Being an independent band these days is not easy, but when the going gets tough, Building Rome
knows how to get tougher.
Armed with an arsenal of Grammy worthy songs, this band of St. Louis rockers knows exactly where
IAE: Where are you from and who are some of your biggest musical influences?
JH: I’m from St. Louis Missouri, and have TONS of big musical influences. Growing up, I was a huge Green
Day, Weezer, Third Eye Blind, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, and Nirvana fan. But as I got older, more and
more music has influenced me. These days my favorite band is probably Alkaline Trio.
IAE: Take us through the creative process of producing a new song?
JH: There’s really no set way that I go about writing. Sometimes I might be messing around on my guitar and
randomly write a riff that I like. At that point I try to figure out what notes I could sing over it. So once I have a
riff and a basic verse melody, I’ll start thinking about the chorus, or possible structure of the song. I always try
to think of something that I wouldn’t normally think of? It’s hard to explain. But I really try and think “outside the
box” when writing songs. I think the hardest thing for me, originally, was keeping the lyrics cohesive. At this
point it’s a bit easier; maybe because I’ve had more life experiences? Lately I’ve been experimenting with tons
of different sounds. One thing that I’ve learned from working with the people I have, is that tones can make or
break a song. People are tired of the same old sounds, and I think that every song should have a sound that
sets it apart.
IAE: You released an album in the latter part of 2009 entitled “Nightmare.” What has been the most
difficult part about promoting the album from a D.I.Y. perspective?
JH: (Laughs) I think the whole D.I.Y. thing sucks!! But unfortunately, with the current climate of the music
industry, it’s a necessity. I think that money is the biggest issue when it comes to D.I.Y., which makes every
decision as important as eating. While it is harder to get signed than ever before, there are more ways to get
your music to fans, so that’s our focus. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the music business, and at this
point we have a team working full time to make this happen. I’m very grateful for that, because it takes a lot of
work off my shoulders. For a while I either did business, or music, and one of those areas would always suffer.
But now I can just focus on making music and performing. Overall, I think that every artist should be at the
forefront of their career. I say that because, there are so many aspects to this business, and you’ll wind up
getting screwed on multiple levels if you don’t know your way around the business. I think in a way, it’s a good
thing that I didn’t have some label come wipe us off our feet and make us famous over night. At least that’s
what I tell myself when I cry myself to sleep every night (laughs).
IAE: How do you book gigs and is there a tour coming soon?
JH: Our manager currently books most of our gigs. We used to book them all ourselves, which was difficult. It
really sucks that, in order to play music you have to also be a businessman. Thankfully, we now have a kickass
manager who does all of that for us. We’ve been playing a lot of weekend shows these last few months, and
this summer (2010) we’re going to kick it up a notch. Right now we’re waiting for Tom, our bass player, to
graduate from college in May (2010). After that, we’ll hit the road fulltime.
IAE: Where can people buy your music and keep up with you?
JH: iTunes seems to be the easiest place to get it, but fans can also get a physical copy of our current
release, “Nightmare,” on Bestbuy.com. I would recommend the physical copy because it has all of the lyrics,
and a big poster with the album cover. Plus CDs always sound better than mp3s! It also has the names of
almost 8,000 fans who signed up to be on the album.
IAE: What is your ultimate goal with your music career?
JH: I just want to make music for a living, for the rest of my life. Of course, I’d love to win a Grammy, rest of my
life. Of course, I’d love to win a Grammy, and give everyone who didn’t believe in me the middle finger too
(laughs). I would really love to play on some late night shows like Leno. I also want to sell a billion records and
play the first ever concert on the moon. That would be KILLER (laughs).
But the performing side is much more fulfilling for me because it’s a crazier and more spontaneous thing. It’s
great when people in the crowd are feeling what you’re saying, but it’s definitely NOT fun when people aren’t
feeling what you’re saying (laughing). But I do like both.
Copyright © 2009-2011 I Am Entertainment Magazine, a publication of NFluential Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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