ION : A two-part question : What is the best advice you ’ ve ever received as a band . And , as an independent artist , what insight would you provide to someone wanting to pursue a career as a musician ?
HGH : The best musical advice I ’ ve heard is : “ Listen harder than you play ”, and honestly , I can ’ t even pinpoint a source for that . But the most talented musicians are constantly listening to one another . This idea really comes from jazz , where everyone is essentially improvising at the same time . Our music isn ’ t necessarily improvised all the time , but it still applies . Once you start focusing too much on your own playing , it starts to fall apart . Sometimes Evan may be playing some syncopated rhythm on the hi-hat that fits perfectly underneath the melody , but if nobody ’ s listening , it doesn ’ t mean anything . But if you get , say , the bass on top of that , suddenly it becomes a groove . Then you can build on that . You have to be paying attention all the time . It also applies to just staying in tune . Playing in tune with only yourself , is essentially playing out of tune .
As far as advice for others , probably just to DO IT . It ’ s easy to talk about starting a band , or writing music , or practicing , but if you ever want to actually do it you have to be proactive about it . Chances are the first band you ’ re in won ’ t be the ONE , but that doesn ’ t matter . You start meeting people , playing together , maybe book a show here or there , then before you know it you ’ re in the middle of it all . A lot of people will continually look for the perfect band or the perfect musicians to play with , but if you spend all your time thinking about that then you ’ ll never get anywhere . Just start playing to have fun and see where it leads , then stay proactive about keeping things moving forward .
ION : From your point of view , what are the pitfalls to avoid and what have you done that has been most effective in positioning your band for success ?
HGH : Setting expectations too high . If you set your expectations too high , you ’ re bound to be disappointed . You kind of have to start at the bottom and work your way up . Then when you start getting recognized , you can start being a little pickier about things . But even then , you can ’ t expect too much … or else you ’ re just going to be frustrated and you stop thinking about the music . This is how a lot of bands fall apart . They don ’ t meet their expectations--maybe they think not enough people come out , whatever , but if you focus on the music , that other stuff will come . Besides , you never know who is listening . Your smallest show might turn out to be your biggest success .
ION : As the music industry wants to categorize artists and bands , define your sound for our readers . HGH : Hmmm … funky rock .
ION : If you had to envision your “ dream gig ”, where would Home Grown Head be appearing and with whom would you be sharing the stage ?
HGH : We ’ d each probably have a different answer for this one so we ’ ll answer individually …
Evan : King Crimson on the back of a trailer , touring the continental United States Tyler : Any dive bar w / Dr . Dog Will : Montreaux Jazz Festival playing with the Headhunters . Drew : Red Rocks Amphitheater w / Cake ( the band )
ION : What is your favorite “ fan ” moment ?
HGH : This isn ’ t about one fan in particular , but we played a show recently for a birthday party in Lexington and everyone was just super into it . The whole place was dancing through the entire show , cheering after every solo , huge applause and screaming after every song . That ’ s the kind of stuff that really lets us know we ’ re appreciated and we absolutely love it ! It ’ s always great to hear compliments after a show , but when you see the entire place gettin ’ down … nothing quite compares . We ’ re very thankful for those moments .
ION : A goal without a plan is like building a two-story house without stairs — share your goals with the readers of ION Indie Magazine and how you plan to get there .