Heartfelt band pumps up volume with dedication
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.”
“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.