[Q&A] Half Hearted Breaks into Mainstream Rock with Debut Self-Titled Album

Photo Credit: Dominique Amelia (@dominiqueaphoto_)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // April 13, 2020

Straight out of Hartford, Connecticut is a rock band with DIY roots that run deeper than you could ever imagine. Composed of Sean Dalke, Jason Grandell, Parker Fortune, and Nicolas Viglione, Half Hearted has only been together for a few years, but they’ve already grown so much as individuals and musicians. As a matter of fact, Half Hearted’s debut self-titled album proves how ready these talented fellas are to emerge into the world of mainstream rock. 

On their debut self-titled album, Half Hearted shared,

“We spent the first eight months of 2019 sitting in a tiny room writing/recording these songs. We produced the album ourselves, with no outside help whatsoever, and that resulted in 12 very personal tracks that we are unbelievably proud of. This album is for people who are heartbroken and on the shit end of a relationship. It could be a relationship with another person, an idea, or even a personal goal that you haven’t had much luck completing. It’s for the people who keep coming up short, but never quit.”

To celebrate the release of their new music, we recently chatted with Half Hearted about perseverance, self-producing, and of course, their debut self-titled album.

HH: How did you all meet and form Half Hearted?

HH: We were all in various local bands for years, and we all came together through very weird and random circumstances. Sean and Nick knew each other since high school, but Jay was introduced to everyone by an old member one week before we went to record our first song ever. Then, Parker joined because we were shooting our first ever music video and the drummer we thought was down to play in the band decided to pass… the night before the shoot. So we messaged Parker and he learned the song overnight as best as he could. And then we ended up keeping him because he rules.

HH: Your electric sound is absolutely out of this world! Which artists/bands inspire your unique rock sound?

HH: We all listen to such a variety of music and it all shows up here and there. You’ll catch us jamming Dua Lipa or The 1975 one day, and then Silverstein, Code Orange, or Counterparts the next day. Sean and Nick used to play in pop punk bands when they were super young, while Parker and Jay have been into the heavy stuff for a very long time.

HH: Half Hearted is the perfect album for people who are experiencing heartbreak because it serves as a reminder that life goes on. If you had to summarize the overall message of the record in one sentence, what would you say?

HH: Every song is a little different, but we’ve been saying that the album is for people who “get put in difficult situations, but never quit.” It could be getting over a relationship, or not having your life go the way you want it to, or really anything.

HH: You guys are known for insane guitar riffs and infectious rock melodies. Can you describe your creative process?

HH: It has changed a lot over the years, but with this album, we finally figured out what works best for us. We write pretty much the entire song’s vocals first. There might be some synth, basic drums, and production stuff underneath too. Then we write guitars/bass and completely finalize the instrumental. Then, Parker comes in and tracks all the drum parts and makes even more changes.

HH: What was it like to produce the entire album yourselves? 

HH: It was very difficult at first, but once we got the hang of it, we began to love it! When we started recording the album, we didn’t know how it was going to turn out. We changed the mix/master almost every single week from January to August until we were super happy with it. We also bounced every song probably 30 times and worked on every little detail until we couldn’t hear anything that we didn’t like. Since we finished this album, we’ve improved a lot more too, so album #2 is going to turn out even better!

HH: If you could have anyone in the music industry as a mentor, who would you pick?

HH: John Feldmann is a legend, as well as Johnny Minardi. Being able to get advice from either of those guys would be crazy. On the production side, we really look up to Erik Ron and Kris Crummett.

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

HH: The Aces – “Lovin’ Is Bible”
Awaken I Am – “By Your Side”
Foster The People – “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy” (not a “rising artist,” BUT that song is super underrated)

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