Corporate Hearts Interview

We recently got the chance to interview Zack and Craig of the folk punk band Corporate Hearts. Check out their music here and the full interview below.

Describe yourself in 3 songs.

Zack: “Loser,” “Basket Case,” “Creep” (by TLC)

How did Corporate Hearts start?

We were both in a band with one of our best friends on drums. When he moved away to West Virginia for work in 2010 we decided to change our name to Corporate Hearts and carry on as a two-piece rather than try to audition a bunch of people we probably wouldn’t like to play drums. The idea from the beginning was pretty simple: Make the same kind of melodic punk rock we would make with a full band but with acoustic guitars. And the acoustic thing was really just out of necessity and convenience. It was the quickest way for us to get a new project off the ground and start playing shows. The main mission for us has always been just to make catchy songs with interesting lyrics.

What ideas, bands, etc do you find most influential in your music?

As far as musical influences you can actually hear in our songs, bands like Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, The Gaslight Anthem, The Gamits and Banner Pilot have always been big for us.

We’re also really into songwriters like Paul Westerberg, Elvis Costello, Jason Isbell, Warren Zevon and Justin Townes Earle, to name a few. Those are people who kind of transcend genre and just write great songs.

Also, we’re both huge hip-hop fans, which, believe it or not, has an influence on our approach to lyric-writing in the way that we focus on honing each line and structure a lot of our lyrics almost like set-ups and punchlines.

Beyond that, bands like A Wilhelm Scream and Dillinger Escape Plan are inspiring in just how consistently awesome they are and how committed they are to quality.

Favorite lyric of yours?

Zack: “You are an angel, you are a saint/But I gave up in grade school on the Catholic faith”

Craig: “Once you’ve seen this a thousand times, you become desensitized/But maybe you and I could go for a drive tonight”

What’s your creative process like?

Craig: The initial inspiration for a song always comes from a single line or melody that pops into my head at a completely random time. Then I have something to work with. If I sit down with nothing and say, “Time to write a song!” I will either stare at a blank page for an hour or write something that makes me question why I ever called myself a songwriter in the first place.

Zack: Most of the time, we’ll each write songs on our own and then come together to fine-tune them. We’ll each record demos and show them to each other and give feedback. A lot of times one of us will bring a song that’s almost finished but is missing some lyrics or needs harmonies or a bridge and then we’ll work on finishing it together.

Do you see yourself in relation to a certain scene or community that influences your music?

Zack: We kind of came up in the Philadelphia punk scene, but we’re from the suburbs so we were never completely entrenched in it. A lot of the bands we came up with lived together in South Philly and hung out with each other all the time. It wasn’t really like that for us, though the vast majority of people we’ve encountered over the years have been really welcoming. We’ve gotten to play a lot of cool shows in and around Philly and we’ve made a lot of good friends. These days, Craig lives in Chicago and I live in the Philly suburbs, so we’re not really as connected to any one scene.

Craig: That being said, I have played a few solo shows in Chicago, and I go to as many shows as I can, and I have already met some of the kindest, most creative, and most open-minded people I’ve ever known. I think Corporate Hearts would fit in perfectly here.

What place do you miss the most right now?

Craig: Well, since I moved to Chicago a couple years ago, I can take this one. I love this city, but Philly has been so important to me throughout my life. We grew up going to Phillies games. We grew up playing and going to shows there. I’ve started and ended relationships there. I still have a lot of friends there. Philadelphia will always have a special place in my heart.

I also miss the Jersey Shore and being able to hop in my car and be in Asbury Park in less than an hour. And on that note, I miss Asbury Lanes. We all miss Asbury Lanes.

Last dream you had?

Zack: I can’t even remember the last dream I had, but the scariest dream I ever had involved me being chased by a murderous nun and not being able to scream.

Have you ever put a hex on someone/something?

Zack: Not to my knowledge, but not for lack of trying.

What’s next for you?

We’re working on writing new music. Making our last record, “The Shreds,” was kind of an intense process so it’s taken us a little while to start up the writing process again, but we’re getting there. We’re also hoping to meet up in Chicago to play some shows out there at some point.

Amanda Glazer is a DJ and Online Content Director for Record Hospital