Q & A With Mike Bress From Hearts & Hand Grenades

Q & A With Mike Bress From Hearts & Hand Grenades

XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?

Hearts & Hand Grenades has just released our third EP ‘Adrenaline’. It consists of four hard rock tracks that we are extremely happy with and feel this is our best work yet. Pick your copy up today or stream it every major platform.


XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?

This band has been together for just a little over one year. We started the idea of putting this band together in March of 2019. One short year has already yielded three EP’s that we are very proud of.


XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?

We had just performed at a local Telethon right before the Goo Goo Dolls. Robby Takac approached us after our set and asked us to record our music at his studio GCR. We took his advice and the rest is history. We had been playing in cover bands for the past eight years and felt it was time to bust into the original scene.


XS ROCK: What is your music background?

I started out playing keys at a young age, but always wanted to learn the guitar. After playing classical piano for about eight years or so, I took a break to figure out my life. It wasn’t until I had money in my early twenties that I was able to pick up my first affordable guitar and try it out. It didn’t take me long to figure the instrument out with all of the experience I had playing the piano. The transition was seamless. A few years later I joined my first band playing keys and rhythm guitar and here we are today.


XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?

There is definitely a darkness to our music. I’m not saying we are devil worshippers or anything like that. The lyrical content covers topics of hopelessness, loss, and anger among other things. These types are things are easier to write about with the type of music we play. I mean, can you imagine writing songs about happiness and flowers with the heavy riffs that are laced in our music? It just doesn’t go together.


XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?

We would love to get a tour going before the end of the year. The Covid 19 virus is doing everything it can to prevent that at this point. But, if things get better, that will be the first thing we do to get things moving again. Ultimately, we want what every aspiring original band wants. We would love to be picked up by a record label and have a management team behind us to grow the band.


XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?

Definitely playing in front of a live audience. Recording music is definitely fun but it is nothing like the rush you get from playing live. When you have your fans head banging, fist pumping, and singing along to music that you created, there is no better feeling. You can stand on that stage, engage the whole audience, and just own the moment. There is no comparison in my opinion.


XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Our lyrical themes are driven by hopelessness, loss, anger, defeat, and other such topics in that realm. We thrive on creating songs that fit the mold of the music that goes along with the lyrics. Every song we have created tells its own unique story. Some of these stories are fictional and some are not.


XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?

At this point in my musical career, growing this original band is at the top of my list. We have poured every ounce of energy we have into creating this music and want nothing but great success with it. If we can make some people happy when they listen to the music, we have done our jobs.


XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.

The only one I have was actually at a local gig. I was working on a floor monitor and when I stood up, I split my pants from the top of the front to the top of the back. I had no spare pants to put on and had to think quick as the show must go on. I decided to duct tape my pants together from the inside to hold them together. This seemed like a great idea at first until the sticky part of the tape started moving and sticking to things other then my pants. You want to talk about pain! Note to self, bring extra pants to gigs from now on!


XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?

We haven’t really had anyone really ask for anything strange other then perhaps a song request. We are a hard rock band to the core and we actually had requests to play Brittany Spears. Are you kidding me? What part of this looks like we play that? It was such an off the wall request. So, during the break… we quickly learned the chord progression for ‘Hit me baby one more time’. You should have seen the look on everyone’s face when we pulled it off.


XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?

Everyone is very supportive. We could not ask for a better group of people to help us along the way. They come to every show, support us on social media, and we just couldn’t do it with out them. Every band starting out needs fans and why not be the people closest to you to give you that nudge in the right direction.


XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?

Just go for it. Do not listen to anyone telling you that you are not good enough or you will never make it anywhere. That type of negativity is what I thrive on. I really enjoy being told no and coming back to prove them wrong time and time again. If you feel like you have what it takes to do something with your music, then just do it. You miss 100 percent of the chances you don’t take.


XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?

Personally, I love Adrenaline off of our third EP and Nothing Left off of our second EP the best. I can sit in that power stance and just chug along on those heavy chords and bang my head to every beat. For me, there is no better feeling. Seeing the crowd joining in the fun is just as satisfying.


XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?

There are too many to mention only one. The big ones over the years have been AC/DC, Judas Priest, and Metallica. I started out playing their music and I certainly have drawn influences from them along the way. There are modern bands which also have played their role in making our band what it is today as well. Korn, System of a Down, and Avatar are a few more that deserve mention. Their stage shows are amazing, and we strive to bring that kind of energy in our live shows.


XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?

I’d love to tour with Judas Priest and Avatar. The flavors of rock and metal between all three bands would be fantastic. Priest would bring the classic traditional forms of rock, we would bridge the gap between rock and metal, and Avatar is just metal.


XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?

So far, I think just putting out three EP’s in a short amount of time, could even be if clumped together, our first full album. We had no idea when we first started writing our own music if people would even like it. As it turns out, they did. This motivated us to continue and here we are today with twelve songs that fit the mold of who we are today.


XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?

I would be a computer nerd. Why do I say that? Because I am one. We haven’t quite reached the point of superstardom. All of us have to get up at the butt crack of dawn every day and march our asses to work. I would rather wake up and say, What kind of music shall we write today? The reality is, until you can sustain a living just playing music, you have to supplement your income somehow.


XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?

I personally love my Ibanez guitars. I can get them to scream anytime I want. I have never played another brand of guitar that just obeys your commands like an Ibanez does. I prefer playing out of a Mesa Boogie head and cab but most times that is way to overpowering for some of the size gigs we play. In these other cases I tend to stick with my trusty Fender DeVille. As far as effects pedals go, I prefer to stick with Boss single effects pedals. A good ole blues driver, reverb, and delay pedal are enough to get the job done.


XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?

In Buffalo, the original music scene is the equivalence of dirt under your fingernail. The cover scene is Buffalo is much larger and preferred at ninety plus percent of venues. You can imagine how difficult it is to progress as an original band locally. How do you get around this? You either have to mix your original songs in with cover songs or you have to get out of dodge to get some real shows.


XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?

We are four ordinary musicians that came together to create something amazing. The music has been received very well. We have the only female bass player in the entire city that also performs the duties of lead vocals. I believe our sound is very unique. Along with the hard rock riffs and face punching anthems, we supplement the lead vocals with harmonies and backup vocals not typical with this kind of music.


XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?

We just dropped our third EP ‘Adrenaline’ on May 1st. You can stream it on all digital streaming platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube as well as download on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, Etc. Take a listen and we hope you like our music as much as we did creating it.


XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!


Social Media Links: