Hit The Lights

By paul

PAUL: Who are you and what do you do in the band?
NICK: I’m Nick and I play guitar and sing backup.

PAUL: Can you please give me a brief history Hit The Lights from day one to today!
NICK: Basically Omar and Colin used to play in a local band with my band and dave used to be close to both bands. Their band and my band broke up around the same time and dave, colin and omar started hit the lights with our old drummer Ryan. Ryan left and our friends in Hawthorne Heights introduced us to their drum tech nate. The rest is history. The band itself started in 2003.

PAUL: Which bands are currently rocking the HTL stereo? Would you say any of these are influences on your sound?
NICK: We’ve been listening to the new afi, set your goals, t.a.t.u., and a whoooooole lotta docta dre!!! We have plenty of bands that infuence us, but we play what we want.

PAUL: You originally recorded the EP which was released and then picked up by Triple Crown. Firstly, how did TC come acros you? Was there a lot of interest at this point? Why did you re-release the EP?
NICK: Triple crown came across with the help of dear friend nathan Israel which used to work for drive-thru records but now works for We the People Records. He gave the disk to Fred and Fred got a hold of us and showed us what TCR had to offer. We had an interest from a lot of labels which was amazing and one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made. We just wanted people to know that we were the real deal and build the fanbase from the ground up with kids that liked our music and did’nt care about the other bands that were on our label and told them what to listen to. We chose TCR because we respected all the bands on the label and it had the capacity to support us as we grew.

PAUL: You then went into the studio to record an album…but re-recorded a couple of older songs. Was there a specific reason for doing this?
NICK: Triple Crown wanted those songs re-done because they felt like they were very strong songs that people would love, but the EP would never reach.

PAUL: Did anything unconventional inspire or influence a song on this record?
NICK: I think just the fact that from the moment our record hit the shelves people would dub us a come-and-go band made us work harder. We didn’t have much time to do the record we wanted to put out, but I feel its something that people can listen to and honestly like it and not the fad it’s wrapped around.

PAUL: I haven’t seen a negative review anywhere for ‘This is a stickup…’ Are you surprised by how successful the record has been? Did you expect to be feautured in magazines such as Alt Press and be praised so much by ap.net?
NICK: Haha, I’ve seen plenty of negative reviews for the record, but thank you that’s awesome you’ve seen so many positive ones. As far as the success of the record goes, we never knew what to expect as far as the reaction of kids but so far it’s been great. We constantly want to put our name in kids faces so the way we think about it, whatever number of records we sell, it won’t be enough for us. We want to be the hardest working band that tours constantly and earns a solid fan base from doing it ourselves. It’s amazing that a magazine like alternative press or a website like absolute punk have been so supportive because we came up on both of those sources and it’s a HUGE help when trying to get our music out there. It means everything to us.

PAUL: Speaking of ap.net, there’s a rumour ‘the call out…’ was actually written about comments one of their reviewers made. is this true? what’s the story behind the song and why did you choose to have this song on first?
NICK: Basically I think the whole genre of pop punk/pop rock music has been run through the mud and we want people to know that it’s ok to like poppy music that doesn’t have screaming or crazy time signatures or make up. There’s nothing wrong with music that does, we listen to EVERY type of music, but the way kids are thinking now is “if it doesn’t have a gimmick or something different then why waste my time listening to it?” We’re totally against that mind set and against scene fads. We’ll always play what we want to play and we’re not going to jump on band wagons. Currently if you’re in a (god forbid you use the term) “pop-punk” band you’re either a fall out boy ripoff or nothing new to take seriously and it’s wrong. We’ve played pop punk music since the beginning and we’re proud to claim the influences that we draw from. We didn’t jump on a band wagon and I think a lot of that attitude came out on the record with “the call out” starting it off. I think we even got a little cocky but we wanted to transfer that feeling through the record. I wrote the beginning of “the call out” using pieces of Scott Weber’s review of our ep on absolute punk.net. I wasn’t mad at Scott because he’s a good dude and he’s absolutely entitled to his opinion of our music, but it was the perfect example of how elitist people can be about something as simple as a pop record. We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel, but we are trying to be the best in our genre. I don’t think we’ve got it down yet, but I can tell you that we will.

PAUL: Just how long does it take to walk from your house to 309?
NICK: About the same amount of time it would take to club say… 20 baby seals? Yea….yea… that sounds about right. 20 baby seals. Definatley. Wait, what was the question?

PAUL: You used the metaphor of heartbeats as metronomes twice on This Is A Stickup… was this an intentional thing for the fans to pick up on, or did you just like the idea and use it willy nilly?
NICK: Omar had written the part for “Speakers Blown” and at the time I was writing some lyrics for “Talk us Down” and Omar suggested the metronomes line and we liked it so I put it in. Later we figured we’d have to change one of them but we kept putting it off because the record had so many other things that needed work. We ran out of time, now we have the word metronome in two songs. It’s a good word. Strong. Three syllables.

PAUL: In “The Call Out (You Are The Dishes)”, the lyrics are about the kind of nasty comments usually aimed at pop punk bands – “Tell Me again how we’re easily forgettable, So formulaic and way too simple to be at all original” and “we know this is the hook So bring on mixed reviews” spring to mind. It also makes reference to the “emo scene” – “There’s a lot more that they’re not letting on and whoa, we know you’ll have no scene left when it’s done” soooo….1) How do you feel about the negative attitudes these days towards pop punk bands and seeing as the ’emo’ scene seems likley to have its days numbered, do you feel confident that HTL and other 2nd generation pop punk bands (like Cartel and Valencia) will have a healthy shelf life after the emo fad has had its day?
NICK: Haha I definitley blew my load on the first question about this, whoops. Like I said a few questions earlier our music isn’t for elitist kids who get a kick out of name dropping and fads. It’s for the kids that like fun songs that you can play with the windows down, remember the hooks, and even cover in bands. That’s how we grew up, going to Saves the Day shows and Listening to New Found Glory or The Stryder with the windows down. The scene has changed so much now and I feel bad because the kids who are just getting into this music are definitley seeing a much more commercialized scene as to when I was just getting into the music scene I could go see bands like Fairweather or Brand New in basements or vfw halls. The music industry has caught onto how big of a market pop-punk is and has exploited it to the point where they are putting together bands and putting them on indy labels to get “cred” or signing young bands right off the dot and that comes off as fake. Well, it is fake. Anyway, I think that they ruin it for bands like us because kids have their guard up and they don’t want to be into a band that is just there to make money and pop-punk is the best way to do that. We want kids to have the same feeling that we did at those basement shows and the new bands coming up i.e. Cartel, Valencia, Permanent Me are bringing that honesty back and I think kids are starting to come around. Kids are smart and they’re seeing through the fake now.

PAUL: I gather you;ve now got a UK booking agent…and I heard rumours you may be over here this year…is this true?
NICK: I frikin hope so! There is talk about going over very soon but right now it’s still talk. I hear they give you lots a free booze over there. I also want to get into a good ol fashion pub brawl with some limey local cunts. That would be rad. Wait, what was the question?

PAUL: What’s next for HTL? When can we expect to hear more new music?
NICK: Touring non-stop. We’re demoing some stuff now and drawing influences from here and there. I think we’re just starting to discover our sound and like I said before our record was rushed and we didn’t get to put our all into it. The next record will be bigger, poppier, and brutally f*cking heavy. I seriously can’t wait.

PAUL: How did you end up on the Punk Goes 90s comp and why did you choose Hey Jealousy? Are you fans of Gin Blossoms?
NICK: We were asked to do it (probably by us bugging the crap out of Bob from Fearless) and we were so stoked because what band doesn’t dream of being on a punk goes comp? They’re weren’t that many songs left and we were absolutelt turned off by the idea of doing a gin blossoms cover because 1. It’s the frikin Gin Blossoms, a band that so many people are in love with which means they’ll hate our cover without even hearing it, and 2. It’s never fun to do a rock cover of a rock song and we hate covers that don’t have any deffernce from the original. People finally convinced us to do it, so in between tours we had one day to map out the song and put our twist on it, and then a day and a half to record everything. I think we did the cover well and it’s definitley got a dash of HTL thrown in there. We’ve gotten great feedback on it, it’s sooo fun to play live, and we’re honored to be able to do it. The hardcore Gin Blossoms fans probably hate us for it, they should feel free to send demos of THEIR band covering Hey Jealousy over night to this address:
123 mybutthole drive
P.O. Box shut up
Sidney, OHIO

PAUL: Tell me a funny story.
NICK: Since we’ve started warped tour we’ve been pooping in plastic bags (because there’s no solids in the RV toilet) and then throwing the bags under our trailor. I’m sure we’ve been really bumming out the people that clean up the lots. Oh, and it smells like a daycare center when you walk outside. Poop will always be hilarious, I don’t care who you are. Oh yea shout outs to all the awesome peeps who have bought our record and come to the shows to sing along, it’s been effin incredible! Catch us on the Paramore tour, we’ll show you what’s up!


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]