From Solid States Records, the label that has launched unto the music world such notable acts as Underoath, Norma Jean, and August Burns Red, breaks out a brand new collective known by the moniker of My Heart To Fear. The PA-based collective has been going the DIY route up until recently, garnering a good deal of fans in the process. Their debut for the label is Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity, an EP featuring 5 thought provoking songs that are staggering in scope. Judging by the impassioned compositions found within just a few tracks, it will be exciting to see what My Heart To Fear unleash with a full-length recording in the New Year. In this interview with frontman Trevor Pool, we discuss their signing with Solid State, the meaning behind a few of their songs, how they feel about non-Christian kids who enjoy their music – and why they are known within their label as “the toilet band.” Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in My Heart To Fear and how long the band has been together.
My name is Trevor Pool and I am the lead vocalist in MHTF. We have been a band for 7 years.
Where is My Heart To Fear based out of and what is the music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
MHTF is based out of Williamsport PA, and our scene is relatively small, but supportive nonetheless! A few of our locals recently quit, but we still have great bands like Greylines, Slave to the kill, The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Animal Logic, & Good Luck Varsity.
How did you wind up signing to Solid State Records?
It’s a funny story actually; 7 years ago, we sent our very first ep and video to them as a band called “Tearbook”. We shot the video on top of a local hotel. 4 years later, we decided we thought it was a good time to update Solid State on how we were doing…but we figured they wouldn’t listen to just another average looking press kit, so we thought of ways to get their attention. We wanted to separate ourselves from the hundreds of press kits they get every week, and really grab their attention. For about 20 minutes we debated on how we were going to “grab their attention.” Sending them candy? No… How about a shoe, and we will put the ep in it, and write on the shoe, “trying to get our foot in the door”? meh, not so much. Then it hit me, I yelled out to everyone, a toilet! We all laughed, then our manager started saying that it was a terrible idea, but stopped in mid sentence and said “Actually that could work.” We bought a full blown porcelain toilet, tank and all. We put our ep in the bowl, signed the tank, and wrote on the seat, “please listen to our music, it’s not crappy. “ It cost close to $300.00 to ship the toilet from Pa to Wa, but was money well spent. They didn’t sign us right away but about two years later listened to our full length “Into the Maelstrom” as soon as they realized we were “The Toilet band.” Our A&R rep Micah, played Maelstrom for Brandon the owner of Tooth and Nail / Solid State, but didn’t tell him who the band was. Brandon loved it and asked Micah who the band was. Micah replied “The toilet band” Brandon said, “wow what happened?” to which Micah replied, “They got good!” Then we met Micah, Brandon, and other Solid State folks at SXSW in March of 2012, and showcased for them, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. They are like family to us, and we feel right at home with Solid State, and are humbled to be a part of a roster with such legendary bands.
Is there any story or concept behind the EP title Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity?
The title of the EP refers to how it feels to be an artist. You’ll be creating all these ideas that you think are super unique and innovative but then someone comes along and tells you in detail why it’s a terrible idea. It makes you really question your own thought processes and whether you make good song ideas or not.
What inspired the lyrics for Blood Money?
As for Blood Money, It’s a REALLY long story, but I’ll try to keep it shorter. We were staying at this ENORMOUS church in Savannah Georgia. There were 4 buildings, each with 3 floors and an elevator. The foyer had stone pillars and the floors were all marble, LED exit signs, best chandeliers money can buy, 5 ginormous plasma flat screen televisions to show the lyrics of the songs being played etc. This church cost millions of dollars and could have been built for a fraction of that cost if they cut back on all the fancy unnecessary things, anyway, you get it. With a church of this magnitude, you might think that the sanctuary seated 10,000 people, but no, it had a max capacity of 800, which made me wonder. If this church spent a tenth of its money they spent on fancy decorations and put it towards a program like compassion international, it could literally save an entire 3rd world town from starvation and provide them with clean water. Hence the first line, “Why do we paint the walls of our churches with the tears of the starving children, your genocide establishment.”
Life Under The Stairs seems like a deeply personal song. What inspired the lyrics for that one?
It definitely is a very personal song. We were on tour in summer 2011 and I was in a relationship that wasn’t really working out, so I wrote about how badly I want to fall in love before I die, but not if it means sacrificing my dream of being in the band with my best friends.
Who is Dear Mr White?
Well, we wrote that song back in 2010 when this mystery guy was calling my house and continuously harassing my family and giving us death threats for 7 months straight, just because we are a Christian-based band. So I wrote my response to this guy via the lyrics to “Dear Mr. White”
Who produced the EP and what was it like working with them?
Well the EP is 5 songs of our indie release entitled “Into the Maelstrom” and we recorded that with Dave Cutrone at Yukonotron studios. Dave is a great friend of ours and was extremely easy and efficient to work with. He recorded all 10 of the songs in only a week and a half. Once we got signed, we had the EP re-mixed and mastered by Jason Suecof at Audio Hammer Studios and he was great to work with! We didn’t actually go to his studio, but everything with him went really well.
If you could open for any band either current or who has ever existed, which band would that be and why?
Each band member would most likely have a different list, but I would do just about anything in the world to share the stage with Brand New. Jesse Lacey not only provided my teenage-hood with the best music to ever exist, but changed my view on how to write. Other artists would be Eminem, Frank Sinatra, and The Classic Crime.
What could one expect from a live My Heart To Fear show?
One could expect from a MHTF show to feel as if they are a part of a family. To be respected and listened to and loved. To have a ton of fun and escape from the pains of every day life to enjoy some passionate music.
When could we expect My Heart To Fear to play some West Coast dates?
We are working out tours for early next year that will hopefully get us out there.
Any strange or scary happenings while out on the road or at a show?
Honestly, we really haven’t had too many scary things happen aside from quite a few engine troubles. But with that being said, we’ve seen so much over the last 7 years, that things that we see now, might have completely freaked us out 7 years ago. For example, in Florida on a 3 month tour we were on last year, we were in a sketch area, & watched a drug deal go down, crack, guns, the whole 9 yards, we left pretty fast.
How do you feel about non Christians who really enjoy your music but do not agree with or understand the message?
It’s difficult to really know where to start with this answer. First off I will say I always feel great when people that aren’t Christians love our music because they didn’t let the message they don’t believe in get in the way of the beauty in the music itself. The thing is, I just ask that everyone read all our lyrics. I write songs about life experiences, loneliness, depression, the connection between world religion and 3rd world poverty, apologetics, the recent death of my best friend, and sometimes a worship song or two. Heck, let’s go back to Life Under The Stairs, I wrote that about how I want to fall in love before I die. As for people who don’t understand, I’d say read the lyrics because I try to write very simply. Our music is already hard to understand, why make it more difficult with unnecessary metaphors and personifications? I’ll throw a few in the mix here and there, but I want people to read our songs and get more out of it than a clever rhyme or two.
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
Custard filled, apple crumb, maple frosted éclair with sprinkles, because it’s all of the best things about donuts put into one!
How close are you to writing and recording a full length for Solid State?
We’ve been working on the full length now for a couple months. We go into the studio in January and hopefully will release before summer, but we will keep you posted.
What advice would you give a young band looking for a record deal?
Honestly, it sucks to be so cliché, but it really is true. NEVER give up. If you want to get signed you need 100% dedication. You have to be willing to put the band before ANYTHING. I’ll put this into points:
1. Your band must be a brotherhood. Hang out outside of practices and shows, keep up with each other as best friends, be there for each other.
2. Always practice. If you have downtime, do stuff for the band. You can never put too much effort into the band.
3. The band/brotherhood comes before EVERYTHING. If a girlfriend says “it’s me or the band” send her walking. No college either, it puts you into debt that you have to pay off, which could kill the band as well.
4. Don’t expect any part of the band to be easy, it will teach you to appreciate the easy moments and gifts that much more.
5. Never forget your fans. They are one of the biggest reasons you exist.
Any final words of wisdom?
Keep the families of all the victims of the Connecticut shootings in your thoughts and prayers. It was really hard to do this interview while watching that on TV. Hold your loved ones a little longer, be loving and respectful to those that don’t love or respect you back, and do one to others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t judge someone based on their beliefs; you never know who can come along and change your life.
If we are all giving each other 100% effort to treat each other with love and respect, then we are all loved and respected; but don’t love and respect so that you get it back. Show love and respect because it’s the right thing to do.
My Heart To Fear is Trevor Pool on lead vocals, Dale Upright on lead guitar, Jay Graham on rhythm guitar, Taylor Pool on bass and synths, and Luke Brady on drums.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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