HRBRS, the melodic hardcore outfit from Ventura Country, California has signed with Rooftop Records about a month ago. The band has been steadily working on their follow-up to their EP “Nothing/Everything” completing their last tour in January and are planning to release a full length record this summer. I talked to the band to reveal some more news and stories from their camp, and find out who are these guys now, after the recent line-up changes they faced.
Recommended for the fans of honest, mature and heartfelt melodic hardcore punk trips.
Welcome, gentlemen! What’s up? Do you already feel the spring in the air? :)
Is it spring already? I guess it snuck up on us. We’ve been working hard with school, work, and writing new music.
Yup :) You’ve just signed to Rooftop Records. Does it mean a completely new chapter for you guys?
Yes and no. While we are experimenting with new sounds in the new music we’re writing, and while being backed by a label will definitely open up some doors and allow us new opportunities that might not have been previously available to us, we’re very much sticking to the foundations that HRBRS was built on. We’re doing our best to adjust our perspectives without going back on the hard work and passion for playing music that got us to this point.
You recently stated that you’re looking for a new guitarist and a new bassist. What happened? Could you expound on that?
It’s not entirely unusual for bands to go through member changes and we are, by no means, an exception to that. One of our guitarists called it quits back in February because he wasn’t feeling the music anymore and wanted to pursue other musical endeavors. It happens and we all wish him the best of luck. As for our bassist, his job requires him to travel great distances and he just doesn’t have any extra time to invest in the band anymore. While member changes can be tough, we are doing our best to not let them slow us down. We are moving forward, writing new music, and having fun.
Are you still looking for the replacements? Any cool submissions you are considering?
We are looking into a few people who feel like they would be a good fit all around. However, nothing is set in stone right now.
Alright, boys. So what stage are you at in preparing your new full length, to be released this summer via Rooftop Records?
We are almost finished with the writing stage. We have a good handful of songs and we’re looking to round it out with just a couple more. If everything works out in our favor, we’ll have some studio time booked in May.
Are you tapping Jay Maas again to mix it?
Most likely not this time around. Jay did an awesome job on “Nothing/Everything”, but we’re currently exploring our other options as to whom to record with and who we’d like to mix and master our next release.
Who will be responsible for distributing it? Are we talkin’ Rooftop only?
It’s a little early to know exactly what the means of distribution will be, however, we’re pretty sure it will available through us and through Rooftop.
Any guests to be featured on the record?
We definitely have some people in mind, but it’s too early to say anything for sure and we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise anyway!
Alright, guys. The last HRBRS tour I remember was your West Coast run with DEAD END ALASKA, featured a few times on IDIOTEQ. How do you remember that trek?
DEAD END ALASKA was gracious enough to take us on tour through the beautiful northwest United States and we couldn’t thank them enough. It was our first time out of state and it was an experience that none of us will ever forget. We met so many awesome people and played so many cool shows. Being out first time out we were slightly unprepared for everything that tour entailed. We quickly learned to survive on fast food and little sleep. We are eternally grateful to our buddies in DEA for making that trip a more than memorable one and we hope to hit the road with them again sometime in the future.
What was completely different in playing shows over there? How would you compare people, venues, and everything else regarding touring with your local reality?
The people we encountered on tour were exceptionally hospitable. We ran into a few people who allowed us to stay the night so we wouldn’t have to sleep in our uncomfortable van. It was awesome meeting so many awesome people who were so open to helping out a couple bands who were far from home, and we really can’t thank them enough for helping us out like that. The venues and crowds weren’t too different from our home shows. No fights, no drama, just a bunch of kids having a good time. It was nice to see that, while we were out of our comfort zone, not much was different and it gave us a sense of familiarity which made us feel at home wherever we went.
Did you have a chance to do some sightseeing? ;)
Yeah we made sure we were able to play tourists for awhile and set as much time aside to go out and explore the cities we had never been to. The northwest quickly became one of the most beautiful places we’ve visited thus far.
Damn, I really need to go to the States some day. Any particular places you’d recommend?
Without a doubt, we’d unanimously agree that Washington state was one of the most beautiful places we’ve been to so far. Seattle is definitely somewhere we would recommend everybody to visit.
What other shows have you played recently?
Great bands, for real. What other names would you recommend to IDIOTEQ readers? Who are you tight with over there?
We have to recommend people check out our label mates HANG YOUR HEAD, and GHOST KEY. Both are solid, amazing, and hardworking bands who we’re lucky to call our label mates. Also, our best friends in DEAD END ALASKA, those guys play a unique style of melodic/post-hardcore that you don’t hear too often, so they’re definitely worth checking out.
How would you describe Californian punk scene in a few words? What are some of the best and worst things about it? :)
We’re so privileged to have grown up in the California punk/hardcore scene which, even now, is full of heartfelt and innovative bands. It’s really thriving and teeming with bands that like to experiment outside of the traditional stylings of hardcore. New bands are popping up left and right and it’s really fresh, and exciting. That’s actually how we’d describe California punk/hardcore right now. Fresh and Exciting.
What shows have you got upcoming? Are you already looking for a string of dates promoting your yet inexistent album? :)
We have a few shows set up in Ventura, CA and Van Nuys, CA. Other than that, we are working on booking a tour set for sometime within the next couple of months. We do not have a set date for the album release, but we would definitely like to support its release in whatever way we can.
And what about your other projects? Besides LIVING GHOSTS, do you have more active side-packs runnin’?
LIVING GHOSTS is actually the project of one of our former guitarists. He’s off on his own doing what he loves and we support him all the way in his future endeavors. Our drummer and one of or current guitarists are actually in a hardcore band called Bitter Rivals. It’s essentially the polar opposite of what HRBRS is, but it’s fun music nonetheless. Other than that there are no side projects as of now. We’ve been focusing on getting new music written, so we’ve all kept busy with this main project.
Oh, I see.
You stated that „this band has turned into something that you could have never imagined when you were 17.”. What does this band mean to you?
I personally am more proud of this band than anything else in my life. Sure, we haven’t done anything extraordinary, but starting from a 2 man project in a bedroom when I was 17 and managing to transform ourselves into a full-fledged band has been the greatest journey. We’ve gone through numerous member changes and some sound changes, but we’re still having fun. I’m still having the time of my life. And I think that’s the reason we’ve managed to make it this far: we all have a passion for writing and playing music.
Is there anything you would differently now if you could turn back time?
It’s normal for bands to have some amount of turmoil and change. Without it, we’d still be playing the same things we were a couple years ago. We want to grow and experiment and we can’t do that without having been through what we’ve been through. The experiences we’ve all been through have made us who we are as people and as a band.
Are you critical of yourself? What do you spend the most and least time on?
We’re always very critical of ourselves. We expect a lot out of everyone when writing and playing. We write the music we would want to hear, and we all tell each other if we think it should be played differently. We like to spend copious amounts of time fine tuning the smaller parts of our songs and, even then, we’re always striving to be better and better.
How do you draw the line between metal and hardcore? Is there something about metal that you couldn’t communicate through hardcore punk?
In today’s music, the lines between genres are not quite as defined as they used to be. With more and more crossover bands becoming prominent in music scenes everywhere, music has become more of a preference thing as opposed to picking the genre for you. We mostly just play what we want to hear and let the listeners sort it out for us.
Alright, guys. Thank you so much for your time. Anything else coming up that we should know about?
Thank you for having us! We’ll be heading out on a short west coast tour again in July with some friends, so keep an eye out for info on that as well as local dates and news about the official release date for our debut full length.