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The Half-Hearted, Not For The Faint Of Heart

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Half Hearted - Shoot The Stars


"Being in a band right now just makes sense". So says Nathan Buckley, co-founder of Downtown's-by-way-of-Echo Park The Half-Hearted. Maybe it's the economy, the last eight years, or the fact that the Nobel Peace Prize is apparently less difficult to recieve than student of the month, but we're inclined to agree - it's either that or take up painting.

Enter The Half-Hearted. Formed from the detritus of Silverlake's The Rattlesnakes (who broke up in 2003), and fueled by the breakups, transitions and other assorted difficulties of early onset adulthood as experienced by the band's members, their self proclaimed (and admittedly, somewhat snarking) mission is "mend the hearts of the hurt and failing world around us". Ambitious, and understandable given the times in which we live. They're making their live debut tonight at Pehrspace, and Nathan and Co-founder Valentina Silva were nice enough to submit to rigorous LAist questioning beforehand.

LAIST: A few of you used to play together in The Rattlesnakes. Do you feel there's a sense of continuity between that band and The Half Hearted? How do the two projects differ?

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Nathan Buckley: The Rattlesnakes were operating on a related, but completely different emotional plane. We were broken and hurt and angry. Now we're in a state where we're optimistically looking forward, for hope and recovery.

LAIST: How did The Half Hearted come together?

NB: Growing up we all were huge fans of a band called Tummy Ache*, which Valentina sang and wrote for. When thinking about how to relate our feelings and music with conviction, this seemed like the perfect pairing.

Valentina: I think aside from the logistics, we came together because we all get the same musical references. We grew up in a great time in LA, when you could go see an amazing band for $5 or even open for one at the Jabberjaw or the Macondo. We come from the same place in a lot of ways even if we don’t all love the same bands or have the same exact influences.

LAIST: The show at Pehrspace is [The Half Hearted's] first live show, correct? How long have you been together?

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NB: It will be - Six months ago we sat down to our very first practice, and it was just me, Valentina, and Candice singing along to an acoustic guitar. Eric, my brother, and old band mate, came along to drum about three months ago. He's not even really a drummer, but he understands what we think and feel; so everything comes out just the way we like it.

LAIST: The three song's you've posted to your website are really great, (especially Shoot The Stars, BTW), particular taking into consideration that you recorded them in a bathroom. Can you talk a little about them?

Valentina: I think we just wanted to create a mood with our songs. I can’t speak for everyone, but I always want equal parts messy and pretty in a song. Lyrically, I wanted to convey how weird and uncertain things are right now, and how everyone I know is trying to figure themselves out.

LAIST: Is your songwriting a collaborative process, or the province of one or two of you?

Valentina: For the most part, me and Nathan have been coming up with the beginning concepts. Nathan writes music and then I write the melody and lyrics. Nathan's a great songwriting partner--he writes such pretty stuff, so I'm always challenged to do it justice.Then we all work on shaping it and making it a real song at practice. Candice is really amazing with her harmonies and experimental guitar work. Eric wrote the music for our newest song, which is pretty fantastic. All three of them are amazingly intuitive musicians.

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LAIST: You state that your mission is to "mend the hearts of the hurt and failing world around us". Maybe it's the bitterness of having lived through the Bush years, but there seems to be a lot of that going around. Do you consider that a political statement as well as an emotional one? Do you consider yourselves romantics? Can you elaborate?

Valentina: Well, there was a lot of sarcasm in that stated goal, but at the same time, I think we’re hoping for a little more optimism. It’s been a tough decade, and this year has been no joke. Everyone I know is in period of transition, and so in a way it was a great time to start a band and funnel that energy into something more positive. I know Nathan has said this, and I totally agree - being in a band just makes sense right now.

LAIST: Finally, what's next for you after [the Pehrspace show]?

NB: We're going up to Olympia to record our debut EP with Pat Maley of the legendary YoYo a Gogo. This is a huge deal for us. We all grew up listening to the stuff he put in our ears. In a lot of ways, he's responsible for some huge bands being well known to us as teenagers. We are beside ourselves with excitement!

The Half Hearted play tonight at Pehrspace, with Sea Worthy and Space Waves.