Music News & Reviews

This ‘emo’ band played Warped tour in Fresno in 2005. They’ve kept coming back

Ohio rock band Hawthorne Heights plays Dec. 3, 2018 at Fulton 55 in Fresno, CA.
Ohio rock band Hawthorne Heights plays Dec. 3, 2018 at Fulton 55 in Fresno, CA. Submitted

The first time Hawthorne Heights came through Fresno was 2005, on the now-defunct Van’s Warped tour.

It was a Fourth of July show and the festival set up in the parking lot at the Save Mart Center.

“I remember it being so hot, but having a blast,” says JT Woodruff, who sings for the Ohio emo band. “This was one of the first times I realized that not all of California is connected to the ocean.”

The band has come back to the area any chance they got. The group was at the Wakehouse in Reedley back in June and will be at Fulton 55 on Monday night in support of latest album “Bad Frequencies,” which was released in April of Pure Noise Records.

In advance of the show, Woodruff answered some questions via email.

Q: You guys get thrown in with the early 2000s emo scene. Do you consider yourselves an “emo” band?

A: After all these years it’s hard to get caught up in sub genres, because categorizing things doesn’t matter much. At heart, we are a rock band. We try to write music with melody, angst and lyrics that matter to us. When you are singing about real life events, and trying to move past tragedy, it can be emotional. So I’m happy to be considered emotional. If we can’t help each other work through these issues, what are we really doing?

Follow up: Are we in the midst of an emo revival?

I think to most of us, nothing ever really stopped. We’ve always been a full-on beating heart for the past 15 years, so there has been nothing to be revived. It’s nice to see people remember their youth fondly, with this music connected to those years. It proves that all these bands mean something and that what they have done has mattered. After all these miles put on our bodies and vans, it’s nice to hear these songs being sung back to us as loud as ever.

Tell us about the new album.

“Bad Frequencies” is about looking back on your youth and watching it fade away. As you grow older, that glimmer is always there to re-light the candle that has to keep burning in your heart. Otherwise, you start to feel old, which makes you old. We tried to write an album about the best times in our lives, which turned out to be some of our favorite summers. Time spent outside, with friends, cranking up music. Just simpler times.

What made you decide to sign to a new label, given that you’d been releasing stuff on your own and have had drama with labels in the past?

Pure Noise just felt like a good place to be. Lots of great bands on the label. Lots of friends we met over the years. We wanted to let someone else put out the music, so we could focus on writing and playing it. They are great to work with, and are always there when we need them. They are professional, and caring at the same time. We have no complaints, and are having a great time with them.

We are excited to be back in Fresno, playing these songs. Fans can expect all the classics, as well as a few songs from “Bad Frequencies.” We will be hanging out in the venue after the set, come say hello.

Hawthorne Heights

Details: 5 p.m. Monday. Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. $18-$22. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com

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