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Coming Home with Hello June

(Photo Credit: Rafael Baker)

1. The opening single you led with for this album was "Interstate" a song about your father's addiction issues before his passing. Simply put, you are one of the most open and honest writers out there on the scene today. How does it feel to open yourself and let people in to raw emotions like this?

"That's a really great question. With such a difficult topic, it's really something that I had to challenge myself to think about and kind of work on being vulnerable to having those pieces of my life out there on display. It's funny because I just played a show in Baltimore and there was a woman in the front row that was crying. I looked at them and thought "Wow this person has heard my words and understand that pain". I think that connection and vulnerability makes everything worth it."

2. Your cover of "Take Me Home (Country Roads)" is one of my favorite. It's subdued and mellow. Can you speak a little as to why you chose this particular arrangement for the melody of it?

"Absolutely, I've heard a lot of people do this song just as you have. Living here in West Virginia or Appalachia in general there's a darkness or a hopelessness at times. A mix of the drug crisis and poverty has really hit people and pushed them down quite a bit. I hear people do the "Country Roads" song and I don't quite see, I know they're referring to West Virginia. I wanted to create a version that is more accurately placed. I wanted it to have a feeling of hope, but I didn't want to leave someone with a feeling of desperation in a song. I don't feel that it is speaking to the people of Appalachia. I wanted to convey some of that because there is such a strength that comes out of this area as well. You hear a lot of people covering this song and I felt I wanted to put a West Virginian spin on it."

3. You all recorded the LP in Nashville at Bell Tone Recording with producer Roger Alan Nichols. How was this different than your past experiences in recording?

"This time around we started this whole recording process during COVID. Hilariously this record took 3 years to get where we are now. At that point, I was really in a dark spot with everything up in the air. I had been in contact with Roger. I all of a sudden felt this sense of excitement that I had not felt in a while. For a while, I felt isolated and felt fine with that isolation. Roger was like "I want to get you in the studio and play around and see if we work together". We went down and recorded "Honey I Promise" as a trial run. I realized that he was so knowledgeable in certain areas. He pushed me in a way in my songwriting, he all of a sudden gave me this empowerment to improve my songwriting. This experience was extremely helpful in my songwriter, in actually saying what I want to say. I wanted this record to be a step up in song writing. The last record I don't think I was ready to be vulnerable. There's a lot of writing that's cryptic. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I just wanted this record to be different. He's been in this business for so long. He's been such a cheerleader for Hello June. "

4. The title of the album is Artifacts, in your bio you compare artifacts to memories that we take with us. Can you expand a bit on this for our readers?

"Coming up with a title for this record was kind of hard. I kept kind of talking around different things. When I'm looking for a title I play songs out and look for something that has different meanings for me. This record and the way that COVID displaced everything in our lives, it makes a conglomerate of songs. It's not a breakup album, I kept on being like "How do I wrap this up? It covers so much of my life". I realized that each of the high level aspects of the songs that these were past relationships and things that I can't get back. I thought about this board that I had in college where I would tack things up like pictures of family and music memories. I felt like this record was like that board. It was all of these people and circumstances that I was writing about. I think that as I keep moving through time I keep losing and gaining people. Gaining love and losing love. It's a constant in and out and changing of our scenarios. We don't lose any of that, we still have it it's within us. Artifacts was the best that came. I do feel happy with the name. It's so terrible to think that you've lost a person. Titling a record is hard and clearly I already used my self titled card haha."

5. What's next for Hello June?

"Great question. Well I've been thinking heavily about recording a live Hello June album. Whit and I have really been thinking about that. We feel really strongly about that. We also have enough songs for another record, so we'll likely be very quickly be releasing more new music. But we also have weird dreams of an alternative Patreon where we make songs for our fans that are outside the Hello June scope. We also want to tour, so I'm hoping that we can get a good team around us where that would make sense. Lot's of plans."

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