At the Heart of it, an emotive post-hardcore band from Manchester, NH have teamed up with Wide Eyed Noise for a two song release titled “you couldn’t stay.” Due out August 19, frontman Richie Downs told us that their main goal was to reintroduce the band and to accentuate the ways in which [the] band has evolved over time. “These two songs seem to encompass that evolution while also staying rooted in a concept that seems to work perfectly as a smaller, more intimately scaled release,” he said in our interview.
“We started writing the songs about a year ago,” guitarist Andrew Castellucci told us. “It was really exciting as these were some of the first songs we had written together as a band in our practice space. In the past our typical process consisted of me writing up the skeleton of the song and then the band piecing it together afterwards.” He continued to say, “For this release my parts were more a response to what was going on in the room, depending more on instinct and my ears. I feel this way of writing was much more organic and cathartic for us which really shows in the recordings as well as in our live performances.”
“I remember very vividly what was it like to write Sunspots, the first of these tracks to be written,” Richie said. “I had just lost one of the most important people in my life, someone that inspired me and kept me going all of these years. I was legitimately shaken and for the first time I didn’t over think or over analyze what I was feeling.” Richie paused for a moment but continued, “ The guys played their hearts out and I just let what I was feeling pour over it all. I wrote almost the entire song within the confines of that single practice. It’s the most honest snapshot of a moment in my life that I have ever created. Currents was entirely the opposite. It took me weeks of finding just the right words and arranging them in a way that engaged me on an emotional level. Finally getting that one finished took everything I had.”
When we talked more about the recording process Andrew he told us that the recording sessions were much more streamlined that what he was used to. “Drums were done in one night , guitars took two days with vocals taking another two on top of that. We didn’t get too adventurous on these recording sessions as we had done during the Self-Titled EP.”
“you couldn’t stay” was recorded with Keith Gentile at Labyrinth Audio in Billerica, mastered by Mike Watts of VuDu Studios on Long Island and will be released through Wide Eyed Noise based out of Boston.
“Wide Eyed Noise started as a result of a few things I noticed in the New England hardcore scene,” founder Eric Pocock told us. “I kept seeing the same bands getting all this hype and putting out music and playing shows with only each other. I have nothing against these bands, they’re all pretty good, but there is so much great music coming out of New England right now and most of it is going largely unnoticed. I wanted to do something to help bands get a little more of the recognition they deserve.”
“We’ve known Eric for a while now through his band Kimachi,” Andrew told us. “When we found out Eric started a label, it only seemed fitting that we would contact him about putting this out once we had the tracks where we wanted them.”
“I love Eric,” Richie laughed. “I love everything that guy stands for. It didn’t make sense to work with anybody else. Wide Eyed Noise is doing this for all the right reasons and that’s very refreshing in today’s music climate. We wanted to stand behind that and support it just as much as they wanted to stand behind us.”
“Working with ATHOI is great,” Eric said. “When I’m deciding whether or not to work with a band I ask myself three questions: ‘Do I like the music? Is the band active? Do I agree with the band’s message?’ I can’t think of many bands that exemplify these qualities better than AHTOI. Their message of inclusion and LGTBQ rights resonates with a lot of people and their genuine passion for equality and social justice is infectious.”
“Hope,” Richie says of the message ATHOI sends through their music. “We all get torn apart by this world. On the outside, on the inside… Far too many kids are taking their own lives because they can’t see a way through it. This about showing people that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve all been through some of the most awful shit a person can go through but we are okay. You can find a way to be okay. That’s what this band has always been about.”
“For me it’s always been about honesty,” Andrew told us when talking about the message ATHOI sends. “Conveying what we truly feel and doing so without any type of preconceived notion of what the songs should sound like. There are far too many bands out there that consistently follow a paint-by-numbers plan and it really waters down the genre and the communities those bands are a part of.”
“you couldn’t stay” will be out on digital release and cassette on August 19th. Until then At the Heart of it has a number of shows lined up, most notably NHB Fest 2016 on July 23 &24 in Derry, NH. To stay updated on the bands activity, follow their Facebook page and like NHBooking for inside information on local shows.