Heart­felt band pumps up vol­ume with ded­i­ca­tion

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Music - By Michael Don­ahue

don­ahue@com­mer­cialap­peal.com

Drum­mer Jeremy McDon­ald, 15, wasn’t sure Here Lies Heart was ever go­ing to get off the ground. “I thought it was gonna be like some mid­dle school band: ‘Yeah, we’re a band, but we don’t prac­tice,’ ” he said.

McDon­ald soon dis­cov­ered his fel­low band mem­bers’ hearts were in it. Hence the name. “We’re not say­ing like a lit­eral heart ly­ing on the ground,” said lead singer Bret Max, 18. “Pic­ture a bunch of guys try­ing to do the best at what they do. Ded­i­ca­tion. Ev­ery­thing that the heart rep­re­sents, ba­si­cally.”

The band be­gan com­ing to­gether af­ter lead gui­tarist Austin Thomas, 18, moved to Mem­phis. Thomas is into “su­per heavy stuff,” Max said. “I was like, ‘If I’m gonna be in a band with him I’m gonna have to learn how to scream.’ ”

Max now has a “re­ally deep scream” and a higher “emo­tional” singing voice. “It’s a com­plete con­trast. What I’m go­ing for is to cap­ture ev­ery­thing emo­tion­ally.”

Rhythm gui­tarist David Lee, 21, was the first mem­ber added to the group. The for­mer lead singer of Paragon said, “It’s def­i­nitely a lot more melodic.”

Bassist Aaron Wil­liams, 19, is the new­est mem­ber.

The two had the right look, Max said.

“Ob­vi­ously, a big part of mu­sic to­day no mat­ter what genre you are is how you look,” Max said.

Max’s look caused him trou­ble in high school. “I was con­stantly crit­i­cized for my hair. Ap­par­ently, I’m sin­ful for my hair and my jeans. Tight pants. Then they found out I could play gui­tar and sing. They started ask­ing me to do ev­ery­thing. I played my grad­u­a­tion. I played Make-A-Wish. I played the tal­ent show.”

Things that bother Max fig­ure into his song lyrics. “At What Point Does CPR Be­come Necrophilia” con­cerns a young woman Max was in­ter­ested in. She got mad and started say­ing bad things about him af­ter he met his cur­rent girl­friend, he said. He tried to sal­vage the friend­ship, but he couldn’t. “You can try to save some­body, but even­tu­ally they’re dead. And that’s it. So you have to let it go.”

MIchael Don­ahue/The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

“A bunch of guys try­ing to do the best at what they do,’’ says singer Bret Max (third from left), with Aaron Wil­liams, Austin Thomas, Jeremy McDon­ald and David Lee.

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