Hit The Lights have three LPs, four EPs and countless tours to date. The band formed in 2003 in Lima, Ohio. The band veered off from their pop-punk sound with their latest release, Invicta. One element that stands out on their newly developed sound is the use of multiple drums. The new album was produced by Mike Sappone (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, MC Lars) and Machine (Protest The Hero, Four Year Strong, Armor For Sleep). Read on below to hear Nick, lead vocals and guitar, and guitarist Omar talk about being on Razor & Tie, the importance of finding the right label and experiences touring the world.
Rob Marcacci: How was your recent sign with Razor & Tie Records?
Nick Thompson: It is such a weird industry and it is falling apart and becoming more chaotic. We were caught up in a lot of that and then came in contact with Razor & Tie who were more than supportive with our ideas for the record and let us make the record that we wanted. They were very hands off when it comes to letting us do what we wanted to do. That was awesome.
RM: With other bands like Norma Jean and Saves The Day that are now on Razor & Tie it definitely does feel like the label gave the artists freedom.
Omar Zehery: Such Gold are on there too. They are very artist friendly.
NT: They are good about picking up artists that have previous releases. They understand what that specific artist is good at and what their fan base is. They build the foundation around the artist to support them and keep doing what they are doing.
RM: Do you feel the label is a good home for your genre?
NT: For sure.
OZ: I think one of the coolest things about the label is that they have artists all over the spectrum. They know how to work music in general. They have bands like us. They have heavier stuff. They have a Russian Michael Bolton. Oh you didn’t know about that?
RM: Can’t say I do.
NT: I’m gunna check that out.
OZ: They have artists all over the spectrum and it is awesome. They are not genre specific.
RM: Do you think it is important for bands to seek out a specific label for their music?
OZ: I think if you are doing business you should absolutely do your research. It would be dumb not to.
NT: Every band’s experience is going to be different though. It is hard to say, “oh this band did well so that means we are going to do well.” That doesn’t happen anymore.
RM: Was Triple Crown OK with you guys leaving to go to Universal?
NT: Fred was more than supportive about everything. He is like our Dad. He understood that we wanted a chance. When the major label thing came we knew there would be radio play and things like that. He believed in what we could do and he had our backs. He wanted to see us succeed. It didn’t work out with Universal but he will always have our back. He is the best.
For a year we worked with Universal and every time we would write a song they wanted us to rewrite and rewrite. So it ended up not working out.
RM: What were your goals when you first started in order to become a successful band?
OZ: I remember just being stoked and thinking, “man if we could just headline 500 cap venues that would be sweet.” It was a growing process. We would hit one milestone and then think, “ok we are ready for the next and the next.” Going overseas was a huge accomplishment for us. Getting out of town and being able to tour. A lot of people from our town didn’t have the opportunity to make it out; it was a defining moment for us. It was definitely inspiring.
NT: I remember being so excited just to play a show in New Jersey. At the time, that was the Mecca of the bands that were up and coming. I remember being excited just to say, “yup we played New Jersey.” Telling all of our friends that we played in Jersey. The building blocks stemmed from there.
RM: How have your fans received the new album, Invicta?
NT: It has been our best received record.
RM: I definitely think it is your best record.
NT: Thanks a lot man. It was just honest and we didn’t listen to anyone. We just made the record we wanted to.
RM: What city surprised you guys where the fan base was bigger than you expected?
NT: Australia and Japan I think are always surprising. The first time we went over to the UK as a headlining tour that was pretty wild. They are singing songs that you wrote in your parent’s basement half a world away. Especially when people can’t speak your language but they know what your lyrics are. They don’t even know what they mean but they know how they sound… It’s crazy.
RM: Do you have any additional advice you want to add for kids starting out in band?
NT: I think it is all about practice. If you keep praciting you will eventually get better. Make sure it is from the heart and you are doing this for the right reasons. I feel like everything I say will sound cliché but it is true though.
OZ: It is cliché for a reason though.
NT: Do it because you love it. Don’t jump on a bandwagon just because you think it might be cool. Be inspired. Listen to a lot of music. Expose yourself to all kinds of music. There is no telling where you can draw inspiration. You don’t even have to particularly like a song to get inspiration from it.
Check out some photos from the show.