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HEAVY ON THE HEART

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW HEAVY ON THE HEART. WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you 

Costas: I’ve always been around music. My dad played guitar. He’d always have Elvis on around the house. My cousin first introduced me to bands like KISS, Motley Crue, Poison & Maiden. I always drew interest to it but I wasn’t really hooked until I got “Enema of the State” by blink-182 for my 10th birthday from a friend when I knew that I wanted to play music and be in a band. That was definitely a pivotal point for me. I got my first guitar and I never put it down.

Nikki: I’ve been singing since before I can even remember. Music is just a part of my soul at this point. Without music as an outlet to express myself I feel I would be nothing. 

Introduce us to you all and your musical history.

Costas: I initially wanted to play drums but my parents weren’t having that, haha. I quickly pivoted to guitar. My parents bribed me. They told me if I took piano lessons, that they would buy me a guitar. I was hesitant but I wanted to play guitar so bad, I took the lessons. It was years later that I grew to appreciate playing the piano, but not at first.

My first guitar was this old red Stratocaster I found in the trash walking home from school, haha. I brought it home and my dad helped fix it and set it up. The following Christmas, I was gifted an Epiphone which hangs on the wall in my office today.

What was life like for you before music?

Nikki: I can’t tell you what my life was like before music, but I have tell you what my life was like during my “break” from music. 

When I was 18 I was in a very bad car accident, broke my spine, crushed my larynx amongst a few other injuries. I actually happen to be an opera singer prior to this car accident.

I was in the hospital for a long extended period of time and due to what the accident did to my larynx my voice never sounded the same again. I gave up on singing and never wanted to sing again. Eventually I became a shower singer and a car singer and was completely okay with that. (Kind of)  

After 12 years of not singing publicly, I mustered up the strength and confidence (with a massive push from people around me) I posted a little TikTok of me singing and felt kind of liberated again. 

Then I decided I wanted to write/record a song for Christmas as a gift to my boyfriend at the time. So I reached out to someone I knew that would help me with that. Just so happened to be Costas. We had a blast writing and recording together and at the end of that project I told him if he ever wanted to do more I would absolutely love to.

I have to say a huge reason I have alot of the confidence I have now around singing I owe to him. He really believed in me and helped me see that my dreams weren’t dead. So we worked on a solo project for a while together and through all the ups and downs in life heavy on the heart was born and I will never look back. I was missing a huge piece of who I was as an individual. I will never go a day again without bursting out into song and being proud of what I can do. 

Costas: Life hasn’t been easy for me. I come from a really broken home. There were great moments but most are distorted by the reality. Music was always an escape for me. It was the best therapy I had ever known. I was kicked out of my house when I was 15 and spent some time living on the streets. One of the first purchases I made was this little crappy acoustic guitar that would play a dead note on the 5th fret of the G string, haha.

But that guitar kept me sane throughout that whole experience. I can’t even remember life before music like that & I think because it’s been so long & because I wanted to block those times out of memory.

HEAVY ON THE HEART

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

Nikki: My father always played Garth Brooks growing up, and I absolutely loved country music. I fell in love with everything about it and I started to try to sing every genre and pitch that I could. 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

Costas: I don’t necessarily know if it was a song as much as a band. I always caught myself humming to the Elvis songs my dad played around the house & I really was interested in the bands my cousin would show me. But blink-182 was the first band I felt this connection with. It eventually grew into other bands and forms of music, but there was something about that band that resonated with my soul.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

Costas: I’m a little fish in a big pond, haha. Which is quite alright. I enjoy the process. I enjoy the start of the new band. I’m happy having something to present to the world for them to do what they want with it.

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

Nikki: I think the most valuable thing I have learned is to truly and unapologetically be true to who you are and you will shine. It’s easy to just be yourself and you will go great things. 

Costas: Enjoy the ride. The industry is filled with perpetual highs and lows and you need to learn to somehow find appreciation for both of them. Just enjoy the ride and work at it each and every day. 

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

Nikki: I have been skydiving, I’m a mom, I’ve been to 30 countries

Costas: My favorite color is purple, I have 2 dogs & 2 cats, I have never done drugs or alcohol.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

Nikki: my answer is going to be out of the ordinary for this one. I wish I had a full time traveling babysitter so that could take my son with us everywhere and never have to worry because he would be with me watching mama rock out. 

Costas: Probably a manager.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

Costas: I think it’ll always be a worry for everybody or anybody in some sort of a spotlight. I tend to not worry about it too much, because I am surrounded by good people, with good & honest intentions. I also conduct myself in a professional & genuine manner. Truthfully, I myself been a victim of sexual assault when I was younger & would never want to be the one to leave those scars on anybody else.

I do this for love and genuine connections. I would never want to be forced into something I’m not comfortable with and would never want to force anyone into anything. I think being honest with people and your intentions is the only way to be. 

Nikki: I think this goes hand and hand with being true to yourself. Just be you and you have nothing to worry about. Everyone these days is about “putting on a show” to impress people and I things that’s where they mess up. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

Nikki: No. I have to many things going on in my true reality to worry about things that aren’t personally affecting me and my world. 

Costas: haha, honestly not really. I tend to fall down into some rabbit holes and always catch myself laughing at some of the stuff people post and believe. I’m definitely not locked in my house with a tinfoil hat waiting for the world to end. But it is fun to spend a little time with them.

What was the worst experience on stage?

Nikki: This is a slight throw back and very embarrassing to even share but I hope whomever is reading this gets a good laugh. 

When I was in high school singing I had a solo during a concert and I had to step down for a bow. Well my show got stuck in the riser and I tumbled from the top riser and my neck landed on the grand piano (the first time I crushed my throat, can’t make this up) and passed out.

Well I got taken out on a stretcher infront of about a thousand people and I was mortified. But I live to tell the tale. I don’t know if anything can top that one. (Knock on wood) 

Costas: I once had severe food poisoning at a show in Philly with my old band. I was literally throwing up in a garbage can behind my amp. Once we got off the stage I ended up taking the van to the emergency room because I just wouldn’t stop throwing up. I got through the set, but boy was that rough.

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.

Nikki: Nikki- animal activist

⁃ Costas- has a huge heart 

⁃ Nick- blasts Oliva Rodrigo 

⁃ Andrew- obsessed with astrology 

Costas: I love to read. I probably read about 50-60 books a year. Something about a good book that is so damn stimulating to me. 

What are the next steps you plan to take as a band to reach the next level?

Costas: Our debut LP is currently being mixed and we will be shopping that around to labels when it is done. We have a handful of singles outside of the LP we will independently release as well as continue to tour and increase our online presence. We are thoroughly enjoying the process and the ride and we are knocking on doors at the same time.

Nikki: we have an upcoming 5 week tour and I feel like that’s only the beginning. He have big things in store and I don’t see uo stopping anytime soon 

Whats your thoughts on Elon Musks contribution to the world?

Nikki: I have none

Costas: I have a love/hate with Elon Musk, haha. His contributions to the world can definitely not be second guessed. But, without getting into details, there has been plenty done and said that I just don’t agree with and it’s like why dude? Haha

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

We just wrapped up an LP with Gary Cioni (Free Throw, Hot Mulligan, Leisure Hour, Kayak Jones) at Sound Acres Recording Studio. 10 brand new songs. We also have some singles, one of which was produced by Fred Mascherino (The Color Fred, Say Anything, ex Taking Back Sunday) and I’m super stoked on everything. 

Nikki: you’re in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. The emotions of this new album are intense yet beautiful and powerful.

What was the recording process like?

Nikki: ne thing about the recording process is i love how each time we push our more and more. We learn something new about ourselves each and every time. 

Costas: Tracking the LP was fun. I love working with Gary. He really brings out the best in me as a guitarist, musician and songwriter. We spent 2 days at Sound Acres in August and did pre-production. And then went back a month later in September and began production.

What I love about Gary is, he knows how to keep everybody playing and occupied. You’re never just sitting around waiting to do something. Usually take it a song or 2 at a time. I love the production process and I’m there from day start to day end making sure the record is shaping exactly how I envision it. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Costas: I think the biggest learning curve is expanding on your sound without veering away from who you are as a songwriter or that certain signature you create. For this band, this was the first writing process where it wasn’t just Nikki & I. Our debut EP was written solely by Nikki and I, with me demoing out all the instruments. So this was the first writing we’ve done as a full band and it’s always a learning curve working with new musicians and seeing how they tick. But I love what they contribute and I am stoked on how this record turned out.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Nikki: nothing I would change. This is a part of our story and individuals and as a group. It’s so cool to have a time capsule to look back and remember how and why we are feeling in those moments. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Costas: I think things change so much during the writing, tracking & mixing process that we cover this pretty well, haha. Sometimes I’ll go back and listen to songs and think man I wish I would’ve done this or I wish I would’ve had these lyrics instead of these. Nothing that makes or breaks it, just little things I wish I could change. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll re-record some of these songs with those changes.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Nikki: don’t let anyone hold you back from your dreams. Yourself included. You can do anything and everything you set your mind on. You have one life to live, don’t waist it being and doing what you aren’t supposed to be doing. 

Costas: We’re gonna be doing a lot of touring this spring and summer and I hope to see and meet you at a show! If you’re passionate about something, don’t ever stop doing it. You can do it. Don’t ever let outside noise influence your decision to stop doing something that makes you whole.

You are unique. You are one of a kind. The world needs your contribution. Whatever it may be.

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