Since forming The Hero and The Victor more than five years ago, Gabriel Clark (guitar, vocals), David Mendoza (guitar, vocals), Tyler Hegner (bass, vocals), and newcomer Brad Reeves (drums) have collectively earned a name for themselves as one of Santa Barbara’s most hard-working, hard-rocking, and thoroughly talented musical outfits. Combining in-your-face vocals with complex instrumental soundscapes, the foursome gained plenty of well-deserved buzz outside their beachfront homestead with 2005’s full-length debut, The Villainy of the Ordinary. With their new, energetic self-titled album, The Hero and The Victor adventurously take the listener on a sonic journey, proving that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well here in Santa Barbara. The band will triumphantly return to SOhO next week for a CD release party promoting the record. The guys recently discussed the upcoming show, their role in the community, and what it was like to tour in Japan. Here’s what the band had to say, as relayed by Mendoza.
What’s the craziest thing we can expect to see occur on the night of the album release? Well, we are planning a few surprises this time out. We really want people to come away with an experience that’s worth coming out for. The last time we played SOhO, we had a good time and one of us ended up in the rafters. We are bringing some good bands and good friends to the show, and fun stuff usually happens when we are surrounded by friends and are excited to be there as fans ourselves. I don’t know if one of us is going to end up in the rafters again, but we are looking forward to being back and getting the CD out there. But we really can’t divulge any real secrets, so come to the show and see for yourself.
How did you approach creating and recording this collection of new songs? This album is definitely a little bit of a departure for us. A lot happened to us in a short time span, and this album reflects that. Our longtime drummer and good friend bowed out of the band about a month before we decided to make this album. We had a bunch of odds and ends and songs we needed to get out of our system, so another good friend stepped in to play drums with us. At that moment in time we were really trying different things and having someone different on drums opened up our sound a bit. We also enlisted Tim Beutler of Oso to record and help us produce this album, which was a first as well. We really went into some new territory during the process. : Working harder than ever with new blood led to [the whole thing being] written and recorded in only 100 working hours.
With so many great musicians in the commuÂ-nity-and you guys being such a central part of that-what are your thoughts on the future of the Santa Barbara music scene? That’s a good question. We have always been locally minded and interested in making a community out of the music here. We think having more venues dedicated to playing original music would benefit everyone involved, and perhaps the scene in S.B. could become more supportive and a little more organized. We have always been of the mindset that “what is good for another band is good for us,” meaning we honestly really try to support local bands and music. We really appreciate musicians doing their thing in this town. Our music sounds the way it does, but that doesn’t mean it is the only kind of music we like. Usually, if it is honest music, we are into backing it. We have put many bands passing through town up for the night, and in return we have made some good friends and gotten to know some great bands.
You also recently toured Japan. What was that experience, musically and culturally, like? It was one of the best experiences we have ever had. The clubs there are really geared to the performers and they really make you feel welcome. The people were courteous, professional, and very welcoming, and the local bands are amazing. We would go back in a heartbeat : Saiko!
Finally, in 10 words or less, describe the sound of The Hero and The Victor to someone who just time traveled from the year 1957. It’s just like a ride on Sputnik with Lucille Ball.
The Hero and The Victor will be at SOhO alongside Get Up, Get Down and Springtime Is Wartime on Thursday, October 25, at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes a copy of the band’s new CD. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for details.