The Head and The Heart is: Charity Rose Thielen – vocals, violin, percussion | Chris Zasche – bass | Josiah Johnson – vocals, guitar, percussion | Jonathan Russell – vocals, guitar, percussion | Kenny Hensley – piano | Tyler Williams – drums
[tweetmeme]Living in a city that is so abundant with music, it can be hard to stand out. Luckily, that hasn’t been an issue for Seattle-based band The Head and The Heart – in fact, they seem to have been fated for success. When you read the story of how Charity and Jon randomly met and wrote their first song on the front bench of Conor Byrne on open mic night, you’ll understand what I mean. The magical meeting of the band members must’ve been some kind of sign of things to come – a hint toward the magic that they’d soon create through music.
The six-piece folk/pop band recently signed to Sub Pop Records, who re-released the band’s independent self-titled record in January, and is now garnering attention for not only their recorded music, but also their undeniably engaging live performances. As a Seattle-ite and a music lover, I am SO excited to share The Head and The Heart with you. I was able to catch up with Charity Rose Thielen recently – I hope you enjoy our conversation!
How does it feel to be officially signed onto Sub Pop Records?!
It’s a dream come true in many senses. Our relationship with them is more than amicable. Sub pop is kind of like the perfect boyfriend. They take you out for nice dinners; believe in you and support your independence, yet without smothering you. They’ve trusted our vision since day one spanning from the production of our record to the most minute details regarding album art and even the color of a certain text of something. Plus they are all really just great people.
How did you all meet?
We all met at Conor Byrne’s Open Mic within a span of a few months. My friend brought me there. Upon first meeting, Jon and I wrote a song together, on the bench out front. The chemistry musically and relationally was magical between all of us and there since the beginning. It was this instant chemistry that made me believe we had something. Had something worthy of working and sacrificing for.
You’ve all been living in Seattle for a while, what are some of your favorite places in the city?
Chris and I are the two Seattlites in the band, yet I had just returned from living in Paris, when I met the guys (Josiah, Jon and Kenny) and I had a new perspective and approach to living in Seattle. I wanted to take advantage of city life and strictly using public transportation/walking to do so, echoing my lifestyle in Paris. In Seattle, I love visiting SAM, Richmond Beach, Discovery Park and Pike Place Market; seeing shows anywhere; eating at Cafe Presse and Big Bowl (Pho in Ballard), and drinking at Conor Byrne and The White Horse, just to name a few favorites.
How do you feel like you’ve all changed since the initial recording of the album?
Well, Tyler’s no longer working two service industry jobs to pay off our recording costs and I am no longer unemployed. It’s still a bit surreal that we are able to live off of music now.
We have seen a lot more of the country now, met a host of amazing people in each town; and have become refined as a band through touring and playing as many shows as possible.
What kinds of artists did you listen to growing up?
I listened to a lot of classical from my mother, as she’s been an orchestra teacher since before I was born and a lot of jazz and Willie Nelson from my father. And in being completely ernest, Amy Grant, DC Talk and Twila Paris and the likes made several appearances growing up, as I was raised with that background.
Who took the photo that’s on the cover of your record? And what made you choose that photo?
Chris and I both have photographic backgrounds and are constantly taking photos on the road that we upload often. I’ve carried my dad’s old Olympus OM-10 from the ’70′s with me since our first tour. The cover photo was snapped by our very own Chris during an impromptu moment during our first photo shoot. I think it was chosen because it’s not straightforward and it’s not boring. It wasn’t a forced album cover. It just happened. And It was taken at Discovery Park on our favorite tree.
What are your favorite songs to play live?
All of them. Honestly. I especially love dancing to “Lost In My Mind” and performing “Winter Song” and “Rivers and Roads” as they are very personal to me.
If you had to choose three albums that you think every music lover should own, which ones would you choose and why?
The impossible, you are asking of me, but I’ll respond with the first three that come to mind:
Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago
This album is ghostly beautiful and I have a lot of warm memories attached to it. My imagination, when listening to this album, tucks me into living in a log cabin in the woods during winter time.
Ryan Adam’s Heartbreaker
God, if I could marry someone’s voice, I would marry Ryan Adams’. I love this whole album because of its soul and songwriting-I relate to many of his lyrics, even if they often remain an enigma. “Oh, My Sweet Carolina” is one of my favorite songs of all time and he collaborates with one of my musical heros, Emmylou Harris.
Sigur Ros Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Stunning. Romantic. Epic and Moving. I’m transported to another place when I listen to this album.
Thank you so much, Charity! FYF loves THATH!
Be sure to listen to some clips of The Head and The Heart’s debut album and then go out there and get yourself a copy:
1. Cats and Dogs
2. Coeur D’Alene
4. Down in the Valley
5. Rivers and Roads
6. Honey Come Home
7. Lost in My Mind
8. Winter Song
9. Sounds Like Hallelujah
10. Heaven Go Easy on Me