Thanks to label problems and a revolving cast of band mates over the past few years, California pop rock band Hellogoodbye had a rough time following up their 2006 debut full length Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! (Drive-Thru Records).
Jump ahead four years and frontman/founder Forrest Kline has managed to slam shut that revolving door with a stable line up. As for the label situation, well, they just started their own.
Kline and the band have just finished Would It Kill You, put out on their own Wasted Summer Records, and are now ready to share it with the world with plans to tour for most of 2011.
Kline spoke recently about the new record, the lineup changes and why they had to break off from their old label.
Innocent Words: So, four years between full-lengths – why so long?
Forrest Kline: Well, we put out a DVD, then toured relentlessly for about a year and a half. When it was time to settle back down and make a new record, Drive-Thru Records was in hot water, and we had to start the almost-two-year process of getting out from underneath the label. During that time and for about six months after, we sort of casually wrote, demoed, tracked, mixed and mastered the Would It Kill You record. I wish we could have started that process six months after our last record, but the world had different plans (laughs).
IW: With the lineup changes the band went through – were they all amicable?
Kline: Generally speaking, yeah. Everyone left for different reasons, but the primary reason in all cases was just tour wear. We toured so much, flipped a van, got sick, didn’t sleep, were cold and generally uncomfortable and unless you keep yourself focused on the positives of that life…it can be hard to handle. I’ve had the good fortune of being able to reassess all those things, and I have such an appreciation for being able to do what we do, and everyone in the band now, I’d say, has that mindset.
IW: During that time did you ever think about scrapping the band entirely?
Kline: As in quitting? Do you think I should? (Laughs.) Well sort of, I guess, but not really. I had this record in my mind for a while, and I knew I at least wanted to get it out to the world. I’m really proud to say that it represents me, so whatever happens here on out I’m not too bothered.
IW: You alluded to this earlier, but why did you guys leave Drive-Thru?
Kline: The label started to go under basically, fired their staff stopped putting out records. To be honest, I’m not sure how much I’m actually allowed to say, but basically we knew we wanted to have a say in our destiny and had to fight for that right.
IW: Why did you decide to put Would It Kill You out on your own label, rather than just go to someone else?
Kline: We were jealous of all the other bands doing that (laughs), and also, I knew we had a particular record on our hands and wouldn’t want to hear somebody else’s thoughts on it really. I sort of do hate talking about industry sort of stuff, but I think obviously things are changing, and a lot of label situations just don’t make sense. I think you have to be realistic about how you’re going to operate; you can’t go around throwing money at a million things and touring in a bus and thinking you’re gonna be U2, or if you’re U2 for a day, that it’ll last no matter what. We just wanna work for what we want. Also I’ve just always loved really intimate, handmade, close connection type of things.
Kline: We’re not thinking about it right now really… but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it. I have a studio now; I’d love to produce things I believe in, and if those things don’t have another means of being released, I think we would have fun doing that. So, it’s not out of the question.
IW: Do you think the band’s sound changed much since Zombies! Aliens!?
Kline: I guess it’s something people will have to judge for themselves; it was very natural to me. It was never much of a decision to change things up in any particular way. Objectively though, I’m sure the sound of the new record will surprise people, especially people who were maybe only familiar with stuff they heard on the radio or something.
IW: So, what’s next for the band?
Kline: A ton of touring! We’re going to be out and about most of 2011 I think. I’m excited to play now, with our new record out, and have people know the songs! It’s been such a long time coming.