AVENUE

Q and A with Chadwick Johnson of Hundredth

By Brian Tucker

For Warped Tour 2017 Myrtle Beach, S.C. band Hundredth won’t be playing anything from their old albums. Those at the show will only hear songs from their recent release RARE, out on Hopeless Records. Long time fans of the melodic hardcore band might be disappointed but anyone new to the band likely won’t as the band veers towards an indie rock sound stronger on ambiance with layered music.

Singer Chadwick Johnson says it’s more in line with what the band would listen to at home or on tour, like The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, and shoegaze types of bands. When they began writing and recording Rare they turned to what they loved, writing with no boundaries with what he describes as what “just happened instinctively.”

The band played the new songs for the first time to a crowd on the first day of Warped Tour.

“It went really well. We’re playing all new songs, so we’re having a good time doing it,” Johnson said from Phoenix, Arizona where temperatures topped out at 115 degrees.

HUNDREDTH cd

The song “Suffer” reflects the ambiance of the new music.

Johnson: I think it’s who we are right now; we definitely loved playing (older) stuff back in the day. When a ten-year comes around for one of the records we’ll see what happens. But for now it just feels good and we’re relying on it how it feels. We don’t want to get up there and play songs that we hate. So we wanted to dive into something new.

You’ve been on Warped Tour before, was it a solid learning experience for the band?

We did Europe tours prior to Warped, but learned how to work as a team better, or else you’re going to get left behind. We learned to delegate duties and don’t rush through things. Warming up my voice for the first time on Warped, I think if I hadn’t back then, I probably would have blew out quickly. We definitely became more disciplined. You don’t think about drinking water, you’re passed out, you don’t get your gear ready, its out in the sun getting hot. There are a lot of small things we never had to focus on before on club tours, you have to take things more seriously.

How did a band from Myrtle Beach go from local band to making it – the old-fashioned way of tour, tour, tour?

That’s pretty much it. We started in 2009 with this sound and lineup. We played bars around Myrtle Beach but there wasn’t much there for us as far as a scene. We had some friends help us out with a tour and ended up out on the West Coast. We met the label that put out a couple of records for us, put us on tours. For a while we doing 200-250 shows a year, for five years. It was all small steps, no big explosion. A steady trudge up this hill. I like it that way.

Have fans been open to the change or has there been backlash?

There are bands that are always challenging their listeners – Radiohead, The Cure. I think it’s cool. I didn’t really know what to expect when we put the record out. I thought not a lot of people were going to go there with us. But, it’s been insanely surprising how open minded our fan base has been and how many new people have been honest with us, saying I wasn’t really a fan of your old stuff but I like the new stuff. It’s the best of both worlds. We’re taking some old fans with us and gaining new people. It’s a lot better than what we thought it would be. We didn’t know what to expect.

What did the label say when you said the band has a new sound?

I tried to warn them. I told them we’re cooking up a weird one. They just laughed it off, didn’t think it would be that different. One of the staff members came in the studio and didn’t believe it was us. They signed a hardcore band basically so they didn’t expect this. They’ve been really cool and gotten 100% behind the record and pushing us in new directions and really supportive.

Do you see the new album a slate wiper? Did you consider a new band name?

We thought about it for about ten seconds then we realized we’ve always prided ourselves on progression and doing new things and pushing the boundaries of who we can be. We eel like this is an example of that, this was the right thing to do. We built this thing from nothing, we were never handed anything, we grinded our way to the small level that we are now. It just seemed like it would be a dumb move, its just version 2.0.

The vocals are catchy and haunting, an interesting combination. 

I don’t sweat as much on tour, screaming my brains out for thirty minutes on stage. It was ten times more strenuous than our set is now. And its ten times more fun now, it’s weird.

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