Funny story. I did an email interview with Jeremy from Dead Hearts when their album "Bitter Verses" came out but got some really short answers back. I really liked the album though, so I ran it on the site anyway but with an intro that said something like 'the asnwers are shit but at least the album is good'. After that I forgot about the interview. But Jeremy didn't. Anyway, long story short... we met the guy when he was playing a show in Belgium, we had a laugh over it and did a fun interview. If you haven't heard "Bitter Verses" yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It's great!
PRT: Who are you and what would you like to tell our readers about yourself?
Jeremy: My name is Jeremy. I play guitar in the Dead Hearts and this is my first time in Europe ever.
PRT: And are you liking it over here?
Jeremy: So far yes. I love the chocolat. And it looks like the show is going pretty good too. We just flew in from the States and got here like around nine in the morning and it was only a 45 minute drive from Brussels to here so we've been stuck here since around 10 AM.
PRT: How do you keep busy on a day like this then?
Jeremy: I read a little bit, got my laptop out, emailed my wife, talked to my brother online for a couple of minutes. He's a metal guy, looks like Danzig.
PRT: Is that a compliment?
Jeremy: Yeah, I mean it in a good way (laughs). We're just keeping busy because we are bored out of our minds. We've been stuck here for like 12 hours now and we're all pretty jetlagged. None of us have slept yet but the good thing is that the bus will stay here until 8AM. So i heard there's some dance party after the show. I might check that out and then I think we're all gonna go to bed. We looked around a little but there's really not much to do around here. Oh, and there's a shower here so I'm gonna take one later as well.
PRT: You say it like that's a rare thing?
Jeremy: In the States it is unless you're playing bigger places. We did a 15-show tour once and two places in Canada had a shower and two in the States. That was it. Over here it seems like every venue has a shower. Plus we get fed a lot better. In the States they say here's ten bucks, go buy what you want. And when we got here there were sandwiches, fresh meat and vegetables, milk and cereals. And then they said 'oh yeah, your hot meal is coming in like two hours'. And that's great because in the States you get your per diem but you still end up paying a couple of bucks out of your own pocket. Here we've all been fed and we've already stocked our fridge so that's good.
PRT: How come you've never made it to Europe before?
Jeremy: We had plans to come here with Ruiner two years ago but our schedules couldn't sync up and then we got off the Sick Of It All tour and we were like, well, our record just came out in the States. Let's tour some more here even though our record on Reflections has been out for a long time. We could never seem to make our schedule work to come over here, things in the States just kept interfering. Also my wedding interfered two years ago. Not that it interfered (laughs). But because of my wedding two years ago and Derrick's wedding a year ago, we never made it over. And you can't come over in the summer cuz of the festival season. So it's either in the spring or the fall and we just never managed to sync up. Until now.
PRT: I read somewhere that you took your band name from a Midnight Oil song and a line from a song from Him. Aren't you afraid to come out and say you read Him lyrics?
Jeremy: No, not at all. Him is one of my favorite bands.
Jeremy: Dead serious. I can even say it with a straight face. I can't say I'm a fan of some of the people that are fans of the band but I think that that guy is a great songwriter and at home I have every single CD and the singles box set. I know it's not very punkrock and it's not very hardcore to like Him. It's just that I have this weird affection for gothic metal like Type O Negative and stuff. And I hear elements of that in Him. I guess it just struck a chord with me. I avoided it for the longest time because there's that show "Viva La Bam" and that guy is a total jackass and he's crazy about Him. But then I found a copy of "Love Metal" for like 2.99 in some record store and figured I'd buy it and resell it on the internet. Then I listened to it and by the third song I thought it was the best record I had ever heard.
PRT: Have you already heard the new album?
Jeremy: "Venus Doom"? Oh yeah, bought it the day it came out.
PRT: It's actually the first one I liked... this is completely off the record though.
Jeremy: It's a lot heavier huh? I didn't like "Dark Light" which was their previous record because it was all rock songs. I like the ballads and the acoustic stuff but I didn't like that it was all rock. I want a little more variety in my records. And then the new album came out and it's so heavy for what they're doing. I was just impressed by it. I had started withdrawing from Him a little cuz of the last album but now, man, I'm back in! And I really liked Midnight Oil back in the day. I was listening to a lot of metal and punkrock and was getting into hardcore through thrash metal and crossover and Midnight Oil was like this weird band that wasn't like anything else I listened to. I heard real passion in the lyrics and somehow that album has always stayed with me. So when the time came to pick a name for the band I suggested The Dead Heart and then after our first practice we settled on Dead Hearts because it sounded better.
PRT: Your last album "Bitter Verses" has been out for what, a year now? Have you been on the road ever since it came out?
Jerremy: Yeah, pretty much. We got off for like a week or two here and there but we've been touring a lot. Not as much as some other bands but we did four or five tours Stateside already. I think we did around 160 shows. Plus myself and Derrick are married, we all have jobs. It's a juggling act but we try to make it work. If we had better tours, we would tour more. But the big tours that would really sustain us and make it possible to not have a job, we never seem to get those. What we do is we talk with friends that are going out and we'll go on the road with them. At least then we're sure of having a good time. The shows have been steadily getting better and better so we're building the momentum.
PRT: Is that how you landed the Sick Of It All tour?
Jeremy: The Sick Of It All tour was kinda weird. That tour was right when "Bitter Verses" came out and we once did a one-off show with Sick Of It All at the end of one of our tours. Thanks to a this guy Chris who had moved from Buffalo to New Jersey and was booking shows there. He booked Sick Of It All, saw that we were ending our tour a day earlier not too far from there and asked us to tour for one more day and play the show. It was a good show, the Sick Of It All guys liked us and we got along really well and then eight months later we were doing the 20th anniversary tour with them and The Warriors. It was awesome! It was the first time I was on a tourbus. We didn't have one but we hung out a lot with them on their bus (laughs). It was a different setup than this one. It wasn't a doubledecker. But it was just them and their crew so they didn't have to share it with like a million other bands.
PRT: All three of you are on this bus?
Jeremy: Yeah, it has 18 bunks up here but they are comfortable. We'll see how it works out!
PRT: So are you guys already working on new songs?
Jeremy: Yeah, we recently came out of the studio. We wrote and recorded about five new songs in between the last tour and this tour. Four of them are completely finished. The fifth one doesn't have any lyrics yet. We also got confirmed for a Kid Dynamite tribute so when we go to record that song, we're also gonna complete the vocals on the other song.
PRT: Do you already know which song you'll be contributing?
Jeremy: It's sort of a medley of two short ones... "32 Frames Per Second" and "Sweet Shop". Charles from Get Outta Town is gonna put it out. He also did the Kill Your Idols 7" box set. It's gonna be pretty awesome!
PRT: And those new songs are they for an EP or something?
Jeremy: No, they're just demos for a new LP. We'll probably record that this spring. We did those songs just to keep the band going. Because if we wouldn't do anything during those two months off and then came over here, we would be terrible. So yeah, we had a couple of new songs and a friend of mine owns a studio, we went in and recorded them.
PRT: And is the new album gonna come out on Ferret or are you going to switch to yet another label?
Jeremy: Who knows! Who knows what's going on? Right now things are cool with Ferret. I sent them the new songs and I don't know what they think of them (laughs). That's where we're at right now.
PRT: You started out on State Of Mind right?
Jeremy: Yeah, the State Of Mind thing was interesting. Cuz what happened was we had recorded a 5-song demo and some friends of ours back in Buffalo wanted to put that out as a 7" because we had already sold 350 copies of the CD. And then while were talking about that, we had written another three songs so we went in and recorded them. Then State Of Mind got ahold of us along with several other labels and said hey, we'd like to do a record with you guys. We basically told them that whoever could get the CD out by December - which was when were going to do our first tour - can out put the record. So State Of Mind released the 5 songs from the demo and the three new songs and then they came out as two separate 7" as well. And now that EP is out on Burning Season Records in Austria along with three bonus tracks.
PRT: If you compare that first release with "Bitter Verses", I thought there was more of a rock n roll thing going on, you know what I mean?
Jeremy: Yeah. When the first release came out we were young. I mean, I'm not a young man but we were still a young band. And we just went in and recorded whatever we had. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. You know? But then like every other band, we progressed. Your sound is ever evolving. There are some bands that don't sound anything like what they started out like two years ago and with us it just evolved naturally. If you listen to the first EP, then the Reflections EP and then "Bitter Verses", I think it sounds like a natural progression. But yeah, the first one was more rock n roll, more punkrock in the way that the song structures were shaped. We wrote those songs in the sumer of 2004, recorded the last of them in September that year and then by December they were out and we were touring and it's been pretty much nonstop ever since.
PRT: Is is true that you finished recording "Bitter Verses" at 06/06/06 at 6:00PM?
Jeremy: That is absolutely true! And it was not by design or anything, it's just the way it happened. We were done with recording, mixing and mastering the whole thing. Then we listened to it and when we were done and had all agreed that it was good, we looked up at the clock and the thing just jumped to six o'clock. We thought that was pretty amazing and we had to make a note of that!
PRT: So is that why the album turned out so good? Cuz you sold your sould to the devil? Is is that whole gothic metal thing again that's coming into play here?
Jeremy: I didn't sell my soul for that album. I think I sold my soul a long time before that already and it just finally caught up with me!
PRT: You got a record deal pretty fast, you already have a couple of releases out, you toured the States several times and now you're touring in Europe. What are some of the other things you'd still like to achieve?
Jeremy: I'm not sure, I'd like to go to Japan. I think bands have different goals. Some just want to tour and get their records out and that's cool. And I have those goals too most of the time. Like I wanna go to Japan and Australia, you know? And then there's other goals like I'd like to put out a record that kids actually wanna buy. Like I would want to sell a certain amount of records so that I'm more comfortable and we can do this more often and I don't have to go home and work a shitty job. But you know, those goals are attainable through two ways. One way is that you play what kids want to hear. The other way is through hard work, doing what you want to do to the best of your abilities and as much as possible. And I think that's the route this band has gone. I could care less what kids want to hear. So I think our goal is being the most affective band we can be without selling ourselves short.
PRT: But you would like to make this a fulltime job, right?
Jeremy: I think anybody who's in a band and says he doesn't want to make it a fulltime thing, is full of shit and there's probably a lot of posturing behind it. I would love to make this my job. When that's not your goal as a band, you tend to get caught up in other things and once again in posturing and all that. I would love to come home in between tours for two months and spend time with my family and not have to get up at nine in the morning. Coming home from a tour is a bit of a bummer because we know we have to get back to work. And I would love for it to be as much as a celebration as it is to go out on tour.
PRT: Would you be prepared to make compromises to reach that goal?
Jeremy: Compromises or sacrifices?
PRT: How about both?
Jeremy: You mean like in our sound or our style? Nah. I mean, look at me. I'm not the ideal of what sells records. My appearance, my attitude, the fact that I'm straightedge. That does not sell records to the masses and that's fine by me. If you wanna cater to the masses, that's fine by me but I'm not prepared to do that. Sacrifices are a whole other ballgame. I think everyone in the band has made great sacrifices to make the band work and to get to where we are now. Like me, I've been married for two years now and every time we have to go on tour, I have to leave her behind but that's okay for her and it's okay for me. So that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. But when it comes to compromising to what we do or who we are to sell more records, I don't think we'll ever do that. And when you're in a hardcore band, there's only so much showmanship you can bring to the table. If you put too much theater into it, you'll end up being fake and that's not at all what we're interested in. We'd love to sell records but not at the expense of selling ourselves short. This is who we are and this is what we do. If you don't like it, don't approach our band because we'll just tell you to fuck off.