Interview by Nicholas Senior
Something is clearly in the water, as North Carolina has produced some of the best metal bands of the past ten years (e.g. Hopesfall and Between the Buried and Me). A Hero A Fake is hoping to cement its status with its third release, The Future Again, which finds the band modernizing its metalcore sound by adding a healthy dose of melody and aggression. The band’s guitarists Patrick Jeffers and Eric Morgan were gracious enough to talk with our very own Nicholas Senior, sharing their opinions on their home state, the band’s musical direction, and the perfect tour bill.
Can you identify yourself for our readers?
Pat: I’m Patrick Jeffers and I play guitar for A Hero A Fake.
Eric: And I’m Eric Morgan who takes up the other guitar spot in AHAF.
How did the band come together?
Pat: Eric and Justin started the band in around 2004 while still finishing up high school. As things continued to progress they held things together through various, seemingly endless lineup changes. Myself and Matt Davis joined in mid 2006. Matt went his separate way to do other things not too long ago. Evan came along right after our Rage tour with Attila. The band basically started out as a fun thing to do and an after school hobby. Gradually it just kept growing and shows started getting bigger and better. During the college years we continued writing music and our ambition started to grow. We scrounged up some money and made an album to pitch to labels and got picked up by Victory. Ever since we have just been trying to make the most of the opportunity that we have, and enjoying making music for our fans.
Eric: Since I was little, I’ve always loved being a part of music and performing. No matter if it was at school or at home with my dad, I just was in love with the feeling it gave you. It started out with a series of small goals and it kept growing. In high school all I wanted to do was play in a band. So eventually I found a group of guys to play. Then all I wanted was to play a show. Then record an album, tour, sign with a label, bigger tours, etc etc. It just never stopped, I want to get better and better.
Your newest release, The Future Again, is set to come out July 17th. What was the recording like for that album?
Pat: The recording process for TFA has been a real change compared to what we were used to in the albums prior. It has actually been a huge change for the better, and worked out perfect for the direction that we were trying to go for on this record. We have always worked very comfortably with Jamie King, so we decided to continue tracking with him. Jamie has an incredible ear for solid takes and that really helps to bring a solid foundation to anything he records. For TFA we wanted to go with a far more refined and produced album. That is what we decided was going to be the best path for this new material. The new material is far more modern and current to some of the coming metal trends lately, so we wanted to make the most of that. After tracking everything we sent it off to Chango Studios to have things produced and sculpt some really good tones for everything. We couldn’t be happier with what Cameron was able to do and we all think it definitely took this record to a whole new level for us. After that we had the mastering and final touches done by Joey Sturgis. There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen for this album but we are all very pleased with how things turned out.
Is there any set story for the album? (If not, is there a particular song that has an importance or meaning you would like to discuss?)
Eric: Justin writes most of the lyrics and he pulls his inspiration from whatever he going through at that time. Some of its relationship stuff like on ‘Dead and Done’ and ‘Princess of the Sun’. We haven’t exactly hit the level of success we’ve been striving for and so there are songs discussing the music industry. For example ‘Wasted Miles’ was written during our Texas In July tour back in 2010 when we were going through a rough time as a band, right before our 11 month hiatus. We were all dealing with business and personal issues and you can hear Justin’s frustration as he sings “Wasted days and wasted miles, the saddest part is my wasted breath”. Coming out of that funk many months later and discovering how much we wanted to make music with each other gave us the idea for the album title The Future Again.
I did end up writing the lyrics for the ‘The Constant’. It was about one of my closest friends and it really means a lot to me when we play that song live. I sing along to that chorus as loud as I can live.
How do you feel about the finished album? Do you think it is an accurate statement of where the band is right now?
Pat: I really couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. We wanted to take a step in a new direction with this record and I think we succeeded in that. A lot of our fans are still unsure what to make of the album. Volatile and Let Oceans Lie were very similar yet still quirky in their own ways. We could have written another album and had it just be an extension of the same stuff, but we wanted to keep things interesting and change it up a bit. I know when I listen to a lot of my favorite bands I really don’t like to hear them write the same album over and over again. Most of the albums that I truly enjoy are ones where that band decided to truly make a leap in a new direction and it creates something “new” to listen to.
Eric: Exactly. We needed to write a different style album. We’re different people now. I wrote the songs on the last album when I was 17-20 years old and so much has happened to us since then – getting signed, graduating college, touring the country, growing up. So after those 5 short years, now at 25, I have a different outlook on what I want our music to be.
The album can be streamed on Victory’s Youtube page. How has the reception of the album been so far?
Pat: The reception has been really promising so far. With such a different album we were unsure how most of our listeners were going to take it. Like I stated earlier there are some that really wanted that same ole AHAF stuff. We tried to incorporate a bit of that character on TFA so we hope that that carries through to those fans. For the most part though we have gotten a lot of attention and encouragement so far. It seems that people are digging the new tunes and I know myself and the rest of the band are super excited for the release and cannot wait to get out on the road and bring it to every one’s home town.
Eric: The new music seems to really be resonating with a ton of new people. We knew that we might lose some fans of our older albums, just because it was such a change in direction – and we’ve definitely heard their feedback. But whats the most encouraging to me is that some of those angry outspoken fans have come back to us after letting the album set in and told us that after a few listens they are starting to really get into the new songs. That kind of AHAF quirkiness that we’re known for is still present in this album, it’s just incorporated a bit better so its not as apparent on the first listen.
Do you have any touring plans lined up for the summer and fall?
Pat: We do have some touring plans coming up in September, so keep an eye out for that announcement. We are waiting on a few things but it should be announced pretty soon with dates and all.
Eric: The September tour will be announced by the time this is published!
What is the best part of being from North Carolina?
Pat: It sure isn’t the scorching hot and humid summers, I can promise you that. The best part for me would have to be the location. Where we’re from is pretty centered on the east coast so we are never to far from anywhere in the east. We have mountains close and beaches close so it makes traveling for tour and vacations and what not very easy. We also have the best accents and good southern cookin’!
Eric: We have a lot of space down here. You can drive anywhere without too much traffic and there is so much land that isn’t developed yet. That’s one of the hardest things to get used too about touring the north east, the density of both people and infrastructure up there is the toughest thing to get used to.
Is there something in the water where every band that makes it out is a metal band?
Pat: I think there’s definitely a big music culture here, so we do have lots of musicians of all types. The metal bands in Charlotte have done pretty well, which I am not sure if that’s just a coincidence or what but we’ll take it. There are also lots of well-known non-metal musicians from NC that most people don’t know about. Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Randy Travis, Fred Durst, Ben Folds, James Taylor, Charlie Daniels, Clay Aiken, and so on. So NC definitely has its roots in music and there’s no denying it.
Eric: It is startling how certain places can be a nucleus for this style of music. So many bands that break out are either from Michigan or North Carolina. Back in the early 2000’s it was like that in New Jersey where so many of the Drive-Thru bands where blowing up.
What influenced you to go into music? What would you be doing if you weren’t in the band?
Pat: I started playing guitar when I was pretty young and have always enjoyed it, but having the opportunity to play around the country to people that love to hear us perform is a game changer. It’s something that really makes you love what you do sometimes and makes playing incredibly rewarding. If I weren’t in the band I would probably be following one of my other hobbies. I went to school for automotive stuff and really enjoy building cars, so I would most likely be doing something in that field.
Eric: I’m a huge technology and gadget nerd. I also double majored in college in Business and Physics so I’d most likely go to work for a tech company. I’d love to do product development in the mobile space.
If you could tour with any three bands (still around or broken-up), who would those be?
Pat: Pink Floyd, BTBAM, Periphery. Those are just a few that come to mind quick but there are tons of bands and musicians that I idolize and would LOVE to tour with.
Eric: Hopesfall, Misery Signals, Senses Fail. I think I could die after that.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
Pat: Just be sure to check out The Future Again if you haven’t already and pick it up when it comes out. Also keep an eye out for those tour dates and hopefully we will see some of you at a show soon!
Eric: I cannot confirm or deny that our band’s alter ego is “Evan & The Faggots”.