These Hearts is a rising Christian popcore (that’s pop and hardcore if you didn’t know) from Fargo, North Dakota. Over the last summer, they performed at numerous Christian music festivals getting great feedback from the fans. They have over 22,000 likes on Facebook and their video for Apology Rejected has over 30,000 views on Youtube alone. These Hearts consists of Isaiah Folk on drums, Tyler Rice on bass, Daryl Van Beek and Kyle Colby on guitars, and Ryan Saunders with the lead vocals.
I had a chance to speak with Ryan before their show Friday at The Garage in Burnsville. The band is on the start of a month long tour and they certainly have a lot of energy and excitement to get it kicked off.
The Daily Rotation: When/Where did you get your start?
Ryan Saunders: We all met up in college in Fargo North Dakota and we came from different parts of Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and decided to take a break from college and pursue music.
TDR: What inspires you?
RS: All the bands we grew up listening to. For me, being the lyricist, going through the everyday struggle with life and family and God
TDR: What bands inspired you?
RS: My personal favorite band is a Rufio, but as a band we like Taking Back Sunday, Chiodos, Underoath, bands like that.
TDR: How did you get your start?
RS: It’s hard to say because we have had a revolving rotation of members, but Me, Daryl (Guitar), and Isaiah (Drums) are the original members, I guess, but they joined my band when I had a couple members that we needed and we played our first show in Fargo and that’s where we started to get serious. We decided to take it up the next few levels
TDR: So you had chemistry with it?
TDR: Did you ever think that you would get signed to a label?
RS: It’s really hard to say. When you grow up, it’s what you dream of; you see all these bands getting signed. It’s always been a dream. I did not know I was going to be signed, but I always hoped.
TDR: Explain how you felt creating your first studio album “Forever Ended Yesterday”.
RS: We had done an EP previously but for our first full length, it was frustrating but exciting at the same time. At the end we were pretty excited about the final result.
TDR: Do you enjoy making songs in the studio or doing live shows?
RS: I would probably have to say playing live, because you have the crowd interaction and kids singing along.
TDR: A lot more energy?
RS: Yes, a lot of energy. It’s just a crazy good feeling.
TDR: Which song means the most to you on your album?
RS: The song with the most meaning has to be the song with the bible verse: Romans 15.
TDR: You guys recently released a music video on that, right?
RS: Yeah, we just released it.
TDR: Is there a method to your music? It seems very sporadic and sort of black and white in its delivery. One moment it is super poppy punk rock, then the next bar you go to hardcore screaming and breakdowns. Is this your ultimate intention, or along the road do you look to trim the edges and fuse the indifferences together?
RS: I’d say writing in general is just a process- from where we were when we were first writing songs to now is completely different. Believe it or not, the current record is getting smoothed out; we started writing our next record. We feel we are becoming much better songwriters. It’s just a progression.
TDR: Are you aware of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act)?
RS: I’ve heard the name but I never really knew what it meant.
TDR: Well, it’s an act to try and stop piracy on the Internet. Say someone posted a link of a song on Twitter or Facebook; it would be taken down due to copyright issues. Being artists, what are your thoughts on the matter?
RS: We live in a different generation now than 10 years ago because record sales used to be crazy. Almost every band will tell you that because online piracy, they just aren’t getting the numbers that they either used to or need to. So it would probably help out some bands. In all honesty, if you’re in a band and are just trying to get your music out there for the right reasons to the people who want to hear it. For our band, it’s not about the money; it’s about getting our music out there to the fans.
TDR: And the Internet has helped bands lately by getting their names out there by distributing their music online for free. I know Periphery, for example basically built their band from the Internet.
TDR: Finally, what’s next for These Hearts?
RS: Well, we are on tour for the next 30 days and when we get back, we will be writing a lot more. Just continue touring, playing shows, and writing our next record. And then our next record and we will see where it goes from there.
These Hearts will be on tour for the next month. Check the schedule below to see if they are coming near you!
1/20 Burnsville MN; The Garage
1/21 Milwaukee WI; The Rave
1/22 S.Barrington IL; PENNY ROAD PUB
1/23 Sauget IL; Pop’s
1/28 Nashville TN; Rocketown
1/29 Tupelo MS; Goodtime Charlie’s
1/31 Douglasville GA; The 7 Venue
2/1 WestColumbia SC; New Brookland Tavern
2/2 Raleigh NC; Volume 11
2/3 VirginiaBeach VA; Shaka’s *These Hearts Headlining
2/4 Whitehall PA; Planet Trog
2/6 Amityville NY; Broadway Bar
2/7 Poughkeepsie NY; The Loft
2/8 Palmyra ME; The Center
2/9 Providence RI; Firehouse Thirteen
2/10 East Wareham MA; 3065 Live
2/11 Franklin NH; Artemis Center
2/12 Albany NY; Bogie’s
2/13 Clifton NJ; Dingbatz
2/15 Akron OH; The Vortex Concert Club
2/16 Lebanon OH; The Venue 42
2/17 Wyandotte MI; The Active Room
2/18 TwinLakes MN; Building One
2/19 Kalkaska MI; Kaliseum
I had a chance to see These Hearts on their first stop at The Garage in Burnsville. Though TH was the main act, they played alongside with Jamie’s Elsewhere and The Suit. Though the venue was very small, holding only a couple hundred people, The Garage (a local youth center) is prime estate for up and coming bands to get their name out, being one of the well-known venues south of Minneapolis/St. Paul.
After quite a few local acts, the room filled more and more as time came close to These Hearts set. Then finally, the lights went down and the projector screen used for stage setup “privacy”, if you will, rises.
The crowd goes crazy and TH opens up with Quitting While You’re Behind. Leaving no room for stalls, being as they have a 30-minute set (maybe even less), they go right in to their biggest song Apology Rejected, which got a big ovation. They had a lot of energy being that it was the first stop on their tour, so they are fresh and excited to perform for their fans.
They brought a lot for their fans, playing their latest single Romans 15 and talking about keeping faith with the fans. It got a little awkward if you weren’t too deeply in to what they were saying. They played a couple more songs from their album and closed off with Denial Is Not Just A River In Egypt. The fans were cheering and singing along with the chorus. After they left, they started chanting for an encore or something like that. The crowd started chanting “It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time” and they came out and played their rendition of the viral song. I think. It was essentially just a big hardcore breakdown growling the lyrics of the song.
I think it’s tricky to rate a live performance. There are so many elements that can factor how a performance is delivered, whether it’s the size and prestige of the venue, set length, song selection, sound quality, and band performance (that one is kind of important).
These Hearts definitely sounds different from the studio. On their album Forever Ended Yesterday, Ryan‘s vocals sounded very thin and nasally. His live vocals sounded a lot better in respect to the rest of the band. His voice sounded full when he sang and that was something that lacked on the album. Of course, a lot of that can be factored by the mic he is using and the loudness of the sound system.
The big factor with most live shows is loudness. Loudness can make anything sound fucking awesome. It’s what makes a rock concert a rock concert. You want the kick drum to punch you in the gut every note. Now, I’m not saying TH sounded awesome by any means, but the loudness and distortion of the sound systems adds some needed grit to their performance that makes them sound okay.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of their performance. I didn’t like their music going in, but hearing it live wasn’t torturous. These Hearts brings a lot of energy and positive vibes with their contradictory music that easily gets transferred into a crowd willing to listen to their product. To me, this band still needs some work to be more listenable, at least on a studio album level. If you’re a fan of the band and you live near one of their upcoming shows, I would recommend you either check them out or seriously reconsider your taste in music.