AN INTERVIEW WITH HEYROCCO
Tagged as South Carolina’s first rock band, Heyrocco composed of Natedog, Taco, and Cool are living up to the title. They’ve managed to preserve the dizzying highs and crushing lows of high school on their debut album, Teenage Movie Soundtrack, to offering up a “slice of life” on their newest EP, Waiting On Cool. Pulling from 90’s grunge all the way to the Beatles influenced with trashy percussion and snappy riffs, their music represents a change in the Charleston scene. I had the opportunity to catch up with Tanner and Nate on their pre-show smoke break before their December 16 show at Woolfe Street Playhouse.
Why did you choose to end your latest EP with “Perfect World” and how did the attitude shift from your high school demo tapes?
NATE: Your problems change with your age and that song is kind of about losing a life and whatever you’re worried about in school or problems like who’s picking you up at the bus. Half of the time those songs where serious and I was just crying in my room.
You stated “album 1 - middle school, Waiting On Cool - high school, new album - drop out music.” Can you elaborate on the direction that you’re headed in?
TANNER: It’s just the progression of things. We are saying it’s more like at this point it’s high school with Teenage Movie Soundtrack and then you’ve got college and then you’ve dropped out of college and you don’t have any money and you’re down in the dumps and just decided to make a record although I never went to college so I never dropped out. I’m not a dropout because I didn’t go… you can’t fail if you don’t try.
Once you got out of Charleston, how did that change your music?
NATE: Well when we first went to London I was introduced to a lot of music over there just kind of small time bands that never really made it over here and I’m obsessed with that brit-pop kind of movement, more then just like you know the Oasis kind of bands but that affected us. I’ve seen people over there that are much better writers, people there are just great at writing stories I think that’s an issue in a lot of music.
What’s the difference between writing songs like “Slice of Life” and songs like “Elsewhere” and which type do you think people connect with the most?
NATE: It kind of just depends on where you are in life but “Slice Of Life” was really hard for me to finish…I’d find it hard to stick with it and sing each night and I never knew how I wanted the story to end. But “Elsewhere” was such an early song I didn’t really think about that stuff it was no rules, just having fun.
Where do you guys do most of your recording?
NATE: Teenage Movie Soundtrack was done in Nashville. Waiting On Cool was kind of all over the place, we did a lot with Wolfgang…. over at his place. Wherever I feel comfortable I’ll record it but as soon as I get headphones and a bunch of people start coming in I don’t like that. I think you can hear it in the music that we’re not as relaxed, it doesn’t feel as pure. It just kind of feels like we’re trying.
On Waiting On Cool you guys experiment with a bunch of genres and different sounds where Teenage Movie Soundtrack is much more one track, what made you want to branch out?
TANNER: Oh man I feel like it was a transitional time in our life to where you figure out what you really want to do, like you find the details in it that will really pull it off. Teenage Movie Soundtrack was really honing in on how to play our instruments. The next one was really focusing on some songs and then this is like what we’re going to say with our songs like musically and lyrically. It’s ever evolving at this point we’re honing in, we’re getting somewhere but I don’t know if it’s necessarily one sound or just a vibe.
NATE: Yeah I think Waiting On Cool to me was just like all the B-sides/all the songs that didn’t really make sense for the album so we put them out so people could still hear them but whether they go together or not I don’t know.
Do you do most of the writing? Where does that inspiration come from?
NATE: Beer, lots of beer but yeh I do pretty much all of the lyrical stuff. I don’t know I’ve started reading a lot lately, that kind of inspires me. There’s a lot of new words we don’t use, and they mean a lot.
Is it easier working the way you did in the beginning or is it easier with a label?
NATE: You have to have someone to make your music physical and I can’t pay for that. The fact that people ship us our albums is cool as hell. But the sacrifices suck sometimes… like the worst part is sending it to them because their either like ‘we love it’ or ‘nah we’re not putting this out’ and it’s like do you go with the music or do you go with the label?
Any pre-show rituals?
NATE: Oh they change all the time but we always ride in the van together wherever that is. That to me is always my ritual. If I ever had to go to a show without it, our van, it would just be weird.
photos + interview by SAMANTHA SULLIVAN