you’re hiding out there.

Paul:
This new music we wrote is really stepping away from what the few people that know about us think we would do. its definitely faster and more aggressive, each song almost represents all the different ideas we have been wanting to do.

Rooftop Records will take care of the distribution process for the vinyl version. Do you plan more formats and people involved in the process?

Paul:
I’m all about free downloads so how ever anybody can get is good for me.

Considering your 2012’s full length, was it not a stressful experience to put out another release that fast?

Paul:
For HYH everything is stressful. But this 4 song we are releasing came out so easy, so it was less stressful musically. Daniel has millions of ideas for songs that will most likely be the next full length, and we have already started a few songs that will end up being on it.

Who produced it? How did you respond to the production style of people taking care of it?

Paul:
We wrote everything musically, Daniel lays a riff down, I drop some beats into it. Then we show the rest of the guys and they make the songs sound even better than we thought they would. At the studio everybody laid something down that just gave our music the fullness we were looking for in our first LP. An old mutual friend (Alex Estrada; The Earth Capital) Recorded us. When we finished that, We listened to it a ton of times till Daniel sent out the music to Paul Minor who has worked with every band in history. He made the music sound exactly how we wanted.

In terms of writing and recording, was each tune recorded separately?

Paul:
The way HYH records is the same way I think we will always record. I record drums for how ever many songs we have, first guitar, second guitar, some leads, then bass and vocals. I’ve heard of bands recording songs everyday, I don’t think we would ever have the patience to do that.

Are the titles of the tracks connected somehow and are they supposed to create a bigger picture together? Would you care to explain that, along with the lyrical sphere of the outing?

Paul:
Daniel is punk, He just wanted more fuck yous in it, haha but Daniel sends me lyrics via text message everyday sometimes twice a day and they are some of the most awesome songs i’ve read. He always likes having things different so he wrote different lyrics for each of our songs. He’s always looking to write something better musically and lyrically everyday which is cool.

It all sounds romantic, haha. Are you romantic? Does it manifest in your writing and songs?

Paul:
I like long walks on the beach, We all enjoy our local sushi restaurants or thai food, our music will always manifest from our upbringings and anger we feel. but romantic… fuck that.

You’re planning a DIY-booked trek in the Western US as we speak, is that right? Shoot us a few lines about your upcoming touring plans.

Paul:
With my luck and HYH’s luck the tour completely fell through, I blame my self, We just want to play as many out of town shows we can, stay away from our area, and work harder to grow as a band. If a band takes us out we will definitely join them, it is hard with a few of us in school and with work and all. We as a band don’t have the best of luck getting or securing shows, We have been guaranteed shows and the promoter wouldn’t call me back the week before or even the day of, We would get the most awesome show we could think of and it would completely fall through due to unforeseen circumstances, which is understandable but is getting ridiculous after being a band for two years and only playing a hand full of shows, i guess thats why we just want to keep writing and putting out music. Daniel and i talked about playing in HYH ten years from now, basically saying to each other that regardless of “HYPE” and “GETTING BIG” we would still being doing this and trying our best to have fun.

Cool.. and how was your July mini tour? Any decent bands or venues you found on the road?

Paul:
It was definitely awesome, as all tours should be. I’ve toured many times before but never with that many friends. We took our friends in Evil Ways, a band based out of the Los Angeles area. We played in San Francisco with Clarity, who knew where we were from and played in our city over ten years ago. Then we played the famous Fort Ryland with Volition, one of the most meaningful fucking straight edge vegan hardcore/punk bands I have seen in a while.

Do you prefer touring alone to sharing the road with other packs, hanging out with people from other bands?

Paul:
We just want to play regardless of going at it alone or with another band,We love camaraderie, So if we go with a band, the more people the more fun. Less on gas too, if you’re going in one van.

Is it possible to pick one gig and describe it as the most memorable/ your favorite one?

Paul:
In one of our older bands we got into a little scuffle , Im not going to get into what happened and why it happened but Daniel didn’t swing one fist that night. The next day he looked more beat up then the people that were fighting haha. One show in Portland Oregon Jimmy was getting into it and jumping around during one show and ran his bass into Daniel’s four head leaving this giant gash on his head, we kept it punk rock and kept playing as Daniel bled everywhere and finished the set. I think Daniel still sat down and sold merch too.

:) I know you’ve been into MODERN LIFE IS WAR for a long time now. What’s the secret behind their great inspirational value?

Paul:
For me MLIW changed my entire out look on all HC/Punk music forever. The first stuff I heard them was their 7″, Then My Love My Way back to back. Then saw them live probably two times and they completely blew my mind. I Played with them in Canada with my old band. Then saw them several times after that. They even played my home town which still trips me out till this day. Every time i saw that band people didnt “mosh” people tried but they got over ran by the swarm of people singing their hearts out to every lyric. They were the first band I heard out of all the hardcore bands i was listening to that used complicated chords in their music, the song structures were just amazing to me. We did pay some homage to them in our LP but we thought they were never getting back together. So, this new stuff we wrote is far from our old stuff, Anyway when my old band played with MLIW in Canada Jeff completely took care of us, I dont think the promoter ever paid us and we felt a million miles away from home, So Jeff gave us about 80 bucks and everyone got free merch. That impacted me so much because not only was i playing with my favorite band in Canada but they gave my band gas money and free merch, from there on out I told my self that I wanted to start a band that helps other bands, that band that has a message, that band that stays true.

Have you had a chance to look at the art of “Fever Hunting”? How important is artwork to your music and an album in general?

Paul:
MLIW’s artwork throughout their career has always been awesome, the fever hunting art was very cool to us. We have always talked about that, generally artwork and band names don’t matter. It’s all in the music and the lyrics. There are those bands out there with the most awesome artwork and they usually end up being an amazing band.

Did you intentionally follow a similar path of melodic hardcore feel?

Paul:
Daniel and I ran through some ideas when this band started. We didn’t know exactly , I showed him a riff that ended up being Wasting Time. Then he showed me a riff which I still think is the best riff I’ve heard in a while ,which ended being Through The Hour Glass. Everything came naturally so it was intentional and it wasn’t at the same time. With our new stuff coming out we definitely wanted to get away from our demo and lp. We wanted to go faster and more aggressive, we wanted to get away from that sound but still play it and move on with another chapter for us.

Are there any more still-active bands that give you hope for punk?

Paul:
We all listen to a variety of bands and music, from hardcore, punk, rap, hip-hop, grind, death-metal, black-metal, rock and roll, classical, and many others. I think we listen to more bands outside of punk that give us hope for music in general.

How do your own listening habits affect your sound?

Paul:
Since we wrote our new stuff, all our influences came out. Daniel has crazy riffs but like I said before, we all added our own sound to his riffs. We all listen to so much different music. From here on out, a lot of HYH’s sound will definitely change as we grow older and our taste in music changes. So yes.

Is it always about the message? Do you mind listening to music just for pleasure, admiring musicians for their skills, not for a message?

Paul:
Yes. All of us listen to music regardless of message. I listen to certain bands just because the drummer is insane. We all definitely listen to music because the instruments stick out more than the music does.

Ok, let’s find out more about you guys and let’s go back to day one How did the band come together?

Paul:
All of us came from different bands and backgrounds with music. Somehow I got myself in one of Daniel’s projects he had going with Jimmy, then after that completely failed me and Daniel literally sat in my room writing songs together. We had two songs. One was heavy as fuck, and one had more melody with more chords. We ended up going with the song that ended up being Wasting Time. From there we tried out a few different people to on guitar, none of them worked out, we ended up writing the demo before we had a set name, anybody in the band or played our first show. I convinced Jimmy to play bass and he learned the songs. Then we were two members down, which were the guitar players. At the time I was playing with another band. One night that band played in Fresno, we played right before this very cool melodic fast band ,which had an old mutual friend of mine named Danny. We talked after the show and I convinced him to play guitar for this new project I had going (hang your head) and he said yes. Daniel and I were stoked because everyone we tried just couldn’t play our music, couldn’t remember the songs, or thought the band was dumb. Danny ended up liking the band, which was awesome. He even remembered our music. He rode a train for about 2 hours every other week for about 6 months to play with us. We still needed one more guitarist, since me and Daniel wrote the songs to have two different guitars playing two different things at the same time. Danny recruited his friend Mike. Mike ended up doing the same thing as Danny. Riding the train two hours to come hang out and practice. As much as I don’t want to say this , Daniel and I were very worried nothing would come from all this music we were writing. About 8 months went by. Daniel and I wrote the full length in 2012 “Trying To Hold On”. After that Danny ended leaving our band for some unforeseen circumstances and we could barely get on shows as It was now we weren’t playing. Some how I convinced my old friend and brother Joe (from one of my first bands) to play second guitar. He said yes. I was very happy when he came to practice and decided to stay, We finally had a full line up. Daniel writing everything and singing, Jimmy on bass, Mike and Joe on the guitars and me on drums. Everything was flowing good, We knocked out a couple tours and then busted out four songs with the new line up. To us it sounded perfect because everyone put down there own style on the recordings.

How tight is your local scene now? How many people are involved? Does it give birth to a lot of new bands?

Paul:
Tehachapi was on the map because of my good friend Andy Franchere (DIEHARD YOUTH). He brought every and any hardcore band you can think of, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, CARRY ON, THROWDOWN, MODERN LIFE IS WAR, IN CONTROL, DESPERATE MEASURES, R’N’R … Just to name a few. Because of Andy we had the best scene. It gave birth to many bands , one key band was THE WARRIORS. There used to be a record label that Andy ran called For The Core records ,which put out a few vinyls and small releases for the local bands here (WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, HEARTRIOT, and THE WARRIORS. The scene was very put together back then in the early 2000’s. With the help of Andy I tried as hard as I could to keep the scene going , by then I felt like it was too late. Our town started shutting down shows , Rent for a venue got extremely higher, and worse, the kids got dumber. I threw the last DIEHARD YOUTH show on April 12th, 2013. That will probably go down as the last show in Tehachapi till the local scene realizes that it needs to work together to have shows here.

What are some pros and cons of forming and having a band in the part of Cali you’re from?

Paul:
PRO: You are in the best hardcore band from your city. CON: You are the only hardcore band from your city. All kids care about are bands from LA or the East coast. If you are from our area, it’s the same as being from Africa.

Haha :) Have you ever thought about moving away from the area? Are there any special places you’d like to move on to?

Paul:
After everything we have been through, We are more worried about releasing solid music. MODERN LIFE IS WAR came out of Marshalltown Iowa and put it on the map.

Alright Paul. Thanks you so much for your time. Take care!

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