Monday, 30 March 2015
Hit The Lights Interview
A few months ago, Pure Noise Records announced that they would be bringing their own tour to the UK. With Four Year Strong, Hit the Lights and Forever Came Calling, plus support from Light You Up, we knew this was one tour we couldn't miss out on.
We spoke to Nick Thompson, vocalist and former guitarist of Hit the Lights about their new album Summer Bones, his favourite albums and what he does to pass time on the road. Unfortunately, Nick was ill with a viral infection and was drinking some sort lemony drink as we spoke. Despite his illness, Nick very kindly answered our questions...
HOW HAS THE TOUR BEEN GOING SO FAR?
It's been going good, besides the illness spreading around the van.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK IN THE UK?
It's good. It's nice to be with the bands we're with. Light You Up, Forever Came Calling, Four Year Strong, they're all awesome bands to watch. We haven't had a chance to like super hang out yet but there's still time to tour and we can have some party time. I've had to go back to the hotel every night anyway so I've had no fun (laughs). I've got none of the good parts yet.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT THE RELEASE OF SUMMER BONES?
Well technically it's already been out because we streamed it and stuff but I'm excited because everyone seems to like it a lot though. It's very positive, it's awesome.
IN YOUR RECENT DOCUSERIES, 'THE SKELETON SERIES', YOU TOUCHED UPON THE RECORDING PROCESS OF SUMMER BONES, WAS IT AS STRESSFUL AS IT LOOKED?
It was very stressful but usually that's what making a record is. It can be really stressful. I think we all knew the outcome but it doesn't mean that we didn't get frustrated, you don't lose your mind sometimes, especially in little confined quarters for 16 hours a day. It definitely wasn't the experience we wanted (laughs) but we still got the same result that we wanted to get. So, in the end it was all worth it.
YOU ALSO TOUCHED UPON HOW YOU WROTE THE WHOLE RECORD IN THE STUDIO, HOW WAS THAT?
It wasn't stressful, it was more new. It's always stressful with us because we have so many people in the band that write and always trying to keep people happy and that gets frustrating after a while. That can like wear down and after a while you're like 'I don't fucking care'. So that part's stressful but I think we've always been a band that does better under pressure, kept on our toes and stuff and we knew that going into it so we thought we'd try this out and it worked out really well.
WITHIN THE WRITING PROCESS DO YOU WRITE RIFFS BEFORE LYRICS OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND?
I would say that riffs usually come first and then lyrics are written over it, especially for this album. I think a lot of the riffs were already there and then I did a lot of writing over the top.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG FROM SUMMER BONES AND WHY?
That's a good question...I don't have one. It was one of the first records where our label (Pure Noise Records) asked us what singles we thought needed to be pushed and we were just like 'We don't know'. We spent all this time on it and we didn't really think about singles at all. We weren't thinking about radio or anything like that we just wanted to make a record. We kind of let them put it up for grabs and they kind of chose the singles. I think I love every song. It's like choosing your kids, I don't really have a favourite one at this point. I can't say that about all of our other albums but for Summer Bones, I like the record as a whole. I've been excited for kids to hear the whole thing rather than one song at a time.
HOW INVOLVED WERE YOU IN PICKING THE ARTWORK FOR SUMMER BONES?
Our label sent us some stuff and I saw it and I just was like 'it just doesn't feel right, it's not good'. We ended up having our good friend Mark mock up some stuff and he sent me the Summer Bones logo and I was like 'that looks like a bunch of other logos put together, but it makes a lot of sense'. We showed the label and it was just like one of those things where it clicked. He went with it and he'd never done an album layout before or anything and he killed it. He did awesome, it's one of my favourite album layouts and it's cool because it was done by one of our really really good friends who actually played bass with us last time we were over for Slam Dunk last year. So, it's cool, it's like keeping it in the family and was something that he didn't think he was going to be able to do and it came out awesome.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO TOUR IN THE WORLD AND WHY?
Probably Japan. It's a really cool culture. Everyone's really respectful, it's very clean there, you walk the street at 3 in the morning and feel like the most dangerous person on the street. Everything's very at peace there. That's actually where we just came back from. We came from Japan over to here. It's a whole different culture, it's awesome, they're so efficient with everything. We've been over there six times now and it gets better and better every time.
A LOT OF BANDS SAY THAT THE CROWDS IN JAPAN ARE VERY QUIET AND RESPECTFUL, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU'VE FOUND?
Yes, they're very quiet. It's something that you kind of get used to after a while and then you just roll with it. You're just like 'oh, it's okay, they're happy with us' they're just very respectful.
IF YOU COULD TOUR ANY PLACE IN THE WORLD, MAYBE THAT YOU'VE BEEN BEFORE OR YOU HAVEN'T, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
We want to go back to Australia. We've been there a couple of times and we haven't been back in a while. I'd love to check out Indonesia, maybe some parts of South America as well I don't know, just any places we haven't really been yet. I'd definitely say Indonesia and South America we'd like to do.
HOW DO YOU PASS YOUR TIME ON THE ROAD, DO YOU FIND IT GETS BORING TRAVELLING FOR ALL THOSE HOURS?
When you're in the US, if I'm driving I listen to music, that's like all I do. Otherwise you're on your phone all the time and stuff. Here, no one has internet service so usually we have videos and stuff to keep us occupied. So Adam's got Better Call Saul today and stuff.
HAVE YOU CAUGHT UP ON ALL OF BETTER CALL SAUL?
We just watched the first two episodes. I liked it, I was into it so that makes the time go a lot faster. That's pretty nice.
HOW DOES IT FEEL WHEN BANDS SAY THAT THEY USED TO LISTEN TO 'THIS IS A STICK UP...DON'T MAKE IT A MURDER' A LOT WHEN THEY WERE YOUNGER? DOES IT FEEL GOOD THAT YOU HAVE THAT INFLUENCE?
Yeah, it definitely makes you feel older but it's very cool that kids look at that album how I looked at albums growing up. If it influenced people in any way that's more than I could ever have asked. We just started the band to get out of Ohio and play shows and we ended up taking it way further than we thought we would. It's just the icing on the cake now, and if people say they're influenced by it, that's incredible. That's the best thing that could ever happen.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE FAVOURITE ALBUMS?
This answer gets harder as I get older. I can do Deftones - Diamond Eyes, Saves The Day - Through Being Cool, New Found Glory self titled. Probably another Jimmy Eat World record. Jimmy Eat World is like my favourite band. As of recently even that 1975 record I can't stop listening to it for like the past 2 or 3 years. It's so fucking annoying but that one's really good too. I don't know, I have a bunch. Either that or maybe Hatebreed - Perseverance, that's a big one. Comeback Kid, probably their latest one. I don't know it's really hard now. Definitely New Found Glory self titled, Saves The Day - Through Being Cool, Jimmy Eat World - Clarity, those I can say are definite. Besides that, everything else is like really tight up. Those helped shape how I write songs and stuff.
Summer Bones is out now! Check it out below: