HURT - United States
OverviewThe saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” which can neatly sum up the career thus far of the Los Angeles, CA-based quartet, Hurt. Having survived line-up shifts and a split with their former label, Capitol Records, the group – which is comprised of J. Loren (vocals), Paul Spatola (guitar), Rek Mohr (bass), and new member Louie Sciancalepore (drums) – has returned with their strongest and most musically varied release yet, ‘Goodbye to the Machine’ (which was produced by the band themselves, and will be distributed by A2M and released via Amusement Records).
To back up a bit, the Hurt story begins in 2000, when the group originally formed in Virginia, before ultimately relocating to the west coast. Along the way, the group has issued four albums, 2000’s self-titled debut, 2003’s ‘The Consumation,’ 2006’s ‘Vol. 1,’ and 2007’s ‘Vol. 2,’ and have toured alongside some of rock’s biggest names, including Staind, Three Days Grace, Alice in Chains, Seether, and Breaking Benjamin, among others. Hurt has also spawned several popular rock radio anthems, including “Rapture,” “Falls Apart,” and “Ten Ton Brick.” “So, we found ourselves off the road, off our label…and we decide to go into the studio and make a new record anyway,” explains J. “With not a lot of money, I locked myself in a rehearsal studio in Burbank, and started working on some tunes. Simultaneously, Paul, who was staying in Santa Clarita, was working on tunes, and we were trading off. It was an interesting way to make an album. We wrote the album in about a month, and then we cut the album in about a month. If that wasn’t enough, we tried to do it with one hand behind our back, and did it with an analog recording process…just to basically say that we did!”
But as J. previously mentioned, ‘Goodbye to the Machine’ was recorded in a different manner than their earlier releases. “We had this idea of doing a record ‘the old school method’,” adds Rek, “As opposed to the previous two records, that had been recorded to Protools – as almost all records are done nowadays. What we wanted to do was go back to our roots, and show a different side of the band – not so much hide behind layers and layers of production. We wanted to write songs that stood more on their own and to record them to analog tape, using analog gear. Some of the tunes on the record were written at four in the morning at our manager’s house on acoustic guitars. We ended up getting about 18 songs done and narrowed it down to the 14 we liked the best. J’s lyrics are very poignant and honest – he has such a unique way of saying things. I don’t know how he does it. As far as this record goes, the band is very musically diverse. No two songs sound a like on this record. It’s three very different contributors, so the songs are very diverse. Also, we use a lot of violin and piano, which is common in rock, but not as pronounced as we used it.”
With the new release comes quite a few tracks that will undoubtedly soon become Hurt classics, including such standouts as “Pills,” “Dreams Away,” and “Fighting Tao.” But it is the lead-off single from ‘Goodbye to the Machine’ this is already turning heads at radio stations coast to coast - the allencompassing epic, “Wars.” “’Wars’ is just such a heavy tune,” agrees Lou. “The way it walks and tells a story, and the words, are intense. I just love playing it. It comes across when you hear it. It’s sheer excitement.” J. also offered some insight behind the song. “I certainly do not want to preach to people, and I certainly do not have a particular political view. Some people could misunderstand some of the songs, but I assure people, that I’m not going to tell them what to think. For instance, the song ‘Wars,’ I’m already getting what I expected – people are used to artists doing the whole peacenik thing. But the fact is I worked as an aircraft consultant, and I made jets to blow the shit out of people. It’s not like I’m a complete pacifist,
I’m saying, it’s a damn shame that people have to do this. It’s a generalization of things.” Another track that will surely garner attention with rock fans is "World Ain't Right," which features Shaun Morgan of Seether. “Shaun did me a solid on this one – I had been hounding him ever since I went on tour with him,” admits J. “I heard him sing on the first night, and I went, ‘Hey man, where did you get that hick-country element?!’ Later on, we got to be pretty good friends - we’re fairly like-minded individuals, and he said, ‘I’ll do anything to help you out.’ So after some difficulties with scheduling, we managed to get him in the studio, and he just sang on one of the tunes.” All this was accomplished with a line-up switch, as longtime member Evan Johns exited the band. “It was a tricky situation…” explains Rek. “We do all miss the guy, but this is our career. We put a lot on the line to be able to do this for a living.” With Lou taking over drum duties, the new drummer cannot wait to make his live debut with Hurt. “I’m really looking forward to touring. The sounds are there, the vibes are there, and we enjoy playing together. I wouldn’t want to be playing with anybody else really – it’s just such a great feeling. The songs are great and everybody gets along.”
And it’s not just their newest member that is looking forward to the upcoming tour in support of ‘Goodbye to the Machine,’ agrees longtime guitarist Paul. “This tour is going to be a bit different than the other treks we’ve made. The way we recorded it is was more raw, so it’ll perhaps translate live better than some of the things we’ve done prior. We continue to stay true being a rock band, even though we have completely different influences. We don’t say, ‘Oh, we need to be this or we need to be that to fit into this category’.”
With the release of their strongest album yet, the future looks bright for Hurt beyond ‘Goodbye to the Machine,’ says Rek. “Musically speaking, since this record is so diverse, it leaves open a lot of different avenues that we can go down. The next record could be any number of styles, because it’s so open-ended on this record. If we want to evolve, grow, and morph into something slightly different, we have that option, and I don’t think it’s going to freak the fans out, because there are hints to it.”