Hawthorne Heights's The Silence in Black and White turns 10 next month (June 1st, to be exact), and we've decided to launch a new "10 Years" feature in celebration of the record. We have commentary on the album from JT Woodruff himself. Enjoy the read and let us know your thoughts on The Silence in Black and White ten years later. Don't forget to pick up the acoustic version of TSIBAW as well.
How did you feel when the album came out?
I was genuinely scared, excited, proud, and invigorated when our SILENCE first came out. We all had zero expectations, and had no idea on how it would be received, but we knew we were ready to get to work. We knew that the road would soon become our home, and we were excited about that challenge.
Where do you think the album fits in the band's legacy?
I think SILENCE will always be our landmark album, because it was the first thing anyone ever heard from us, and thankfully people developed a connection with it. The album was meant to sound bleak, desolate, sad, but hopeful. It was meant to show that music can be a guiding light, in a world in a world in which the arrow is constantly pointed downward.
How the band approach writing?
Hawthorne Heights have always written music as band, in a rehearsal space. The only thing that has really changed in the writing process, is where we are writing. Everyone in the band is constantly coming up with musical ideas, in which we all eventually work on together. I try to stay ahead of the curve a little bit by constantly writing lyrics as well. Back in the SILENCE days, everything happened so fast, so it was hard to stay caught up. We got signed, and 2 months later we were in the studio. Some of the vocal melodies and lyrics, I wrote while the other guys were tracking their instruments. It took me longer to articulate what I wanted to say back then, but I have learned to work in a variety of ways now.
What inspired the lyrics?
A lot of the lyrics were inspired by the feeling of being by yourself. Everyone feels isolated to a degree, because we all have to live inside our own minds. Whether we are locked in a small town, struggling in a big city, trapped in a dead end job, or raised in a harmful environment…we all have to deal with isolation. To me, that is where I was coming from in the lyrics of SILENCE. You have to struggle and work hard to find out who you are in life, and these lyrics were part of my struggle. I was also able to adapt situations that other people were going through into some of the stories found on SILENCE.
What were your hopes and expectations for The Silence in Black and White during the writing and recording process?
We honestly had no expectations. We were happy to be on a left label, and we were ready to be on the road. We figured at that point, we were able to live our dream…at least for a little while.
When you were in the studio, how was the morale of the band?
We were all extremely excited to be working in such a great studio. We were stoked to be working on a project that was deemed professional, and that was being taken seriously. We believed in our songs, and each other…I think that translated to what we were laying down on tape.
When was the last time you listened to the record? Are there memories and emotions that come up?
I personally listened to SILENCE before doing the rehearsal sessions for the SILENCE 10 tour. It brought a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs, and a few tears. I wish that Casey was still hear to play these songs with us.
What do you remember most about making The Silence in Black and White?
I remember a lot of late nights laughing. A lot of long days recording. Sleeping on floors and lumpy beds at the Red Roof Inn in Madison. I remember thinking about all of the great sounds that have come out of Smart Studios, from bands that we adored, and used those positive vibes to be able to get through a few hard days.
What sort of place was your life in when the album came out?
We were essentially a local band that did weekend shows, worked day jobs while going to college, but all agreed that we wanted to be full time together. Thankfully, SILENCE has allowed that dream to continue for a decade. We are so thankful to our fans for keeping us alive, and starting our heartbeat in 2004.
Did you ever expect the album to have the influence it did?
Absolutely not. We just wanted to be happy with it ourselves, which we were for the most part.
Do you remember what you were listening to at the time?
Personally, a lot of TBS, Saves The Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Journey, Thursday, Poison The Well, Punchline, Spitalfield, New Found Glory
Is there anything about the album you'd change?
There are a few songs that I think we could have finished a little better. I would make a few things faster to add a little energy. Otherwise, why change the past, if you are proud of it? I like to think that we would do a better job now, because of all we have been through…but there is something about the energy of being there for the first time.