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Interview

Heart Attack Man Feel Like A “Freak Of Nature” On New Album

heart-attack-man-2023
Photo via Big Picture Media

Heart Attack Man‘s third studio album Freak Of Nature is officially OUT! The Cleveland-based punk rock outfit have been teasing this record for a few months, dropping several incendiary singles, including the title track, “Freak Of Nature”, “Stick Up”, and “Like A Kennedy”. All three tracks leading up to the album release are absolutely fantastic, it is wild to think the record as a whole holds even stronger songs. Heart Attack Man has been at it for a while, gaining an incredibly dedicated fanbase over the years. The most impressive feat in this album release has been the fact that all three singles have taken the top spots on streaming services for the band, knocking out their previous popular songs, and proving Freak Of Nature to be something very special.

This album is all about embracing the weird and brandishing your differences like a weapon. It is an anthem for the outcasts, celebrating the beauty of feeling out of place and thriving in that sentiment. Growing up is strange, and awkward, and it’s okay to have no clue what the hell you’re doing sometimes. At the end of the day, we are all just trying to figure it out.

idobi had the pleasure of catching up with lead singer Eric Egan to discuss the ins and outs of Freak Of Nature. We chat about this album being the band’s first independent release, which songs they are most excited to play live, what the writing process was like, and so much more. Read all about it below!

Hey guys! Huge congrats on the new album! I was super stoked to have the chance to hear it early. It’s really fantastic, and I have totally been jamming it for like 3 days straight. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat about it!

Thank you, I’m glad you like it.

Some songs on the album are more stripped back than others, such as “God Called Off Today” and “Practiced In The Mirror.” Is this something you intentionally think about during the writing process? Or do you decide which songs will be full-band and which ones won’t be later on in the studio? 

I decide it beforehand. There’s not much of a thought process beyond what is gonna make the song sound the best and contextually where it’s gonna be placed in the track listing. As I’m sure our fans are well aware of, I’m a fan of when the lyrics don’t match the “normal” expectation of what a song should be about just based on the instrumental, so instrumental intensity doesn’t necessarily always guide the subject matter for me. 

 Your previous release Thoughtz & Prayerz seems to have more anger and aggression than Freak Of Nature. Freak Of Nature certainly has its wonderfully hostile moments, but overall feels more upbeat. Do you think the process of making the EP was cathartic in a way which allowed you to express different emotions both lyrically and instrumentally on this record? 

Yeah, definitely, I’m really glad Thoughtz & Prayerz was an EP. It was very cathartic, but I feel like a full album of that vibe would have run the risk of being a bit exhausting and redundant. Plus, in hindsight, I think it ended up building up more anticipation for this full length. I will say, however, that we pushed and toured off of that five-song EP like it was a full-length. That EP was a lot more substantial and solid than the run-of-the-mill rock album being released these days—it’s five really killer songs, and most bands are lucky to have two tracks actually worth a damn and offering any urgency on an album. 

Which song was written first for this album, which was written last and which is your personal favorite? 

“Freak Of Nature” was first.

“9 On Your Bedside” was finished last because I rewrote the lyrics in the studio.

My personal favorite right now is “Like A Kennedy”. 

Are there any specific songs you are most excited to play live and why? 

“C4” because it’s gonna be very high energy. But also “Late To The Orgy” because it will be chill and I’ll get to relax.

Freak Of Nature is your first independent release. Is that exciting? Nerve-racking? Did you feel a sense of freedom in comparison to your other releases? 

It’s very exciting! That’s been the plan for a while now, and I entertained some conversations with new record labels that were interested, but let’s be real: in 2023, virtually all record labels are just glorified poachers that are banking on finding something already successful that they don’t have to do any work to develop, mostly by way of monitoring TikTok and finding some poor bastard that doesn’t know any better/know how the game works or doesn’t have any confidence.

We’re lucky to have a good relationship with our former record label, but I’ve seen so many people get chewed up and spat out. Remember: it’s the business of music, not the music business. Answering the latter part of your question, I don’t feel any more or any less creatively free than before. Freedom and integrity as an artist has always been very important to me and from the rip, I’ve let it all fly with my lyrics. 

You co-wrote quite a bit with lil aaron during this process. What was it like working with him? Was this your first time collaborating outside of the band while writing? What was he able to offer to your writing process as someone who has released more “emo-rap” style tracks?

Aaron is the real deal, and time will prove him to be among the most important producing and songwriting forces of our generation. It was awesome working with him, and really helped us broaden our songwriting horizons by breaking me out of my normal habits. It might be an unlikely collaboration outside looking in since we came up in different lanes, but we have so much in common, we click really well, and he really helped offer a new perspective and energy that can only come about from doing something fresh. 

Your band has quite the persona online.  Does this come naturally to you, or do you ever feel pressured to perform in that aspect to keep up with the “bit”? 

I was born a troll, and I’ll die a troll.

What’s the story behind the cover art for Freak Of Nature? The two-headed dog is known as Orthrus in Greek mythology. Is there any correlation to the narratives in the album that inspired you to choose this imagery? 

It didn’t have anything to do with Greek mythology, but I was very inspired by reading about the grotesque dog experiments by Vladimir Demikhov. That led me to want to tie the concepts of isolation and freakishness together by means of employing this dog motif that appears repeatedly throughout the album. 

A lot of your lyricism is culturally and politically charged—such as your commentary on gun violence through “Stick Up.” Do you intentionally create politically charged music, and why do you feel it necessary for your band to be a part of the conversation? 

“Stick Up” wasn’t intended to be a meta-narrative about gun violence on my end. But if people have arrived there, then I support people using their brains how they want to. I don’t know if everyone’s ready for my comprehensive take on guns yet. All I will say is the U.S. government, and their various agencies of law enforcement, have demonstrated time and time again they are incompetent, corrupt, and short-sighted. So, I think entrusting them with a monopoly on firearms might be a bad idea. But then again, I’m just some 30-year-old dude in a band from Ohio. I don’t have all the answers and will never pretend to.

Anyways, “Stick Up” was written from the mindset of demanding more out of life for myself through a bank robbery metaphor. I don’t seek out to create politically charged music, I just want to write lyrics that actually mean something and have some bite. Everything has been said before, and I don’t want to bore people with stale takes with generic rhymes and bars. And if I run out of things to say, then I will lay down and die. 

 What’s your biggest source of inspiration outside of worldly issues? Do you find inspiration in movies, books, music as well?  

Oh yeah, for sure—art doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We’re all inspired by so much different shit. I’m not a huge movie guy. I mostly just watch educational YouTube videos if anything— but I’ve been inspired by movies before. A lot of people that make music aren’t interesting enough to be an endless well of compelling life experiences to write about. I think it’s very important for artists and fans for artists to be inspired by other stuff. It doesn’t have to all be so intensely personal. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

To all of our young fans reading this: you’re growing up in a really whack and bizarre timeline. You are all so strong whether you realize it or not. I just wanna remind you all to never stop improving and carving out the best life you can for yourself.

 
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