The Epilogues are not only one of the most revered bands in Denver, they are also one of the hardest working. The indie rock outfit has been dominating the local music scene for years through powerhouse performances, repeated radio rotation, and award-winning songs. With a brand new forthcoming album, the foursome- Chris Heckman (vocals/guitar), Nate Hammond (keys), Jason Hoke (drums), and Jeff Swoboda (bass)- is poised and ready to extend its sovereignty to the world stage. On November 6th, The Epilogues’ stunning new record Cinematics will be released nationally and then the band will hit the road for a tour in support of the new music. I recently got the opportunity to talk to the charming artists about Cinematics, their do-it-yourself mindset, and how important fans are to the band’s continuing success.
From the beginning, The Epilogues have placed a big emphasis on growing the band's fanbase and popularity organically. What are some of the ways that you've found success through your grassroots approach?
Our key has always just been work ethic. We all wanted to be career musicians but we also were willing to admit that we didn't know the first thing about how to get there. We just started going to as many shows as we could. We met people, and supported the acts in town. Over time, more and more of the people and bands that we’d met started supporting us. I think the support within a music scene is what defines it, and Denver’s music scene has thrived because of that. We’re very fortunate to get to be a part of it.
The new album Cinematics is phenomenal. What was your goal for the record?
Thank you! We wanted to write an album where the tracks complement each other and that flowed well within itself, rather than it just being a collection of arbitrary songs. We looked at some of our favorite albums, albums like Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins or Kid A by Radiohead, and those albums both seemed to tell a story. We wanted to write an album that told a story too.
The Epilogues have great fans across the country. What are some of the ways that they inspire you? How do they help contribute to your success?
At the end of the day, we only get to do this because we have fans that come to shows and support our band. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing people singing along with something you created.
Are there any songs on the new album that the band was initially uneasy about releasing, maybe because they pushed you in a different musical direction or you weren't sure how people would react?
I don’t think there was anything that we had a problem releasing. We started writing a couple of songs early on in the process that didn't make the cut, but that’s just part of the process. I will say that lyrically, this album is a lot more honest and multi-dimensional than some of the songs off of our last release. Chris really opened up on this one.
Talk to me a bit about the local record label that you're currently working with.
Well, we spent pretty much all of 2011 negotiating with a label that was an imprint of Sony, and without going into too much detail, that label was basically shut down at the end of the year as a financial casualty of Sony after they brought in a new president.
In early 2012, we were asked to be a part of the Illegal Pete’s/Greater Than 2nd annual Starving Artist Showcase at SXSW. We got to know Pete Turner really well during that time, and somewhere along the way we started discussing signing with them for our upcoming release. It has been a really great experience working with Greater Than, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Describe the recording process for this album. How long did it take? How much control did you have over the creative aspects?
Like I said, we had our label debacle in 2011. It left a really sour taste in our mouths because we sat idle so long and in the end it just turned out to be a lost year. We had been writing here and there during the negotiations, trying to write follow-up singles for what would have been our label release, but after the deal fell through we scrapped most of the songs and started over. We used our anger and disappointment as fuel for our new songs. We spent 2011 being told what our best moves would be, what direction we should be going, and in the end, we had almost nothing to show for it. This album is us writing what we want to write.
What are your plans for the future? How will you continue to grow as artists, flourish as a band, and expand your popularity?
We’re really excited to finally get to share Cinematics with all of our fans. As for what is in store after that, we have a few things that we are working on but nothing confirmed yet. Hopefully, we are able to get on the road a lot. We haven’t done any touring this year, and we’re having withdrawal from it.
Aside from your unique and engaging music, what differentiates The Epilogues from all the other bands out there?
I don’t know if we’re really all that different from a lot of bands. I think we’re committed to each other and to The Epilogues. As long as we remain committed, I don’t really see us slowing down, regardless of what else may or may not come along.