On the future of hardore, with Joseph Grillo of HER HEAD’S ON FIRE

3 mins read
Her Head's On Fire

HER HEAD’S ON FIRE, a powerhouse rock infused post hardcore band woven from the threads of SAVES THE DAY, GARRISON, SMALL BROWN BIKE, and THE BOMB, is setting the stage for a great return with their latest opus, “Strange Desires.” Scheduled for a sizzling summer release on July 19 via Iodine Recordings, this album promises to amplify their footprint in the post-hardcore soundscape.

Their recent single, “Why Are We Alone,” encapsulates a gritty anthem that delves deep into the throes of existential queries—may it be the heartache of lost love, a ponder on the divine, or an intense ode to addiction. Accompanying this release is a vivid, color-drenched video that mirrors the song’s raw emotional pull.

StrangeDesires” has moments reminiscent of the best of late 80s New Wave and early 90s indie and post-hardcore, there are mutations that are definitely strange and poetic—in the best possible way. Co-Produced by Jason Narducy (Superchunk, Sunny Day Real Estate) and Mixed by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr).

With an established lineage in hardcore’s evolution, HER HEAD’S ON FIRE is not just rekindling the old flame but is stoking it with new fervor. The members—Sid Jagger, Jeff Dean, Rodrigo Palma, and Jeff Gensterblum—bring a concoction of their seasoned experiences and fresh, dynamic energies.

Their upcoming LP, “Strange Desires,” is a testament to the band’s effortless synergy and refined artistic vision, honed under the expert mix mastery of John Agnello. This record brings in a narrative of resilience, and a celebration of the outliers.

As they ready themselves for a tour that will span continents, from the heart of Massachusetts to the vibrant scenes across the UK, HER HEAD’S ON FIRE invites listeners and fans into a dialogue about the future of hardcore.

What remains unchanged in this genre, and what innovations are crucial to keep its spirit pulsating through the veins of the underground? We reached out to see exactly what the bands strangest desires are for the future of hardcore.

Answered by vocalist Joseph Grillo.

What do legacy hardcore artists have in mind to keep the culture of the genre as sacred and adaptable as possible?

Hardore by its nature must continue to run against the grain and create new modes of noise and discovery.

In the same way the first aggressive hardcore music may have grabbed you by the throat and excited your senses when you were 14 or 15, new music under the hardcore umbrella should continue to inspire and make others feel less alone in this world.

Her Head’s On Fire are all from different backgrounds: the realities range from the Midwest-Michigan-experience to a Las Vegas upbringing to a New England mill-town of Worcester, MA and then a Chilean childhood outside of Santiago during the Pinochet regime.

The uniting factor being a sense of “other” or outlier within the fabric of the experience we all had. I think this might be one of the threads that brought us together, the “strangeness” of it all if you will.

So, as we have progressed and tried several different genres, there is something about this hardcore that brings in more elements of our alternative rock of the late 80s and the hard edged college radio rock of the early 90s, as well as a fair dose of Brit pop and shoegaze from our more drugged out (or up?) mid 90s experience.

Hardcore was the foundation upon which all of these musics can ride on top of for us. I mean, our band name is a reference to Dag Nasty for a reason.

What do you hope to see change?

I think there is always change going on within the underground.

I think it is up to us not only as artists, but as music fans, to support our fellow artists and encourage growth and daring choices that will hopefully continue to illuminate the human condition.

What is there to improve on?

With Strange Desires we took the rawness of the previous LP and just tried to expand on that with slightly more textures and harmonies. We write in a fairly unique way in that, Jeff Dean (guitar) sends completed chord structures and song formations to Jeff Gensterblum (drums) at which point he dictates the feel of the song, then they come to me to add vocals and finally to Rodrigo to find the harmonic through line with his brilliant bass lines.

Finally, this culminates in a few days in the recording studio to throw it all down to tape and consider overdubs and other textures.

In my opinion, the thing that allows this to work so well is the sheer volume of trust we have in each other as musicians. Our respect for every member’s complete control and mastery of their frequency allows for everyone to feel free to express their musical desires without feeling like there was too much compromise outside of the very fact that we have chosen to work together to begin with.

It really is a wonderful and joyous process. My desire is for the entirety of hardcore to feel this way, this freedom when creating.

What does hardcore need to stay alive and current?

Hardcore doesn’t need to do a damn thing to stay alive.

There will always be people of every generation who will feel “other” and outsider and something about this music/this scene will make their hair stand on end and their hearts beat brighter.

We’re here for and primarily made up o the underdogs.

Her Head's On Fire

Catch the band live in Europe at the following dates:

6/03 — London, UK — New Cross Inn
6/04 — Bristol, UK — Golden Lion
6/05 — Exeter, UK — Cavern
6/06 — Newport, UK — LePub
6/07 — Kingston, UK — The Fighting Cocks
6/08 — Bolton, UK — The Ramp
6/09 — Birmingham, UK — The Dark Horse

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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