Written by Ashley Paskill
From having to quarantine during a pandemic to protests against racism, the United States, and the world at large, has been in a state of change throughout 2020. Canadian band Heavy Hearts’ newest album, Room With A View, may not address these changes on the surface, but behind the scenes, they were well aware of changes in the world, as well as changes within their own music styles. I had the chance to talk to Jamie Gorman, the bass player, about the band’s new album and the journey to release the album.
Aside from Gorman, the band is made up of vocalist and guitarist Justin Glatt, lead guitarist Riley Jensen, and drummer Joey Demers.
Room With A View was originally scheduled to be released on June 5, 2020, but the band decided that, in light of everything that happened following George Floyd’s death, it would be better to release it on June 26, 2020, instead. According to their Facebook video on the matter, they used the time to amplify the voices of people of color by sharing links to this such as petitions, education resources, and organizations to donate to.
Heavy Hearts released their first album, Jacoba, back in 2013, but their history of knowing each other is a journey that started long before this point. Like many bands, a couple of the members knew each other through school and met the other members through bands that they knew.
“Justin and I grew up in the same small town,” said Gorman. “We went to high school together. I met Riley through other bands as we were younger and we asked him to join [Heavy Hearts] as we started getting going and he joined.”
They met their drummer, Joey, through a band they know. Their producer also works with Joey, so as they continued to work with their producer, they became more familiar with his work.
“On this specific record, we didn’t have a drummer when we went in to record, so we got Joey to record on that record,” said Gorman. “He’s stuck with us now.”
One of the major differences between this album and the band’s previous albums is the fact that they released it during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting quarantine. The album was recorded in 2018, so none of the record needed to be recorded during the pandemic. While most bands go on tour with new albums, the pandemic has put this on hold for Heavy Hearts.
“It feels super weird to put it out there and not be able to do any kind of leg work with it,” said Gorman. “We had this planned for a long time. As lock down hit, we started having conversations of, ‘Do we wait? Do we hold off?’ We ultimately decided that no. We already started so we might as well finish it.”
Though the pandemic was not in their plans to release the album, Gorman is still able to be optimistic about the album, especially when it comes to people being able to listen to it.
“People are at home more,” Gorman said. “People are able to sit and listen to things, so I think it’s kind of a cool opportunity for someone to take in the record in full. But it’s definitely strange not being able to get out on the road and play these songs in front of people.”
Aside from the pandemic, another big change with this album compared to the band’s previous albums was the writing style and the inclusion of everyone’s ideas, no matter how weird or strange the idea may seem. This concept helped their music to be more diverse in terms of sound, even though the band’s unique sound is still very present on each track.
“When it came to writing this album, it was just me, Justin, and Riley,” said Gorman. “We would get together at the jam space and focus on one small idea. We’d build on that with the three of us and then Riley would take it home and he would spend the evening or a few days working on an atmosphere to that one specific part.”
The band then took this idea into the studio, so even though the songs were not complete songs, there was a vibe the band wanted to portray for each of the songs. According to Gorman, another difference was their openness to try anything that the others thought of.
“This was the one record where we tried every possible idea that anyone had,” said Gorman. “When you’re in a building atmosphere with multiple people, sometimes you come up with something that you’re a little nervous to bring up because you think that people are going to shoot it down. It’s been a very open creative experience where if anyone has the craziest or weirdest idea, bring it up and we’ll try it and if it works, we’re going to use it.”
Since the album has been out since the end of June, it has received some play on international radio stations and Gorman gets the sense that people like it overall. He is relieved that people seem to enjoy it, especially since the band has been waiting for so long to release it.
“You don’t know what the response is going to be, especially in something like this where it was more experimental than some of our other releases, but it seems to be going over well with people, which is great,” said Gorman.
In addition to a general sense that the album is doing well as well as the international radio play, a few songs from Room With A View have been added to The Rock Coalition playlist on Spotify. Gorman said that Spotify also has an app for artists where they can see what playlists their songs have been added to so they are able to see what other bands and songs their music is being grouped with.
The band also created a short documentary to accompany the album. It was produced by Ryan Stacey, who has done photography for the band.
“I always bring a diary with me when we record to try to capture that moment in time, so having somebody come and film and be able to ask those questions [and] get responses while we’re there is a cool glimpse into our work process but it’s also something nice to look back on in a few years [to] remember where we were, how we did it, [and] what we did,” said Gorman.
Room With A View is now available wherever you get your music.
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