Now celebrating their tenth anniversary, the aptly-titled Heart Attack Man are a bundle of energy who have been bouncing around the world and spreading their good vibes wherever they go. On a blistering hot day The Midlands Rocks found some shade and sat down with the band’s drummer Adam Paduch to get the dope on everything Heart Attack Man.
How has your 2000 Trees experience been so far?
It’s been great, our set went well, it was nice and early so the rest of the day is pretty relaxed and we managed to check out some cool bands, we’ve really been enjoying it.
What bands have you caught? Who has been highlights for you?
Militaire Gun have been really good, I split time with them and Joyce Manor, and they were great. I’ve seen Joyce Manor a bunch of times, but to catch them across the ocean, outside and to a ton of people was really fun to see. The same with Microwave, we’ve toured with them a ton of times, but to see them outside the States was really cool.
You were on stage at 2pm. How do you psych yourself up for an early show?
Coffee! After you’ve done this long enough, you know when you have to turn it on. Whether that’s two in the afternoon or midnight, you know that for those 30-minutes or whatever, you’ve got to turn it on and have fun and go and have a good time.
Do you approach club and festival dates differently?
Not really, we try to keep it consistent. I don’t like to put any extra pressure on a specific show, try to do the same things day in and day out, and if I do that then I know the show is going to go well.
Heart Attack Man hail from Cleveland. I wonder, how did that environment shape your sound?
Cleveland is a gritty, industrial environment, so I think that helped shape the harsh guitar tones. No matter how melodic and poppy our music can be, it also has a darkness to it, and in Cleveland we don’t get a lot of sunshine, there’s the skeleton of industry that’s left, suburbanisation has left the city soulless, and I definitely think that comes through in our guitar tones, and Eric’s lyrics. But then there’s also 30% of the days where the sun shines and that also comes out in our music.
So, what made punk a good outlet for you, rather than metal or hardcore?
I think it was because I grew up on the local punk scene, and before that I was listening to bands like Green Day, so I was always drawn to the punk world, and for some reason that just stuck with me so much more than metal or anything. I like metal bands as well, but punk was the first love of my life, and that has stuck with me into my mid-thirties, and I still love it just as much.
What is the punk scene like in Cleveland?
It is thriving right now. It was great when I was growing up, and it has consistently been pumping out really great bands. We have a couple of awesome spaces that are putting on shows, a new DIY venue space called the Prototype Collective, held in an old cold storage building, they’ve been having some really great show in there. I live right down the street from a bar called The Happy Dog that has a load of really good shows. Consistently over the years, if one venue goes down, another one pops up, one DIY space goes down, someone else picks it right back up, and it has been doing that since I was a teenager. And even before that I hear stories from older fellas about legendary venues, and I wish I could have experienced those. And those people from back then are still playing in bands and running venues, so it has been a really cool lineage to watch grow, be part of and see flourish.
When I think of American punk, I think New York, Washington DC and California, but never Cleveland, so I’m pleasantly surprised to hear it has such a thriving scene.
It’s underrated. A lot of people will just look at and think Integrity is from there, and think that’s the only band, but we have many other really tremendous bands. It doesn’t get the love of a DC, a New York, or a Boston, or a So Cal, but the people from the Midwest, we all know that Cleveland has had an awesome scene for a long time.
Maybe that’s why it’s had such a longevity, it kind of flew under the radar.
Yeah. Nothing ever blew up, peaked and then fell apart. It’s built for the long haul.
2023 is the band’s tenth anniversary. That’s a good time to take stock. How do you rate the past decade?
Man, 10 out of 10! It has been such an awesome ride. Being the opening band on tours and playing to no one who knew us, now we just came off our biggest US headliner yet, the record is doing really well so far. It has just been a lot of growth going from that band that no one knew to now, there’s been a lot of growing pains, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It has been such a fun experience. Going back to all the cities we played over and over again, and seeing how many kids come out and see us in St Louis now, and they’re coming to see us as headliners, it’s very fulfilling.
You should be very proud.
We are, and we don’t take it for granted. We know we’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to the point of where we’re at, there’s still a lot more hard work to come, and we don’t have any visions of stopping anytime soon.
After 2000 Trees you have a jaunt around the UK. What’s your survival plan, and how do you keep thing harmonious amongst yourselves in the van?
I am the “vibe maintainer” of the band, so whenever anybody is having any kind of problem, I’m the voice of reason. At the end of the day, we are here to play music for people which is a really cool thing to be doing with our lives, and sometimes it is easy to lose sight of that when you are going through the day-to-day rigours of touring, but I try my best to maintain the vibes, keep a level head, and keep my eye on the goal of what we are doing here, and that is to play the show. For some people it might be the best show they’ve seen all year. I remember being that kid going to see my favourite band and being blown away, and now we get to do that for kids. That’s a really cool feeling.
It feels as if you are passing the baton on to future generations.
Absolutely. We had a couple of people on the US tour, a parent coming up to us with their eight-year-old kid, telling us that this was their kid’s first ever show, and I hope that that kid went home and picked up the drums, a guitar, or took the CD home and listened to it, just like I used to do, buy the CD at the show, take it home and put it straight in the Walkman.
You recently released a new album, Freak Of Nature. How do you feel now it has bee out in the world awhile. Anything you’d like to go back and change?
For the first time in my life, I have recorded an album that I don’t want to go back and make any edits too. Every other time I’ve felt there was something I’d done differently. We had a producer on this record, not just an engineer/producer, we had both an engineer and a producer, and I think having them both there to flesh the ideas out and helped us make decisions on things. When I listen to the record, I’m very much proud of it and I wouldn’t change a thing.
You tried some new recording techniques on this album? Was that a reaction to previous releases or an extension?
I think it is an extension. Every record we’ve done, we’ve grown, the songs have got better, they’ve been similar sonically, but we just do that thing a bit better. I think in regards to the recording process, we’ve took what we’ve learned from our previous albums, and tried to do it better. We were working with an engineer who we’ve been working with in this band, and other bands, since high school, and having that comfort, and him knowing what we wanted and us knowing how he worked, made the studio feel homely, and when we recorded with him in high school, I dreaded recording, but now I love using the studio as a vehicle for creativity. That really comes out in the sounds, and we’ve learned so much over the years and that has made this album be exactly what we wanted it to be.
I was watching your Making Of documentary, Rigged In The Room, and it seems you are a very DIY type of band, printing your own merch etc., are you worried you won’t leave time for the music?
That worry hadn’t crossed my mind, but now I’m thinking about it [laughs]. It’s really more trying to stay on top of that work is what worries me, because it does seem to have grown quite a bit, which is a good thing problem to have, but now I might have to hire someone to help me out with this stuff. But in terms of the music, it just drives me more, when I come in the morning and I see how many orders I have to ship out, it just makes me want to produce more music for all these people who love what we are doing.
Working so close with your own art, be it music or apparel, how do you exercise editorial control?
It’s just being honest with each other. It’s tough, but we seem to manage.
After this tour’s finished, will you keep the band rolling or will you take some time out?
We have a month off, then we have two festival dates in the States, then we have three months off after that then we have a fall tour. We do have a little time to relax, because we did five weeks in the States before we are here for ten days. We’re kind of doing it all at once, which is definitely exhausting, but we’re going to push through it, then focus on our own lives for a little bit.
Finally, if I had a magic wand and could make any dream come true for Heart Attack Man, what would it be?
It would be to have a year long tour where we truly get to play everywhere we possibly can, every city where people exist. That’s the reason why I joined a band when I was younger. Other than playing the set, my favourite part is exploring the different towns we go to, I’m so happy to be back in the UK. I think last time I was here, I averaged 20,000 steps a day, just walking around the cities and enjoying them, being somewhere that is similar, but at the same time, so different than where we are from. I love the adventure. I think if we do anything in our lives, it should be to travel and see how other people live their lives, and I’d do it across the entire planet if I could.