Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever heard of Forlorn Hope? Neither had we until about a week ago, when some of their music found its way to our Artist of the Week inbox. Sometimes we have to be coaxed into picking a band for the slot, one of those "It'll Grow On You" type of situations, like drinking dry red wine or raising children. This, with this particular fivesome, this big yet intimate, exciting yet somber modern-rock thuderstorm, was the opposite of that.
It took hearing all of about 14 seconds of "Blink," a windswept, excessively emotional bit of new-era near-shoegaze, before we knew we'd be contacting them for an interview. And when it was over, that's we did.
Rocks Off: First, tell everyone everything they need to know about Forlorn Hope in exactly six words.
Forlorn Hope: Melodic, Hook-Laden, Rock and Roll.
RO: Next question: Who broke your heart? Because, man, "Leave Me" sounds pretty sincere.
FH: Well, I've had my heart broken many times, and you can hear undertones of that in a lot of our songs. But "Leave Me" in particular is about an old friend of mine. We parted ways, it was ugly. I was angry, but in that anger, I still prayed for restoration, over time. That still hasn't happened, but I'm hopeful.
RO: How much longer is it going to be before a video for "Blink" pops up that starts with you, looking all broken and beaten, standing in a kitchen in a muscle shirt, staring out of a window directly above the sink, singing to no one in particular?
FH: Yeah, that sounds like a bad country video. Probably Kenny Chesney or someone pretty like that. No, we haven't had any offers for video's just yet, but I'm sure when we do, we'll shoot for something a little less cliched.
RO: Seriously, "Blink" is a wonderfully emotional song. Surely there is an interesting backstory there. Care to share?
FH: Well thanks. "Blink" is a song written out of fear. I was about to be a dad, and saw my wife going through so much trouble to bring this little girl into the world. It was a cry for direction in being a father, and being responsible for another life. It's a reflection on how my wife and I were led to be together. It's a love song for the romantic. Anyone who's decided to take the plunge knows that love is a choice. For me, the choice was obvious.
RO: A hypothetical: Have you seen that movie The Box, the one where the people get to get a million dollars if they push a button, but if they push it, someone in the world will die? Let's say you guys were put in that same situation, except instead of getting a million dollars, you get 100 cheeseburgers, and instead of someone dying, your drummer gets punched in the head. Do you push that button?
FH: Never seen the movie. But without hesitation, I'd punch that button. Have you seen our drummer? I promise, if I chose against the cheeseburgers, I'm the one getting whacked. #weloveussomecheeseburgers.
RO: Is the previous question the worst, most unnecessary interview question you all have ever been asked?
FH: Filler. Plain and simple. But now you have me hungry for a cheeseburger. Shame, shame, shame.
RO: Oh, this probably should've come first, but are you guys a non-secular rock band? Because that "We Are Saved" track would seem to imply so.
FH: I wouldn't call us a non-secular rock band. I would say we are a rock band. But we write about life, and all that is wrapped up in that four-letter word. Our faith is important to us, as it is to most people (regardless of your religion), and so sometimes we write about it.
But our lyrics are honest about tension and strife, hope and redemption and that weaves us all together. It's been said that "music is the window to the soul." It moves people emotionally, and connects people to experience. That is what we are about.
RO: Anything else you want to make sure gets mentioned?
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FH: Thanks for asking. Two of us band mates are currently adopting two boys from Ethiopia. We are passionate about taking care of orphans both locally and globally. We are playing as mid-game entertainment for the Houston Aeros on October 15. Tickets from that game will help raise funds for adoption.
Watch Forlorn Hope make everyone cry at Fitzgeralds (downstairs) September 17. Other bands on the bill include Day Sailor and AThousandColours. Listen to some of Foirlorn Hope's music here.