Hailing from South Jersey and Philadelphia, indie punk band Heartwell combine energetic punk rock with the sincerity of 90’s emo, with comparisons being made to the likes of Compound Red, Giants Chair, Boy’s Life, and Mineral.
Their latest full-length ‘Certainty of Change’ is a passionate, guitar-driven record that is reminiscent of The Promise Ring, and The Get Up Kids. However despite all their influences and comparisons, the bands hunger and passion shines through the record making it sound refreshing.
To find out more about the quartet, Already Heard spoke to vocalist/guitarist Andrew Valentine to discuss the bands formation, influences, ‘Certainty of Change’ and more.
Already Heard: Who am I speaking to and what is your role in Heartwell?
Andrew Valentine: My name is Andrew and I play guitar and sing in Heartwell.
AH: From the start what should new listeners know about Heartwell?
AV: We’re just 4 guys that are here to hang out and eat pizza, we play music too but we’re mostly here for pizza.
AH: With a mix pf punk and 90’s emo, who would you compare your sound too?
AV : I’d like to think that we sound like a mix of Compound Red and Mock Orange, maybe with a hint of early 2000s pop punk.
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AH: Would you say your sound is slightly nostalgic?
AV: Nostalgia is tough. Since music in general is so subjective it’s hard to say what people will get out of our records. I will admit that the first time we were listening to the “Certainty of Change” mixes it made me think of old Jade Tree and Polyvinyl releases and I got all fuzzy inside.
AH: What bands are a big influence on Heartwell?
AV: Musically I would say that bands like The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids, and Hot Water Music are probably the biggest influence on us. Also, the best band of all time is Weston.
AH: I understand the band formed in early 2011. Can you give us a brief history about the band?
AV: Prior to the Winter of 2011 we played very part time with a different drummer. Heartwell was a side project of The Glory Days and when they decided to take their band more serious we went on hiatus. By late 2010 their band had started to disintegrate because of various reasons so we found Adam to play drums and started working on our first EP “On Science, On Strings”. We did a few short tours to support the EP during the Spring and Summer of 2011 before beginning to write and record “Certainty of Change” in the Fall and Winter of 2011-2012.
AH: You’ve just released a full-length called ‘Certainty of Change.’ What should new fans about the album?
AV: “Certainty of Change” is the effort of a lot of different people whose work was amazing. This record doesn’t sound “slick” and polished because we want it to reflect how we sound live, not how an engineer or producer could make us sound.
AH: How did the album come together?
AV: VERY SLOWLY! Instead of doing it the smart way and just blocking out a week or two we spread out the record over months, which made progress constant but slow. We chose to record with people whose sounds we admired. We recorded drums at Gradwell House studio in Haddon Heights, NJ because their live room is amazing. Dave and Matt at Gradwell are so great to work with. All of the guitars were done with Brad Wallace who was a member of Orchid, Transistor Transistor, and Bucket Full of Teeth. It doesn’t sound like it would make sense but he has an amazing ear for guitar tone and captured ours perfectly. Steve Poponi from Up Up Down Down mixed the record and really did everything we wanted. The whole project is something we’re extremely proud of and are so happy to release it the way it was intended.
AH: The album is being released through a local Philadelphia label called Kat-Kat Records. What attracted you to that label?
AV: Dan at Kat Kat is a great dude. Having the option to be able to meet up with the person responsible for putting your record out is something that is important to us. All of his releases are so great and we’re just happy to be a part of what he’s doing.
AH: How has the feedback been so far?
AV: Everything has been great. We’re so overwhelmed with how many people have given it a chance and shared it with their friends.
AH: For new listeners, which track best represents Heartwell and why?
AV: I love the way “Adults” came out on the record. I think it really reflects what we do in totality. The song is one of the first new songs we wrote for the album and to me it’s a reminder of how fun it is to make music with your best friends. Also, I think Bob’s vocals on that song are unbelievable.
AH: Following on from the album release, what do you have planned next?
AV: We’re doing a short tour in August through New England and Canada and we’ll be heading down to The Fest in Gainesville in October.
AH: The Philadelphia and New Jersey music scenes seem to be constantly producing great bands. What up and coming bands should we be keeping our eye on?
AV: Bands like Young Statues, Aspiga, By Surprise, and Placeholder are absolutely amazing. My favorite band writing songs right now is Saint Brazil, those dudes are producing some of the best music I’ve ever heard.
AH: Any final words to close this interview?
AV: Thanks so much for everyone’s time! Listen to Mineral!
‘Certainty of Change’ by Heartwell is available now on Kat Kat Records.