Friday, February 11, 2011

Interview With Hellogoodbye

At the Jammin' Java stop of Hellogoodbye's headlining tour, the band agreed to answer a few questions. This is the band's first tour supporting their latest record, Would It Kill You. The band talked about the drastic change in sound, Drive Thru records, fans that don't appreciate the new sound, fans from foreign countries, and more, after the jump.

Can you start by saying who you are and what you do in the band?

My name’s Forrest, and I play guitar and sing in Hellogoodbye.

Would It Kill You? was recently released, and I’m sure most fans of the first album barely recognize the band. You’ve ditched most of the electronics and the vocal effects, and inserted much more real instrumentation, including horns. Why the drastic change?

There was a long period of time between records so there’s naturally going to be movement. Also, I built a studio in my house and I kind of threw out everything I knew about recording and making songs and started from scratch. I stopped using the setup I had before and the programs I used before and I started using all new stuff and got a bunch of instruments. The process of doing it made it quite different.

Did leaving Drive Thru and having the large member changes also affect the creative process?

Kind of. If we hadn’t left Drive Thru, I think it would have been the same exact record. We were still on Drive Thru when the record was basically done. I don’t know what would have ended up happening with the record, I’ve been working on it for so long it was done by that point. Everyone that came into the band during that transition point brought their own influence to it and helped get it done.

There was a long wait between the two albums. Did that frustrate you at all?

We kept trying to do things, like tour and put out EPs, and try to stay relatively active, but nothing’s the same as putting out a new record.

Looking back at the past, do you still enjoy the music you created on the first LP, or has it become somewhat “dated” to you guys?

I’m not embarrassed by it or anything. Anything that you may think is embarrassing, it’s not very serious. It wasn’t like it came out a way I didn’t intend, it just was a joke. I guess when people think it’s my life’s work, it may be embarrassing.

Do you still feel comfortable playing the older songs? Do you think you may rerecord any of them with the “newer” feel?

No, I don’t have any interest in doing that. They are what they are. We have older demos of songs that got rerecorded on older records, and I feel the older demos are cooler than the record ones because they’re more just they are what they are. They have a charm to them and even if they suck and they’re horrible, it’s not like you can improve on it, especially if you’re a different person.

How did the massive mainstream success of “Here (In Your Arms)” affect how the band has turned out now?

It definitely affected us in some way. I’m not sure how. I don’t know how things would be different if that happened, and I don’t know if right now it’s a positive thing or a negative thing, but, it’s a thing, and it definitely has an impact, I’m not sure what it is.

Do you think it caused extra pressure on the band because it wasn’t really your “thing”.

Maybe. There’s people who are only familiar with that and they’re not going to understand anything else and they might be confused. If you know anything more than that song then it may not be confusing to see what we do now and the people who only know that song and are confused, I’ll see someone on Twitter and, I think there’s nothing I can do for you, you’re from another world.

Do you feel somewhat slighted by the kids who do not embrace the new, more mature sound?

I don’t feel unappreciated by it. It is what it is and they like what they like. I think that most people that matter will have more of an open mind than that.

Would you ever care to have another mainstream hit?

No, I don’t care. I just want to keep doing what we do. What happened before, nobody expected it and nobody was planning it and nobody even wanted it, and it turned out it was pretty weird. It was weird thing to be, you know, we’d be playing some weird show with Akon and it wouldn’t make any sense.

What would you tell those kids who only enjoy the older electronic stuff who took one listen to one of the new songs and instantly gave up?

I guess I’d look at them and see if I even thought they’d be interested at all. There’s some people I can look at and say “it just doesn’t matter, just move on”. But if I thought they may like it I’d tell them to just check it out, and they may like it.

Since the new record has just come out, is 2011 mostly going to be a year of touring?

We’re going to tour a bunch, we have a bunch of different countries we’re going to. We were hoping on recording some new music or different recordings of some kind. We may put out a couple new songs, a couple acoustics, things like that.

So you have some b-sides or other recordings to put out?

Yes, something like that.

Is it weird going to different countries and having other people sing your music and know your name?

Yeah, it’s crazy, and to a degree it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t seem like you deserve it or anything, you just think “I don’t know how this happened” but somehow these people, I don’t know who got this in their heads, but it just happened.

Is it weird to go to these countries that may barely speak English and do a show? Does it make the show somewhat different or interesting?

It makes it very interesting. We just went to the Philippines and Indonesia. Most of the places we go to more people speak English than you’d think. But there’s still a lot of people who don’t, and that’s pretty weird when they don’t speak English but still sing your song lyrics.

What do you want people to get from Hellogoodbye from either the live shows or the recordings?

Michael, what do we want people to get?

Michael: I hope they can have fun at the same time as enjoying music for what it’s worth. I think we play music that’s fun, and at the same time there’s an element of seriousness now that I really enjoy.

We talk about a band called Nada Surf a lot because they just keep putting out really good records and it seems like they believe in what they do and make good music that they like and that other people appreciate and we strive for that.

Michael: You can’t be too serious, but you also can’t be a joke.

Any final words?

Just that we’re excited to keep playing, to play tonight, and to play all year. 

Again, I'd like to thank Forrest and the rest of the band for taking time out of their preparation for the show to answer some questions. Hellogoodbye really surprised me with the new record, which turned out to be one of the best records of last year. The band has a busy year ahead, and you can listen to their music on their Myspace page here


  1. He really sounded like he wanted people to accept the new sound, without saying he wasn't a fan of the older stuff.