Six Seconds Away

Six Seconds Away

BandRockAlternative

A combination of modern hard rock with pop sensibilities and intelligent ideas- think Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, Metallica and Green Day meet Genesis, U2, The Police, and Matchbox 20. Heavy enough to rock out to, clear enough to hum along to, idealistic but firmly grounded. Comfortable everywhere!

Biography

In the city of Waterloo, Iowa, in an area of town generally considered to be a place to be avoided by "upstanding" citizens, there is a nine-block section that seems to be a completely different place than the surrounding gloom. This is Highland Park.

Picture a young man, no longer a boy but only beginning to explore the disarray of adult life. He begins to search around him for something solid in what seems to be an overly fluid and random world. Thoughts become words on paper.

The streets surrounding Highland Park are crime-ridden, tired, seemingly ready to collapse under the bloated weight of the sickness that pervades people who have given up before they've tried, because they know nothing else. Yet, when you enter the boulevards that serve as the entrances to this almost separate community within a community, you are instantly struck with the beauty and aged charm of buildings, streets, and even the yards themselves. The resilience seems to go out of its way to defy the rot outside of its boundaries without denouncing it- rather, it offers a vision of hope for what lies around it.

The words are no longer written trains of thought. Combined with music, they've become songs, but they're not quite ready to really be songs for others. For now, they exist as ideas, and the young man holds them to himself. Even when he plays in several bands, and trots the songs out, they never sound quite as right as they should to him.

It's not until, while in the pursuit of one of the dominating themes of life- love- that he stumbles upon the lost Eden of Highland Park. Struck with the grandeur and beauty in the midst of decay, he begins to see where the songs he has written should be going. Even so, it will take the rise and fall of yet another band for clarity to finally come to him.

The band? Nearfall. Matthew Hepworth, guitarist and sometime vocalist for the band, was a founding member of the band, which, even though it showed so much potential, never rose beyond being a simple high school band. Frusturated, Hepworth fled, and began to rework the songs in earnest to match the sounds he heard in his head.

It would be a long process, however. Hepworth, not a drummer by nature, insisted on recording drums by himself, a process that took three long and often frusturating months. He was driven, however, by the belief that the songs deserved to exist in as a full a manner as possible. At times, the anger that he felt at his former band was THE driving force for each take, even if it meant scrapping a hundred before it.

Even the instruments that he had some grounding in- bass, piano, and even guitar- were by no means easily tracked. Yet the seeds sown from frusturation ultimately bore the sweetest fruit, as broken-down riffs and lines served as the foundation for yet more sublime ideas.

When it came time for vocals, however, the self-reliance which had worked so well for Hepworth ran out of gas. Luckily, a suggestion by a trusted local guitar shop employee paid off well- Chris Brown, a local musician (a member of The Beat Strings, who were recently given a nod by Entertainment Weekly), also happened to be producer and engineer by his own right. On a whim, Hepworth fired off an e-mail to Brown, and the next week, Hepworth was in the studio, tracking vocals with Brown at the board.

While Hepworth considered himself first and foremost a guitarist and then a vocalist, with Brown at the helm, his voice took on a life of its own, seemingly schizophrenic in its capabilities- from high pitched clean singing to a gravelly moan, machine gun raps to breathy whispers, and fierce shouts to razor-gargling screams, Brown brought out the right voice for every line and every story.

And there were stories to be told. Written over a period of three years, Highland Park takes you on somewhat of a journey through the 13 tracks, using a variety of styles to paint a sonic portrait of one young man's mind. Rather than it being a messy, scrambled glimpse of someone trying to find their voice, the clashing feelings instead provide able and ample contrast that only makes the whole deal that much more of an experience. Subjects such as the slippery illusion of time ("Six Seconds Away"), authoritarianism ("My Mask," "Negative Zero"), love lost ("Blessed September," "Silent Scream"), criticism of complacency and fanaticism ("Rivets," "A Mile And A Half For Deja Vu"), and angst ("Beyond All Things," "(Bitter)Sweet Sixteen," "Glass Salamander") are all covered, but it's not all doom and gloom- "Leaves," for example, provides a breather in the form of an sweetly sincere apology, and both the title track and "Decline" propose a message of hope in a rebellious manner.

Yet, to describe each song as a part takes away from their collective sum, which is infinitely greater - in line with Hepworth's original vision of it being a soundtrack to a movie of life, a living, breathing collective that doesn't merely lash out against the w

Lyrics

Decline

Written By: Matthew Hepworth

Technicolor dreams/flow through the seams
Mingling with the shadows of things
Haunting, unspoken/With no room to breathe
In the midst of it all I begin to percieve
I have been here before
In this battle I have fought
But now I realize it was all for naught
The most treacherous field upon which we fight
Is the one of the heart
And this is my
Decline
Bitterness is sharper than any blade
And no thought is given to the claim portrayed
The air is scorched with these angry words
But on the outside/I am left unburned
I'm holding on to what I've always known
Even as everything falls apart around me
I can only hope that when the dust clears
That I'll know the reason/reason for these tears
The road has shifted/Not a path is clear
And the sky bleeds red/Reflecting my fear
All around me/Reality's crumpled down
And I'm forced to scream/but without a sound
Only seeking closure/I grasp for this
With no desire to share in your metamorphosis
Roaming no longer/I cannot deny
What is so certain/That you are my
Decline
I'm holding on to what I've always known
Even as everything falls apart around me
I can only hope that when the dust clears
That I'll know the reason/reason for these tears
I can't turn my back/but I won't face this fate
When it all comes I can only pray
That I'll see the light to show me my way
No more hurt/The fall ends today
I'm holding on to what I've always known
Even as everything falls apart around me
I can only hope that when the dust clears
That I'll know the reason/reason for these tears

Highland Park

Written By: Matthew Hepworth

For every happy moment I've had
There's been a million nights/I've spent in despair
I've questioned everything I knew
Doubted I could ever find the truth
The future never looked so bleak
With dead-end roads/And one-way streets
Yesterday's echoes had killed my dreams
Leaving me to choke on the apathy/but
Hope's coming back to me
Look around and I can see that everything's gonna be okay
No more restless nights
I've found my angel/Beneath the lights of Highland Park
Heartbreak/with no second chance
I lived to love and laid the edge
While falling/the ground came fast
And I shattered myself on the evidence
But sometimes you have to ignore
What the world says is truth/And just explore
When you live to live/and not just breathe
Yeah you'll fall sometimes/But I've learned to see that
Hope's coming back to me
Look around and I can see that everything's gonna be okay
No more restless nights
I've found my angel/Beneath the lights of Highland Park
Again
I won't die of hate
Hope's coming back to me
Look around and I can see that everything's gonna be okay
No more restless nights
I've found my angel/Beneath the lights of Highland Park
Hope's coming back to me
Look around and I can see that everything's gonna be okay
No more restless nights
I've found my angel/Beneath the lights of Highland Park
Again
Again

Beyond All Things

Written By: Matthew Hepworth

I hear a whisper
Shadows of the past
They've followed me here/and they do not want to pass
I cannot fault them/I have carried them along
Memories of a better time/when this didn't feel so wrong
Wake me up/and take me from
This place that I have never loved
Scatter pictures in the debris
Bury them/so I'll never see
This path I have taken/is paved with defeats
Sorrow's no stranger/it's always lingering
But breathing in softly/I'll utter my reply
To the questioning despair/where the rivers run dry
These ghosts aren't dead/They've lost the will to live
Drowning in deep pools of bitterness
Apathy's become their drug
And it's trapping their hope/inside of their lungs
Wake me up/and take me from
This place that I have never loved
Scatter pictures in the debris
Bury them/so I'll never see
Wake me up/and take me from
This place that I have never loved
Scatter pictures in the debris
Bury them/so I'll never see

Discography

Highland Park (Debut LP) - 2006

First single - "Highland Park" (track 12) June 2006
Second single - "Blessed September" (track 4) September 2006

Set List

1. Typical Full Band/Computer Backed Set List

Opening song: "Six Seconds Away", "Rivets", "(Bitter)Sweet Sixteen" or "Blessed September"
"My Mask" or "Blessed September"
"Silent Scream" (occasionally)
"Beyond All Things"
"(Bitter)Sweet Sixteen"
"Stare At The Sun (acoustic)" (Thrice cover)
"Glass Salamander" (occasionally)
"Decline"
"Highland Park" (occasionally last two songs are played in different order at the end)
(Running Time: 36 - 45 minutes)

2. Acoustic set list

"Leaves"
"Blessed September"
"Silent Scream"
"Beyond All Things"
"Stare At The Sun (acoustic)" (Thrice cover)
"(Bitter)Sweet Sixteen" (rare)
"Glass Salamander" (rare)
"Highland Park"
"Soco Amaretto Lime" (Brand New cover)
(Running time: 25 - 35 minutes)