Almost two decades after their debut, Dayton, Ohio’s Hawthorne Heights continue to live up to their reputation as s one of the seminal bands of the emo-rock genre. Lead vocalist and frontman JT Woodruff says Bad Frequencies (their first release as a band in almost 3 years) “is about going back to some of your favorite times in life and using those memories to push you forward.” It’s a compilation of undoubtedly new yet strikingly familiar emo-rock anthems akin to the ones that kept the class of 2007 company in high school.
He continued, “when you get a little older, past high school and college, people can get bogged down by everyday life. They get stressed out, they’ve got a lot of responsibilities, and it’s not as much fun as when you were just hanging out with friends and stuff. Our way of showing that it can still be fun was to go back and do a little bit of a nod to some stuff that we wrote a long time ago that impacted people and impacted us.”
The direct lyrical ties between Bad Frequencies and Hawthorne Heights’ debut full-length Silence in Black and White (2004) are clear in “Pink Hearts,” which begins with a soaring mid 2000’s anthem-rock groove that drops into a verse immediately familiar to longtime fans of the band: “You know you already killed me, you know you killed me well.” It calls on the hit chorus “You know you do, you kill me well, you like it too and I can tell” from their best-known track “Ohio is For Lovers.” “It’s kind of a way to show that everything still can be fun,” Woodruff says. “You just gotta allow yourself the right mindset to have fun.” The new release definitely feels fun, with catchy melodies and solid modern production quality mixed with just the right amount of nostalgia and melancholy.
Hawthorne Heights plan to play new songs on the current tour, citing a seasoned sense of what it means to push forward as an artist who cares deeply for their fans. “We’re playing a few each night, squeezing in as much as we can, as well as trying to keep the old school fans happy with songs they wanna hear from other albums. It’s always a balance when you release a new record but you’ve got a lotta old records too. We’ve always tried to remain as friendly as we possibly can toward our fans.”
While their loyal following is steadfast, touring for the band has changed. Woodruff says “ten or fifteen years ago, everything seemed to move so fast because everything is so new and you’re getting your bearings. Now we kinda choose the cities based on places we want to go and we have fun in. You learn your sweet spots. We know the places to hang out and what’s worth the drive. That’s the coolest thing. You spend all these years finding the cool spots – now you get to spend all these years returning to the cool spots.” He mentioned favorite restaurants and coffee shops before asking for a recommendation on a place to stop for coffee on June 2nd. That night, Hawthorne Heights will play the Moxi Theater here in Greeley – a show fans old and new will surely not want to miss.