After playing together for almost a decade now, NY-based, Indie Pop/Rock outfit Here’s To You are finally making a return with their sophomore LP, Wonder/Wander. It’s the band’s attention to detail and meticulous songwriting on Wonder/Wander that will be sure to excite fans both old and new. After working hard behind the scenes for so long, Here’s To You is beyond eager to finally show their fans and the rest of the world what their new album and sound is all about.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Charlie Giovanniello - Lead Vocalist, Rhythm Guitar, Keys
Greg Almeida - Lead Guitar
Stephan Stanzione - Drums, Percussion
Mike Fenimore - Bass Guitar
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Here’s To You? How long has the band been around?
Charlie: We’ve been together since 9th grade (10 years), so anything prior to that was just playing around with some instruments in a garage with friends. My first band was called Gravity Fails. The MySpace might still be up. I hope not though, I was a pretty squeaky pre-teen singer at the time.
Stephan: Don’t worry, Charlie, we were all squeaky pre-teens back then <3
Greg: This was actually Stephan, Charlie and I’s second band. We were in a different band(s) before for a tiny bit, and then quickly formed this band after. Obviously there has been more longevity to this one, haha.
Mike: Before joining Here’s To You, I was doing a little bit of session work for friend’s projects on the side, but my main thing was working on some solo material which was a lot of fun! Being able to move from that to a more collaborative environment with these guys has been a blast.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Greg: Actually no. I’ll let big Steph answer this question ‘cause it was his idea.
Stephan: I honestly wish we had a better story for this one haha, but it seriously just came to my head way-back-when. It was only after that we were a band for awhile where the phrase started popping up in the most random of places (Starbucks, McDonald’s, etc.)
Charlie: Stephan came up with two names, the first one was “One Moon At A Time” or something like that, and the other was “Here’s To You”. We all decided we liked the latter more and after all this time I’m glad we went with it!
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Charlie: It’s a very collaborative effort, someone comes up with an 8 bar loop in Ableton or a quick voice memo with some melodies and we all meet at my house (referred to as the beat lab) and demo it out together. The themes have more or less remained the same, love songs, breakup songs, however, we articulate these themes in a much more mature way then we did years ago. We’ve done a little experimenting with more abstract lyrical idea on Wonder/Wander and I can see us running more into that direction in the future.
Greg: This changes a lot, but for this album, I definitely started a bunch of songs in the cycle. I would only come to the band with little snippets mostly though. Sometimes I would have a bit more, and then I would sit with the whole band and round out the sculpture, so to say. Definitely couldn’t do it the same way without these guys.
Mike: Like Greg said, with this album, a lot of our songs started with one of the guys bringing a snippet of an idea forward, and then we would go to work on it as a band.
Stephan: I think the fact that all four of us are so involved with the writing process makes a huge difference in our songwriting. A lot of bands will just have one person writing lyrics, one person writing most of the instrumental, and maybe a member or two that doesn’t contribute all that much - that can totally work, but I think you can tell that our process really makes a difference in the final product.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Greg: Man, so much stuff. It’s kind of crazy. We all have crazy influences. But we definitely love this indie type of ethereal-rock sound we have going on for this album. It’s sort of a combination of the vibey stuff we listen to and more of the driving rock stuff that we like. With that pop finish on the vocals. We just kind of want to make it interesting to listen to, no matter the feel of the song.
Charlie: My personal inspirations come from bands like Day Wave, Roosevelt, The 1975, Coheed and Cambria, Walk The Moon, electronic elements from Madeon, The Midnight.
Mike: I think it's definitely fair to say that in our writing as a band, we gravitate towards the same indie/pop/rock type of genre, but what gets us there is extremely interesting. We all have such different ranges in the music that we listen to and that inspires us. In speaking around the timing of writing this album (which has been quite some time haha), I would say that for me personally, some specific inspiration has come from Colony House, and the more recent material of John Mayer and James Bay.
Stephan: Even though it may not sound like it, I’m constantly listening to Anderson .Paak, Drake Bell, MUTEMATH, Vulfpeck and more. All of these different artists and genres all influence in how I approach Here’s To You’s songs.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Charlie: Boys Like Girls, and a bunch of smaller MySpace bands like Freshman 15, Red Car Wire, those are all I can think of right now, but I was listening to a ton of that type of music and all I wanted to do was start a pop-punk band.
Greg: I was always super inspired by Green Day to start.
Stephan: Piggy-backing on Greg’s comment: Greg & I were (and still are) the biggest fans of Green Day.
Mike: When I was a kid and would be driving in the car with my mom, we would always have one of these three albums/artists on: Room for Squares by John Mayer, Songs About Jane by Maroon 5, and More Than You Think You Are by Matchbox Twenty. Those albums all definitely sparked my desire to be in a band and start writing music.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect…
Charlie: Aside from routine rehearsing with the band, I do a bunch of vocal warm ups, refrain from any dairy (which sucks cause the rest of the band almost always gets pizza before), and stay hydrated.
Greg: I usually just try to stretch and make sure my fingers are warmed up and ready to go. Sometimes playing a HTY set can involve some crazy precision with the fingers.
Mike: Definitely a good stretch, maybe some jumping jacks just to get ready for the amount of motion that’s about to take place on the stage haha.
Stephan: Most importantly, especially for bigger shows, my goal is to get as much of the nerves out as possible. For me, this means jumping up and down and yelling like a psycho. To each their own, right? Guys??
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Charlie: I think working with Mike Watts on this second album was amazing. He’s worked with some of my personal favorite artists and it was awesome to see this album come to life with him as a producer on half of it.
Stephan: Honestly, at this point, the fact that we’re about to turn 10 is so weird and surreal. We’re only 23, 24 years old, so the fact that we’ve still been playing together for so long, is a huge landmark in our lives!
Greg: If you asked us a few years ago, I would say playing Bamboozle, but that’s long past. I would say now it’s being true to ourselves for so long and getting to release this album. It’s our baby.
Mike: I’m right there with Greg. Taking the time to be super particular about getting everything right with this album, being extremely strategic with its release, and now seeing it come to fruition is definitely a huge highlight.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Greg: Touring with Walk The Moon would be sick. They’re huge and the shows would be huge, I’d love that haha.
Charlie: Fall Out Boy would be sick. Even though our sound is pretty different from what they’re doing now, I think our sound along with theirs at a show would complement each other well.
Mike: I’d love to tour with Colony House. Those guys write awesome music and know how to have a crazy, fun show.
Stephan: Past? Queen or The Beatles. Present? 5 Seconds of Summer, or probably Fall Out Boy.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Greg: Thank you for listening to Burning Alive. Wonder/Wander: Phase I drops February 15th. Cheers!
Charlie: I’m super excited for the world to hear Wonder/Wander. We’ve worked extremely hard to make this album the best that we could and get it out even with all of the craziness and business of life.
Stephan: This is the first bit of music we’re releasing after 4 years. That’s wild. I hope it was worth the wait!
Mike: Thanks for checking out the music video! Stay tuned for more! #HTYLP2
Instagram (@HeresToYouBand): http://instagram.com/herestoyouband
Twitter (@HeresToYouBand): http://twitter.com/herestoyouband