If you’re one of those people who only use radio and TV to find and listen to new music, chances are you haven’t heard of Hellogoodbye. But if you’re one of those individuals who actively seeks out all the latest in musical trends on the internet, where, it seems, it is the place to be for any up-and-coming artist with a knack for self-promotion, then the online presence of the American foursome may have been pretty hard to ignore.
The power pop band designs and maintains their own official website, where they write up their own blogs (online journal entries), upload photos for their fans to browse through in a photo journal, and are even proficient enough with html (one of the main ‘languages’ used by people on the web to make websites) that visitors can personally customize certain features to their liking on the front page. The site also links to a number of popular related Hellogoodbye sites, including a very active message board, a tour journal where some entries get hundreds of comments from fans, and the blogging community on LiveJournal dedicated to any and all Hellogoodbye discussion.
Besides their official website, they’ve also got links to their PureVolume and MySpace profiles, which, as any avid music fan would know, are two online necessities for online promotion and exposure. The following they have on these, especially for the latter, is nothing short of impressive. With over four million friends who comment, send them messages, read the blogs, etc., it is certainly quite the dynamic community.
Despite all this online activity, singer and guitarist Forrest Kline, keyboard player Jesse Kurvink, bassist Marcus Cole and drummer Chris Profeta would rather not be associated with other so-called “internet phenomena”, whether they be bands or the notorious MySpace ‘celebrity’ Tila Tequila, known more for her extreme self-promotion of wild antics and racy photos rather than her modeling and singing credentials.
While the internet is certainly the wave of the new day and age, and is the way the band members keep in touch with friends while on tour, it’s not the only thing that led to the band’s current success. Kline explained, “There are a couple of milestones in our lifespan [as] a band: We got signed to Drive-Thru [Records] – that was a big step from where we were before. We did a free EP that was on the internet that people downloaded and that was a big thing at that point. [Then] we basically toured for the last two years.”
So while the Internet frenzy over the band definitely contributed to their popularity, it was only one of many factors. The internet promotion just happened to be something the group could take hold of themselves, not only because “if there’s nothing else going on then no one will go to it,” but also because, as Kline declared, “I really like making websites, coding and all that. I’m a geek. I enjoy doing that stuff [and] I’d just do it for my own personal benefit.”
Hellogoodbye are also very much involved with many of the other artistic aspects that surround their music. Known to do their own recordings, album artwork, posters and merchandise designs, Kline said they do it because they don’t get much enjoyment when they aren’t fully participating in these related creative ventures: “It’s fun to do it yourself and make something; I’ll always been doing that kind of thing.”
Currently on their first headlining tour of the States to promote their first full length record, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, Kline said things were going well, and knowing that they’re heading towards Florida, where the weather’s much warmer, certainly helps keep up the band’s morale. Describing a typical Hellogoodbye show as “bloody and soaking in placenta”, Kline admitted that attaining global renown isn’t their main goal, but that they try to do their best. “[We] just want to keep doing things that we’re proud of and hopefully that will translate into international stardom,” he said.
The group met and formed when the members were in high school and with lyrics “all about girls”. Kline doesn’t think their relatively young age really affected the way they’ve been perceived. “I guess we don’t really expect a lot of people to take us seriously,” Kline confessed. Hellogoodbye is more of a light-hearted and fun band, as the use of humour, prevalent not only in their music but in their blogs and news announcement, can attest. When asked how they’d label their music, Kline deadpanned, “A lot of people say rap metal but I think that’s a bit off ’cause only some of it is rap metal. We try other things and I don’t want to be confined just to that label.”
As for any new material in the near future? Kline said he’s unsure where they’re heading: “I feel like the new songs will go in all sorts of directions and not in one particular leaning. They just each have their own thing; probably that’s what I would assume things would go with newer stuff.” With so much stuff on their plates at the moment, Kline said they’re trying to balance everything out. “There’s so much going on that it’s hard to focus and wrap your head around it all,” he said. But the very fact that the foursome enjoy calling the shots when it comes to deciding things such as where to tour, what remix to do, what kind of unique outfit to come up with and what interactive little twist can they add to their website, Hellogoodbye certainly don’t look like they’ve been having too much trouble trying to focus on what needs to be done.