Hit The Lights

By paul

Paul: Yo Nick! First things first, happy Christmas! What did Santa bring you this year and how did HTL spend their holiday season?
Nick: Santa brought me socks and underwear, which doesn’t sound great but I was down to like, three pairs of each, so it’s good. People didn’t like to be around me… said I smelled like “shit feet”. Everyone’s been taking it easy, hanging with the families while we can. We haven’t liked being home a whole lot, but it’s nice around this time of year.

Paul: When I asked if our readers wanted to ask you a question the first (and pretty much only) thing they wanted me to say was how the search for a new vocalist is going…and specifically, when are you likely to have the void filled?
Nick: Our plans for the new year while be unveiled very shortly, but it has definitely been a long, crappy road. We appreciate all the people who send us stuff and who want to try out, but it can be completely exhausting. Everyone thinks they can sing, and everyone thinks that they could front your band perfectly no matter what, so it’s difficult when we have to deal with that along with the stress of finding someone who actually has the capabilities to front this band.

Paul: You sang on the recent cover song you did, is it an option that HTL will be fronted by you on a permanent basis?
Nick: That option has always been there for us, it was really just something that we wanted to keep on the back burner and see what others had to offer. I love playing guitar and singing backups, it’s what I have done since I’ve been in the band, so it’s also an issue of me being comfortable taking over lead vocals. If I were to take over I would not be playing guitar, and I would have to be confident that I could be a good replacement for Colin. We have always believed that someone who fronts our band needs to be someone that can get in the crowd and really connect with kids. That’s a big reason why we’ve had so much trouble finding a vocalist; there aren’t a lot of kids that know what that means anymore. It’s just a matter of stepping up and realizing what needs to be done to keep this band on the path that we want. As I said, we will be releasing our plans soon, we’ve been up to some things!

Paul: Going back a few months, how did you learn that Colin was unhappy in the band and was going to quit? Did you try and talk him out of it? How did you feel about his decision?
Nick: It was something that slowly became apparent, not only on the stage, but in our social situations too. He expressed interest in quitting the band right before the New Found Glory tour, and we talked him into staying on until the tour was done. Last Christmas he talked to all of us and assured us that he was going to stay in the band and things were good for awhile. Then slowly he kind of unraveled and completely changed his personality toward us. It was a rough thing to watch. Now that it’s done there really nothing more to talk about, he made a choice that we have to deal with, we’ve never felt it was the right choice, but we have to move on. There’s something wrong when all of the other members believe in something so strongly, and one just decides that it’s not for him. He didn’t see the band like the rest of us did, and that means everything.

Paul: Did you ever think the band was over at that point?
Nick: Fuck That. We’ve worked too hard to bow out now, just expect us to work harder.

Paul: Have you tried out many singers? What qualities are you looking for in a new vocalist? Are you looking for a new Colin or someone that will bring
something different to the party?
Nick: We were never looking for another Colin. We just wanted a genuinely good vocalist who sounded good live, knew how to move and react with a crowd, and didn’t have a picture of himself shirtless on his myspace page. To a certain extent we know what we want out of this new record, and I think it could be achieved with a number of different voices, it’s just a matter of getting that certain balance of the look and the feel of Hit The Lights.

Paul: You were on the crest of a wave at the point Colin quit – the album was selling well, you’d been picked up by a bigger label and you were getting some awesome press. You were getting a real buzz. Does it bother you that after a quiet 6 or so months some of your fans may have deserted you or that the buzz won’t be there when you get back?
Nick: Colin definitely quit at a really shitty time for us because it was when kids were finally starting to catch on to us. Pop punk is starting to come in again and we were definitely that first wave of heavy pop punk coming through, as well as a few other bands. It absolutely has negative effects on your outlook and it’s hard not to point fingers but the truth is that it happened, and we have to rise above it. We can’t blame fans for getting bored and moving on to other bands when we have nothing to post on our Myspace. We can only thank the ones that DO really care, always check in and show their support, and actually believe that we’re coming back. I believe that there are enough kids out there rooting for us that will be good enough to pass the word on to a friend when we make this new record. We want to come back even stronger than before, and I think going through this situation will make that possible.

Paul: During this quiet period for the band have you managed to write any new material? When are you hoping to have a new record out – or is 2008 a year for HTL to keep promoting the last record?
Nick: We’ve definitely been writing. Expect a new record out for the summer of 08′. It’s gonna shred your balls. Like a rabid fuckin’ ferret, man.

Paul: What kind of bands are influencing you at the moment? On a similar note, will the new material veer off into different sounds or can we expect more singalongs?
Nick: We all listen to so much stuff it’s kinda impossible to give specifics. Lately I’ve been listening to Slipknot, Comeback Kid, NFG, Skare Tactic, Weerd Science, The Game, and a whole lot of Christmas music. I’m sure the dudes all differ from me. As far as the new material goes, we’re not going to completely change our sound. There will be more dimensions added to our formulas, but it will ultimately be just a better version of HTL. Bigger than we’ve ever gone, faster than we’ve ever gone, heavier than we’ve ever gone, it’s going to be a fun record, we know it already. We’re going for our “sound” record…something that will define us… and there will definitely be sing-a-longs.

Paul: Do you have any confirmed new song titles?
Nick: We pretty much have all tentative song titles. A few of them are “Toothless Cooters”, “Drop tha Skank”, “Hangs’em High”, and “Apartyment” to name a few.

Paul: Fearless have just announced they’re doing Punk Goes Crunk…if you were to do a song, what would it be and why? Also, if you were to be part of Punk Goes Metal and Punk Goes Pop, what would you do and why?
Nick: I think I would like to do “This is how we do it” by Montel Jordan, I think we could make that song sikk! A Metal Song I would like to do would be “Forever” by Kiss, no ones really knows that song, but it’s awesome. A pop song we always wanted to do was “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey, we actually wanted to do that song for the Punk goes 90’s compilation but they didn’t have the rights to it. If anyone decides to rip these ideas off we reserve the rights to box some testes! Like a speed bag, you hear me? No Mercy. Badada Badada Bah!

Paul: What’s your favourite HTL song to play live?
Nick: I enjoy playing most of our songs. As long as the kids are singing it back, we’re lovin’ it. I particularly like the songs with the breakdowns so we can all get down low and bang some heads.

Paul: When will you be back in the UK? What’s your favourite memory of the UK?
Nick: We’ll be back over as soon as we can get there. I imagine we should probably release a record first, we’ll play all the old songs, but I think the new songs need a chance to be enjoyed live and kids can sing the words. My favorite memory of the UK so far is when we first came over with NFG and we played one headlining show at the Camden Barfly… I’m pretty sure that’s where it was at. Either way it was the kind of show that we love, packed into a small place where the kids are right there in your face. The kids went fucking crazy and everyone was there to have fun, that will forever be a memory for me.

Paul: You did that headline show earlier this year in London – how good was that show? What did you think of Fastlane?
Nick: All the headline shows we have done since have all been a blast. Kids in the U.K. have never disappointed when it comes to crowd interaction. That tour was frustrating because I remember we had a lot of technical problems and equipment problems so we were all stressed, but the kids always make it better. They don’t care if your guitar is a little our of tune, they’re just there to rock it. I love that. Fastlane sucks, they are terrible people who trade kiddy porn at church. Nah, I keed! What’s funny about Fastlane is that when I was in high school I listened to them on MP3.com when they were releasing their earlier stuff. After the Astoria show with NFG Ben, their singer, came up to me and introduced himself and I was like “Holy Shit dude, you and I go WAY BACK!”. We kept in touch since then and we asked if they wanted to be on our headlining show in London. Great dudes, great band, “As We Climb” is probably one of the best pop punk songs ever written. Dead fucking serious.

Paul: Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?
Nick: Try harder and be better.

Paul: What were your favourite 5 records of 2007?
Nick: awww fudge, um…
August Burns Red – Messengers
All Time Low – So Wrong It’s Right
Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High
Anberlin – Cities
Just Surrender – We’re in like Sin

Paul: It’s the season of giving…so tell us a secret involving HTL!
Nick: We’ve captured footage of UFO’s in New Mexico, it’s pretty crazy stuff. Maybe we’ll share it some day. Plenty of secrets coming out right after the new year. I think people will be stoked.

Paul: If you have a message to Punktastic’s readers, please leave it here!
Nick: Thanks to everyone who has not forgotten about us or left us for dead. Every comment, every email, every bit of support has kept us going and we can’t wait to get back to what we do best. Happy New Years, GET PROPER FUCKED!!!


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]