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INTERVIEW: Heavy AmericA

Hi Guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hello! Busy, very busy! It’s been a whirlwind since SXSW. Even before, when we were getting ready for SXSW. We had just finished recording the album and went right into heavy rehearsals and promotion. It hasn’t let up yet but we’re loving it and having a great time. It’s the good kinda busy.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pray For Me”?

It’s the first single we’ve released through a video. It made a huge difference in getting the song attention. The audio definitely stands on it’s own but when you can show the intensity of the song it draws people in more on the excitement. It’s why we decided to do a performance video instead of a story line. We believed that if people could see how much we put into playing the song, they would get a lot more out of listening to it. I think people have picked up on that vibe based on how well both the video and single are doing. ‘Pray for me’ is moving it’s way through college radio now and doing well on streaming services so I think we made the right choice. Our fans sure are enjoying it and that’s really what matters!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I went through a period of really deep depression about seven years ago and it almost cost me my life. The song is about my road to fixing myself. Trying to unblur the lines, finding the good in all the darkness in my life and dragging it out into the light.

It’s a story I think a lot of people can relate to. It’s hard to maintain dignity nowadays being surrounded by so much negativity. But ‘Pray For Me’ is a testament that it can be done.

How was the film experience?

It was a blast. We shot the video in a friends garage. He had just painted the entire inside black, so before he moved his cars in I talked him into letting us shoot a video in there. The whole thing came together really quick. I contacted a friend of ours named Frank Aveni, a great local band photographer and musician and asked him if he would be interested in shooting the video. He agreed and we shot the whole video in a day. Frank’s got a great eye for capturing a musicians emotion on film. He’s shot some of the best band photos I’ve seen, including our own. We’re  planning to do another video together soon for the next single. Having someone like him on your team is a huge asset.

The single comes off your new album …Now – what’s the story behind the title?

Dan, Budd and myself have been musicians in a lot of different bands. Heavy AmericA is the first project that has felt naturally right for us. Ever since the band’s inception it’s been all forward movement at a very fast pace. No egos, no drama. Our pooled experience has helped us avoid a lot of costly mistakes and allowed us to grow in a positive manner. All three of us are very proud of where we stand as a band and the hard work that went into bringing the new album to fruition. ‘…Now’ is a reflection of everything that’s brought us to where we are today as musicians and as a band.

How was the recording and writing process?

 We started recording in June of 2016. Most of the songs were already written when we started the recording but needed some tweaking. We learned early on in recording the album that it was going to be a journey. We would record a song, listen back to it, make changes and record it again. Letting the song tell us how it wanted to be played instead of us forcing it to be something it didn’t want to be. It was a formula that worked great for us. We stepped outside the musicians box and began hearing the songs as a listener. We took our time and made sure we did everything right to the best of our abilities and gave the music whatever it desired to be great.

Known for blending different “idioms” of rock – how do you tend to balance them together?

It’s rare that I will sit down and write a complete song, music or lyrics, in one shot. I always have a notebook and pen around, something will pop into my head and I’ll write it down. I’ll do this for months until I have pages of ideas. When it comes time to write I’ll start piecing them together into something interesting. I do the same with the music. I’ll save up a bunch of riffs and start finding transitional chords to piece them together. It leads to some pretty complex and progressive playing. When you marry the lyrics to the music you get a mosaic of ideas creating one song. It’s made it tough for critics to categorize us but in some ways I think that’s a good thing.

Your music has this very 90s vibe – is that intentional or is it all a pure coincidence? Does this particular decade plays a role in your music?

It’s just another influence in a long list. There’s so much great rock music from the 90’s. It was the last time rock had any kind of real explosion, it created a genre! The albums sounded better too. Too much of the modern rock sounds so sterile, like an over modeled pro tools recording. It can be too in your face with no depth. Our ‘Now’ album does have a bit of a 90’s vibe in the way I engineered and produced it. It’s got that thick warm vibe like the Smashing Pumpkins had on their ‘Gish’ album. I’m not sure any rock band today can say they aren’t in some way influenced by 90’s rock. If you play guitar, chances are Kurt Cobain came into the picture somewhere.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Every story and line you hear in our lyrics is something I’ve lived through and experienced. I won’t write about fiction. So when it comes time to write, I look back on moments that had defined me for better or worse. I try to tell the story of the song without coming right out with it. Kinda like writing in parables. It allows the listener to depict the song in a way that relates to them. I bet your story’s in there somewhere!

Any plans to hit the road?

We’ll be traveling around the Northeast United States most of the summer. There’s a couple music festivals on the west coast we may do later in the summer but nothing has been confirmed yet. I’m looking forward to playing in Philadelphia. They look like they have a really good rock scene. The bands are working together to create a buzz about their scene and their city instead of battling amongst themselves. That’s how music booms happen. I’d like to see our hometown of Boston follow that model. Everybody wins when an entire scene is getting attention, not just your band.

What else is happening next in Heavy AmericA’s world?

Right now we’re preparing and rehearsing for our album release show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston on June 9th. We’ll be performing the ‘Now’ album in it’s entirety and introducing our new merchandise. That’s going to be a great show. We’ve invited a lot of local music industry personalities so it should give the album a good push. The promotion never ends. You need to have an unforgiving work ethic to stay relevant being a DIY band. Seeking good management is definitely in the cards. The band’s at a point now professionally where we are going to need some outside help to further ourselves in the industry. Then comes the next video and single! Look for that in late June, that’s all I’m going to say right now.

Michael T. Seguin, lead vocals/guitars- Heavy AmericA

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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