Welcome to SIFF and the Battle of the Bands. It's great to have you here. Aaron: Thank you for having us! Ben: Yeah, it's great to be here as well! Tanner: On with the show! Ace: Sure... oh, hey, where's the beer?
The first thing that comes to mind when I see you guys is 80's hair metal. Is that what you guys are going for? Are you trying to bring it back? Aaron: Well, we're all pretty big fans of 80's rock and metal music, that's true! I wouldn't say we're trying to bring it back, though. Sure, that would be definitely awesome, but it's also true that you can't get stuck in the past. What we're trying to do is to bring back the attitude and the sound that represents us the best, combined with our own personal taste. Ben: ...And make up. Don't forget the make up. Aaron: Yeah, there's usually lots of make up involved, too. [Laughs]
Do you think 80's rock has something that other music doesn't? Aaron: It was crazy. In a good way, I mean. You would have these guys dressed up as if they just ran away from a zoo, who could blow you away with strong riffs and powerful lyrics. They were raw, out of the norm, not afraid of being shocking or against their society. Sure, a lot of today's bands do the same, but... y'know, it's more about the image, now. You would have some real crazy asses in a band, back then: they did what they did because it was what they were, not what some producer wanted them to be. There's a huge difference, and you could feel it in the music as well. It all felt more real, if you know what I mean.
Who are your influences and do they reflect in your music? Aaron: Motley Crue, KISS and Aerosmith are the first that come to mind. They've been my favourite bands throughout my whole childhood, and I'll admit being influenced by them, especially at the beginning of our career. Tanner: I was more into classic punk, hard rock and heavy metal, at first, then Aaron Introduced me to glam stuff. I still look at bass players like John Entwistle and Geezer Butler as my biggest idols, but I'm also very open minded about more recent metal music. Aaron: You mean shitty metal music. Tanner: It's not shitty, and you know that. You even have some of those so called "shitty" albums at home and... Aaron: [Covers his ears and sings] Lalala, not listening! Ben: Don't mind them. They do this everytime. I don't have much to add, anyway. I l ike pretty much everything they just mentioned. Ace: Same here, basically. Well, I had some classical training as well, but that was with piano. I guess you could hear some of it in our ballads! Wouldn't say that I nfluenced much my drum playing, though.
Where did the name Wicked Hearts come from? Aaron: There's a W.A.S.P. song named "My Wicked Heart" and we loved how that title sounded. Simple as that. Ben: Wait, I thought it also had something to do with us being quite the heartbreakers...? Aaron: [Laughs] Well, yeah, there was that too. We used to be quite the reckless guys, especially when it came to relationships, and we thought that name would describe us pretty well.
Is there one primary song writer or does everyone have input? Aaron: I write all the lyrics and most of the music. Sometimes the other guys help me to come up with new ideas... Ben: ...Then he and Tanner would start bitching about how their respective ideas suck and it all ends in a big fight! It's fun to see, really! Lots of yelling and throwing beer bottles and... Tanner: ...Thanks for clarifying, Ben. I'm sure that was absolutely necessary for the interview. Ace: You can't deny that it's one of the most entertaining parts of our songwriting process, though. Aaron: Errr... yes. On with the questions, shall we?
I understand that Aaron and Ben started the band. What made you want to put together a band? How did the two of you meet and how did you meet the other members? Aaron: It was a very lucky coincidence! I was moving and in need of a new roommate, so I put up an announcement. Ben was basically the only one who answered [laughs]. We met each other, talked for a while, and then it turned out that he was a musician too. I had worked as a session musician for Crossfire up until that point and was in search for someone to start a more personal project with. You see, Crossfire is a very awesome band, but they already have their own style and songwriting... and as a session musician, I didn't really have much to do on that side. I had the live experience, but I wanted to try something on my own. Ben: I couldn't believe it when I found out! See, I grew up in this place in the middle of nowhere and I didn't really know anyone to play with. Most people would give me that weird look when I told 'em I was into rock music. I had just moved to New York and Aaron was the first person I met. Before that, it was just me and [my guitar, Ed.] Wendy! So I was lucky, really. It's not everyday that you meet someone with that much experience and stories to tell on live music. We ended up talking until late night, and knew we had to be together, one day. Aaron: That way, you make it sound as we're a couple. Ben: Aren't we, darlin'? [Laughs] Aaron: Yes, but it was supposed to be a secret! [Laughs as well] ...Ok, my actual husband is going to kill me after this one. [Coughs] Anyway, we set up another announcement a few months later to search for additional members. Tanner: ...I found it and brought Ace with me. We were both in search of band members and that announcement just seemed to fit us perfectly. Ace: Yeah, if only we knew... [Laughs]
You guys have had some ups and downs in your career. I understand that you are basically trying to make another go of it and get the band back together so to speak. How is that going? Aaron: It's going... better than expected, I'll have to admit. When I met Ben a few months ago, he basically begged me to join the band once again. Let's just say... it took a lot of time, before he finally convinced me. But right now, I think that's one of the best decisions I could take, really. Yeah, well, it's not always easy to get along and everything, we still have very different personalities and points of view, but... y'know, it's kinda like family, isn't it? Even though you don't always agree with your pals, you still love them and know you couldn't do without them. Tanner: Woah, wait, did he just say something nice about us? Ben: I told you! He still loves us! Isn't he cute? Aaron: ...I'm hating you both, right now.
That what brings you to SIFF and the Battle of the Bands or is it something else? Aaron: Well, yes. Things were going pretty well, after all, and we wanted to get back on business. Playing, promoting ourselves, meeting new people again... what could be better than joining a festival, then? We always loved festivals, and this is no exception! So many talented guys and nice people to meet!
What was that time like when Aaron wasn't in the band? How did the band change during that time and can you still see shadows of those changes? [There's a long, awkward silence, after the question. Aaron looks away, the others seem uncertain on whether to answer or not. Then, the bassist takes word] Tanner: Well... filling Aaron's place after he left wasn't an easy task... [there's a short interruption from Aaron, at this point. The only words that can be clearly heard are "abandoned" and "highway", but when asked to clarify, he refuses. Tanner continues] ...I mean, we tried to do what we thought was the best for the band. We changed our sound and tried to explore new directions, but we found out that it wasn't really what we wanted. So we're trying to go back on track. Sure, we're not the same we were two years ago, so some changes are still to be noticed. That's how life goes. However, we will try to make it all more balanced than it used to be before, rather than forcing ourselves into doing something that goes completely out of our traditional style.
What plans do you have for the band now that everyone is back together? Any CD in the future? What about touring? Aaron: We have a new album coming out in March. We're going to bring back the old sound and style with this, and if you ask me, that's gonna be pretty awesome! We also have an US tour all set for this summer, and we're planning to do some European dates as well. It's gonna be a pretty busy year!
Now for some random questions sent in from our fans. Do you have a favorite brand of hair spray? What about make up? Ace: I think this one's for you, Aaron. Aaron: Hard Head hairspray has to be my favourite, at least when it comes to shows. Very resistant, and perfect for big hair! As for make up... well, I have lots of favourites and I really love to experiment with different stuff. Talking of big brands, MAC has to be my favourite. But there are also many cheaper and pretty much unknown brands with some very useful products. God, I could talk about this for hours, somebody stop me! [Laughs] Ben: [Intervenes] Yeah, Aaron is basically our fashion counselor. Which is good, since otherwise we would probably end up looking like sad pandas with very bad hair!
Cats or dogs? Aaron: Ha, that is tough! My husband has a cat, but I've always had a soft spot for dogs! Anyway, I'd say I love both! Ben: Dog lover, here! Ace: Dogs for me too. Tanner: Cats. They will rule the world, one day. These fools just don't realize it yet.
How would you react if you found fan fiction about your band on the internet? Tanner: Probably hide somewhere underground and die in shame. Ace: Oh, c'mon! Wouldn't you like to read some smutty porn about me and you? [Laughs] Tanner: I thought Aaron and Ben would fit that kind of stories best, actually. Ben: We do! They really wrote a fanfiction about us, once! Aaron: Don't. Remind. Me. That.
Ben: Why? That drunken flirting part of yours was pretty accurate! Ace: Wait, now I want to read it! Tanner: As if you've never seen him doing that in real life. Aaron: ...You're all a bunch of unfunny bastards, y'know that?
This one isn't really from a random fan, it's from me because...well, because I just need an answer. What are three differences between N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys? Ben: Who?! Ace: Are there any differences?! Aaron: Well, Backstreet Boys had Nick Carter, and he was cute. He also has a brother with my name, right? [Laughs] Never found any of the 'N Sync guys particularly sexy, but they had nicer tracks. And I liked their clothing style more. Do they count as differences? Tanner: Now, now... who's the one who listens to shitty music?
Rising Stars - Battle of the Bands Edition - Spring 2014 Issue 14 - Wicked Hearts