If you were looking for some balls-to-the-wall heavy music from 2016 and I could choose but a single project to recommend, then it would have to be the new Heartaches EP: Svart. I recently wrote a review of the EP, which you can read in full here, and was taken aback by their large shift in direction, but extremely satisfied with the results as they melded downtempo chugs, massive driving chord sequences and sinister ambient sections to create an incredibly heavy and atmospheric form of hardcore. And even more recently, I managed to put a few questions to the band to talk about the EP, how they write and to discuss some musical ideas.
Firstly, I want to say a massive congratulations on the new EP Svart, I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I’m sure many more people will when they get to hear it on August 12th. Now, one of the things I instantly noticed was how much heavier it was compared to your previous material. What inspired that change? Was it a natural progression or more of a planned shift in sound to suit your tastes at the time of writing?
Thanks Tony! Actually, it was very hard to choose which genre we wanted to get further into with this EP because we also like calm post-rock and stuff like that, but in the end, it all went down to doing something heavy, but you can hear some less dark melodies for example in the song called The Process for sure.
One of the things I love most about the EP is the great balance between the heavy breakdowns and the dark, melodic ambience on every track. And when the breakdowns kick in, you always do something interesting with them, throwing odd rhythms and pick scrapes in there to spice it up. In that sense it reminds me a little bit of After The Burial but I was wondering if there are any bands in particular that you draw inspiration from?
Our biggest inspiration, is probably Sworn In, as you can tell. But also alot from Chelsea Grin, Gift Giver and bands like The Elijah and Echoes.
So how does Heartaches operate? Are there members that contribute the majority of the material or do you tend to write more collaboratively?
Casper writes all the lyrics, and Tom and Jimmy handles all the instrumental, but sometimes our drummer Adrian also changes some drum parts if he’s got any better ideas.
In order to accommodate for the heavy, bassy sound of the EP, did you have to change the way you approached the guitars? I Will Never Exist sounds as if it was recorded on an eight string, or you used particularly heavy string gauges and I was wondering if there were any pieces of gear you particularly enjoyed using while recording.
The whole EP was recorded with a 7-string guitar, which we always use live as well. We use thick strings, because at some parts we play open chords. Some guitarists likes thin strings, but we think that it wouldn’t sound very good with our style of playing.
At the moment, it seems we live in a world where fans in extreme music seem intent on slapping as many labels as possible onto other people’s music. But how would you want to describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
Heavy, dark and emotional.
It was great to see you got Tyler Shelton from Traitors to do a guest spot on the EP. How did that collaboration come about?
We think that Traitors is brutal, and Tyler’s vocals are rad, so Casper wrote to him, and he was stoked to do it. We sent Deathlist to him already when it only was a demo. Casper had already written the lyrics, so all Tyler had to do was to record his version of it and send it to us.
If you had a live band bucket list of artists alive or dead, who would you love to share a stage with?
Traitors, Chelsea Grin, Attila, Sworn In and many more!
Do you think that ‘guilty pleasures’ in music exist? And do you think there are any artists that people would be surprised you listen to?
Yes. For example, depression and anxiety is something many people feel, and that’s our way to express our feelings. Obviously depression and anxiety aren’t good things but we think it fits to write about it in our music. Bands we like that we think people would be surprised to know about would be The Elijah and Echoes as we mentioned before, because our new EP doesn’t sound much like their music.
Finally, what’s next for Heartaches? And do you have any plans to play in the UK at some point in support of the new EP?
We will start doing tours, and also of course promote our music as much as possible on social medias. We don’t have much plans yet, but hopefully we will come to the UK soon, and also to other parts of the world.
Thank you for your time!
Thanks to you too Tony, have a good one!
Svart will be available on August 12th via Artery Recordings and if you enjoyed the single, linked below and in my full review, be sure to place your pre-order here. You’re bound to love the rest of the EP once it’s released. Support a great band today.