WEST MEANS HOME have been turning heads far further afield than their native Florence, Alabama. With their recent signing with Innerstrength Records, newly released album “Home This Reaches You” and unique blend of vibes akin to Taking Back Sunday, The Wonder Years, Manchester Orchestra, Basement, Title Fight, Gaslight Anthem or Say Anything, they’ve hit the ground at pace, opening an interesting chapter where there’s no sign of it slowing down. We caught up with the band to learn more about their work, local music scene, independence from being labeled, and more!
Based in Florence, AL, West Means Home combines an electrifying passion and soulful guitar riffs to create a “wall of sound,” that translates from record to stage seamlessly. The band’s influences range from early emo alternative to classic Southern rock for a completely original sound.
Following their formation in 2015, West Means Home experienced swift momentum after the independent release of their debut single and music video which garnered thousands of views and the attention of Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba who touted the band on Facebook. To date, West Means Home has released an EP Something From Nothing (2016), a live “Sanctuary Session,” a music video for the track “Invitation” and a split record with Boxer Joy, that have all led to the anticipated album debut in the spring.
Hey hey! Thanks so much for joining us here on IDIOTEQ! Guys, for more than 1500 artists interviewed for this DIY mag, there’s been zero bands from Florence! Please tell us about your local scene, your evolution from attendees and participants to active musicians and what led you to form this band.
Austin Brent (Vocals): Zack Huitt (Guitar) and I, began playing and writing music together on and off right out of highschool. Both of us came from relatively the same music scene from small towns in Tennessee. Then by accident we migrated to Alabama to join a pop punk band that we knew would tour. Florence came into the picture after that band fell apart, and we kinda helped cultivate a scene there with help from other great bands like Boxer Joy, Sunraider, and Outfit. Beautiful city, great people, very much an inspiring place to be from.
It’s been four years and it’s only now you’re putting out your first proper album. What took you so long? How were these first 4 years for you guys?
Zack (Guitar): Well yeah the first show was in December of 15, and the first EP later in May 16, so at that point I think we were definitely on the track we imagined. I would’ve loved to put out a record the very next year but I kind of like when bands pace themselves into the full length record because we wanted it to be as close to perfect as possible. I have a ton of respect for LP’s and the process of putting together a product you can feel good about years later. Hope This Reaches You, is as good an album we could’ve made right now and it’s better than anything we would’ve tried two or three years prior.
How did you team up with Innerstrength Records for this release?
Zack (Guitar): We met Jameson Trudel (who was doing A&R for Innerstrength) in Manchester, New Hampshire while on tour in spring of last year. We hit it off and he expressed interest in the possibility of signing us. Later on that same tour we played in Philly and we met Jason Curnow the owner of the label and everything just fell together nicely. They believed in the album from the beginning and have been awesome.
Despite the simple ‘rock’ label, you guys seem unwilling to repeat yourself and do really well in this smart experimentation, as well as the thematic diversity. Give us some details about your approach to composing and goals in terms of originality.
Austin (Vocals): We try our best to not write anything that tries to fit into any subset genre of rock. We write the kind of stuff we would want to listen to. If it’s good it’s good and it’ll sound great regardless of the label.
What inspirations defined this approach?
Zack (Guitar): All of mine and Austin’s favorite bands challenged the listener and kept them off balance. The unpredictable nature of songwriting should cause you to chase the song and not the sound.
Ok, so lastly, please give us a short night-by-night rundown of your recent tour. What places have you visited and felt good energy? Feel free to recommend some cool spots, venues, and bands discovered on this run.
Austin (Vocals): Hamilton Ontario was wild, our first experience in Canada and the room was awesome. Playing outside the US has always been a dream.
Zack (Guitar): yeah agreed and also we have one of our favorite places to play in the world coming up tomorrow. Asbury Park, New Jersey is always gonna hold a special place for us. Some of our favorite people in the world play in a band called Latewaves and when we both played in Asbury last year it was magical. Wonderful place, great food, can’t wait.
Great, thanks so much guys! Please drop your final words and take care! Cheers from Poland!
Austin(Guitar): Thank you so much! We would love to come to Poland one day, and appreciate you taking the time to ask such nice questions.