The New York-based pop-rock band Here’s To You formed back in 2009 while the members were still in high school. Following the self-release of their debut album ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’, the band played hundreds of shows including the Bamboozle Festival and the South By Southwest Festival. They gained many fans along the way, and they finally completed their lineup in 2016 by adding their bassist. The band has taken the past three years to write, record, and evolve as a band. Here’s To You is about to make a long-awaited return and you do not want to miss it.
Q: Here’s To You is finally making a long-awaited return. How excited are you about that?
Charlie: Very. I just feel so much more confident in the songs, and personally in my voice. I’ve put a considerable amount of work in my voice since our first album (Love Me Or Leave Me) and I feel much more confident as a result.
Stephan: Releasing music has always taken a long time for us. It can be a very arduous wait/process, but once the ball’s rolling and people are finally reacting to the music, it’s truly an incredible feeling.
Mike: Extremely excited. This will be my first release with the band, and I’m so happy with how all of our music has come out. I can’t wait for the world to hear it!
Greg: Pretty dang stoked. We just really love the type of music we’re creating, so it’s hard to sum it all up in words. I hope the emotion shows.
Q: I noticed the purple photo on social media, and I have to ask, what is the meaning?
Greg: Thanks for paying attention. The purple photo is a crop of a larger photo, which is our album cover. We saw this image and were struck by it. We wrote songs to it. We liked it so much that we contacted the original photographer of the image and bought the rights to use it as an album cover. It sounds almost crazy but yeah, we were just obsessed with it.
Charlie: This was, as Greg said, the sky in the picture of our album art photo. It was such a beautiful picture and we even used it as the source of inspiration for a lot of our lyrics and over vibe for the tracks.
Stephan: It helps that the image itself is very appealing. It gives off the perfect vibe for the whole album.
Mike: It’s just a piece of the puzzle to our album cover. Personally, I’ve never even tried to use photography or anything like that as a source of inspiration for music up to this point, so giving something like this a try helped me to explore another side of inspiration that I’ve never drawn from before. It definitely produced some really cool results from all 4 of us!
Q: You guys are releasing your sophomore LP ‘Wonder/Wander’ soon. What would you like everyone to know about the upcoming album?
Charlie: Most of the songs are about or at least inspired by real-life experiences and emotions. With that, I think each song is so special and I hope you can latch onto some of those emotions so that listening almost puts you into a separate state of being. That’s what powerful music does for me at least, and I hope our music can do that for others.
Greg: There’s so much to digest to it. I think that’s part of the reason it’s being released in phases. I think, most of all, I would like you guys to know it was made by a group of individuals who obsessed over getting everything right, just for the sheer purpose of putting art out into the world.
Mike: There’s definitely a lot to take in with these songs like Greg said. That’s definitely one of the reasons we’re going with this method of releasing the music. Each song speaks to very specific feelings and real life
experiences that all 4 of us have been through, either individually or as a group, and I hope that our stories and feelings can speak into your lives as well.
Stephan: We’ve been hard at work on this bad boy for around 4 years now, so I think the most important thing for people to know is that: we’re still here, and we’re still releasing music. Unfortunately, because of our process, a lot of our fans think we dropped off the face of the earth. However, hopefully hearing this album will reignite a lot of our fanbase.
Q: So ‘Wonder/Wander’ will be released in three EP-length phases. What is the inspiration behind that decision?
Mike: The way that people listen to music has definitely taken a big turn in the last 5-10 years especially. We recorded this album in phases so that we could be extremely intentional and get very personal with every song, and we hope that releasing it in a similar manner achieves the same results. Throwing 45 minutes of music out into the world makes it easy to forget about a few songs here and there. We want our listeners to get to really digest and experience every piece of this puzzle if you will.
Stephan: It’ll also be an incredible opportunity to have people constantly excited for what’s to come, you know? A lot of times, I’ll be very excited for my favorite artist’s new album, it’ll finally drop, and it’ll either be far too much to take in at once, or because it’s presented all at once, it’s far too easy to dismiss parts of the album for arbitrary reasons. With this John Mayer-esque method, there will hopefully be a higher chance for someone to like more of the whole, instead of just a few individual songs.
Charlie: All of us just agreed that albums are easier to digest when released like that. And since we put so much effort into each song we want people to have time to listen and catch on before the next set of songs comes out.
Greg: We are excited to release it in parts so that people can digest all of these tracks easier. We really, really spent a lot of time meticulously crafting each hit/note, almost always trying to serve greater purposes than our individual self-wants. We really tried to serve each song on this album. It’s no longer us trying to prove we can play our instruments. It’s more of us trying to prove we can evoke emotion in people now. So we thought that this would hold people’s attention spans easier.
Q: What are the five words you would use, to sum up the ‘Phase I’ EP of ‘Wonder/Wander’?
Greg: I’m not sure about five, but I know we would all agree on “ethereal” or “surreal”. Maybe the others can add?
Stephan: Purposeful, relatable, accessible, varied, moist (for all of you “moist” haters out there).
Charlie: Emotional, descriptive, purple, nostalgic, authentic.
Mike: Easy–here they are: Love Me Or Leave Me. Just kidding haha. The single best word I can think of is meticulous.
Q: When will the first single off of the ‘Phase I’ EP be released and what can you tell us about it?
Charlie: “Burning Alive” will be released January 18th and it’s about an experience I had when visiting a friend at college. I had just broken up with my first long term girlfriend and entered into the single life of a college student and met a girl at a party. We wound up ditching our friends and party hopping all night meeting new people in an unfamiliar town. I felt so revitalized from all the emotional strain on me at the time that it gave me exactly what I needed to move on and be happy again. When Greg and I tracked out his demo a little further, I wrote the lyrics for the verse and chorus pretty effortlessly when I decided that’s the subject that we were going to write about.
Stephan: There are a lot of really great rhythmic moments in this song that I just haven’t heard in a lot of other songs. There’s a lot of ear-candy in this piece for both musicians and listeners alike. It’s also cool to note that, Burning Alive was one of the first fully-fleshed out products for Wonder/Wander, so it was only fitting that it be the first single as well.
Mike: I met Greg in college and joined the band shortly after we met. Greg walked up to me in the hallway, extremely excited, and showed me this little voice memo of this guitar intro that had this crazy off time feel that he had demoed the night before. The next time we got together, we brought our own flavors to it and worked from there.
Greg: I know this song was mainly inspired (lyrically) by an experience Charlie had. Musically, I had this really pretty, yet upbeat sounding demo on my computer about 3 years ago, and it was only 8 bars, which would turn out to be the intro. We wrote a few verses and choruses to it and the rest of it blended together like actual magic.
Q: What is your favorite song from the ‘Phase I’ EP and why?
Greg: Dang, this is hard. There’s the best of a few worlds on there. Sometimes I listen back to “Don’t Remember Me” and I can’t believe we wrote a song that sad, haha. Or that we even wrote a ballad at all. I’m also really excited for people to hear “Drive” cause that song is a straight up vibe.
Charlie: It would have to be Burning Alive for me simply because of my emotional tie to the lyrics.
Mike: It’s definitely “Drive” for me. It’s got a super fun, but challenging bass line and the groove of the song literally drives so hard. Steph and I also had a lot of fun in the studio, using a random unintentional take during the bridge section and turning it into one of the coolest parts of the song.
Stephan: Since no one’s said An Alliance, I’ll have to give it some love. It’s probably the most unique song on Phase I, as it almost seems like two, vastly different ideas that were married together. I think it’s the “sleeper hit” of Phase I.