We’ve all heard it a million times before: it’s just evil suits and the money-driven white world that comprise record companies nowadays, and anyone who loves music hates the wheels behind it.
Whether this is true, false, or (more likely) a bit of both, there generally seems to be more complaining than there are proactive efforts to make the industry work for you. Which is exactly what Hellogoodbye did, as Tone Deaf’s Dunja Nedic finds out.
‘We just knew that it wasn’t going to come out on that label,’ says keyboardist and guitarist, Joseph Marro, speaking of Would It Kill You?, the band’s latest LP. ‘We wanted to put it out on our own so it was a long process but turned out to be pretty rewarding in the long run.
‘You kind of can figure out how to do it cheaper or more efficiently. The downside is you don’t always have as much money as [labels] have to spend on certain things, but I’ve always loved the music industry aspect of it. I love being a part of putting out a record and figuring out how to get it out to all the stores and all the logistics, so for me, it’s kind of exciting.
‘We’re not really an active label, and we don’t sign any bands. We’d love to one day but right now, there’s the band and there’s not enough time to do it.’
Would It Kill You? is only the band’s second full-length release, and the first LP since 2006’s Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, giving the band time to sift through some new members, replacement members, and different sounds.
‘It’s pretty apparent musically that it’s changed a bit,’ says Marro. ‘It’s still very much pop music…instead of it being like Daft Punk electronic pop, now it’s a little more Beach Boys 1960s-esque style pop music with a lot of strings and horns and whatnot.
‘I might be biased because I wasn’t on the last record but this is music that even if I wasn’t in the band, I would say, I love this record, I’m going to go buy it. Even if I didn’t know anybody in the band, I would listen to this music, and I think that’s a huge thing that any band can say…unbiased, would you listen to your own band’s music, and I can gladly say yes. And this new music that we’re working on is even more so…it’s in the same style with the same band but it’s a little bit different so that’s the goal I guess, always make a record that you think you would like.’
As part of the inaugural Soundwave Revolution’s line-up, it might come as a surprise that one of Hellogoodbye’s biggest tours to date was with the fangirl-squeal-inducing, quintessentially long-locked boy band, Hanson, in 2009.
‘In all honesty, it was kind of weird,’ Marro admits. ‘Not a bad weird but not necessarily a great one either. Their fans are very very passionate about Hanson.
‘While we got a good response – they were polite and they were nice and they clapped for us – you could tell that we were just biding time until Hanson came on stage. But a lot of them were open minded and we can now consider them fans…so that was good. But at some points you could tell they just wanted Hanson on stage and they were over you before you even got on stage. So it was a mixture of good and bad.’
Although many people are unaware of it, Hanson have indeed remained active since their ‘Mmmbop’ glory days. But it nonetheless may seem like an odd move for any band to willingly attach themselves to the trio, given that they themselves haven’t been able to shake their teen-dream persona.
‘We didn’t really know what they were up to out of our own ignorance, and then we found out after a little bit of research that they’d been quite active, and they were still very relevant in a certain scene. We just weren’t aware of that,’ says Marro. ‘So after doing that research, we said, okay, this does bring a good opportunity for us and why not do it? And I don’t regret it one bit, it was a fun tour and we had a lot of fun, it was different than any other tour I’ve ever done though, I can say that for sure.’
Marro is rather quick to concede though Hellogoodbye are ‘just kind of boring guys’ and ‘not a whole lot of crazy stuff happens’ on their tours, perhaps best exemplified by the highlight of their last visit to Australia.
‘We like to go to Rottnest Island and jump off of rocks…That was a great moment for us.
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