Tagged as South Carolina’s first rock band, Heyrocco composed of Natedog, Taco, and Cool are living up to the title. They’ve managed to preserve the dizzying highs and crushing lows of high school on their debut album, Teenage Movie Soundtrack, to offering up a “slice of life” on their newest EP, Waiting On Cool. Pulling from 90’s grunge all the way to the Beatles influenced with trashy percussion and snappy riffs, their music represents a change in the Charleston scene. I had the opportunity to catch up with Tanner and Nate on their pre-show smoke break before their December 16 show at Woolfe Street Playhouse.
Why did you choose to end your latest EP with “Perfect World” and how did the attitude shift from your highschool demo tapes?
Nate: I guess your problems change with your age and that song is kind of about losing a life and whatever you’re worried about in school or problems like who’s picking you up at the bus. Half of the time those songs where serious and I was just crying in my room.
You stated “album 1 – middleschool, Waiting On Cool – high school, new album – drop out music.” Can you elaborate on the direction that you’re headed in?”
Tanner: It’s just the progression of things. were saying it’s more like, it’s more like at this point it’s like high school with Teenage Movie Soundtrack and then you’ve got college and then you’ve dropped out of college and you don’t have any money and you’re down in the dumps and just decided to make a record although I never went to college so I never dropped out. I’m not a dropout because I didn’t go… you can’t fail if you don’t try
Once you got out of here (Charleston), how did that change your music?
Nate: Um well when we first went to London I was introduced to a lot of music over there just kind of small time bands that never really made it over here and I’m obsessed with that kind of like brit-pop kind of movement, more then just like you know the Oasis kind of bands but uh I guess that affected us. I’ve seen people over there are much better writers you know even down to like Charleston music and stuff people there are just great at writing stories I think that’s an issue in a lot of music
What’s the difference between writing songs like “Slice of Life” and songs like “Elsewhere” and which type do you think people connect with the most?
Nate: Um I don’t know I guess it kind of just depends on where you are in life but uh “Slice Of LIfe” was really hard for me to finish because it you know it was one of our songs for like a year but when it comes time to like record it and you know whatever and I’d find it hard to stick with it and sing each night and I never knew how I wanted the story to end. But “Elsewhere
” was such an early song I didn’t really think about that stuff it was like no rules like having fun.
Where do you guys do most of your recording
Nate: Yeah that’s where we’re doing this new album but the other stuff was like um Teenage Movie Soundtrack was done in Nashville so. Waiting On Cool was kind of all over the place, we did a lot with Wolfgang…. over at his place. Wherever I feel comfortable I’ll record it but as soon as I get like headphones and like a bunch of people start coming in I don’t like that. I think you can hear it in the music that we’re not as relaxed, it doesn’t feel as pure. It just kind of feels like we’re trying
On Waiting On Cool you guys experiment with a bunch of genres and different sounds where Teenage Movie Soundtrack is much more one track, what made you want to branch out?”
Tanner: Oh man I feel like it was a transitional time in our life to where you
figure out what you really want to do like you find the details in it that will really pull it off. Like Teenage Movie Soundtrack was really honing in on how to play our instruments. The next one was really focusing on some songs and then this is like what we’re going to say with our songs like musically and lyrically. Its ever evolving but I mean I don’t know at this point we’re honing in, we’re getting somewhere but I don’t know if it’s necessarily one sound or just like a vibe I don’t know
Nate: Yeah I think Waiting On Cool to me was just like all the B-sides all the songs that didn’t really make sense for the album so we put them out so people could still hear them but whether they go together or not I don’t know
Do you do most of the writing? Where does that inspiration come from?
Nate: Beer, lots of beer but yeh I do pretty much all of the lyrical stuff. I don’t know I’ve started reading a lot lately, that kind of inspires me. There’s a lot of new words we don’t use, and they mean a lot
Is it easier working the way you did in the beginning or is it easier with a label?
NATE: Hm I don’t know you have to have someone to make your muis physical and I can’t pay for that so. The fact that people ship us our albums that’s cool as hell. But the sacrifices suck sometimes… like the worst part is sending it to them because their either like ‘we love it’ or ‘nah we’re not putting this out’ and it’s like do you go with the music or do you go with the label?
Whats England like? How did people react to your music there?
Nate: We played there a couple times we played um the first time we played this place called the Castle and it was kind of like this place maybe a little smaller, it was our show so it wasn’t huge but it was pretty cool to see people come out….they like knew the songs and then we got to play with Grouplove there a couple weeks ago and that was a much bigger show but uh we had to like fly the next morning so it was kind of sad cause we had to get up early but we still hung out. You guys have got to go though especially if you like to write it’s just cool they’re good with 3 and 4 syllable words you know it’s easy to just stick to it you know
One song to describe your teenage years?
Nate: Um probably like “Loser Denial” maybe still today my anthem, my personal anthem..I just think I don’t really know what it’d be like if you weren’t writing music to know who you where but i think when you are making music it’s kind of hard to know exactly who you are cause sometimes the song is just whatever, if you know it you know the lyrics”
Any pre-show rituals
Nate: Oh they change all the time but we always ride in the van together wherever that is. That to me is always my ritual. If I ever had to go to a show without it, our van, it would just be weird.”
What’s it like to be an artist in the 21st century?
Nate: I think that people are quick to make that noise but I don’t think it’s any different…I think there’s a lot of distractions but people are looking at pictures of other people constantly and it’s kind of hard to like even enjoy your own situation in life but whatever that’s just another thing to sing about so.