Ex-Hooray For Earth frontman, Noel Heroux resurfaces as Mass Gothic.
After almost a decade of leading New York rock group Hooray For Earth, Noel Heroux got disillusioned. Thankfully, not enough so to abandon music altogether but enough to dissemble the band. Hooray For Earth had once begun as a solo project so Heroux went back to what he knew and began Mass Gothic in the winter of 2014. Jessica Zambri eventually climbed aboard and they clambered into a bath together and ran around the streets of New York to film the video for “Every Night You’ve Got To Save Me”.
Mass Gothic’s sound has the same longing, likeable vocals as Is This It era Strokes, like you’re personally being addressed in the lyrics. It’s that irresistable heavy guitar sound with a pop sheen. Even on “Nice Night”, where they begin to err on the darker side, there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel in the exuberant guitar fuzz-filled climax. The self-titled debut album came out last week, with mixing provided by Chris Coady and mastering done by Greg Calbi it’s impressive first offering. We decided it was time to catch up with Heroux.
Hooray For Earth dissolved and you seemingly jumped straight into a new project, how did you know it was the band you needed a break from and not music itself?
Many years went into that band. Just one day I realized I’d fallen into a pretty solid routine where I was worrying too much about everyone around me, not taking care of my own needs. I was the guy writing the songs and generally calling the shots but somehow I still wasn’t doing anything to satisfy myself creatively. We had a lot of good times but I was not creating freely and therefore was stuck living in a constant state of dissatisfaction. Figured I needed to just start over alone. Simply feeding the ego becomes a worry at that point, but really I was just as low as low can get and the only way up was to see what I could do without any outside pressure. The resulting Mass Gothic record may be somewhat disjointed and stylistically wild, but regardless it’s what came out when I let go of all that shit.
Have you reinvented yourself or just the music?
I think neither. I just removed a lot of self-imposed rules and regulations. Beyond that the main difference is just that there’s not a band involved in the recording process.
What did you find was the hardest part of being in a band and what had you found previously was the best thing about being a solo artist when you started Hooray For Earth?
Hooray For Earth started in 2003 as a series of trashy recordings of little garbage-pop bits I recorded and distributed among friends via CDRs. Selected songs from those recording were quickly adopted and added to the repertoire of a pre-existing “real” band we had previously been playing out with. That music lost its meaning right then. I guess the idea of having a “real” band versus my imaginary sort of entity I’d started with was much more boring, too obvious.
Has that remained the same all this time on?
To some extent I suppose I prefer working with minimal expectations. Not a low bar, just no outside expectations. I’ll do what I need to do and do my best on my own terms. This record is in many ways a splatter of song and style, but if that’s what I need to do I can’t be bothered otherwise.
You’ve said all you wanted was for the sound of the record to be big and heavy, where do you think is the best time and place to listen to it?
Best is very loud and maybe drunk, with huge, glorious speakers. Close 2nd I suppose is a live show.
Tell us about running around Manhattan in the video for, “Every Night You’ve Got Save Me”.
We drank Jagermeister and cab-hopped around our neighborhood. Really it was just, how can we really enjoy our night and also possibly end up with some footage worthy of a music video without being too wildly self-indulgent. I guess the assumption was that within the concept of this video probably most people could have a good enough time if they put themselves in our shoes.
What’s going on in NYC at the moment, who should we keep an eye out for in music?
Oh man I don’t know. Mazed is slow-starting but keep an eye out.
You’re about to go on tour! What’s a Mass Gothic live show going to be like?
Emotionally taxing, loud, relatable.
Mass Gothic’s debut album is out now.