An ear-grabbing EP and support from MTV set the stage for this Southern California band's success.

Say "hello" to Hellogoodbye. The Southern California band's self-titled EP entered Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart last week at No. 31.

Released in November 2004, the EP has sold 52,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's a rather impressive feat considering it was distributed as a free download through the Drive-Thru Records Web site for several months prior to its release and continues to be available on PureVolume.com.

Much of Hellogoodbye's newfound success can be attributed to MTV appearances and performing on several high-profile tours, including stints with the All-American Rejects and the Rocket Summer.

"Things had just been building and then it jumped up a level with some of the MTV stuff," says vocalist/guitarist Forrest Kline. "When I wrote [the songs on the EP] they were intended for maybe five people to hear. It was very casual, and I didn't think it would go quite so far."

Now that the ball is rolling, though, there seems to be no stopping Kline and his bandmates Jesse Kurvink (keyboards), Marcus Cole (bass) and Chris Profeta (drums).

The carefree synth-pop act recently won MTV2's "Dew Circuit Breakout" battle of the bands competition, which ensured Hellowgoodbye an opening slot on the network's $2Bill concert tour featuring Yellowcard.

And that's not all the exposure that MTV has in store for the band. Hellogoodbye will be a high priority for the network Jan. 17-20 during its Spankin' New Music Week with appearances on "Discover & Download" and "TRL."

The group, which often grabs live audiences' attention with goofy onstage antics, will then hit the road Feb. 1 with The Academy Is, Acceptance and Panic! At The Disco.

"We just try to have a good time," says Kline. "Sometimes it gets pretty stupid. We have a lot of props and costumes and stuff like that. I'm not really above using cheap ploys for entertainment."

In addition to everything that's already lined up, Hellogoodbye is working on its as-yet-untitled full-length album, which is scheduled for an April release on Drive-Thru.

"We have to be done before we leave for the tour," says Kline with a laugh. "We've been working on it a little bit, but, yeah, there's a crunch."

Going into the studio with producer Matt Mahaffey (Pink, Smash Mouth) will be a whole new experience for Kline, who recorded the EP in his house.

"There's a number of songs that were written at the same time as the songs that are on the EP, so they're stylistically similar," he says. "Then there's a lump of songs that were written at a more recent period. They're not like crazy different, but they each go off in pretty different directions. I try not to really worry about it. We try not to take ourselves too seriously."

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