Our Hearts Are Now in Ohio

Three guitars, ridiculously high energy and the ability to inspire mosh pits are just three of the ways to describe this five-man-band from Dayton, Ohio and their performance at Higher Ground this past Saturday. However, Hawthorne Heights is so much more than just another “Emo” band. They’re a group of guys, doing what they love, loving what they do and handling their steady rise to the top of the music industry with passion and poise. Their music, which falls into the same category as Fall Out Boy and Thursday, has been described many different ways. Some reviewers have said that their music is “Screamo”, or pop-punk. Eron Bucciarelli, the drummer and business man of the group, was nice enough to take time to provide the information for this article. He says they describe their music as, rock, emo and pop-punk with hardcore influences. “It’s not straight up Emo or pop-punk.” Their unique, forceful sound comes from having three guitarists. The advantage of having three guitarists, says Eron, is that their songs sound the same recorded as they do live. In recording studios, bands have the option of playing guitar parts over other guitar parts to create a more powerful sound. Hawthorne Heights is ahead of the game in that department, with three guitars on stage they can carry their powerful sound out of the recording studio and directly into the ears of eager fans. Originally called A Day in the Life, the band went through a couple band member changes and a name change to become what is now Hawthorne Heights. Only one of the original band members from A Day in the Life, the lead singer, JT Woodruff, is now, still a part of the band. In terms of why there were so many band member changes, “Things come up.” said Eron. There were personality conflicts and different ideas as to what the direction the band should have been headed in. Now, they have a solid group of people with the willingness to work together toward a common goal. Eron, originally from Princeton, New Jersey, met and joined the band after he moved to Dayton, Ohio to pursue a degree in communications and marketing at the University of Dayton. I asked Eron if he thought that kids with dreams of becoming musicians, should go to college before embarking on their career in the music industry. He replied, “It doesn’t hurt.” He went on to say that it’s easy for kids to go to college and graduate with a degree by the time they’re twenty-one and then start in the music industry, “I’m a perfect example.” he said. The turning point in their career as musicians came when Victory Records wanted to sign them. Before signing with Victory, the band already had two albums recorded. One with the independent label, Confined Records as A Day in the Life. The other was a self released EP, recorded when the band was between record companies. However, within the time they have been with Victory, they have released three full length CD’s, The Silence in Black and White, which contains their most famous song “Ohio is For Lovers” (June 2004), The CD/DVD combo of The Silence in Black and White (June 2005) and their newest release, If Only You Were Lonely (February 2006). Their first release on Victory Records, The Silence in Black and White has sold approximately 800,000 records and hit Gold status before they played Warped Tour in the summer of 2004. “We would have thought we were hugely successful if we had sold 20,000.” said Eron. Recently, Victory Records was reported to say that If Only You Were Lonely is supposed to debut at the top of the Billboard charts. I asked Eron if he ever thought this would happen. “No. Never. It’s Crazy.” he replied. With two of them being married, and two of them being engaged, (Eron being one of the ones with a ring on his finger), said that life on the road is “Tough. The worst part is not being able to see your loved ones.” But he said his wife takes it surprisingly well. And now that the band travels by bus instead of by van, it’s easier for him to drag her out to concerts with them once in a while. In the few months, the band is ending their current tour and starting a new one with Fall Out Boy, who ironically, played with A Day in the Life at a comic book store in Columbus Ohio before either band was famous. “It’s weird to look back [on it], playing in a strip mall. But we know we both worked really hard to get where we are.” said Eron. Now they will both be on the same national arena tour which Eron said will be a “whole new ball game.” He expects playing arenas to be “the same size as Warped tour, just not as hot.” The band is also scheduled to play at the Bamboozle tour and Warped Tour, playing on one of the main stages with bands such as, My Chemical Romance and MXPX. Hawthorne Heights is not only talented but they know how to command an audience. Their energy, constant movement, and blatantly telling the audience to start a huge mosh-pit are just some of the things that keep the audience’s eyes locked on Eron, Matt, Casey, Micah and JT. They might be in the same musical category as Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance but there is something that makes them different. It’s in the music, and the audience can feel it. During a show, you can tell they’re having the time of their lives and from an audiences stand point, that makes the experience that much better. Not only do they convey that their hearts are in Ohio, but they put their fans hearts there as well.