California based melodic punk rock band, Heartsounds, released their third full-length record to date, Internal Eyes, Oct. 15 through Creator-Destructor Records. Plans for international tour dates are currently in the works, not long after concluding East Coast touring. Guitarist, vocalist, and founding member, Ben Murray, took the time to discuss the band’s most impressive efforts yet.
“I think we started writing a year ago in October. We decided to write a record, I started writing riffs and we started jamming,” says Murray. “We worked really hard and consistently on it for a year versus taking a few years and casually writing and getting it all [together] in a more relaxed way.”
Heartsounds, comprised of Murray, guitarist and vocalist, Laura Nichol, drummer Trey Derbes, and bassist Bobby Taul have maintained their melodic, fast-paced riffs and 90’s EpiFat sound found in their previous records, although Murray says the overall process was different this time around.
“We all work full-time. Life takes a lot out of you. It can be hard to actually find the time and energy to [achieve] the work you want to create and to get the songs to a point where you’re satisfied with them, when you don’t have all day every day to sit around and be inspired to write,” says Murray. “We have to put up with everything that life requires and I feel like it gets tougher as I get older to have that unrivaled inspiration all the time… as much as music is my number one priority in life and my absolute passion. I guess that’s a roadblock, it doesn’t stop us from making an album that we love but it just gets harder, for sure.”
For Murray, the writing process becomes an easier one when collaborating with Nichol. The two have been writing music together for a decade between Heartsounds and their previous band, the thrash/death metal outfit, Light This City.
“[Laura and I] aren’t afraid of hurting each other’s feelings or walking on egg shells,” says Murray. “We can be very honest about our ideas. It tends to be a very smooth process, because we know how we work, and there’s nothing unknown there. That’s nice, so it definitely helps.”
Of all songs on the new record, the lyrics to the opening track of the album, “A Total Separation of Self” resonate deepest with Murray.
“It’s kind of like a broader song about what I deal with on a reoccurring basis of highs and lows and just trying to navigate through those periods of your life where you feel hopeless, or feel lost, you feel depressed, you feel angry, all these things…it just always comes in waves for me,” says Murray. “While all my songs are about specific instances or moments in my life, that one is just like a roadmap to how I can deal with those things and pull out of them.”
The band called upon longtime friend, Zack Ohren, who produced their previous two records, as well as all four of the Light This City records, to produce Internal Eyes.
“We really love the sound of his studio, when we work with him we just feel very comfortable which is important for all of us,” says Murray. “Zack’s incredibly talented and really intelligent and he always has suggestions that are helpful and in terms of actually tracking the record, he’s really fast and easy to work with so we haven’t really felt the need to look elsewhere because it works so well for us.”
For the release of the new album, the band embarked on a very short East Coast tour this past October with CLEAVE, No Trigger, and Stereo State, where songs “Cycles” and “The World Up There” from Internal Eyes were received particularly well by crowds.
“When we go out to play shows we like to go with friends and with bands we actually like versus opening for some big tour package with a bunch of terrible bands,” says Murray. “It was just a great time we all feel like family at this point. We all partied every night and hung out with each other. It was awesome.”
Murray says the band is hoping to release a music video within the next couple months and will be traveling outside the US for several upcoming tours including Brazil in December, Mexico in February and Australia later next year.
“The only real goal with our band is to have fun and to make sure we’re making music we want to play. That’s how we started the band. We didn’t try to get any label to put it out, we just did it ourselves on my label, we didn’t really have any expectations,” says Murray. “Our only goal is to write the records we want to write and to play as many shows as we can. We’ve been able to do beyond our expectations already. We’re having a good time.”
By Jen Schwartz