Interview: Hidden In Plain View [February 2015]

By Ben Tipple

Before calling it a day in 2007, Hidden In Plain View built their way to becoming celebrated underdogs in the state side emotional hardcore movement of the mid naughties. Signing to the legendary Drive-Thru Records for the release of both of their full-length records – ‘Life In Dreaming’ and ‘Resolutions’ – Hidden In Plain View became stalwarts of the genre, sitting alongside The Early November, Allister and Halifax.

Having since reformed in 2013 for a one-off show, 2015 will see the outfit hit the road celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut full-length. Hidden In Plain View will also be releasing ‘Animal’ – their first EP since reforming – in April. We spoke to vocalist Joe Reo about the reunion, touring in the current scene and anniversary shows.

How has it been since reforming Hidden In Plain View?

I think it has been extremely exciting since reforming HIPV. For seven years I, unlike some of the other guys in HIPV, spent my time completely away from anything music oriented. It was refreshing then to back away and become a person who enjoys buying music again as a hobby and not a full time job. Now, we have this opportunity to have a second chance at a first impression. Getting creative and focusing on our music has been extremely positive and overwhelmingly self satisfying.

What led up to the decision to join back together?

I would say it happened quite naturally. The seed was planted when Joe Dent from Company Ink Records approached us about putting ‘Life in Dreaming’ out on vinyl. He licensed the record from Drive-Thru in order to release the album on vinyl. He reached out to me on Facebook to basically ask us for our blessing and get some inside information and stories from when we made the album to include in the pressing. We all jumped on board and submitted our stories. Well, I guess that got us to talking about “what if”, and I guess the rest happened on its own.

Had you missed the live environment? How does it feel to be back on stage again?

I was nervous for our reunion show in Philly back in September of 2013. Would I feel comfortable? Could I move around the stage and perform comfortably like I did when I was playing every single night? It was kind of nerve racking. Whenever you put yourself out there in front of people you tend to overthink things. I definitely did. It turned out I wasn’t super comfortable during that show, but I performed well and had a great time anyway. I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time and really just enjoying the feeling of playing our songs for a packed TLA. We all enjoyed it and I think that people noticed and embraced the idea that we were having fun and so they did too. It was enough to get us to play one more show in 2014 at Skate n Surf, and now about nine shows this year. It is great to be back on our own terms.

Have you bumped into old friends on your recent touring schedule? How has that been?

We haven’t really toured just yet. But we actually ran into a lot of old friends at Skate n Surf last year. Midtown played their reunion show at the festival so we had the opportunity to catch up with them. We played two really great tours with those guys. Once in the UK and once in the US with Matchbook Romance as well. I caught up with a bunch of other guys in bands for a bit and I saw a ton people I know just from shows in our home state, New Jersey. It’s awesome to catch up with guys you knew when you 18 years old. You realize how much time has gone by but you pick up right where you left off.

How do you perceive the scene now, coming back to it after some time away?

As far as punk and emo bands that still tour and play with one another, that’s a good question. I don’t think the scene has changed. I see bands doing different things to get their music heard and that always interests me. I congratulate them for doing whatever it takes to be remembered. It’s interesting, when we were active the scene grew enormously. Perhaps it shrunk back down to a less mainstream size. I have a hard time understanding it. I am not sure if the bands changed, the music scene changed, or the music industry changed. Whatever came first I don’t know but I don’t think we have any intention of trying to catch up to way things are now. If anything, we are trying to capture what we love to do and hope people see the authenticity of that.

You’re doing a 10 year anniversary tour. What is your opinion on the recent wave of anniversary tours? Why do you think they’ve come about at this time?

Yes we are, February 22 marks 10 years since our first LP ‘Life In Dreaming’ was released on Drive-Thru Records. It is by far our most cherished release, I think for us personally and our fans. It makes sense to celebrate it. As for my opinion on the wave of anniversary shows, I think it’s great. Bands as well as fans need a reason to get out and feel young again like the way the scene was back in 2005 or hell in 1995 (‘And Out Came The Wolves’ [Rancid] just turned 20 years old). If the fans are into it and the bands want to do it, I think its great. Shows are 90% about the fans, 10% about the band. I am sure it can come off cheesy, like bands are trying to cash in on something they did years ago. For us, its not like that. We have new music out there too, we don’t need to do this. It’s just another way to connect with the fans who came to see us years ago when we were a band.

You’re about to head back to the UK for some of the ‘Life In Dreaming’ dates. How are you gearing up to head back across the pond?

It has been challenging. We have done all of this ourselves and with the help of our US agent. All of the logistics are being handled by us, completely DIY. I’m very excited for it, the UK has always been incredible to us. Fans, Press, Venues, etc. I envision the whole tour to be very successful and definitely very fun. I’ve said this before, we took more than 7 years off from being a band. We’ve played two shows in the passed two years and haven’t been to the UK since 2006… If we can pack out 200-300 people a night, people who are pumped to see us. I’ll be beyond happy.

What can fans expect from the new material, led by ‘No Way Out’?

I think more intensity and conviction. I think when you hear these new tunes you will forget where you are for a moment. Hopefully, the sound brings you someplace different, maybe someplace you’ve been before, and hopefully you don’t realize it until the song ends.

Hidden In Plain View are heading to the UK in late March and early April to celebrate 10 years since ‘Life In Dreaming’. Catch them with William Beckett and Alvarez Kings on the following dates.

28 LONDON The Garage
29 BIRMINGHAM The Oobleck
31 GLASGOW King Tuts

01 MANCHESTER Sound Control
02 LEEDS The Key Club
04 BRISTOL Thekla

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