How’s it going?! How’d you enjoy your Warped Tour experience this year in Mansfield? It seems to rain every year, but this year was intense!
Joshua Herzer (Vocals): It’s always an honor to join Warped Tour, even for just a day. It’s amazing that after all these years we can still rely on New England coming out and sharing the experience with us. The monsoon conditions were a bit ridiculous, but ultimately the sweat and rain combine and you just learn to accept the soppyness.
You recently released the music video for “Weary Eyes.” The track chronicles the difficulties that touring can have on a couple. This is something we hear a lot of bands talk about—what, if any, compromises have you found when it comes to balancing touring with personal life?
(JH) It’s almost impossible to truly compromise, due to the unpredictability of the music industry as a whole. We once received a tour offer that required us to drive to Michigan, one week before it started. Needless to say, we made the drive. There just needs to be trust and understanding.
You (Josh) have also talked a bit about how “likes” have replaced handshakes in terms of social media—do you ever think about what it may have been like had you been a band say, 20 years ago? How do you think your success or reach may have been different?
(JH) Oh sure! Social Media is a double edged sword. I hate what it’s done to general social interaction, however it’s an incredible gift to the world of business and art. For bands 20 years ago there was a one in a million chance of being heard. If you weren’t discovered by one of the few major record labels, you were essentially dead in the water. The advent of the internet has allowed everyone an outlet to be heard, and the audience, rather than the corporation, decides who to support. I believe in that age, things would not have looked good for us, haha.
Along those lines, with the importance of social media being what it is, what advice do you have for bands who perhaps know how important frequent updates and engagement are on social media but aren’t sure what to post or how to interact with their audience? How do you draw inspiration as to what to post and how to keep it interesting, engaging, and frequent, particularly when you aren’t actively in the studio or on tour?
(JH) This is something that we struggle with as well. It’s always a work in progress, keeping up with advancing technology. There are times when you’ll go months without any real activity to post about. It seems like the best idea is to “bank” or pre record video and photo content to fill those gaps.
Do you feel that the business side of this industry encroaches on the creative side at all? Particularly with the more success you have? (If yes) how do you balance that?
(JH) Absolutely! I can’t speak for any other bands, but we have absolutely experienced this. We’ve submitted songs that we loved to record labels and had them rejected. In fact some of those songs have been rerecorded and released since we’ve been independent of record labels. I do understand it, the business side is investing in the band, so the label needs piece of mind that there will be a return on that investment. I guess the only way to circumvent that issue, is to forego labels altogether.
You’ve mentioned that being from Boston, it influences your DIY attitude, and I can definitely understand that—Boston is very much a DIY, independent, “I’ll do it on my own” kind of place. (which I say with a lot of love!) In what other ways do you feel the city has influenced you?
(JH) I personally grew up on the other side of the country, so I view the city from an outsiders perspective. I will say that New England has the most supportive and tight knit music community that I’ve witnessed in the country.
You’re a band that’s not shy about change and re-invention. Do you think that reinvention and adaptability is vital to a band’s evolution and success?
(JH) Sure! The more you write songs, the better you’ll get at writing. That evolution happens naturally and usually isn’t a premeditated change in style. Our musical changes grew more out of Brandon and I deciding that there were no rules. If we dig it, it’s on the record.
I read an interview from 2012 where you talked about the importance of making your mark in the world (in relation to your album ‘To Carve Our Names’ and the inspiration behind that title) and giving your life purpose, while not waiting for life to hand you anything. Five years later, do you think that attitude has been part of your growth, and how do you feel you’ve grown in that time?
(JH) Absolutely. Shortly after the release of that record we had a slew of member changes, cut ties with our record label, and started back at square one. It was then we choose to stay independent and create music because it’s what we loved, and not bog ourselves down with how we look, or if a song fits the genre. I think that attitude is what kept us going. I’m a wildly different person than when we wrote that album, haha.
Did you or did you have a mentor? How did that influence your growth as an artist?
(JH) I guess I would consider Brandon Davis (Guitar) a mentor. I was couch surfing in Reno, NV. I was jobless, stealing Cliff bars and energy drinks to survive, a real loser, haha. Brandon flew me across the country and gave me a chance, which completely changed to trajectory of my life.
(JH) Do you consider yourself successful? What does that mean to you?
I feel that I’m successful in that I’ve accomplished a majority of my goals. I’ve released records, toured the country, shot music videos, done interviews! I really feel like I’ve done it all, and I’m forever grateful for that. Financially, complete failure.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
(JH) We’re going on a whirlwind tour of Europe August 28-September 16th, come hang out and hear my insulting attempts at your accents.
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