How does a band measure success? Some might say a gold record, others an appearance alongside Carson Daly on MTV’s TRL show. And some might even dare to dream of a Grammy. But we’re talking about the along-the-way success – the marks artists achieve on their way up to the podium, long before they’ve crafted their pseudo-surprised, neo-political acceptance speeches.
For Hopesfall, initial metrics for measuring the band’s milestones were easy to come by. When the members of the modern hardcore outfit from Charlotte, North Carolina, first formed in 1998, their only aspirations were to write a few songs and maybe play them live. Now, some five years later, Hopesfall is finishing up a yearlong tour and getting ready to work on a third recording. Yes, you could say they’ve written a few songs and played a live set or two.
Perhaps what’s most refreshing about Hopesfall and its modest goals is there’s nothing pretentious about it. No punker-than-me or harder-than-you attitude – just a quiet belief in themselves and a commitment to taking it to the next level. And while they carry themselves with the DIY mentality that anyone working their asses off must have, they certainly aren’t too concerned about taking a strong stance on that hard-working ethic.
“We don’t consider ourselves to be a political band,” says Hopesfall vocalist Jay Forrest. “We’re a band that writes collaboratively, and I think we pretty much have the same mindset when it comes to how we’re going to take things. We never force anything. We just see how things go. And hopefully people will appreciate what we’re doing.”
Often labeled as a band that blends elements of hardcore and emo, some classify Hopesfall as a “screamo” band – a reference to Forrest’s occasional throaty vocal work and the band’s penchant for mixing mayhem with the melodic. But the band (like most groups) will tell you they don’t feel they fall into a particular genre, nor do they want to be limited by any one style. Which is all fine and well, especially considering Hopesfall does a good job of pushing the boundaries of the aforementioned fringe sounds to create a vibe all their own.
When it comes to the live scene, Forrest says the band has learned a lot along the way, working out typical sound kinks and getting a feel for what different audiences like. The group is in the midst of a U.S. tour, which stops at Tulagi’s in Boulder on Monday, April 28, and jumps to the UK later in the spring.
“We’re really looking forward to playing Boulder,” Forrest says. “We were out there not too long ago and enjoyed it,” adding that the West Coast is also on the top of their list. “Every city is different, you know. Some people are going to respond to some songs more than others, so you can never really tell who’s going to like what. So, we just play how we know and hope fans will enjoy it.”
But don’t think for a minute that these guys have an endless desire for the road. Bands like Aerosmith and KISS might be able to tour for 50 years straight, but they have all the luxuries money can buy on tour – top of the line tour buses with assistants up the ass, ready to cater to their every desire. A far cry from what most bands experience while driving the flatlands in an econo van. For Hopesfall, the group has been earning its pay and is beginning to show some signs of fatigue.
“We’re all pretty tired after having been on the road for a full year. We don’t have too far to go with this tour, but we’re looking forward to getting back home, taking a couple of months off and starting on our new album. By then, we’ll be ready to hit the road again.”
Of course, once the group hits that first heavy note and launches into a barrage of pounding drums and vocals, all traces of weariness fade fast. Although Forrest says their focus is songwriting, it’s clear the true essence of the group’s emotion and passion is most evident on stage.
Hopesfall release, The Satellite Years, is available at www.trustkill.com. Click here to check out Dave’s review on Fresh Brew.