BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK — On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Heartist — an American rock band with origins in Southern California — will be making a stop at Trick Shot Billiard Hall while on tour.
This quintet describes its music as full of anthemic grandeur, brawny metal-core infused heaviness and chorus-driven radio rock nirvana. Their latest album, “Feeding Fiction,” came out in August 2014 and they are currently working on another.
“We started this band because we looked around and everything seemed stagnant, everyone just seemed to be doing the same thing, and I haven’t heard a song on the radio that’s really touched my soul in what seems like forever,” vocalist Bryce Beckley said. “We want people to hear us and go wow, . . . that’s what’s been missing.”
Beckley gave us the skinny on writing meaningful lyrics, future plans and how some fashion choices can potentially ruin your career.
Q: Give me a little background on you. Tell me about your childhood.
A: I grew up in Southern California, born and raised there. My childhood, oh man (chuckles), I don’t know, I guess I did standard kid things; played sports and then grew out of it when I was in middle school, started being really bad at school and I didn’t actually start doing music until I was 18. I would just sit in my room and sing by myself.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: My mom [Dawn] ran a baby-sitting business while I was a kid and now she’s full-time cake decorator, and my dad [Milton] works at a shipping company.
Q: What finally sparked that passion for music when you were 18?
A: Well I think I always had a passion for it, I just never applied it. Right after high school I reconnected with a friend who played bass and we started a really bad band together and the rest is kind of history.
Q: How would you describe your voice?
A: Umm, I guess I just try to pack it with as much emotion as I can. I have a raspy overtone that I really like to do that brings out that raw, emotional stuff.
Q: Tell me about Heartist and how you first became involved in the group:
A: The band started in 2011 and we just came together as a bunch of dudes who didn’t really know each other; we were just kind of together in the local scene. I got a message on my Facebook and I went over to try out and almost didn’t get it because I was wearing these horrible shoes and they almost prevented me from being in the band because they looked so bad.
Q: What did these shoes look like?
A: They were these white Creative Recs and I had no business wearing them; they were recommended by an ex-girlfriend and, I mean, that’s why we broke up I think.
Q: How would you describe the sound of your band?
A: We all come from a bunch of different musical backgrounds, anything from death metal, the 90’s, early 2000’s alternative, pop music and R&B; we try to mesh all that stuff together and I think that it kind of comes out as this heavy new age rock and roll. We pull a lot of inspiration from the ’90s and early 2000s.
Q: What do you feel sets you guys apart from other rock bands?
A: I don’t really know what it is; I feel like people really latch onto our lyrics and how much emotion we try to pack into the songs. The genre just seems kind of dead, like people are recycling lyrics and not putting a ton of thought into it, which is something we strive to make great so that people can make a connection to them.
Q: Do you write any of the songs?
A: I write all of them, at least lyrically.
Q: What’s your writing process like?
A: Usually it starts out with our guitarist writing something instrumentally, jamming it out. When we find something that’s good I start writing. We are always writing.
Q: Who is your greatest artistic influence?
A: I think growing up I was really into My Chemical Romance —the first concert I ever went to. That really turned me onto singing.
Q: Do you have a favorite song?
A: “The Ghost of You,” it’s a tearjerker.
Q: When did you guys release your first album?
A: Our first EP came out in 2012, I believe it was August.
Q: What have you been up to since then?
A: Since then it’s been nonstop touring, writing and grinding ever since.
Q: What separates your most recent album to your previous work?
A: There’s a much different feel to it; that first EP has a lot of songs about just a kid who fell out of love. With the full length there’s a lot of different subjects, whether it’s God, religion, politics or love.
Q: You guys are going to be in Clifton Park Sept. 30, what do you have planned for that show?
A: Oh man, I have no idea yet. We are just preparing to leave for this tour now, like scrambling, so I mean it will be another good day on the tour. We hang out and talk to the fans, we’re very personable.
Q: Is this the first time you’ve been to Clifton Park for a show?
A: Yes it is.
Q: What are your plans for the future as a group?
A: Right now we are in the middle of writing stuff for another album. We just want to continue what we are doing and keep making bigger and better rock music, evolving constantly.
Q: Do you have a music memory that stands out to you with this band?
A: I have a lot of memories writing, specifically there was one song that was very cathartic for me to write. It was the first time I’d ever written a song out of anger and it’s a track called “Manipulate.” It’s about a sad, depressed kid who got broken up with. I just had a situation with that ex-girlfriend that I told you about that I was livid about and it was the first time I sat down and wrote out my emotions, it just kind of clicked with me.