Today’s Feature, November 25th-26th: Hurt

November 26, 2007 at 10:19 pm (Today's Feature)

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The best performances, the best shows, the best music I’ve ever heard were unsurpassed because of an overwhelming passion behind the sound. Passion brings life to a band, life to a composition, life to an audience. Many musicians fail due to their lack of infatuation with their sound. That’s not a problem found with Hurt, the band behind the albums “Vol. I” and “Vol. II.” After all, music literally saved the life of lead singer J. Loren, “I’m compelled to do it. I have no other functionality in this life.” Drummer Evan Johns will go as far to tell you, “our bank accounts may be empty, but we are the richest men alive.”

Just because Loren, Johns, Josh Ansley (bass) and Paul Spatola (guitar) have the drive to bring Hurt to stages around the world, doesn’t mean it was easy. For their latest record, “Vol. II,” the recording sessions were “exhaustive.” Johns says “through adversity we’ve done this and I’m really proud of it. When you can’t afford to eat and you work 18 hours a day for six months, I’d call that adversity.”

This second album ties in directly to their debut release “Vol. I.” Both records are “like a collection of short stories. They often intertwine and cross-reference each other between the albums.” Critics raved that Hurt’s debut was “gothic, confessional, soul-searching… Each song ebbs and flows on waves of flattened, heavy guitars, acoustic strums and symphonic samples, which carry whispered vocals, guttural screams and minor fifth harmonies to the forefront, then gently ease them back again.” The latest release however improves upon that, adding a variety of new sounds with instruments such as the banjo and dobro.

“I want to invoke feeling. Period. If listeners feel good, if it compels them to tears… if all you can think about is a song for five minutes at a time, I’m happy to be that distraction.” Loren’s words couldn’t make Hurt’s mission clearer. Keep an ear out for the new single “Ten Ton Brick,” catch their current tour with Seether, and jump into their XXQ’s.

Hurt – Josh Ansley

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Hey, how are you? Where are you guys right now?

Josh Ansley: Everything is good man. We are in Dallas. Coming off one heck of an adventure with our bus breaking down. We are on the road with a band called Cinder Road and we were lucky enough to jump on their bus and we just through it all together last night. One of those rock and roll moments.

PEV: You are in Dallas now, but which place has been your favorite to play so far?

JA: I hate to pick one, since there are so many places. Our hearts really go out to Indianapolis. Indianapolis is a place that has supported from the very beginning. Connecticut, Denver, Colorado Springs…it’s really wherever the crowds are giving something back. Those are places where you can really feel the excitement in the room.

PEV: Despite the recent bus breaking down, what is road life like for you guys?

JA: It’s a living hell (laughs)…a living hell. Like drugs… a living hell but you can’t get enough of it. It’s a love hate relationship. I miss my family, I miss my fiance, my little dachshund-Romeo. I miss my friends. It’s unbelievable how lonely it can be. But when you are home you wake up, and can’t wait to be back on the road. Myself I went to school for acting, so I am used to performing. I love making records but I love that interaction with people. Being on stage, that is what keeps me going.

PEV: How have your friends and family reacted to all your success?

JA: (laughs) My friends and family have always been really supportive of me, without them I couldn’t do this. It’s what keeps me alive doing this. When people can’t make this in the business; they can’t handle the crap that comes with it. They can’t handle living on their own, or being away from home. People think we roll up in this bus we are some rich rock stars but it’s not like that. I’m originally from New Jersey, but in LA, where a lot of my friends have moved, they don’t really see the full scope of it… and it’s so new. We don’t get much air play in LA, so when my friends see us there, it is only like 200 people. They don’t get to see us play in front of 20,000 people. But as far as people being weird to me, that hasn’t happened at all. It hasn’t got in the way of any friendships or like that.

PEV: How did Hurt first form as a band?

JA: Well, J had been playing with Hurt ever since he first started out. Then our manager Tom Lewis, started working with him and introduced him to Evan, our drummer who was in LA. They met and they started playing and they clicked right away. I had a couple of other bands and moved out to LA after acting school. We were all on the scene out there and they were looking for a bass player, so I took over that. Then they needed another guitar player, so I pulled in Paul, who I played with in high school. This is all before we got signed. We were all living in LA… (laughs) actually Paul still doesn’t have a place to live. He came out to LA and started doing some showcases. Ever since then it has been hell trying to keeping ourselves afloat. I mean any day this thing could go under due to the state of the industry. But that’s how it came together.

PEV: What was your first performance with Hurt like?

JA: (laughs) Our first official performance on the road, was in Indianapolis. It was like 40 days before the record even came out and I was like ‘nobody is even going to know who we are.’ But it was unbelievable. I had no idea what to expect and there was like 600 people going nuts there. We thought there would be like 20 people there. So, Indianapolis is a very special place for us.

PEV: Growing up, what kind of music were you into?

JA: I had a pretty eclectic background. I love classical music. It is quite honestly unparallel. It is dynamic. That is what I think our music is trying to entail. I couldn’t play only one kind of music. I love the heaviest of music I love the softest of music. The guys make fun of me because of what is on my iPod (laughs). But I have such an eclectic background, that classical music is the only thing that is dark, like dark as hell and heavy – so heavy to create emotion. But then again it can be the most angelic thing and that is the only style of music that we are trying to emulate. There was also some Pearl Jam, STP, rap… when it just sounds right, it is undeniable.

PEV: Who are you currently listening to right now?

JA: Cinder Road! Good ol’ 80’s style pop rock. Them and some old country when I’m on the road… makes me feel like a ramblin’ man.

PEV: Is there a certain up and coming band that you think we should all be listening out for? JA: There are so many. I say Cinder Road because they know how hard it is. A lot of people say they want to do this but don’t know how hard it is. They worked together as a cover band, saved their money, bought their own bus. They do everything themselves. They will not take ‘No’ for an answer. I really admire these guys.

PEV: What can people expect from Hurt Vol. II?

JA: I think that for me, I think it shows a band that has really grown and come together. There is much more dynamic. I think everyone shines in their own right but not selfishly. It shows a maturity, it really does. As a band we’ve really grown. Some people think it may not be as heavy as “Hurt Vol. I”. But one thing we want to get out there is that Hurt is not about anger, Hurt is not a heavy metal band. Hurt, as an emotion, can lead to so many things. It can lead to anger, but it can lead to anguish, it can lead to redemption. Pain is a part of life and moving on. This record shows another side; the softer, prettier things. It is a great companion piece to Vol. I.

PEV: when you sit down to write music, what kind of atmosphere do you surround yourself in?

JA: Well, it’s kind of tough now on tour and that is very difficult. You don’t really have the option you would like to. I like being in the studio because you have the focus. Your mind is constantly going and you tap into this focus and zone. We need to snap into that artistic mind and then we become that channel for great ideas.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the guys in Hurt?

JA: (laughs) We have this thing, that every time we find ourselves doing something ridiculous someone says, ‘I wonder what the guys in Hurt are doing right now’. I don’t know, we are trying to get an idea of who people think we are. We love to have a good time, love to meet people. We are just normal people, really.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you heard your songs on the radio?

JA: We were in St. Louis on our way to Indianapolis, that first show, and we are driving and it came on and we were like little kids, just jumping around and screaming. I have to remind myself that, I mean I’ve been burnt by other bands and heard other songs on the radio and that was the end of it, so I have to remind myself of that. But that feeling is great… it’s still great (laughs).

PEV: What one word, best describes Hurt?

JA: I think we did that with the name of the band. I really think we did.

PEV: So, what is next for Hurt?

JA: One day at a time you know. But we are going to finish up this tour. We have some great markets we are going to. Then there are a few other things, trying to hop onto some other tours. Take the holidays off. Then start the new year with a new single and keep touring as much as we can. Everyone is proud of this record and we worked really hard and the fact that it came out how it did; we just want to get it out there. We are going to be touring our asses off for as long as we can… or as long as we can afford to. That’s it man.Hurt

For more information on Hurt, check out www.HurtBand.com

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