Nashville Pop/Rock Band HEAR, HEAR Releases Their Debut EP and Shares in New Interview (VIDEO)
The up and coming pop/rock band, HEAR, HEAR; just independently released their self-titled debut EP (available now on iTunes) earlier this month on October 14th. Songwriters Kate Puckett (vocals/keys) and Matt Lloyd (guitars/vocals) have been honing in on a huge sound of soulful melodies over rock n' roll guitar riffs that are packaged in a pop format that makes them very unique to what is out there today.
You can learn more about the Nashville, TN based band in the interview below as they talk about faith, songwriting and different musical influences. You can also visit their official website to learn more.
Soon after high school, at age eighteen, Kate picked up and moved from Pittsburgh to Nashville. In a society that often condemns dreamers and tries to force young adults into more realistic career options, what gave you the bravery and confidence to pursue this dream of yours?
Kate: "Sometimes I look back at my decisions and realize why so many people told me I was crazy! I don't regret any of it, though! I never could have done it without the incredible support from my family. I realize that that type of support isn't always common, so I definitely feel blessed. There have been times where I have felt like people may have judged my decision to pursue my dream of music instead of going to college and getting (in their words) "a real job," but I feel like that has only made me more determined to show them what I can do. I want to be able to make everyone who has believed in me proud, and to someday help other artists that are where I am now. I know what it is like to have people try to discourage you from taking a giant leap to make your dreams a reality. I want to be the one person that can hopefully help them open some doors because I know how much that has meant to me throughout my career-- when just one person says "yes, I can help you" or "I believe in you," you feel like you can go anywhere. I wrote the lyrics to "Jericho,"about my journey of following my dreams, and all of the frustrations and determination that has come with it."
Matt began as a worship leader for a church in Indianapolis. Upon moving to Nashville, did the culture inspire you to begin songwriting and performing your own original music rather than simply playing guitar?
Matt: "Well, songwriting has always been my main passion, along with performing original music, but when I moved back to Nashville (I went to Belmont for 2 years previously) I told myself that I would approach more of the hired gun route. I wanted to ensure that I at least had work as a full-time musician. However, my 'dream' of having a full-time original band beat everything in my mind, so that is what I have been focusing on since moving back into town. I did play with some other artists, and I play regularly at a great church, but playing original music is always what I come back to wanting to pursue."
How has your time in the Christian music industry influenced your approach to songwriting?
Kate: "I don't usually sit down and say, "I think I will write a Christian song." Whatever flows out is what is on my mind and in my heart at the time. It just so happens that my faith is what pours out most of the time into my lyrics."
Matt: "Yeah, for me, that has never really entered my mind. I am not thinking of writing a 'Christian music' song when I write. I picture people and what their reactions would be when I am writing, not thinking about whether they are Christian or not. So the Christian music industry, to this point, hasn't really had an effect on my writing."
When writing faith-based music now without specifically labeling yourselves as a Christian band, how do you try to weave those themes into your songs to make them accessible to both Christian and secular audiences?
Matt: "I just tend to write positive themed music; it is just naturally what I am drawn to writing. I like the idea that when someone is having a crappy day or feeling depressed, one of our songs can help lift their spirits a bit. That is a huge motivation for me. So, the themes that I typically write towards are universally of love and acceptance, which obviously is laid out in my mind because of Jesus. I usually just write what I feel anyone can relate to and connect with, no matter what their background. Others may tend to write specifically Christian lyrics, and that is great too! That is why we are all needed; we all have different areas to connect with people as writers."
Kate: "I couldn't have said it better. Everyone can relate to feelings of love, loss, heartbreak, frustrations, feeling alone, feeling left out, and feeling not good enough. I want people to listen to our songs and know that they aren't alone-wherever they might be in their lives."
Kate, when you met Matt early this year, did you have a very specific blueprint for what style of music you were going to play in Hear, Hear, or did it just fall together more organically?
Kate: "It's funny, because when we met, we had totally musical backgrounds. When we first talked about our musical influences and ideas, I have to admit, I wondered if it would work. But, I think it was the second time we got together when he played this riff on his guitar (It was the beginnings of "Jericho"), and I literally got so excited. I was like, "We need to write more to this song...NOW!!" Haha. And things just grew from there! I tend to write the lyrics and melody, and Matt tends to write the music. It's really a great balance that we have found. I think what each of us brings from our own musical background and taste is what makes our sound unique!"
I hear a lot of influences in your music and your bio lists what you're currently listening to. There's a wide variety there, from Johnny Cash to Weezer to Copeland. (Awesome taste, by the way.) For both of you--if you could choose one artist to collaborate with right now, who would it be?
Matt: "I would love to collaborate with Jim Adkins (Jimmy Eat World), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), Aaron Marsh (Copeland) and Pharrell Williams."
Kate: "Don't get me started--I could go on all day. But now that you have, I would love to work with the guys from Mutemath- they do some crazy awesome stuff. Also, Alicia Keys, Jon Foreman, Jack White, Pharrell, Dallas Green (City and Colour), and Carole King would be some more of my dream collaborations!"
Your first single off your upcoming EP (self-titled, due out in October) is "Take You In." It's a great, passionate rock song with strong vocals and a really cool video to go along with it (see above). Is this track a good indication of what's to come on the EP-or will there be some surprises for your fans?
Kate: "I really feel like each song has a life and style of it's own. They all work and flow together on the EP, but man, after releasing "Take You In," I can't wait for everyone to hear the others!! My personal favorite, "Voices," is unlike anything I think we have written or played before...I am so anxious to hear people's reactions!"
Matt: "There will definitely be surprises. Each song on the record has it's own feel. "Take You In" is one of our more upbeat tracks on the EP. We feel there will be a song on there for everyone to like, no matter what style of music you are into. After people hear the first single, we will be very excited for people to hear the rest because we think they will be surprised at the different qualities in each song."