There is such a surfeit of indie rock and emo these days that even the most gluttonous ears in the two sibling genres can easily become sick of taking it in. The mediocre bands far outnumber the truly exceptional bands, and even with many of the latter it becomes a mud puddle of sound in which much of the music is all too familiar to what has already been done many times over. Because of the current state of the scene, ardent fans are forced to rummage through the excess of musical output for the more worthwhile pieces. And for those discerning fans, I encourage you to experience the ten new pieces of music on Henrietta's upcoming LP from Animal Style Records, The Trick Is Not Minding.
Orlando, Florida's Henrietta, having started in 2008 and steadily done their thing since, is one of those rare bands out there whose members have paid their dues, writing and recording quality songs and playing a lot of shows, and in doing so nurtured their sound to its present maturity. Their debut full-length, The Trick Is Not Minding, is the culmination of that hard work, and it suggests promise of good things to come for this band and their fans. Henrietta's current lineup is Manny Urdaneta (vocals and guitar), Matt Kopkin (bass), Colin Czerwiński (guitar), and John Chapman (drums). These artists, each giving his all to the whole of the endeavor, create what I can only refer to as symbiotic music; a chemistry that works, and works well. And that is clearly evident from the album's beautiful opener, "Give Up Kid," to its vast and powerful closer, "Orion." These songs can be as soft and subtle as a breeze on a night in late summer and as mighty as coastal storm weather, and emotive without being sappy and atmospheric without losing their footing. They are also songs of substance, not immediately forgettable; songs of haunting grace, in whose artful architecture of sound, the collective notes, chords, percussion and vocals, the listener can lose himself or herself without even meaning to.
Like many of the indie rock and emo bands I grew up with in the '90s, I have little doubt that we will be able to see the high water mark left by Henrietta long after they have ceased.
The Trick Is Not Minding by Henrietta is scheduled for an August 26th, 2014 release from Animal Style Records.
Recently I had the pleasure and opportunity to do a little interview with Henrietta. This is what they had to say.
How did Henrietta form?
Manny started Henrietta after high school with our friend Alex. After about a year I (Matt) joined on bass. We went through a few line-up changes before sticking with John and Colin.
What would your band’s motto or mission statement be?
Our mission statement would be to put out music that we enjoy playing and tour as much as we can so we can show it to all of our friends, make more friends, and experience new places. Also, eating good food is important. But for the sake of a good one liner “Every day is a new day, I’m thankful for every breath I take.”
Henrietta is preparing to release its brand new LP, The Trick Is Not Minding. How long were the songs on this album in the works? And what went into the songwriting, recording and releasing of it?
A few of the songs had been in the works for at least two years. The rest of them we worked out over the course of this past year and a half. Songwriting for us usually consists of someone bringing an idea to practice (Manny is the main culprit) and jamming it until we have a few rough ideas for parts. Then over time we shape it into a song and as we play it more and more each of us hone in on the individual nuances that we bring to our respective instruments.
Recording was pretty easy for us. Our friend Paul Hundeby of City Pro Recording tracked almost everything in our living room. The vocals were done at Paul’s house. From there we sent it to Jay Maas of Getaway Recording (also in Defeater) to get mixed and mastered. As for the release, Colin sent it around to different labels and we were fortunate enough that it got all the way to Matt Medina of Animal Style Records in California. We’ve been super happy with how things are going.
How do you feel about this particular collection of songs next to your previously released EP and splits?
This LP is definitely the next step for us musically as well as a step up for the band in terms of success. The past releases have never been more than four songs and were all recorded fairly hastily. We really spent a lot of time demoing these songs out multiple times with a few different people. And as of right now, the album is getting a very positive response which is pretty incredible for us and is remarkably better than most of our other releases which hadn’t been pushed or widely received at all.
How did you guys end up on Animal Style Records?
Like I said before, we were just lucky it got to the right person at the right time. One of Matt’s friends showed it to him and really vouched for us and Matt reached out to us fairly soon after. He has been really cool with us so far and is helping us out a ton. Even though we’ve never met the guy. (Although we will finally get to hang out with him at Fest this year!)
What are some of the bands and singer-songwriters that have influenced and/or inspired you over the years?
There’s too many to list, but some that I know have a shared influence on us are Thrice, David Bazan, and American Football. As much as our tastes overlap, we each kind of have our own niche in music tastes.
Henrietta will no doubt tour in support of the new album in the coming weeks. What will that consist of? And will it be mostly house shows, official venues, or a mixture of both?
We just got finished with our summer tour in August with Echo Base (check them out! amazing people making some great music out of Tallahassee). That tour was mostly house shows and DIY spaces with a couple of venues dotted in here and there. We will be touring as much as we can, which means at least a week in December and March/April and a few weeks next summer.
Lastly, is there anything you would like to convey to readers in the wrap-up of this interview?
I just want to thank anyone and everyone that likes the music and supports our band. It means the world to us. Also, thanks, James, for interviewing us!