My American Heart
Things have come seemingly easy for My American Heart, most of whom were all of 16 or 17 when they signed to Kevin Lyman's Warcon Entertainment Label four years ago. This rock crew cut their teeth plaThings have come seemingly easy for My American Heart, most of whom were all of 16 or 17 when they signed to Kevin Lyman's Warcon Entertainment Label four years ago. This rock crew cut their teeth playing Lyman's Taste of Chaos tour and have since been on the bill of three Warped tours, including the current edition. And now, they have just scored their first Billboard chart in with a No. 28 Heatseekers entry for their sophomore album, "Hiding Inside the Horrible Weather." There has, however, been some bumps along the way.
"Our first real tour was [2005's] Taste of Chaos and we had only put an EP out. We weren't even ready to tour yet," frontman Larry Soliman, now 20, tells Billboard.com. "And we played acoustic. Not exactly our thing..."
Between dates, the band managed to make only a little time to craft its first album, "The Meaning in Makeup," which had a much more typical screamo/hard rock feel. "We had a month to write it. [It's] [retty raw stuff, we didn't have time to add sh*t," Soliman says). The San Diego-based five piece's modern rock mix of angular, dark guitar rhythms and Soliman's emotional sing-song yowl on "Horrible Weather" is significantly more accessible to new fans' ears, though it wasn't exactly what old fans were expecting.
"Kids were like 'You aren't hard anymore, you're not part of the scene anymore,'" Soliman explains. "We were like, 'what does that even mean?' I feel like we made something we were all definitely proud of.... So what if it's good for a broader audience? My mom likes the CD and my mom hated our music before. And my mom is 49. It's been interesting to see that. We'll even hear that same story on tour. 'Hey man, I love your album, and my mom likes it too!"
Having gained more experience on the road and more time at home to write, the band's musicianship has also grown significantly and even resulted in too much new material. Whittling their work down to songs that fit was one of the new challenges of making the album. "We'd sit in a room for 12 hours and go over every single melody we could possible muster for a piece of music. It was a situation where I had to take charge of what I wanted, with everyone counting on me to pick a path and roll with it. Which is very intimidating," Soliman says.
Fine-tuning their craft on stage has also been hard work for My American Heart. The group, which is rounded out by guitarist Jesse Barrera, bassist Dustin Hook, drummer Steven Oira and guitarist Matthew VanGasbeck, really had to earn their keep on tour, particularly on Warped -- despite the Kevin Lyman connection. "Kevin is an original punk/ska kid," Soliman says. "And the way he does his job has stayed the same. People around him have to work hard and he never gives hand-outs, and I appreciate that. We couldn't play the big stage at Warped, we had to put in our time and build a crowd and fanbase. He wanted us to have our fans locked in. He wanted us to earn it."
And earned it they have. My American Heart will play the main stage for the first time ever during the Warped stint this summer, which kicked off last week.