Our new Spotlight – The Heavy Hours. We got the chance to sit down and chat with this Cincinnati quartet who just released their single Don’t Walk Away. The guys talk about the scene in Cincinnati and how they got started out. Check out what they had to say below.
How did you 4 guys all meet, and what were your first impressions of each other?
We all met when we were in high school. Ian (drums) was a short-haired soccer punk. Jon (bass) was a goofy suburbanite that laughed at our dumb jokes. AJ was the weird kid who would draw cartoons during recess, and Mike was the low-key heart-throb of the school.
You started jamming and making music in an abandoned house out in suburbia. How do you think the freedom of the space really helped with the creative process?
Having that house was probably one of the best things that could have happened to us. We spent way too much time arguing over songs that the world will never hear. But it gave us the space to hone our sound and grow as a band. Too many good memories there.
Your name, The Heavy Hours, comes from William Butler Yeats. Can you tell us a bit more of your connection to him/his works, and what does the term mean to you?
Our producer Simone Felice introduced us to W.B. Yeats while we were up in the Catskill mountains during the Fall. Yeats’s words seemed to fit really well with us being up in the mountains; isolated from the majority of people, enjoying the fall weather. We all connected with the term “heavy hours” as a term to call the time surrounding an important life event, or a time you can’t easily forget.
You are based out of Cincinnati currently. What is the scene like in Cincinnati, OH? The only thing that comes to mind is baseball and chili.
The music scene in Cincinnati is peculiar; probably because Cincinnati is peculiar. You’ve got musicians who want to treat Cincy like Williamsburg / Brooklyn and then you have another group of musicians who think Cincy is a more Northern version of Nashville. It makes for an interesting vibe but, if we’re being honest, baseball and chili are probably more important to the city’s inhabitants.
Musically I know you are huge fans of Oasis, My Morning Jacket, CCR, amongst others, who are some of the artists that really stick out for you as influential? Who are some contemporary artists that you really admire now?
We’re always blown away by the songwriting of Wes and Jeremiah from The Lumineers… always blown away by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats… The Black Keys of course – awesome on all fronts.
Your debut single “Don’t Walk Away” came out earlier this summer. It was co-written with Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. How did you all get in touch- what is the connection there?
Our agent had sent some of our unreleased music out to his friends; he had actually never met Dan before but, somehow the music ended up in Dan’s ears; we got a call one day (from our agent) and he said “hey I dunno how this happened but Dan Auerbach wants to get lunch, you guys free next week?”.
The track is amazing, really gives off road trip meets old-school folk vibes but with a more alt-rock-pop feel. What is the story behind “Don’t Walk Away”? What did it feel like to see it finally mixed and produced and loved?
First off, thank you for the kind words. We wrote the song down in Nashville in Dan Auerbach’s studio which was a surreal experience. We sat around a table with guitars and notepads just humming and pitching ideas till something would stick. On this particular song, we had this simple verse idea that we all liked, and it quickly wrote itself. It was one of our favorites from our time with Dan. Then, getting to actually go record it and build it from the ground up was incredible. Our producers, Simone Felice and David Baron really nailed the vibe for the production and brought the song to life. They brought in real brass players, and in the end we couldn’t be happier.
The song has been getting rave reviews and has been picking up steam- I noticed Amazon Music recently added it to one of their fresh hits’ playlists. Have you had that “we’ve made it” moment yet, and what did it feel like?
Seeing positive reviews for the song is an amazing feeling, and something I hope we never take for granted. It’s definitely surreal seeing people talk about the song, and watching the listens go up every week. I don’t know exactly if we have had one singular “we’ve made it” moment. I think we’ve probably had 15 of those in the past year. We are just really grateful for the people we get to work with and having an amazing group around us who believe in us which is the best feeling in the world.
You guys had one of the busiest summers I have seen. Over the course of 2 weeks, you travelled about 4,000 miles (6400 km), playing 20-something socially distant shows. What was it like playing shows during the pandemic?
It was an adventure for sure. There really aren’t any rules or past experiences to draw upon for bands during a pandemic, so we are definitely flying by the seat of our pants. Overall though it was an awesome experience. We got to play live music for people who hadn’t heard it in 6 months, and meet some amazing people in an intimate way.
Riding the wave of a mini-tour and the single- can we expect any other surprises soon?
We can guarantee there will be more surprises but I don’t think even WE know what those will be…
Before we wrap things up, I know that you boys are pizza fiends, so I want to ask the obvious; Pineapple on pizza- yes or no?
This is a heated topic that splits our band right down the middle. 2 vs 2 and neither side will budge.
What are some words of advice you would love to give, or wish that someone had told you when you were first starting out?
Don’t be afraid to celebrate every victory, don’t be ashamed to be bummed when times are tough, learn from all of it. Also, just surround yourself with the best people you can – people you can call and feel open enough to talk about any situation.
With things gradually reopening what are some of your local bars/restaurants/hangouts you are especially looking forward to getting back to? Any shootouts?
Being from Cincinnati we would be remiss not to mention Skyline Chili. We have had some very important band meetings, and post-show hangs there over the years. One of our favorite music spots is a really cool venue called the Southgate House Revival in Newport Kentucky. It’s owned by some amazing people who have been huge supporters of ours since the beginning.
Anything you want to say to your fans?
I’m pretty sure our biggest fans are my mom and dad so, what I’d really like to say is thanks for watching the dog while I’m out of town.
Spotlight – The Heavy Hours is a wrap! Big thanks to the boys from Cincinnati talk chatting with us.
Check out the new single out now!
Keep up with all things Heavy right here.
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