Hardcore music too many is a lifestyle, a code, a community. These are important for many because it gives them a sense of pride and an identity. But at times these ideals can lose track of the main purpose of making music in the first place: to have fun. Despite its stigma, not all hardcore must come with a label of straight edge, vegan, etc. Sometimes you just want to get together with some friends and create music with no agenda attached. Insert Earth to Heaven, a band located in Richmond, Virginia with the members all coming from various walks of life.
The band is due to release their debut EP on Edgewood Records (pre-order here), which is owned by one of their own members and whom also released the Mutually Assured Destruction EP I reviewed recently. The album is out now on all digital outlets.
I was able to sit down with their vocalist, Vinnie, who was able to shed some light on the album, their sound and some songs that inspired him. He wanted to make very clear that they didn’t want to be compared to other bands or a specific sound. They wanted to release an album that reminded them of why they started going to shows in the first place: more of a feeling than a sound. Sometimes bands take things too seriously and it can feel more like a job than having fun with your friends. That’s what it is all about: making music, traveling to different cities, playing live music, making friends and having a good time. The hidden bonus track at the end of the album is a cover of Murphy’s Law‘s “Quest for Herb” and really shows how the band “just wants to have fun!”
Vinnie elaborated that it’s inevitable for people to want to compare them to other bands, so he said to look at those from the Richmond area towards the early 2000s, especially those on Reaper Records. The music is fast and full of riffs and draws comparisons to bands such as Terror and Backtrack. The album was mixed by Sam Deyerle and mastered by Terror’s Nick Jett.
As previously mentioned, Vinnie was kind enough to give me some songs that influenced him as a vocalist, his delivery and his subject matter. All of these are hip-hop tracks, but many bands in the hardcore community definitely feel there is some crossover between the two worlds and can especially be seen in bands like Cold World. I know Heavy Blog has been incorporating a lot more hip-hop artists on the site and especially ones like Denzel Curry, who have been pushing the boundaries of the genre.
Denzel Curry – “YOO”
This reference is actually a skit on the album where Denzel calls someone and the person on the other end only responds with one word: “YOO”. This skit gave me the confidence to repeat lines, not just in the hook or the chorus but tastefully and to try and keep it catchy and creative at the same time.
Redman – “Smoke Buddah”
Redman is one of my favorite rappers of all time. He references two things frequently in the song: “Brick City” and weed. He is from Newark, NJ which is where Brick City comes from and I grew up in a town called Brick, so I always think he is shouting my hometown. This song also gave me the confidence to write about weed despite being in a hardcore band.
Earthgang – “Top Down”
This is a group that has been getting popular out of Atlanta and they have parts in their songs where they trade bars on and off, almost finishing songs for one another. Check out our song “The Feeling” and see if you can find where we were influenced by it.
Mac Miller – “Outside”
I chose this song because it opened my eyes and gave me the confidence I needed to write lyrics about just general happenings in my life, without losing people’s interest or making it way too simple or boring.
Lil Wayne – “Let the Beat Build”
Now this song might be in my top 3 songs of all time. But the part I love the most are the female backup vocals singing along as part of the beat. This really showed me that lyrics don’t always have to be actual words to work. In fact, sometimes all you need are some noises and maybe even a scream like on our track, “Straight to Hell”. Sure, I could have used “Vocal Test” by Integrity for a reference to make it easier to understand where I am coming from. In the end I am here to have fun and show people where my head is at when I am trying to come up with ideas for songs.