Saturday, March 16, 2013


by marcs77

The younger of you may not remember or even have heard of HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, a pop punk post-HC rock combo hailing from Dayton, Ohio. But those who were listening to the genre in mid 00's are surely familiar with the name and with two releases like “The Silence In Black And White” and “If You Only Were Lonely” which brought to these guys their fair share of deserved notoriety and pushed their name top of the rankings of USA charts.
The death of founder member Casey Calver (guitar/screams) on tour at age of 26 and a legal battle with their back then label Victory records took the five-piece away off the spotlights.
2013, they're done with the recording of the new album (scheduled for a Summer release) and if you head over to their official website today you'll find a countdown timer to the day the new site will be up (it just a few hours over 2 days).

So a brand new website as the prelude to kind of a fresh start and what has yet to come for a band that 12 years since the day one is still motivated to write first class music and reach out with it to as many people as possible.
gotanerve-zine seated down with drummer Eron Bucciarelli, to do this interview, before the Milan show Hawthorn Heights played last October 2012 when touring Europe/UK with The Elijah.

gan: Please introduce yourself and state what you play...

Hello, my name is Eron Bucciarelli and I play drums for HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS.

gan: You've been around for 11 years. Wanna go back in your history thus far?

Ah...we started in 2001 we were originally called A Day In The Life and we changed our name to Hawthorn Heights around 2003. We got signed to Victory records in late 2003 we released our first album "The Silence In Black And White" in June 2004. Things took up for us pretty rapidly...right out of the gate our first album has gone to sell one million copies and our second album debuted at no.3 or 4 of Billboard 200 chart in the USA and it sold almost half a million records. And then we got into a pretty motiveless legal battle with our label at which time... it was one of the roughest periods...about half way into that legal battle our guitar player (Casey Calvert) passed away when we were on tour so it was a really dark period for us for about four-five years then in the middle of our career it meant for us a lot of momentum and we're now just finally rebuilding and getting on our feet. We since released two new albums on our own record label called Cardboard Empire. The first one was called “Hate” and the second one was called “Hope” and it was released last June (2012).

gan: You just mentioned your latest release “Hope” and I would you to compare it with the previous release “Hate”...

“Hope” is sort of the opposite of our album “Hate”. “Hate” was very dark and very angry and representative of us having to get a lot of the negative emotions that were weighting us down for the last two years off our chest. “Hope” is the optimistic counterpoint to “Hate” and the idea is that when you're going through a really dark period of time you don't have an optimistic view on things then all the negative things around you would consume you. So we wanted to convey that no matter how life can get there's always hope.

gan: So the two more recent records were out on Cardboard Empire. How this label came to life and what are some of your goals for this label? Is it just something meant to support HH or are you putting out somebody else stuff as well?

We started Cardboard Empire primarily out of necessity. Wind Up records, our previous label, they weren't doing really a lot for us and they gave us the opportunity either to renegotiate with them or go our own way. And we weren't really happy with how things went with Wind Up. There was some ownership changes and some management changes that took place at the label and it made us feel like it was was better for us go our separate way. We wanted to release an album before we were on tour last Fall (2011) and the only way to do that was to self release. So that's way we founded our own label.
It's been going all right so far we also released a band called Failsafe from the UK and they're a phenomenal band we toured with them last Fall in Europe and they totally blew us away and we love their album. So we released it and we brought them over in USA. I don't know really what the future holds I'd love to be able to still do Cardboard Empire but on a bigger level have proper distribution channels, have some marketing money behind us to make the break. I feel like we've been sort of limited over the last year or two because we haven't had financial backing to effectively promote ourselves. I guess we'll see what the future holds and obviously we have to do what's best for our career and if that means we can get a good distribution deal and still doing Cardboard Empire we would do that if it means we have to sign to another label we'd do that. And then release other bands on Cardboard.

gan: What are the pros and cons of having your own label?

The pros of having your own label are you get to do whatever you want, obviously within your monetary means...but if you wanna release an album on a specif day you can do that...if you wanna do a vinyl pressing you can do that, which we've done twice now. It enables us to have more creative freedom for the music and the final product which is really nice.
The cons are that you are on your self sufficient...that means you have to be a little bit more concerned with the finances and you can't do all the promotional things that a label would typically make a video which I think it's something we've lacked over the last year and a half and it's something we look for trying to do again.

gan: Talking about vinyls. What do you think still makes it a sought-after product these days?

I think it is partially because of the collectibility of it...partially because the sound quality are appreciating in that. You know mp3s don't sound the greatest. And I think it's really cool to have something in your hands where the artwork is much bigger like a piece of art you can hang on your wall.

gan: Listening to the title track of your last records I hear some influences from Smashing Pumpkins. Has this band had some influence in your sound? Do you like them?

The Smashing Pumpkins has been definitely an influence of ours over the years. When we were growing up we listened to them a lot so...maybe not intentionally but there are their influences there.

gan: And what other bands you listened to while growing up?

We all listened to a lot of different types of music. A lot of different bands. Myself grew up listening to a lot of hardcore and punk and I started going to shows at a really early age and music had kind of a profound impact on the person I am and my musical tastes ever since. I grew up in middle of 90's and got into a lot of Revelation records...there was kind of resurgence of hardcore going on with bands like Lifetime, Ignite, Quicksand and these really good bands.

gan: I read that “Hate” and “Hope” are kind of part of a trilogy. When can we expect the third opus? 

Yeah, as soon as we get back from this tour...I should say, right before this tour we've started writing for the third album and I think we'll continue that and in December we go to Australia so after we get back from Australia, after the holidays...probably we'll dig into writing and recording. We hope to have something out late Spring early Summer. That's the objective.

gan: Are you three weeks into this?
Actually, that's more than that...we're four weeks and half on tour so we're really deep in that at this point.

gan: How's this tour going? 
It's going well...we were purposely in cities we've never been to or on the other places we rarely go to so we're just trying our best to sort of expand our fan base. Some places are better than others. Bologna was great for us for example. Every night you never know what's gonna happen...Vienna was amazing. So you never know...but that's the joy of playing in places you normally don't. You get to see new faces.

gan: And what about Milan?

We've never played here before so I'm very interested to see how it goes. I hope it's gonna be good for us but I don't know.

gan: You earlier on went through your band's history. On the live front how's your shows changed over the years? 

It's obviously changed a little bit. Casey was really a solid presence on stage. He brought a lot of character to our live performances. I think we have now our friend Mark playing with us when we play live and I think we're as more tight as performers than we've ever been. So from that prospective I think by far we're better, you know, as far as is the show I think it's different not bad by any means. I think we had to adapt to not having that real over the top personality on stage. You know, it's just different.

gan: Your band has been associated to Emo and we all know that media kind of criminalized the scene accusing it to celebrate the self-harm (this due to some bad facts related to kids labeled as Emo). And you had a line in the song “Ohio Is For Lovers” that could lead to misunderstandings, especially among those inquisitive media. But when I think of Emo I relate it to the Jade Three scene and going even more back in time to the Washington D.C. scene of bands like Rite Of Spring, Embrace... 

I know, I have the same association to that word and I don't know exactly how or why, when it became the label for the more mainstream pop punk kind of bands like us, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. For some reason or another that label was used for all of us and you know, whatever, I'm not gonna debate with somebody on what they should label us as in my opinion we're a rock band so I don't wanna be confined into the term Emo. I wanna be able to play heavy music if I want or more melodic pop music if I want because we have all these different influences coming together when we write.
Now that line in “Ohio Is For Lovers”... “So cut my wrists and black my eyes” it's about the emotions that an heartache that one goes through from being away from's purely metaphorical. We absolutely never endorsed inflicting bodily harm on yourself or on another. That song gave us a lot of success but I want people to look deeper and not take the face value because it's meant to be taken the face value. Rome and Juliet is not a story about...a pro-suicide's a story about an heartache and that's exactly what “Ohio Is For Lovers” is about.

gan: We've talked a bit of this already. What the near future holds for your band? 

In the future of our band we have some really exciting things in the works as right now we're gonna keep on pushing as hard as we can I feel like from a musical standpoint we've a lot to offer to people and right now it's about doing more what we're doing and that we've done in the last ten years but take it to the next level once again where we were previously I feel deep down we have potential to get back to that. We've started to put some pieces in the place in order to make that happen and now it's just a matter of time. We'll see. You know in the music industry there's a lot of components, you never know. I just wanna be as aggressive as ever and trying to promote and get our music out there.

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